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  1. Inception Intro: Mario is everywhere now, he’s been in every gaming genre there is. Sports, Racing, Platformers and when Square released Legend of The Seven Stars came out, Mario has started his own RPGs. Super Mario RPG: Legend of The Seven Stars was a solid beginning in the Mario RPG series. But then it passed the torch to Paper Mario and Mario and Luigi. And in 2013 also known as “The Year of Luigi” Alpha Dream released the fourth game in the Mario and Luigi series. Dream Team, a fitting and clever name to an interesting concept. So how far did it go? That’s the question I intend to answer here. Story: Dream Team lives up to its name in both story and gameplay. The story of the game starts when Mario, Luigi and Peach take a vacation to Pi’llo Island. However, their vacation is cut short by Antasma and Bowser, the villains teamed up with each other to conquer the world, because that’s what all the cool villains want nowadays. Antasma is an evil being spawned by nightmares and hatred, he once fought a war against the Pi’llo folk lead by Prince Dreambert. And now, he wants to work with Bowser to steal the dream stone so he can get what he wants. So the brothers’ goal is to save Pi’llo Island from Antasma and Bowser by using Luigi’s mysterious ability to manipulate dreams to his will. The humor is still as solid as it always was, Alpha Dream still manages to deliver hilarious dialogue into the characters without feeling old. Along the journey, the brothers will encounter a cast of new and familiar characters. Familiar ones including Bowser (Obviously) Peach, Toadsworth, Broque Monsieur, Broque Madame and Starlow. The new characters however, are the ones who stole the show. Such as the hilarious Brickle, the beefy Massif Bros and the badass Antasma. And the story has a lot of cool hidden texts and references that add more depth to the storyline for players who care to explore them. Antasma is a particularly strong character because of how he was inspired by Dracula but his character wasn’t cliche, he wasn’t a vampire lord looking to suck people’s blood or build his own castle. He’s a nightmare creature who wants to help Bowser get what he wants so that they can both combine their power to conquer the world. While the characters are great, the actual plot of the game suffers from pacing issues. It gives you too many different arcs to solve and never focusing on the main goal. The Ultibed part for example was completely unnecessary and felt like it was there just to pad out the game’s length. Overall, the game’s story is decent, but it’s nowhere near as good or as well focused as Bowser’s inside story. Graphics and Presentation: Mario and Luigi’s first outing in 3D is visually astonishing. The game’s textures look nice and the visual effects are particularly impressive. The particle effects when Dreamy Luigi fuses with Mario, the Luiginary attacks, they all look pretty good. But the one problem here is the game uses sprites for its characters, and the only characters that are 3D meshes are the ones in the giant battles. Those sprites still look pretty good, but I would’ve much preferred if they haven’t cut corners and went all out 3D if they wanted to make the first 3D M&L game. The sound design is good, I like how punchy they made the hammers sound and all of the other sound effects are pretty good. The soundtrack is epic, I’d say it’s on par with Bowser’s Inside Story. Every environment has a music track for it and a music track for the dreamy version of it. And they are for the most part, memorable. Gameplay: If you are unfamiliar with how the Mario and Luigi series play, the are turn based action RPGs in the vain of Final Fantasy. But it still feels very much like a Mario game. You use blocks instead of menus for your actions, your items are mushrooms and nuts for healing, and a 1-UP mushroom for reviving. What sets this game apart from other RPGs are action commands and reaction commands, which exist in Paper Mario and Legend of The Seven Stars but here, they are done better. As you can completely avoid damage if you time your evasions and counters right instead of reducing damage. Each bro has two actions for solo attacks, hammers and jumping, both deal similar damage in this game but aerial enemies can only be hit by jumping attacks, and spiked enemies can only be hit by hammer attacks. And that’s the extent of hit rate in this game, there’s no RNG to stop you from hitting or avoiding attacks, it’s all dictated by user input, which makes Mario and Luigi more skill based than your typical turn based RPGs, allowing players to potentially go through the entire journey without taking a single point of unscripted damage. So the combat in these games are superb, and it still shines here. One clear difference, though, is there are some enemies that are deceptive and move during your turn such as the crabs, watch out for those. This game’s primary gimmick is the dream world segments. Mario can use Luiginary works (Spawned from Luigi’s imagination) to manipulate the environments around him, change the way how it works by changing its speed, freezing it, burning it, flying across it in zero gravity and even spawn Luiginoids to create different shapes for him to use, he can also extend Luigi’s mustache to shoot him across a room which is pretty funny. The game’s controls for these segments can sometimes feel too cumbersome, particularly in the Luiginary wheel, but otherwise, it controls fine. The time puzzles in the dream world are pretty fun and well designed, needing you to slow down for higher jumps or fast forward for jumping further, and it was a smart design choice to require one jump for blocks that need slowing down, it cuts down the tedium of jumping slowly over and over again. The combat in the dream world is also different, as Mario and Luigi combine their stats to make up for the fact that Luigi isn’t there to help (Just dreamy Luigi) and instead of Bros. attacks, Mario can use Luiginary attacks which are some of the most powerful attacks in the game. Some of the special attacks (Bros. and Luiginary) use the 3DS’ motion controls which when you get used to it will be quite easy for you to pull of. And I like how the special attacks have their own action commands, requiring not only BP to