Paper Mario - Review

This Is Supposed To Be A Sequel?
By: Roku

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 3
   Interaction 4
   Originality 4
   Story 3
   Music & Sound 3
   Visuals 4
   Challenge Easy
   Completion Time 15-30 hours  

Your allies can help you outside of battle too
Your allies can help you outside of battle too
Despite being a sequel to the popular Super Mario RPG, Paper Mario is nothing like the original. Most of the systems have been severely over-simplified and the story isn't anywhere even close to as good as the first one's. The game is still fairly enjoyable, but it's a real disappointment if you've played the first one. It's best to compare it to other games rather than its predecessor to be fair.

Battles are very simple in Paper Mario. You either attack the enemy on the dungeon map before the battle, it attacks you, or you simply bump into each other. Whoever initiates the battle gets a preemptive strike. Mario makes his return, but he's the only real playable character this time. You get several helpers that you can switch between, but they don't have a HP value and they are KOed if they are hit. Timed hits make their return, but they are a lot more punishing than in the original. Mario has only a few options in battle: he can hit with a hammer, jump on the enemy, use an item, or use a skill. Your helpers can attack or use skills. The only really interesting thing battle-related is the badge system which allows you to customize Mario to your liking. Enemies give you exp based on how strong they are in relation to you. If they are too weak, you won't recieve any exp. As you level up, you can increase HP, FP, or BP(badge points) to help you.

Everything in Paper Mario is very simple. The game is very easy since there is little strategy involved in battles and none of the enemies are very powerful. The timed hits are more punishing than in the original as later on your helpers can be knocked out for a few turns by certain bosses. Still, the difficulty level is very low and even the strongest enemies can be defeated easily enough.

Being a Mario game, the play control is great. You can easily run and jump through the 2D/3D terrain without worry. It is easy to switch between your allies and implement their skills to help you along your journey. The dialog is very well done too, so the interaction is excellent.

Since it moves in such a different direction from the first Mario RPG, it's fairly original. The art style alone is original in its own right, but I haven't seen anything like the battle system and helper system that are in Paper Mario before. Most of the characters and enemies have been seen in earlier Mario games, but they still manage to create some new and interesting ones.

Unfortunately, very little emphasis is placed on the story which is very simple and fairly linear. Mario and friends move from world to world defeating Bowser's minions and restore star power. Occasionally you will take control of Princess Toadstool for an escape attempt. There is only a very simple unified story that is fairly average.

Unique 2D/3D art style
Unique 2D/3D art style
Paper Mario takes about as long as it takes to beat the original. If you skip sidequests and item collection it'll most likely take you about 15 hours. To make up for the simple, linear story, Paper Mario offers a good number of extras to help fill the lack of playing time. If you bother competing in the dojo, collecting recipes, getting all of the star thingies, just to name a few, it'll probably take a good 30 hours to finish the game.

I don't what in the world they were thinking when they created the normal battle music, but it seems to repeat every few seconds making it incredibly repetitive and annoying. It's close to the worst battle music I've ever heard. To help attempt to make up for it, there is a large variety of boss themes which actually sound good, unlike the normal battle theme. The rest of the non-battle themes are either nicely done new themes or remixes of old Mario music. Sound effects are fairly average at first glance, but you can change them by equipping various badges into some very odd sounds if you want, which was pretty cool. Unfortunately all the other good sounds and music can barely make up for how annoying the normal battle music is.

While the visual style may catch you off guard and either attract or repel you from the start, one cannot help but admire its uniqueness. Each character is well animated in 2D and appear to be paper cut-outs moving in a beautiful 3D world. Each 'paper' can also bend, rotate, and curl through the world creating some unique effects. For example, when Mario goes through a pipe he spins around the outside like a piece of paper. Although the visual style may repel some people at first it's definitely worth a second look as it is very detailed and extremely well done.

Compared to other RPGs, Paper Mario is a little above average. On the other hand, compared to the original Super Mario RPG, it's a massive disappointment. In fact, it's almost nothing like the original. If you haven't played the original yet you're better off playing it instead of Paper Mario, and if you have played the original, then you'll probably be disappointed by Paper Mario. It might be worth playing as it's lighthearted and a Mario game, but just don't get your hopes up too high about it.

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