Mother 3

Mother 3

released on Apr 20, 2006

Mother 3

released on Apr 20, 2006

A turn-based JRPG and sequel to EarthBound (1994) in which a tragedy surrounding a family in the primitive yet joyful village of Tazmily incites the coming-of-age story of Lucas, the family's younger son, who goes on perilous adventures along with his friends in order to find his missing brother and stop a group of masked men from bringing about the end of the world.

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Comment mettre les justes mots sur les sentiments que j'éprouve pour cette œuvre ?

Mother 3 est arrivé dans un moment de ma vie ou j'étais perdu, je ne savais plus qui j'étais, qui j'aimais...

A ce moment là, je sortais d'undertale et cherchais à toucher tout ce qui a un rapport avec le jeu, de près où de loin. Mother est la serie de jeux qui a inspiré Toby Fox. Il le dira lui même : "J'aimerais que l'on localise ce jeu (Mother 3) pour que les gens comprennent à quel point je ne suis pas original."

Globalement Earthbound a.k.a Mother 2 aura plus inspiré Undertale, mais ce jeu que j'aime également beaucoup souffre d'un gros problème : son design mauvais et sa difficulté pas balancée.

Après l'avoir délaissé, je me suis dirigée vers Mother 3 et...

Mother 3 est un jeu Nintendo. Un jeu que l'on peut dire familial, positif, coloré. Si ce dernier point est très vrai, Mother 3 est coloré, Mother 3 est aussi fort pour vous briser.
Le gameplay n'est pas révolutionnaire, mais il est original ; tour par tour basé sur les mêmes principes qu'EB, mais l'on peut effectuer des combos en tapant en rythme sur la musique.
Musique qui est d'ailleurs magistrale.

Mais évidemment le plus gros point fort du jeu est son histoire. Tout en étant une critique de la société moderne capitaliste, le jeu nous touche directement en évoquant des sujets universels comme le Deuil, d'une manière parfois poétique et parfois très crue.

Je pense que ce jeu est à faire pour toutes les personnes traversant des deuils ou des problèmes d'attachement émotionnel.

Nintendo, localisez ce jeu, sincèrement.

When I played MGS2 for the first time last year, I walked away from it feeling like I had played a game that was truly special and worth analyzing every little piece of. I also found myself feeling very confused as to why so much of that game was centered around chasing down a fat demolition man on roller skates.

There isn't anything as strange or blatantly time wasting as that in Mother 3, but I did still walk away from it with the same core feelings. This truly is a special game, there's nothing else like it, but I can't help but wonder if the game could've been even better with some adjustments in how the game paced out and presented its narrative.

Also unrelated to all that but this game has the top 1 door opening animation in any video game, it's so good

Best story i've ever experienced in a game. Great music, servicable rpg mechanics, all combine to make one of my favorites. De-facto best GBA game.

I struggle to think of a phrase more appropriate to describe Mother 3 than it being a “bold sequel” to what came before it. Earthbound is a wonderful game and one dripping with originality and inspiration- but going into it as someone who played Beginnings first made it very apparent where there was overlap. Mother 3 did not give that experience, constantly surprising me how different and unique this game was from the rest of the trilogy- for better or for worse. I don’t want this review to end up being a comparison to past games or fan reception versus my own, but I find this game hard to talk about in a vacuum given it is a sequel, is in a series that I adore, and has a cultural footprint unlike anything else I’ve ever seen. That being said, this game was a little bit of a tough sell for me despite the undeniable highs.

When recounting my time with this game, I have distilled my gripes with it into two (major) grievances with both the gameplay experience and the story it tells. Will these be hot takes? Maybe? Probably? But I do certainly know they are how I felt. Humor me for a bit here if you are interested, starting with the gameplay frustrations.