do, but also skillful player input to allow you to dish out some damage/status effects. Unlike in other turn based RPGs where you only require mana for such attacks. The combat of the game is hard to adapt to since they made attack timing much more different, but when you do adapt to it, the combat will be much easier than BIS’ combat (Bowser’s Inside Story). It appears that Alpha Dream are making their game much more accessible for newcomers, they even allow you to restart battles at any time without needing retry clocks like you did previously. And you can draw your hammer forever unlike in BIS where you have a specific amount of time of how much you can draw your hammer. Returning from BIS are giant battles, and they are even better than ever. You play as giant Luigi and now have a bunch of options of how you wanna tackle your oversized enemy. You can throw him to the background, throw him across the screen or jump on top of him. The battles feel a lot more epic because of how much tension they added to the reaction commands, such as a certain fight with the Zeekeeper where you have to touch his legs on the touchscreen and then pull down with the stylus so that you can drag him down to the ground. As for the role-playing elements of this game, there are badges. Each bro has a set of badges that they can choose and combining different badges will give vastly different effects. There are a lot more badges than in BIS, and all of the different effects are fun to use and can be synergized to give different effects. For example, the badge that gives all allies and enemies increased POW sounds terrible on paper because of its extremely high risk vs reward, but when combined with the badge that removes all status effects from enemies, it can be wonderful. Other RP elements are things such as customizing the bros’ equipment to your liking, but there’s sadly not that much role playing in this game to excuse it’s insane 56 hour length. I’m an explorative player and I love finding exciting new areas/loot, but Dream Team doesn’t have that much of it. The overworld is dull and devoid of any exploration, the only things that are there for the players to discover are the hidden beans which increase certain stats by a point each. That, combined with the badges is not enough to excuse the fact that the game is too long. BIS took me 30 hours to beat while this game was close enough to 60. But BIS had more depth because of the extra party member this game doesn’t have, Bowser. He played much differently than the brothers, and while you can argue that Mario in the dream world was different enough, that still doesn’t change the fact that he is still Mario. You can’t customize the bros to your liking enough, there are no RPG archetypes here, the bros are mostly damage dealers who can support each other, the reason why it’s okay for games like Final Fantasy and Fire Emblem to be as long as they are is because of their job/class systems. While the adventure is grand, it doesn’t feel like a drag because trying out different specialization makes it feel always fresh and engaging. While in this game, the game already feels too long without the Ultibed quest, which is just padding, padding, padding, it’s inexcusable to have it there, it’s just there to hurt the game’s pacing. And the tutorials are riddled with too much dialogue shoved upon the player’s throat. It can also be annoying, such as the times where Dreambert makes the most astute observations by telling you exactly what just happened in great detail “Oh, it looks like turning this wheel has made it faster/slower” No shit Sherlock! And why i the map purely touchscreen? And why does it move back to its origin once the bros move? That’s a bad design choice, I say. I dunno why can’t the game allow the player to pause and hover through the map at will. The bosses are some of the strongest points in the game for a lot of people, but I mostly find them to be mostly too easy. And it takes quite a while for you to get to the good ones, the ones that are more interesting and complex, but when you get there, they are spectacular. There are challenges in the game that you can get different rewards for. And most of these aren’t particularly difficult, but rewarding nonetheless. The game doesn’t have many technical problems although it did once break for me, the camera glitched and all characters disappeared which was thankfully solved by saving and reloading the game. And with all of these things covered, let’s get to the final verdict. Final Verdict: Dream Team is another good entry in the Mario and Luigi series of RPGs, it’s the first one in 3D and it had great improvements and addition of new gameplay mechanics, and it kept the series fresh and managed to be quite impressive on a technical side, especially in those miraculous giant battles. It’s a good game, but not a great one. It suffers from a lot of pacing issues, especially in the late game, and it just felt like a drag in the second half, and didn’t need to be this long for it’s lack of robust enough RPG elements so it also overstayed its welcome. I hope Alpha Dream takes all of this feedback into consideration as they’re making Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam. Because Bowser’s Inside Story was a phenomenal game, it had almost flawless pacing and it was really hard to find major faults with it. It’s disappointing that they didn’t hit the same level of quality here but I’m hoping they do that for Paper Jam. Overall, I recommend this game for Mario RPG fans who are craving for a new type of adventure that focuses more on the cooler brother. Final Score: 7/10 Good. Update on Upcoming Reviews: After finishing Dream Team, now I have time to revisit titles that I need to finish. Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword aka Fire Emblem aka Fire Emblem 7 may be my next game to review. Though I am unsure, it could also be Captain Toad, Batman: Arkham Knight, Superstar Saga or Okami. I actually have a lot more shelved games than those. Deciding on which to review is going to be quite difficult. But it’s most likely gonna be Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword. It’s gonna be more difficult to review it since I haven’t jotted down any notes and I just finished Lyn’s arc. But hopefully, there won’t be a writer’s block for me.
