Nintendo Consoles

Nintendo Consoles

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What's Good With That Game - Paper Mario Thousand Year Door

In celebration of what feels like the end of a thousand year break from this blog, I shall resume my work with a game whose story also has to do with a thousand years!

Despite having pestered my friend all summer about returning my copy of Paper Mario Thousand Year Door to me, it wasn't until just a few weeks ago did I finally get to really devote some time to sitting down and playing it. Just a reminder, What's Good With That Game is an arch of this blog where I write about a game that I have only played a small bit of (less than half) so we can witness how my initial feelings towards the game either change or remain the same as the game goes on. As of this point, I have just completed chapter 3 out of what I am guessing is 7 or 8 chapters. I have about 11 hours clocked on my file "dicks" and I am still having a blast playing it. So, as Mario does, allow me to jump into it.

Paper Mario Thousand Year Door

The Paper Mario series has been one that combines a side-scrolling open world with strong influences from RPG and platforming games. Gameplay and progression is rather Zelda-like, as you typically spend a bunch of time in several different locations, get some new items or a new ability, and use that ability, along with abilities obtained earlier in the game, to solve puzzles, hit switches, find keys, defeat bosses, and save days. The game is divided up into chapters to provide clear separations between sections of the game like a story book, and the fighting system is a really refreshing and rather hands-on turn based RPG. So with this in mind, we ask the same questions as always:

Why did I pick up this game?
What do I think of it so far?
What do I anticipate?

I got a WiiU and 3DS for Christmas (divorced parents FTW). I've been playing a lot of Sonic Lost World for both systems along with Sonic Unleashed which I have been playing with my suite mate at school. I've also been playing Donkey Kong Country Returns, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, Super Mario 3D World and Cave Story 3D. A lot of these games are just platformers or adventure games with little depth. Although I love each of these games so much, I did long to play something more story-driven, and since I keep my WiiU at home so my brother can still enjoy Darksiders 2 and Pikmin 3, I have not much more than my trusty Gamecube and a bunch of unopened games from the summer to play. One of those games was Paper Mario Thousand Year Door. Recommended to me by my friend SchistOnUranus, whose opinion I consider very highly, I decided to give this one a go, expecting that if anyone was going to provide me with an experience that was going to make me feel like the hero I longed to be, it would be Nintendo. I looked forward to a story-driven adventure game, and I've been beginning to think that I am getting so much more.

For me, Paper Mario Thousand Year Door had a slow start. I walked around the main town, Roguesport, for a bit, solved some puzzles, fought a dragon, typical ZeldaMarioMetroid stuff. The game essentially has 2 different ideas fueling the entire experience: oldschool Zelda Dungeons and Final Fantasy turn-based RPG fighting. Now I was aware of this going into the game, but I had trouble determining which area was going to offer me the most consistent level of fun. I expected the open-world and exploring to be the part that I enjoyed more, as opposed to the fighting which I thought would be shallow. Because of this, I began my Paper Mario experience running around a pretty large world that admittedly had little to explore while skipping over a majority of the avoidable fighting, but I was wrong to do so. It wasn't until I started to fight more and increase the levels of Mario and his pals did I realize that fighting was much less of a hassle, and was a lot more fun than I had originally thought. You are pretty weak in the beginning of the game, and there isn't much you can do about it, but the more you fight, the better you get, and when each fight changes from a world that stresses you the fuck out to a world that involves you stomping on Dragon's heads and pounding Goombas with hammers, it really starts to establish itself as the better half of the game. The chapter I just completed, Chapter 3, had a lot of emphasis on fighting and even though I consider turn-based games to be slow, I was thoroughly entertained during all of chapter 3, so much so that I do dare say I am excited for chapter 4.

I am usually pretty skeptical about games I play nowadays. I am just so afraid of spending my time playing a game I don't enjoy that I look for reasons to put games down instead of looking for reasons to continue playing them. However, the more I think about Paper Mario Thousand Year Door, the more trouble I have deciding why I would stop playing it. It is a great difficulty level, does not require a walkthrough, minimizes grinding of both fighting EXP and coins, and has a good story that is simple, yet effective. My only complaint so far is that sometimes there is WAY too much fucking talking. I find my self spamming the A button during most of the text as of recently. Sometimes, I just want to play, and when I do, just shut your fucking mouth.

In the end, I look for games that I will pause because I want to take a break, not because I am stuck, lost, or lacking the necessary skills. Honestly, eventually I do plan to get back to that list of my top ten favorite Gamecube games and when I do, this may be a contender. Paper Mario Thousand Year Door is a perfect difficulty and is just fun to play, and honestly, games that can be described in such a way can be tough to find today, so if you're looking for one, both SchistOnUranus and I are recommending this guy to y'all.

Note: From what I have seen of the game, South Park Stick of Truth is a Paper Mario game in disguise. If you like one, you'll probably like the other.

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