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I first got this game for Christmas shortly after it first came out, and ever since, it's been one of my favorites. It strikes a nearly perfect balance between gameplay, story, humor, and visual design, putting fresh spins on old standby RPG tropes.
The battle system is largely borrowed from the original Paper Mario, which is fine, because it's unique enough that it doesn't feel like you've seen it in dozens of other games, and manages to be relatively intuitive and easy to use without losing much depth. There's still plenty of wiggle room to experiment with the badges to find a playstyle that suits you. And it adds few tweaks to the Paper Mario system to keep it interesting. The out of battle sections are a fun combo of platforming and puzzles rather than just wandering from room to room.
But the writing is really where the game shines. Far from the Excuse Plot of the main series of games, there's not only an interesting overarching plotline, but each chapter has its own story that keeps it from feeling dragged out. You get half a dozen different narratives as you play through. Not to mention that the actual writing is great; despite not being actually voiced the characters are all distinct and developed, and the writers have a very good grasp of comedic timing. The entire game is self aware without ever being overbearing about it, playing the inherent goofiness of the setting for all it's worth. (What other Mario game features a mob hit going down in the background of the introduction?) The gloriously hilarious spoof sequences that take place between chapters are just the icing on the cake.
Finally, the the game has a very unique, very vibrant art style that really stands up next to your standard fantasy/magitek type settings that are standard for the genre. The world that this game takes place in is full of characters and places that feel new interesting rather than borrowed from other games.
The game isn't perfect, obviously. There's quite a bit of backtracking that can get a bit old after a while, but everything else is executed so well that it balances out. If you haven't given it a try, you should.
Coming from someone who hasn\'t played the game, who\'s to say I may not say the same?
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