Posted by Pip
BR38- The Good Book
Seems like a fair trade. Pride certainly seems jazzed about it. Super powerful cosmical jewel of untold powers for a kid's book. It could have all kinds of awesome doodles in the margins! But oh! We have to wait all weekend until Sloth gains the power to crush all that stand in its way and lay waste to the crying hoards of peasants that struggle in vain to prove that their lives have worth. So, you know, that's something to look forward to.
Long, Chortles Review: Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story- I like the Mario handheld RPGs but there are some major design flaws that keep BIS from rising abve cash-in status. For starters, there's a disturbing lack of save points for a handheld game, much less an RPG. It's a lazy, archaic, and stupid system for a portable RPG. Let me save whenever I want and just return me to the start of a room when I load. That's not earth-shatteringly complex. The game tricks you into reading the slow, boring tutorials by letting you get by with saying “no” to them a few times but then starts putting secondary prompts after you've declined and the "speed up text" button is the same as the "accept" button. If you've played any of the other M+L games, you don't need them and it makes the opening drag on. Throughout the adventure, characters will routinely over-explain extremely basic things and rephrases story dialogue three ways before moving on. Bowser's areas are so much more fun than Mario and Luigi's. In typical Mario fashion of late, they're saddled with an annoying sprite character that yammers on and isn't nearly as interesting as the writers thought. The M+L sections also involve a lot of bad level design, maze type layouts that involve backtracking and hunting for silly items. Bowser is just pure exploration, special moves, and heavy combat. He mostly travels alone and Bowser's dialogue has been far more interesting than the heroes' since the SNES. The characters you interact with are Fawful and Bowser's minions, so it's actually fun reading their parts. Surprisingly, some of the minions actually care about Bowser and follow him out of respect and awe. Bowser does meet up with an annoying tag along that basically just copies Fawful's gimmick but does it in an unfunny manner and a bad fake French accent. You have great characters in the bad guys with roots in the real games and then you have the new block characters that have no place in a game, much less a Mario game. And for established characters, Princess Toadstool displays some Carrie-levels of freaky powers. She's able to pick up Bowser and throw him through a wall just by pointing at him. If she's capable of doing THAT, this whole kidnapping business has to be a scam. They don't even explain it. It's just sits there in the back of your mind... Battles, especially bosses, take far too long. In a round or two, you'll figure out the enemy's gimmick and probably never get hurt again for the rest of the battle but the fight still lasts fifteen to twenty minutes. You just end up doing the same thing over and over without variation. The game frequently requires you to mash buttons to solve puzzles or to do certain moves and it's not just a "rapidly press the button" kind of mashing. It's "put your DS down on a table and bash the ever loving hell out of the button" style mashing. And in a grand display of idiocy, the giant Bowser fights require you to mash the touch screen with your stylus. Yes, the game is designed to have you have rapidly slam the pointed plastic piece into your flimsy touch screen. You know it's not a real Nintendo product from all this lack of polish. You'll see some reoccurring bugs, especially screen distortion. Whether or not the game is fun varies area by area. You can really enjoy one quest and then the next is a slog of tedium. Since the main adventure averages out to completely middle of the road, the weakness of the mini-games is amplified. And they are almost universally terrible. Bad controls, go on for far too long, you have to do the same ones over and over, and anything that forces me to blow into the microphone instantly garners my hatred. Anything in me that would want to recommend the game for the funny bits or good battles is beaten down by just how terrible the required, you can't ever skip them mini-games are, the button mashing, and poor level design.
Sins Committed: Bad level design, Bad characters, Bad writing, Repetitive
Virtues Acted: Good art, Good humor (for certain characters)