Every once in a while, there's a video game title that is overlooked by the vast majority of gamers, yet embraced by a small set of dedicated fans, to the point where the game rules their lives. Although Mother 3, a game considered to be a sequel to the acclaimed Earthbound, probably won't instil the same addiction in everyone, one thing is certainly assured; you will love this game. Of all the RPG titles available today to a mass market, there is none so beautifully written, so endearing, and so memorable as this. If you've never played this game before, chances are you don't live in Japan or speak Japanese. If you've never played this game before, you are most certainly missing out on an incredible gaming experience. If you've never played this game before, although we cannot condone the download of ROMs, as they are illegal, we would like to say that the experience is well worth it inside of an emulated environment. If you've played this game before, you know just how amazing it is, and how there are truly no words that can accurately describe it. And just for shits and giggles, you're going to read this review, and feel all of the emotion and nostalgia flow into your body. Because seriously. This game is incredible.
Let's begin with the storyline. There are many games you play for a quick, cheap thrill while waiting at a bus stop, flying an hour on a plane, or screwing around on your computer while a teacher isn't paying attention. This isn't Mother 3 by a long shot. What this game is, is something you play the way you're supposed to read a book. In large portions over a small amount of time. You won't be able to focus on the story unless you play this chapter by chapter. Due to this story playing out in the same nature as a novel, we're not going to reveal anything besides the basics. No spoilers here.
The game is centered around "the Nowhere Islands" in a time period unknown, but likely during the Gilded Age, where the Pigmask Army (men in uniforms who resemble pigs) have attacked and the protagonist, a young boy called Lucas must remove them from his homeland. As silly as it may sound, the story line is absolutely incredible and more fitting for a novel than a video game. Some scenes in this game have even been known to cause tearing in the players eyes, especially in the heart wrenching scene where Lucas and his company are wandering through a forest high on shrooms. Overall, the story is just unbelievable, and, like most titles in the genre, is one of the main attractions in an RPG.
Considering the large focus on story, the developers have decided to keep gameplay simple, fun and not too difficult, in order to easily allow the user to keep on with the plot. Although this may initially seem like a turn down to some "hardcore RPG fans," it only makes the game stronger and ties things together more seamlessly. However, as one may imagine, this game is based on exploration and minute battles (much in the same nature as the Pokemon franchise, but with much less battling and far more exploration). Overall, although the plot is a key element in the game, there is still an acceptable amount of attention paid to gameplay, which is for the most part what players are looking for in the first place.
At the end of the day, although Mother 3 is rather difficult to obtain, and in most cases, just down right illegal to properly play in English, it's well worth the time and energy. There is probably no game that will bring a player to tears so quickly or yank so much at the cognitive emotional centers of the brain as this title. Hopefully in the future, Nintendo will realize the true potential for releasing this game to the states and continuing on with the Earthbound legacy. It's what Ness would have wanted.
GAMESCORE: 9.5/10 (Incredible)