If you take a glance at anything about my profile here it should be pretty apparent that I am about as far away as possible from the “dislikes turn based JRPGs” crowd that I see all too often. Dragon Quest is my favorite series, I’ve played and loved all 10 turn based mainline Final Fantasies, the list goes on. That is to say my annoyance with this title does not come from a simple sentiment like that, but rather how the experience is delivered to you and executed. In other words- structure. Being blunt, I think this game is structured in a poor and not particularly fun manner. The first ~four chapters are very largely focused on a single character, one that changes per chapter, and isn’t given much freedom in the gameplay experience. Having a party of one per battle is not an inherently bad idea in turn based RPGs, but it runs the risk of repetition and monotony dangerously close- and it succumbs to it pretty harshly here. Every battle boils down to just whackin’ away at an enemy until you finally kill it. Over, and over, and over. I like simple, but when there isn’t an ounce of strategy, every challenge thrown at you is negated by simply hoarding some extra food, and the extremely linear world and dungeon design leaves no room for error- it gets exhausting. I don’t like to say statements like this typically, but it really felt like the game was just wasting my time for a lot of this game's first few chapters. What extenuates that feeling is how every chapter gives you a new character to control. I love the concept of that as it gives some cool variety and perspective on the world and story, but in a gameplay front it really kills any last bit of fun since you don’t even get the satisfaction of progressively watching stats increase and characters grow when you have to start anew so often. I get what this game was going for here, being a more focused and contained narrative in a smaller, tight knit environment, and there are elements like seeing how familiar NPC dialogue or geography changes over time that I think are fantastic- but when you squeeze that into a role playing video game it lends itself to a very dull game experience. Once you get control of Lucas and the game really ‘starts’ the gameplay experience definitely improves. There isn’t much mechanical deviation from Earthbound aside from a kinda lame timing based hit thing that I never found to be very consistent or interesting, but I think Earthbound is fun so I don’t have all that much to be cynical about. Heck, there's even a pretty solid challenge with some of the bosses too as it progresses which was neat. However, the linearity permeates this game from start to finish, and I found that to be a bummer. It just makes the world feel more like a theme park ride rather than a world, and I find that much less compelling. Ideally a story should be heightened by the gameplay, and vice versa, but I couldn’t help but feel like the gameplay was being stripped of a lot of its qualities in favor of storytelling, and when 2/3s of this series has demonstrated that it's more than possible for a healthier relationship- I think that it sticks out even more. When I played Earthbound Beginnings and Earthbound, I blasted through those games due to how much fun I was having. It was a legitimate absorption into those worlds, and it was awesome. With Mother 3, it took me much longer to see those credits, and it was due to me not really being excited to play. If you needed an anecdote to tie all my points together here, there you are.

Before I tear into a few aspects of this games’ story, I want to put a disclaimer here to ensure you keep in mind that I largely like this game and its story. I’m not trying to bully it or try and convince anyone to feel the way I do, because I know people adore the story presented here. I am simply a fan with some criticism, so bear with me here. I have a few nitpicks of varying size that span the length of this game- I didn’t really care about the small stories told in the first few chapters and wished they expressed those story points in a more natural and less padded manner, I thought the ‘mystery’ of the masked man was painfully obvious, and there are definitely some areas that could’ve used a bit more fat trimming, and the quirky Mother dialogue and silliness did not mix well on a few occasions with the more serious tone- but that is not my main gripe here. My biggest complaint comes from the end of the game in chapter 8. I will not be nice here- the twist that Pokey/Porky from Earthbound just.. shows up and is the big bad of this game is lame. Like I was genuinely really annoyed and soured by it type lame. I love the atmosphere of New Pork City and how it visually expresses the (admittedly kind of random and underbaked) themes of industrialism and its impact on people, but this reveal really took a lot of steam out of me. I don’t mind a little bit of tasteful fan service in the games I play. The sailing theme in Dragon Quest XI being the same theme from Dragon Quest IV? Cute and fun. An optional side quest in Final Fantasy Tactics where you can recruit Cloud Strife? Neat little bonus if you go out of your way. Making the main antagonist of this game abruptly be spun into a character from a previous game for no reason and expecting me to find that satisfying? Sorry, but it crashed and burned the second they pulled that rug from under me. If Mother 3 is anything, it is a game that is very creative and very much a passion project. Everything about the game is a product made out of a desire to be uniquely itself- and it resorting to violently jingling keys in your face at the end is about the worst possible way to conclude something so itself. Maybe people found this twist cool because they got to see a familiar face again, but I found it incredibly lazy and pandering- among being unsatisfying, boring, and just not tasteful. The fact that this major story thread is solely expressed to the player by a ((mountain)) of random exposition like 2(?) hours before the game is over really highlights how bizarrely out of place and uninteresting it all is. I love Earthbound to death, but having to slowly ride your way down a stream surrounded by all the famous iconography from the game while Pollyanna plays is just the laziest way to get a reaction out of a player in my opinion and I really wish they used the effort to give the games story a satisfying, original, and fitting ending that serves the actual characters better. Once Porky is out of the way though, credit where it's due with a strong final few moments.

