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Thread: EarthBound thread

  1. #26
    Retired video game player SSJ Ranulf's Avatar
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    Re: EarthBound thread

    Notice: This review only concerns itself with Mother 2/Earthbound, as this is the only one this poster has played.

    I feel that this series has become my video game standard of "average."

    The game has a lot going for it. It had many rather interesting characters, from Ness's family and friends to Apple-kid and Captain Strong to the bosses and villains, the game had a solid cast. Many of the minor characters where rather memorable, and the bosses often offered a decent challenge (the early ones, at the very least). The game had many puzzles and involved actually thinking about things instead of walking around and killing things until you win the game. It also avoided and played tricks with many common video game tropes; such as when you'd walk up to an obstacle, have no way around it, walk about 100 steps away, and be told how to get past it or when you had to wait at a door for a few minutes before it would open.

    I found the game-play elements decent: I really enjoyed seeing enemies before a fight began: giving me a fair chance to dodge them. The items where interesting and flavorful (I really enjoyed the bags of Dragonite). The psychic abilities you got in the game where always fun to get and use creatively, but I was always more interested in what the enemies could do. If variety is the spice of life, then those enemies must have been the spice cabinet incarnate.

    The most important feature of the game is that it had a rather set of emotions that it evoked. The game started out so very peaceful, happy, and genially uplifting. The feeling was so positive that the first major boss (Atomic Ant?) felt extremely out of place: it was an anomaly. The Blue Cult (whose name escapes me) upset the feeling a little bit, but it didn't kill it. The game was still something to be happy about. By the next town, Threed, things really begin to change, but it's still fairly light (you glue zombies to the floor). My memory of the game does begin to fade at this part, but I'm certain that when I reached Fourside and the places beyond it, the game wasn't the same anymore: it was still fun (in a sense), but it wasn't positive.

    What happened?

    Over time and very subtly, the games entire feeling had changed. The characters all still looked happy and almost cute, but what they said wasn't the same. Many characters said things involving fear, despair, and some form of serious adventure. As I was only a boy when I played the game, it was hard for me to understand where the sun had gone: that is, what made the laughter stop. As talk of Ness's Nightmare, Pokey being fully evil, the end of everything, time travel, Giygas, and prayer game, I found the game provoking this reaction from me: .

    But I wouldn't have dreamed of putting it down. Not for one second. It had done the amazing task of fulling shifting genres, while not alienating it's target audience. From a happy story of a child's adventure, to fighting for the survival of the human race (and for your own survival), the game had filliped itself over. The game still engaged me, made me consider things that in my short life I never had before, and (most importantly) kept the emotion flowing. At the end the game seemed to have a great message, to be speaking to me, but I couldn't understand what it said. Today, I consider the game to be a metaphor for the feelings of society (and myself) that as time passes, the grass of yesterday was greener, the sky of last week was brighter, the problems of last year where easier, and the smiles on our faces last decade where more genuine and true.

    The game was the very first game I'd every played that had meaning. True meaning.

    However, it did have many flaws in it.

    The first set of flaws I'll tackle are the game-play flaws. Combat was often a grind: well I loved seeing what my enemies could do, I found my powers tired after 10 fights... or 100 fights... or 1,000 fights. Even the enemies, with their interesting attacks and cool effects, got predictable and somewhat dull after seeing them 20 or 30 times.

    I was also bothered with the item system. The game had many enjoyable items, but they where certainly not all available (I would have sold Jeff for 8 bags of Dragonite, really). Another key problem was the very limited capacity of characters to hold items. If they had had slots specifically for their equipment, it might have helped with that problem. However, as it stands, there are many items I've only used once or twice in my times playing of the game.

    A second major set of problems in the game would be the story that it tells. It feels very random and often disconnected with itself (how similar are your journeys in Threed to what you're adventures in the desert, for example). Many places are only used once in the story, and only vaguely referenced at later points. This happens to many characters as well, which is a shame: I'll never forget many of those minor characters who helped build the story.

