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As someone who played the previous three Mario and Luigi games, I was looking forward to Dream Team, the fourth game in the series. What I ended up getting was a game that was well-made and enjoyable in some regards, but frustrating in others.
The plot involves the brothers traveling to a new island that used to be the site of the Pi'ilo Kingdom and facing off against their archenemy Bowser, as well as a new villain named Antasma. It's nothing special, although it does have a somewhat interesting twist near the end of the game that I have mixed feelings about.
Like the previous three games, Dream Team features platforming and puzzles outside of battle. This part of the game is divided into the real world and the dream world, the latter of which is a sidescroller that allows Luigi to use unique abilities and interact with the environment. While there are many different abilities, as well as uses for said abilities, it can be tedious to sit through a tutorial for each new ability, with said tutorials continuing well into the latter half of the game. Switching between abilities can be clunky, as there are four sets of abilities by the end of the game.
Combat features some good innovations, such as the ability to turn while defending with your hammer or sidestep certain attacks. While fighting battles in the dream world, Mario fights alongside Dreamy Luigi, who augments his attacks and grants him new moves. Certain bosses are fought as Giant Luigi, which are fun diversions that require you to carefully choose best to attack the boss or defend against its attacks- for example, you may need to knock the boss back into a hazard, or swing Luigi's hammer horizontally to deflect a horizontal attack.
Unfortunately, the combat is often frustratingly difficult. Not only do normal encounters feature an unusually large number of enemies for the series, with larger than average health pools, they also have deadly attacks that can be difficult to avoid. This is especially bad in dream battles, in which Mario fights alone, leaving him vulnerable to being stunlocked (or at least cost his turn), and leaving no safety net if he gets K Oed. In general, it's a bad idea to restrict the player to one party member for too long in a turn-based RPG, but you spend half the game with only Mario. It doesn't feel very rewarding to have to dodge a long series of attacks to do a paltry amount of damage to your foe by countering, all while waiting for the opportunity to actually attack.
Apart from the exploration and battles, Dream Team has some good diversions, such as saving all the Pi'ilo folk (which involves finding them in the real world and exploring mini-dungeons in the dream world), digging up coffee beans and fighting stronger versions of bosses in the battle arena, among others. Unfortunately, by the time I finished the main game, I wasn't all that much in the mood to finish the side quests.
Dream Team isn't a bad game, but it's one of the weaker entries in the Mario and Luigi series. If you enjoyed the other games and don't mind a game that's much more difficult, you should give it a try, but if not, then you may want to think twice before buying it.
I agree with most of this, with the exception that I don\'t think it\'s that much more difficult than the other games (bar a few of the giant fights)—Just more irritating. The thing I remember the most about this game is how long enemy phases could take; while it\'s expected that the dream fights could take a while (you\'re up against 20 or so enemies), it felt like regular battles were aiming for the same length, with attack strings that would never end...
From the sounds of it, they were trying to iterate on previous games by introducing new twists to the gameplay mechanics, but either ignored or avoided noticing the impact these twists would have on the users final experience and the question of whether or not it was a good idea to force them through.
Not really? Of the series, it\'s actually the game that most resembles it\'s predecessor. They just decided to crank up the difficulty in an annoying way
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