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Crimson DESTR0YA
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Posts: 1888

Alright, I understand the need for innovation in new games in an old series. Paper Mario: Sticker Star does just that, but at what cost?

 

The first and most disappointing thing I realized about the game is that it's barely an RPG. There is no exp. system, there are no badges to equip, and in fact, there are no stats at all except for HP. Every now and then you find little +5 HP hearts that up your max HP, but that is as deep as the "level up" system goes.

Then I realized what "Stickers" actually are: they're cards. Yeah. It's card-based. Even your most basic jump attack requires a card- er, Sticker, to use. This is a matter of personal preference, so I can't really count this against it, much as I'd like to; I cannot STAND card-based RPGs. If you do though, go you.

Attacking, in and of itself, thankfully, is unchanged. "Action Command" mechanics are alive and well, although they seem drastically dumbed-down. But there are no items. There are no Star Powers. There are no party members. If this can even be considered an RPG, it meets only the bare minimum standards for the genre, and may have even set the new minimums right here.

 

Look, it's not BAD. The original Paper Mario humor is still very much intact. Witty dialogue and cute visual gimmicks make you smile while you play. It is prone to troll you, much like its predecessors (more the second and third games than the first). One legitimate criticism I have of the game is that it does a piss-poor job of explaining how things work, and includes the smallest instruction "booklet" I've ever seen (it's more of an instruction sheet...).

 

But all of that is forgivable, and arguably irrelevant after the first half-hour of gameplay. No, that's not why I'm hurt by this game. Let me tell you why I'm really disappointed.

 

The original Paper Mario on the N64 is the greatest gateway RPG of all time. It was my first RPG, when I was nine years old. Once I got over the initial "WTF is this shit, this ain't Mario," I found myself nerding out over which stats to invest in, which Badges to equip, which party member to bring into a tough battle or specific area. It opened me up to enjoy more classics in my later years, like Lunar and Golden Sun. Sure it was different than those classic RPG lines, and dumbed down very much (although Paper Mario did provide challenges for older players who were willing to limit themselves, a la Nuzlocke in Pokemon), but for a kid used to platforming and stomping Goombas, like nine-year-old me, it opened up a whole new world of equipment subscreens and statistical analysis for ten-year-old, eleven-year-old, twenty-year-old me.

 

That's what Paper Mario IS to me. It was originally to be named Super Mario RPG 2, until Square threw a bitch fit over exactly who owned what rights to the first SMRPG (ever wonder why you never saw Geno again? You have Square to thank) and Nintendo and Hal worked on the paper angle.

Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door made some departures I didn't really like, but it was still Paper Mario; it was still an RPG. Then Super Paper Mario happened. Oh, why did Super Paper Mario have to happen? I had hoped so badly that it was an experiment, and Nintendo would be done with it then and there, but no. Sticker Star picks up right where it left off. I'd argue that Sticker Star is far more different from the original than even Super Paper Mario was; at least it had VERY basic stats, and "party members," kind of. Sticker Star brought back the turn-based combat, but other than that, zero traces of RPG remain.

 

Basically, Paper Mario: Sticker Star is more like an abstract of a classic Mario platformer than it is a Paper Mario game. Which is fine, in a way; it IS fun, I AM enjoying it. But a little part of me has died, as I ponder the next five-year wait for another game that will break my RPG-loving heart.

 

To reference Friedrich Nietzsche: "The RPG is dead! And we have killed it!"

 

More than anything, Paper Mario: Sticker Star, to me, is trying to say ^that.

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The destructor has gone

November 15, 2012 at 8:11 PM Flag Quote & Reply

B "Diddy" M
Member
Posts: 295

I stopped after the thousand year door because I didn't think the one on the Wii looked like any fun. I, like most people, played it for its RPG elements. It really sucks that the Paper Mario of old is essentially done with. Great post, Nick!

On a side note, I remember drawing Watt and the other Paper Mario characters, cutting them out and playing Paper Mario with you and Travis in 4th grade! Good time xD

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December 6, 2012 at 11:24 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Crimson DESTR0YA
Administrator
Posts: 1888

YES those were the days, my friend. I still have all of those cutouts, you know. I should really take pictures of them and add them to the site... The erasers too, remember those? Oh, the things we did in the name of our lady, Fun.


Great, now I'm nostalgia'ing like crazy here.

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The destructor has gone

December 6, 2012 at 4:08 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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