#684 Mother 3

Posted: 23rd September 2020 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , , , ,

900th played so far

Genre: Role-Playing
Platform: Game Boy Advance
Year of Release: 2006
Developer: Brownie Brown/HAL Laboratory
Publisher: Nintendo

We’ve reached 900! While, yeah, the majority of games that will follow will still be pretty standard, it feels like the landmarks will all be a bit more significant. This isn’t just a 100 game landmark, this is the last one we’ve got, with the full 1000 putting us properly in endgame. It leaves me with a bit more than 100 games left to play, but it feels really close now… or as close as another year on a project that’s approaching its first decade soon.

To celebrate, today’s game is Mother 3, the sequel to Earthbound (which was known in Japan as Mother 2). This game was never officially released outside of Japan, seen as too tricky considering Earthbound didn’t sell well, but about a decade ago an acclaimed fan translation was released. I’ll obviously be playing that, which comes with a gorgeous guide to help find my way through the game. I’ve been excited for this for a long time and am dedicating a lot more time to it as I want to see as much as I can.

Our Thoughts

There is so much in this game, it’s hard to see where to start. Mother 3 starts off by creating a small, charming world, initially a town, a nearby forest and mountains to a grandfather’s cottage. As you play through, you both get to know of the people in the village and live through their tragedies. It’s heartbreaking story from the start, told from a light, sometimes childlike perspective that allows it to stay silly from time to time. It works to reinforce each other, where you grow to care for these characters and the hits really hit. It’s all simple, a semi-modern setting without big monsters, without fantasy settings and so on, and that focus benefits it in a way that’s hard to describe.

You follow several characters through the story, with some different perspectives, that meet and merge later on (although of course they are all set in the same town, at least now). There are some time jumps involved as the town changes, which means the different initial leads give you a chance to see it through different eyes as it has changed.

It is, of course, long too, which meant that I haven’t had a chance to actually see all of the mechanics yet – the psi mechanic, which replaces magic in other games, gets introduced late in the second chapter, which felt like it’d take double digits of hours to reach.  It does look like it’s fairly standard magic with different names, but it’ll be nice to explore. The battle system seems to be that much more in depth than you’d expect from the simple setting – not just mixing these system, with extensive status and item use, but also feature per character abilities including characters you don’t control who do weird things – distracting the enemy and such. It makes the battles a bit easier, but with the difficulty it’s also assistance you need. Then there’s a rhythm based section that add to the damage you do. It’s a nice additional feature that seems to add more layers.

Final Thoughts

Mother 3 really is this perfect treat. it’s eclectic in its sense of scale, how it creates the world and what it includes, but has heart and pulls off everything it tries to do here. It’s long, it feels like I’ve barely scratched the surface, but it lives up to the Earthbound legacy and I feel like this may even have outdone it that in working for me.

  1. […] I mentioned two days ago,  reaching 900 games is such a big mental milestone – it feels like we’ll reach the […]