    I also find fault in certain parts of the central story. Giygas felt random and almost pointless, and the story was hard for me, as a young child, to understand when it involved attacking the future from the past. While I greatly enjoyed having Porky become evil, things where simply to hokey and complex at that point. Some mysteries went unsolved (who was Buzz Buzz), although to be fare, many of my favorite stories have major questions to which there are no clear answers. I also found that aliens invading and psychic powers just aren't my genre, but that is merely a personal problem.

    For it's final problem I didn't like the ending of the game. The final fight with Giygas confounds me still, and I feel as if there is nothing after it. The story no longer evokes emotion, and has no purpose to continue. The ending doesn't support the great build up before it: my emotions are left to sort themselves out, rather then to be given an answer. On a second thought, perhaps that fact makes this a positive rather then a negative. As you walk around Onett and the rest of the world, it doesn't seem nearly as happy or friendly as it once did. Maybe that was part of the message. However, at the time, I really felt like I could have used a little more guidance with an ending.

    If I may pose a final point, it is that the game doesn't age well. At least, it didn't for me. I don't think in the rest of my life, perhaps 60 or 70 more years, I'll ever pick the game up again. Yet when I was young, it was the best game I'd ever played. However, this merely enriches the experience that it gave me. The grass really was greener for me: the game, which was once the best in history, is now merely a standard for me to compare others to. Clearly, it's message of things looking better as they used to be came true for me.

    At the end of the day, my feelings on the game are simple. It was revolutionary in some accepts, but failed greatly on others. It opened my eyes with it's beautiful message... and also opened my eyes to the terror of level grinding.

    Now, as I think of how to end my review of the game, only one word floats to mind:

    Average.
    Last edited by SSJ Ranulf; October 12th, 2010 at 06:50 PM.
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  2. #27
    Self-Styled Hero
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    Re: EarthBound thread

    Quote Originally Posted by SSJ Ranulf View Post
    Today, I consider the game to be a metaphor for the feelings of society (and myself) that as time passes, the grass of yesterday was greener, the sky of last week was brighter, the problems of last year where easier, and the smiles on our faces last decade where more genuine and true.
    I never thought of it that way. I just plain never. Thought of it. That way.

    I remember once hearing someone pose the theory that the game is about Ness becoming more mature and adult-like over time (while Porky remains an immature child). If you put that together with this look at things... it's actually quite chilling to think too much about.

    Of course, Ness does continue fighting for everyone's good, no matter what the personal cost turns out to be, so I suppose there's some hope there too. I'd go back and rethink this game myself, but you've kind of summed up everything I could have hoped to figure out...

    EDIT: I've got it! The big underlying theme behind the game is growing up and becoming more mature without losing your child-like innocence. Even if the challenges you face become more dire over time, you still approach them with the same willingness and energy as when you were fighting punks in the arcade. What led me to this conclusion was the lyrics for the "Pollyanna" song. When I look at them, it looks like the song starts out talking about very childish things, but as it continues (I think) the outlook becomes more mature and starts looking more at real things. ...Of course, it could just be that I'm reading WAY too deeply into this, but I like what I came up with.
    Last edited by Agent Gold; October 15th, 2010 at 09:36 PM.

  3. #28
    Clobberin Monster DededeMan202's Avatar
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    Re: EarthBound thread

    EarthBound is one of my personal favorite games of all time.

    Mother 3 is, overall, one of the best games ever made.

    Shigesato Itoi is a brilliant writer. I can see why he's so big in Japan.

    Mr. Saturn, FTW! Also, Pokey/Porky Minch is my favorite video game villains of all time!