  2. Hello everyone! I have been lurking on the forums here for a few months and was recently inspired to make an account. I decided to start off my first ever screenshot Let's Play with one of my favourite Gameboy Advance games. Superstar Saga is an action RPG, with a focus on the action. Unlike in typical RPGs where player input is limited to selecting a target to attack and with what, Superstar Saga involves you in the action by having you execute well timed button presses during a fight to get maximum damage. This results in the game being much more immersive than a typical RPG. I am going to be explaining the mechanics in more detail as they appear. [spoiler=Chapter 1: The Journey of Mario and Mr. Green Part 1] I always like to take a moment to look at the title screen and main menus in games. I love the record book motif of the game files. Peach's Castle. This can only end well... Oh. I was expecting Bowser to show up. I guess that gifts are always- Of course. It is literally impossible for good things to happen to Peach. Even the other kingdoms are out to get her. The "obvious main villain" alarms are going off like no tomorrow. Peach gets some fart gas blown in her face and knocked out. The cameraman goes on a drug trip and starts seeing psychedelic colours. Strangely, the dastardly duo do not kidnap her. Why even bother knocking her out if you are just going to leave her here? The villains egress to the witch shaped....thing in the sky. Where is Mario when you need him? Well, Luigi is here I guess. He seems a bit busy with the laundry though. The castle is clearly visible in the background, so why can't we see the ominous cloud of death? A Toad hustles into the scene because of bad stuff happening. Finding Luigi to be of no help, he runs into the bros' house (that I totally did not forget to screenshot) to search for Mario. Fun fact: I did not know you controlled Toad in this scene when I first played and ended up waiting for like 5 minutes before I realized I had to move. Some of the details of the Casa Mario. Does everyone have a such a large picture of peach? Uhm Toad that is the bathroom maybe you shouldn't- Toad catches a glimpse of the Italian Stallion and decides that bashing his head into the dresser is the best way to deal with it. Mario gives him the standard treatment to get him to reveal some important information. Mario dashes off and gets dressed (which I totally didn't forget to screenshot) and drags Loogi off to the start of the adventure! The Bros. arrive at the castle and catch Bowser from behind. It's fine because he is probably up to no good anyways. The first fight begins! A typical fight screen. The bottom left corner has some information about Mario's status. The top number next to the heart is HP, and the bottom number next to the red and green pill are Bros points, which will be discussed later. The only attack Mario knows right now is jump (figures). This is were the action element of "action RPG" comes into play. If you press the A button just before Mario lands on the head of an enemy (see screenshot 3) he successfully completes the jump and does full damage. if you do not, he sort of just falls onto Bowser for less damage. Another crucial part of battle is dodging. You can press A to make Mario jump over Bowser's flames at the right time to avoid damage. You can even use this to counterattack some enemies! After a few more attacks, Bowser goes down. Mario reigns supreme! Suuuuuuuure you would have. The plot gets explained. Although the bad guys did not kidnap the princess in full, they did manage to steal her voice. That must have been what the fart gas was for. No wonder her new speech is so....explosive. Mario is called to action. Bowser agrees to help out as well, but only to his own ends. RIP. Mario messes around in a plaza for a while, gathering items and helping out the toads. I totally did not whiff the jump in screenshot 6 four times. Refusing to return the mushroom that is on the ledge (screenshot 7) lets you keep the mushroom (you spiteful ass) but if you say you will return it you get to keep it AND a super mushroom. He went thatta way. Luigi sure is happy to see Mario head off... The save screen. The area you are in, coin and game time counter, and level indicator are nice touches. As is the stamp to let you know when saving is complete. Sup Toadsworth. Thanks for the allowance money. Luigi is kind of a coward and thus is going to stay