Thursday, July 18, 2013

Cheese101's greatest disappointments: Paper Mario Sticker Star

I have always loved the Mario RPGs, ever since I played Paper Mario at a friends house during my childhood, I have thought (for good reason) that the Mario RPGs are some of the most magical and well put together games ever crafted. There are two main series of these; Paper Mario, and Mario & Luigi. Both series great in their own right. The Mario & Luigi Games were always able to make you laugh with hilarious gags, and a fantastic combat system. The Paper Mario games (which I believe to be one of the best video game series right now) are focused on creating deep, unforgettable characters, and surprisingly philosophical story lines. Many were turned off by the Wii's installment in the series, Super Paper Mario. They call it the black sheep of the franchise, even if critics drooled over it. Most of the complaints came from a change in battle systems, from turn by turn in the first two games ( Paper Mario, and Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door) to a side-scrolling adventure where you simply whacked your foes. However Super Paper Mario left us with a great cast of characters and the surprising twist of creating Luigi as a villain.
However with the new Paper Mario on the 3DS... Sticker Star... well let's just say my hopes and dreams were shattered. This new installment into the series was handled mainly by Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto. He had kept his greasy classic style game designing hands off the first three games, but I suppose he couldn't help himself and took the helm of this title. The consequences were apparent. The story, for starters is garbage. It's just like a Mario game's story. Bowser comes and messes stuff up, and it's up to Mario to save everyone. Now this is sort of like the plot of the original except it's a lot more basic and you don't have a well characterized Bowser. The game just takes you through world's with no real reason of you actually being there except just to get through them.
Now let's get to the characters... well there's Mario... and some floating crown sticker thing that tells you how to play the game, and pretty much does nothing else. This is a great fall from the character Tippi in SPM that served a similar purpose but was also a great character and integral to the plot, also she had some kickin character development, I was crying at the end of that game. And another thing that made the first three games so great were interesting party members, whose combat skills and personal story lines had me hooked. But once again, sadly, Sticker Star is not one of it's predecessors. So there are no real or developed characters in the  game, that might have had something to do with the lack of real dialogue. There was the occasional bland line here or there, but all of it's skip-able. The dialogue in the game only goes as deep as the stuff in Super Mario Galaxy (yeah not even as deep as Sunshine, which actually had SOME good exchanges). It was stupid stuff, like "This town sure is cool!" but nothing character or plot building.
To be fair though, the game play and combat mechanics were solid. The mechanic in which you had to collect stickers lying around everywhere to use during combat was nifty. However when you got to boss battles you had to rely more on luck than skill. Being that you HAVE  to hit them more than one time per round, and the only way to do that is by gambling your turn away on a slot machine type mini-game. Also the whole thing about placing down stickers to create effects in the world was cool... for a bit. It then turned into finding that thing again and getting it turned back into a sticker again and then hoping that it's the sticker that the game wanted you to place there. A mechanic that started out cool simply got annoying as the game went on.
Paper Mario Sticker Star was one of the most disappointing games that I have EVER played! It took the greatness of the series and THREW IT ON THE GROUND! If you're a fan of the series than I hope I've persuaded you not to waste a cent on this Mario-clone piece of garbage.

-Thanks for listening

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