So Has Anyone Been Playing Mother 3?

Is It Just Me Or Does The Drago On The Far Right Look Like He’s Got A Smartass Grin Going On?

How many people know now that Mother 3 (Also known as Earthbound 2) has an English translation patch out for it as of last week?  Well for those who don’t it’s out there, meaning that for the first time non-Japanese speakers are able to enjoy the latest sequel to one of the most popular cult-hit RPGs of all time, Nintendo’s Mother series.

I’ve been playing Mother 3 and having just finished the first chapter I can say it doesn’t miss a beat in capturing the blend of quirky humour mixed with depressing storylines that made Mother 2 (Earthbound) so popular back in the days of the SNES.  While it carries over the pretty much outdated turn based battle system from it’s predecessor that was so prominent back in the day before Tales Of…. really took off, it escapes feeling like a Generic Quest Dragon Quest clone by featuring a more modernish world and the really REALLY odd people that populate it.  Rarely does anything a character says to the player fail to contain a tinge of humour or a pun, even when it ends up being rather black humour, and non sequitir’s are the norm for dialogue trees, not the exception.  The art style also still delibereately makes use of minimal shades of colour to give the whole experience an even more laid back and whimsical feel.  As you can see above for example, there’s only maybe ten or so shades of colour used in making up that whole seen and you can even make out the pixels on each characters simplistic design.  This essentially makes Mother 3 pretty much the opposite of your modern RPG with brooding storylines that focus a lot of time and energy on making almost unreasonably long cutscenes with insanely detailed graphics while seemingly forgetting the most important thing when it comes to making a game.  If you think I’m going to say it’s gameplay then you would be dead wrong unfortunately.  It’s the fun factor.  The ability to make a person enjoy playing the game.

And Mother 3 delivers this in spades.  Be it with it’s new addition to the series that features a combat system where the player is rewarded extra hits on an enemy by tapping the A button along to the beat of the music track playing in the background, or the music itself which ranges from entirely silly to relaxing and atmospheric.  It’s a game that is really easy to pick up and get into right away, that seems to have been designed with the intention of putting the enjoyment level of the player first before anything else such as story (it’s not complicated or convoluted, but rather simplistic and straight to the point with the themes it brings to the table like family and environmentalism, but it does tie in to the events of Mother 2 eventually) or gimmicks (see Valkyrie Profile 2’s combat system for what I would describe as gimmicky.  Hell just see every tri-ace games battle system from the past 5 years).  And there are some parts where you can tell the production staff had fun making the game too, which is always great to see.

Despite this, Mother 3 might not be the type of RPG everybody would be interested in.  It’s simplicity and lack of even a vague attempt to take itself seriously could be seen as conflicting with some of it’s darker moments and some people might be immediately turned off by it’s refusal to make full use of the graphical capabilities of the GBA (which is roughly on par with the SNES if not slightly above it) after all the advances that have been made in sprite design and technology over the years.  For people who don’t need an RPG to be like a bleeding age tech demo for all the latest graphical innovations and real-time event scripting engines and are just interested in having fun before all of that, Mother 3 might just be your game to get away from the hype factory that is the modern gaming industry for a quiet taste of yesteryear.


5 Responses to “So Has Anyone Been Playing Mother 3?”

  1. 1 Keiichi October 29, 2008 at 10:10 am


    I see you’re still having fun with the poll system. However, I think that the only aspects of a game that seem to interest mainstream gamers nowadays are insane graphics, whether it’s the same idea or gameplay over again just looking better.

  2. 2 Kaioshin Sama October 30, 2008 at 9:50 am

    FF XIII 4EVER!!!!111 Just kidding….

    But yeah, it’s kind of an unfortunate truth that especially goes for the mainstream gamer. Gaming seems to have shifted toward creating an audio/visual distraction for your average gamer for a while now as opposed to the interactive experience it used to be about predominantly. Though the game targetted at the hardcore Otaku or as those in the know call it the “Visual Novel” is arguably even worse as far as gameplay goes. Sometimes I think we’re headed for another game crash, but everytime that happens a few good companies seem to pull us back from the brink with some stunning innovation.

    Sometimes I really just like a simple game that’s fun to pick up and play though, which is why along with Mother 3 I’ve been playing Bangai-O on the advice of a friend along with a delightful little puzzle game called Deadly Rooms of Death.

    Anyway, one thing that is undeniable is that mainstream gaming in Japan has hit a bit of a rough patch which has kind of forced Western publishers to pick up the slack. That still makes the game market hurt for variety though as there’s just some things that Japanese developers will do that a western developer will never think of. Square Enix thinks the way to solve it is via a merger, but I’m not sure how that would work out. Either it will secure the Japanese video game business financially and allow developers to take risks again or it will further stifle creativity by placing the power of the green light in the hands of too small a number of individuals.

  3. 3 Keiichi October 30, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    I think some of the most enjoyable games were from Nintendo, E.G. Link, Mario, and the original pokemon. Pokemon red/blue/yellow are still enjoyable for me to this date xD. Nintendo doesn’t focus on graphics, and mainly on gameplay. The Wii does not have improved graphics capabilities compared to the Gamecube, but the interesting gaming style is what makes it so popular. However, I admit the eyecandy from XIII and Vs. is what will tempt me to buy it and try it out…plus I’ve been trying to keep steady my faith in FF since FF X. FF X brought me to tears. One of the unique points of FF games is their way of story-telling, and the expansive universe it takes place in. What makes a good FF game is not “zOMGWTF” graphics and gameplay, but the story and how it unfolds. FF VII is a good example, after all these years it still has a solid fanbase as the “best FF game ever” because of its story.

  4. 4 Kaioshin Sama October 31, 2008 at 3:48 am

    Well Nintendo also seems to have frequent issues with support for their systems in the North American market. Even with the Wii the quality to shovelware ratio of media continues to be an issue just as it is with the PS3.

  5. 5 May 16, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Today, I went to the beachfront with my children.

    I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put
    the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is totally off topic but I had to
    tell someone!

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