  4. #29
    Internet Drifter Twich's Avatar
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    Re: EarthBound thread

    Quote Originally Posted by SSJ Ranulf View Post
    Now, as I think of how to end my review of the game, only one word floats to mind:

    Average.
    Average is not the first thing I think of when I think of Earthbound..since when were Sentient Taxi cabs, records, and cups of hot coffee average? (I realize that's not what you meant by average but still)
    Anyways, I absolutely adore Earthbound and Mother 3 two of the best games I've ever played in my life. One of the best video game tracks come from the game, and that track is Eight Melodies. :3
    Last edited by Twich; November 24th, 2010 at 05:59 PM.
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  5. #30
    Clobberin Monster DededeMan202's Avatar
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    Re: EarthBound thread

    I guess I can see why people would think the game is "average", the gameplay is like that of a generic RPG, particularly classic Dragon Quest games, but to me, it's anything but average. I suppose it depends on your experience with it and how deeply you look into the story and its characters. Actually, I think it's the characters, especially the minor ones, that make EarthBound what it is, and how it seperates itself from other RPGs.

    After all, how many RPGs do you know where you make an effort to talk to everyone in the game, not because you have to, but because you want to hear what they have to say? And how many other RPGs have minor NPCs that say unique dialogue from any other character in the game? Not many, I'll tell you that.

  6. #31
    We're all lurkers here SSBBrawler's Avatar
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    Re: EarthBound thread

    EarthBound. It was incredibly easy once you got to mid-game and leveling up became a billion times easier. Then again, I did grind for hours for the Sword of Kings, which might explain why I had an easy time with the game. Still, the enemies guarding the last sanctuary (and the areas before that) give a ton of experience points compared to their difficulty. I feel that it should be harder to get to level 99.

    Anyways, it was a pretty good game, though at times its story seemed to force itself on and on, especially by the time the fourth sanctuary rolls around. After that, the remaining sanctuaries take a short time to go to.

  7. #32
    Feelin' g... o... o... d. TurboJ's Avatar
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    Re: EarthBound thread

    I am a loyal servant of Master Giygas. You will be... Just another meal to him.

    I adore Earthbound. When I first played SSBM and was introduced to Ness, I didn't like him that much. Same goes for Lucas when I got Brawl. I guess it was just because I had no idea who the characters were, and didn't really like their playing-styles. Loved the Earthbound stages, though.

    2010 comes along, and TVTropes ruined/enhanced my life. I had discovered all kinds of media tropes, learned what to spot in media, and had gotten into several webcomics (BiTF being one of them). Then I went back to the Nightmare Fuel page that had properly introduced me to the moon from Majora's Mask (which I started respecting a lot more), and saw the Earthbound section. Giygas... I watched through the final battle, and agreed that it was kinda creepy. The song was cool, so I downloaded it onto my iPod. The moment hit the play button, I had changed...
    I was hearing things that my laptop hadn't picked up. Odd bass-lines, stereo sound and stuff. It made the song more intense. By the time it was over, I was actually a little shaken, and didn't feel comfortable going downstairs in the dark at 11PM to get a drink.

    This became an obsession. Giygas was creepy and awesome, and I had to know more. I continued to read, until I decided I had to play it. In October, I tried out the ROM, and loved every moment of it. By November, I had done it. I had hunted for the Sword of Kings (twice, since the first time my emulator glitched before I could save), I re-united the sesame seeds, and most importantly, I'd kicked cosmic arse.

    I shall join the fans in saying that it's a really touching game. Crazy, funny, and awesome.

    Current Video: Desk Railway Chronicles - Episode 1

  8. #33
    ded
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    Re: EarthBound thread

    I loved that game. I just barely got to Giygas and then the computer with the ROM was trashed. ;_;
    Might try again someday, it was honestly the only RPG i've ever enjoyed playing.
    i'm pretty much dead here...pm me if any of y'all wanna talk B^)

  9. #34
    Japanese Jigglypuff Purin's Avatar
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    Mother 1+2[+3] (EarthBound 0+1[+2])

    Has anyone played any game from the Mother series? I have played Mother 1+2 on the GBA. It is a lot of fun.