Those are some big walls of text where I complained like a little crybaby- not unlike Lucas himself at the start of the game- but I think that despite those huge and frankly detrimental missteps, this game is still pretty good. I’ll be nice to it now, don’t worry.

When Mother 3 works, it really does work. The atmosphere at the very start of the game, tucked away in the log cabin as a little kid and a genuinely lovely little family is brilliant- and I immediately cared about pretty much everyone. I remember very vividly Hinawa said right at the beginning “Good morning, Mr. Sleepyhead Brende,” and while just a tiny little line of dialogue, it resonated deeply with me simply due to how endearing it was. I love Hinawa, and I think the story given to the protagonist as a result of what happens to her is a fantastic setup for a tale of growth, and it largely succeeds at its intention in a way that is compelling and moving. I also think the cast is really good in general. Kumatora is such a fun character, and her explosive but truly kind personality was a wonderful highlight of the experience. Duster isn’t quite as interesting to me, but I think he is still really endearing and I love his quirks like limping around and all his tools. The side characters are pretty great too, with the Magypsies all being a standout for me for how eccentric and silly yet heroic they ended up. Boney also gets a shoutout because he is a funny dog. While I don’t love a lot of the linearity here, they do a fantastic job developing Tazmily village and squeezing everything out of it, and I think the set pieces sprinkled around the world like the Survival Horror-esque Chimera lab or the mushroom trip are incredibly memorable. My favorite moment of the game is the dream sequence in the sunflower field after you fall off the cliff reaching out for Hinawa and land in the haystack. It is a very small, one off line of text but it states that Alec- the person who put the hay there and father of Hinawa- had a dream of Hinawa telling him to move the hay there, and it ended up saving Lucas’ life. I found it both incredibly subtle and moving, and really emphasized that warm motherly love from the beginning of the game I mentioned earlier and makes it hit harder when it returns at the end. Brilliant stuff. This game is also presented really wonderfully, especially for the hardware. I’ve always been a fan of the cartoonish art direction with the beady eyes and flat colors in this series, and this is no exception. The animation accompanying it all is impressive and expressive, which I thought was really cool given how the previous entries never really emphasized it. GBA music is notoriously crunchy, but the music here also managed to avoid that hardware quirk which was great, and it also ended up just being really great alongside it- though I think that was a given if the previous two games were any indicators. High highs to be found in this game, no doubt about that.

This is a strange comparison, but I find Mother 3 to be similar to Metal Gear Solid 4, of all things. Not in the sense that they play, look, sound, or commentate anything similar at all, but they share a lot of the same strengths and weaknesses. I think MGS4 has an incredible character story with beautiful moments and tons of creativity. Yet it also is bogged down by some incredibly unfun and annoying gameplay segments, a more linear approach and one that stumbles a little bit with the gameplay to story relationship, and some distasteful fan service for the sake of tickling nostalgia. MGS4 has been a game that has stuck with me in my head, but it has stuck there due to me constantly sorting out my thoughts and opinions on it to this day, six years after playing it. Mother 3 is to Mother what MGS4 is to Metal Gear, at least for me.

Mother 3 is my least favorite game of the trilogy. Not because it’s bad- not at all- but it is the one that I had to fight with the most to have fun with, and this is a series with two other games that I am simply enamored by. There is a lot to love about this game, and a lot of it rightfully got my approval and admiration- but it is a mixed bag to sort through to get there. I truly wanted to love this game, but I am an honest man and I felt the tugging of that two steps forward one step back dynamic this game plopped onto my lap hard. There is a good time to be had here and I am sure I am in the minority here even just being more neutral rather than actively negative, but that's just where I landed. Maybe with more time and eventually coming back to it in the future I’ll have an experience with more unconditional love, but for the time being it gets my stamp of “pretty good but also kind of confusing and conflicting on my opinions so don’t take my word as gospel”. Video games are pretty neat, and I hope any and everyone is able to get something out of this game just like I and many others have been able to. Have fun, thanks for reading, and send your regards to the next frog for me.

O jogo mais lindo que já joguei. Não tem um único erro, perfeitíssimo. Jogue imediatamente. Definidor de caráter, formador de seres humanos. Obrigado Nintendo por não adaptar oficialmente e fazer questão de esconder ele da humanidade

Strangely enough, Mother 3 is not a great RPG. The combat specifically is what commonly falls short, not at all helped by the fact that two of your 4 total party members are basically non-factors to most fights.
But GOD DAMN that story is good. I'm not a crier, but that ending made me tear up, which is close enough.