at home. He still loves Mario though, so he is going to tip his hat to him. Sick turnout Bowser. Your baddies must be too scared of Mario to get near him. That, or they have an incompetent leader... Luigi joins the cause! Despite his best efforts at being a coward, Luigi is snatched up and tossed headfirst into adventure! Mario and Luigi are now officially a team! They always stand in a line, and either brother can be in front. Notice how Mario's icons at the top right are always red and Luigi's are green. The buttons they use are different depending on who is in front, but the colours are the same. The inside of the suitcase, along with the items and equip screen. Pants will always have effects on health and defense. Other equipable accessories will have effects on different statistics. Finally, the moment you've been waiting for! Base stats! The stats are broken down as follows: HP - Health. Self explanatory. BP - Bros. Points. Will explain later. POW - Power. Affects how strong all your attacks are. DEF - Defense. Affects how well you can take a hit. SPEED - Affects the order of turns. Whoever has the highest speed moves first, followed by the second highest, etc. After the last person goes the cycle repeats. STACHE - How groomed, elegant, and shiny your mustache is. Affects Lucky hits (criticals are different) and store prices. EXP - How much EXP you have. NEXT - How much EXP it will take to get you to level up. Right off the bat, Mario is a little bit stronger and significantly faster than Luigi is. He also has a slightly more well trimmed stache. Luigi has higher health and defense, so is more tanky than his brother. Also of note here is that Mario needs less exp to level up than Luigi does. Perhaps because all his previous adventures have left him so experienced? This is all for now, but I will hopefully upload the rest of this part either tonight or tomorrow. Comments and feedback are welcome!
  3. It's true. WALUIGI is NUMBAH one and I agree with my self so spread the will of WEH. There are also many Waluigis ready to spread my will. The will of Waluigi will never die. Yes I was very bored and tired when this was made.
  4. I have decided to create a thread. I have decided to rebuild the mushroom kingdom and I have some positions to fill. They are Mario, LawyerLuigi (first to go), Wario, Ruler WALUIGI (taken), Toad, Starlow, Princess. Peach, Daisy, Fawful,Toadette and Bowser. I will allow 5 nominees per topic. Let the funny begin. If you come up withe a Lol enough worthy role you may get it, but we need people for the current one. Roles WALUIGI (obvious) Starlow: Glac Hotel Mario Zak Necromancer Necromancer LAWYER Luigi Nominees Komeiji Phoenix Wright
  5. Feel free to use this to discuss characters from the DK, Yoshi and Wario series as well. So this is Nintendo's biggest series, entering the ring with over 200 games under it's belt. Mario is one of the most recognizable fictional characters ever. Likely Newcomers: Bowser Jr., Toad, Paper Mario, Waluigi, Dixie Kong, King K. Rool Bowser Jr., and Toad are who I consider to be the two most likely newcomers if the Super Mario series. Toad has been around for just as long as Luigi, Peach and Bowser have been, and he was one of the most requested characters for Melee. An appearance in Mario 3D World can only help his chances as well. Bowser Jr., however, has a lot more prevalance in the series as of late. He's been a very recurring villain since he appeared in 2001, appearing in over 28 games in 12 years. Paper Mario would be a character to showcase the Paper Mario games, and probably Mario RPGs as a whole because Geno's chances aren't good at all. I'm not too sure why people want Waluigi, but he is a very recognizable character since the N64. Though he has the problem that he hasn't exactly done anything... noteworthy. While Bowser Jr., Toad and Paper Mario are either villains, sidekicks or heros, respectively, Waluigi just really exists. After DKC: Tropical Freeze was announced, most people right now are thinking Dixie has a higher chance of being playable than King K. Rool. Though King K Rool is an incredibly popular choice as well. It's very possible that DKC could get two new characters, because of how few notable characters are left (and I certainly wouldn't be against it!). Feel free to discuss these guys, alongside any other characters related to these games that you wish.
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