    Mother 1: The story... umm... Is very hard to explain. This game reminded me of the Pokemon franchise, and it was very memorable.

    Mother 2: The story is about a young boy (Ness) who wakes up from a meteor smash. When he checks out the crash site, Pokey, a fat boy, rudely talks to him. When he goes home, he wakes up due to Pokey's loud knocking on the door. He said Picky is missing somewhere on the crash site. So when Ness checks it out, he finds Picky and... This game is very funny, and what is somewhat odd is Ness whaps dogs, crows, and snakes with his baseball bat. The New Age Retro Hippie was a fun enemy that I battle just to see his useless attacks.

    If you play Mother, post opinions here.

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  11. #36
    Japanese Jigglypuff Purin's Avatar
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    Re: Mother 1+2[+3] (EarthBound 0+1[+2])

    Thanks.


  12. #37
    Doing the Hibiki thing everywhere 765Bro's Avatar
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    Re: EarthBound thread

    Since this is an Earthbound/Mother 3 thread:
    I have never played Earthbound, but I just got an emulator of Mother 3!
    The most mature and meaningful plots in a game I have ever played. I love it.
    But I need help!
    Spoiler: Spoilers! 

  13. #38
    Hmmrr... Yoshistar's Avatar
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    Re: EarthBound thread

    Spoiler: Those darn Parental Kangasharks! 

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  14. #39
    Doing the Hibiki thing everywhere 765Bro's Avatar
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    Re: EarthBound thread

    AhahahaohohohohhooHO!
    I see!

    Well, time for my "First thoughts" review. Granted, I have read the entire wiki, so I know all about the game already, but this review should be based on my experience actually playing it. (And to be fair, I was only inclined to play the game based off the wiki.)

    Do I need to spoilers this? I don't think I do but just to be safe:
    Spoiler: A scramble of things about Mother 3 

    WORDWALL OVER

  15. #40
    internet nobody cheeseman's Avatar
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    Re: EarthBound thread

    Earthbound is a weird little game.

    I wouldn't call the story original, or even interesting, the graphics are ugly, and the gameplay isn't particularly good even for an RPG.

    This is one instance where I know a game is objectively average/below average, BUT, I still love it, and I would still recommend it to people, and that's entirely because Earthbound is so damn charming and unique.

    There is just no other game out there that offers the atmosphere, humor, or quirkiness that Earthbound does.
    What other game has music like this or this, amazing dialogue like "Dinosaurs…Huge, aren’t they? Well, that’s all I’ve gotten out of my research!" or "If they break their contract, they’ll be in deep doodoo with the police. The police would probably say, ‘Hey you guys!’ or something like that…" and just pointless silliness like anything a Mr. Saturn says or does, the 5 third strongest moles, and all of Moonside?

    It's a rare example where a game is great entirely because of the experience, rather than because of good game design or a great story.

  16. #41
    Conductor of Insanity Ario's Avatar
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    Re: EarthBound thread

    ...Is it me, or is ness in the eyehole of the starman on the boxart?
    Also, I remember playing this game, it is quite good, and I really hope nintendo does a re-release after changing some stuff to avoid copyright laws.
    I'm back, baby.

  17. #42
    cake Forum Veteran Chiffon's Avatar
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    Re: EarthBound thread

    Quote Originally Posted by cheeseman View Post
    [...] and all of Moonside?
    Huh, wha- oh, dammit.

    It's a rare example where a game is great entirely because of the experience, rather than because of good game design or a great story.
    This is an interesting way to put it, and it wouldn't be entirely wrong. EB and M3 are great because of the little things. How little suffices for happiness!

    So since people are posting their thoughts about the games now, I'll do it too. You know, two of the moments I'll never forget in gaming are from M3. The first is when, after rescuing the little boy from the burning house as Flint, you're covered in soot and run into a hot spring. You go in, heal your HP, ok, then you come out and... Flint's body is clean, with only his head still being covered in soot. That's when I thought "oh yes, this is going to be good".
    The second was while I was playing the unpatched game,
    near the end of the prologue, when Flint learns that Hinata died.
    Even knowing nothing of japanese, I could understand perfectly what was going on. That's when I thought "holy &&&&".

    ...speaking of the soot thing, another thing M3 excels at is how it has SO MANY SPRITES FOR EVERYTHING HOLY &&&&. They really went all-out with this. Examples:

    - I don't think there are two NPCs that look the same
    - All of them have unique sprites for the animations of them walking in all directions, too
    - Lucas' post-timeskip sprite is a little taller then his pre-timeskip one, which is understandable and noticeable, HOWEVERRRR
    - Kumatora's post-timeskip sprite is one pixel taller than her pre-timeskip one. Seriously, one pixel
    - The animation of the rain cleaning the soot from Flint's and the boy's bodies, after the aforementioned event with the house on fire

    There probably are more examples, which I forgot because it's been really long since I played this game. Oh, but

    - In Earthbound, there's a place (Winters, I think) that has puddles of water in it. It's the only place with puddles in the game, and if you walk over them, you get a unique sound effect of stepping on water. And that's a nice thing. HOWEVERRRR at this point in the game, you've pretty much forgotten about your bicycle since you can't use it while anyone besides Ness is in the party. So, after you beat the game and it's only Ness again, you can use the bicycle again. And if you go back to those puddles and ride the bicycle over them, you get a different sound effect which appears nowhere else in the game. I mean seriously just... whooooaaaaa

    I need to play these games again.
    Last edited by Chiffon; December 19th, 2011 at 09:42 PM.

  18. #43
    We're all lurkers here SSBBrawler's Avatar
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    Re: EarthBound thread

    Quote Originally Posted by cheeseman View Post
    I wouldn't call the story original, or even interesting, the graphics are ugly, and the gameplay isn't particularly good even for an RPG.
    I disagree, but that's probably just my low standards. I personally found the story engaging, and fairly original. It's not often in a video game where
    a statue creates an alternate universe and then tries to kill you; or getting clairvoyance from eating a piece of cake.
    And I thought the game was visually appealing, nothing too complex, but wasn't exactly simple itself. The battle sprites were well-made, although rather static for a game of its time.

    I enjoyed the gameplay as well; it's hard to explain why I could play it for hours on end because it was fun to play and grinding never seemed all that tedious to me. But as aforementioned, that's probably my low standards for you.

  19. #44
    internet nobody cheeseman's Avatar
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    Re: EarthBound thread

    Quote Originally Posted by SSBBrawler View Post
    It's not often in a video game where
    a statue creates an alternate universe and then tries to kill you; or getting clairvoyance from eating a piece of cake.
    That stuff's all very tangential to the main story, which is essentially just "You and 3 others are the chosen ones. You must defeat evil and save the world."

    The tangential stuff is great, and unique, and charming, for sure, but I never felt like any of it had any major connection to the main goal of stopping Giygas. It was all just stuff you had to deal with to save a party member, or to open up the next area of the game.

    It's busy work, basically.
    EarthBound is kind of directionless like that.

    This would be a bad thing except EarthBound's greatest strength is its uniqueness and charm, and this structure of a bunch of self-contained side-stories allows the game to have some really weird and memorable stuff.

    It's like a bunch of interesting vignettes strung together over the course of the game, rather than just one basic story.
    Unfortunately, that means the story suffers.


    And I thought the game was visually appealing, nothing too complex, but wasn't exactly simple itself. The battle sprites were well-made, although rather static for a game of its time.
    Even in its time EarthBound was critically panned for bad graphics.
    EarthBound's graphics do have a certain something likeable about them, but on a technical level, they aren't very good.

    ...Not that graphics are the most important thing ever, just, when you compare EarthBound to other RPGs of the time; Tales of Phantasia, Breath of Fire II, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VI, Secret of Mana, etc., the difference is clear.
    Spoiler: Graphics Comparison 

    I enjoyed the gameplay as well; it's hard to explain why I could play it for hours on end because it was fun to play and grinding never seemed all that tedious to me.
    No, I know exactly what you mean. EarthBound managed to hold my attention all the way through despite all of the requisite grinding.
    Grinding is usually a deal breaker for me, but in EarthBound I didn't mind it as much for some reason.

  20. #45
    cake Forum Veteran Chiffon's Avatar
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    Re: EarthBound thread

    Quote Originally Posted by cheeseman View Post
    Even in its time EarthBound was critically panned for bad graphics.
    EarthBound's graphics do have a certain something likeable about them, but on a technical level, they aren't very good.

    ...Not that graphics are the most important thing ever, just, when you compare EarthBound to other RPGs of the time; Tales of Phantasia, Breath of Fire II, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VI, Secret of Mana, etc., the difference is clear.
    Spoiler: Graphics Comparison 
    Something that I notice people overlook when reviewing graphics is how well they fit the game.

    Earthbound's graphics... work, and work really well - the game is not meant to be taken seriously, so cartoony graphics would be the best. Same goes for Mother 3, which is still quite silly despite the darker story.

  21. #46
    digital style Forum Veteran Darky's Avatar
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    Re: EarthBound thread

    I've been playing earthbound, but not recently. I'm currently in the maze with the mighty moles or whatever they're called, I believe. Unfortunately I've been distracted by other games like Minecraft and TF2 in recent times, so I haven't progressed further. I really need to get going.

    There's a very obvious theme here.

  22. #47
    Too ignorant to be an oil tycoon VIP Curus's Avatar
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    Re: EarthBound thread

    (Top Giygas ahaha)

    I personally wish to give Mother 3 another play (and pester yet another friend into playing it, this one might relent satisfactorially), but I am having the problems with my, eheh, means! I don't know how much I can say here and I'll probably find a way to sort it out myself, but that's the tale so far!
    (And I can't say much otherwise because I've forgotten so much!)

  23. #48
    internet nobody cheeseman's Avatar
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    Re: EarthBound thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Moonside View Post
    Something that I notice people overlook when reviewing graphics is how well they fit the game.

    Earthbound's graphics... work, and work really well - the game is not meant to be taken seriously, so cartoony graphics would be the best. Same goes for Mother 3, which is still quite silly despite the darker story.
    Sure, EarthBound's graphics "fit" because of the cartoony style, but compare it with Mother 3.
    Mother 3 has the same graphical style, as you've said, but it is also a gorgeous game, with great scenery, detailed environments, and some of the best animations you can find on the GBA. Even next to Mother 3 EarthBound looks bad.
    There is no real reason why EarthBound couldn't have looked as good as Mother 3 does.

    And anyway, I did say EarthBound's graphics were likeable, despite being poor on a technical level.


    Quote Originally Posted by Darky View Post
    Spoiler: That Character Naming Screen 
    There's a very obvious theme here.
    SOME SAY THAT HIS ARMS WERE RIPPED OFF AND FED TO THE CROWS... AND THAT THE ONLY KIND OF FOOD HE CAN EAT, IS ORIENTAL.

  24. #49
    Doing the Hibiki thing everywhere 765Bro's Avatar
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    Re: EarthBound thread

    Haha, I liked Earthboun'ds graphics better than all those contemporary RPG's, but that's just a personal level. I've never liked Final Fantasy graphics.

  25. #50
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    Re: EarthBound thread

    To be honest I could never get into Earthbound's dated gameplay...after playing Mother 3, of course. It honestly is the better game of the two.

    Then again, sometimes I have the urge of playing it. Stubborn throes...The last thing I did was defeating the Kraken... but then it got too grindy for my tastes.

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