Zero Punctuation: EarthBound - Not Your Typical JRPG

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Dalisclock:

Optimystic:
I guess this means no WildStar review. It's been weeks now.

You must be new here. Yathzee doesn't do mutiplayer unless he's forced to(or it's something huge like Titanfall), and when he does, he takes great pleasure at talking about how much he hates playing with other people.

Or to quote his Halo 3 review from way back when "I don't give a shit about the multiplayer and I know a lot of people don't either"

Then again he kind of anti social. He isnt like Jim who occasionally interacts with us. Yahtzee just drops an article and leaves.

Optimystic:

shrekfan246:

Not that I want to be 'that guy', especially since Yahtzee's particular stance on JRPGs has been well-known for many years, but it really does rub me the wrong way when people brush all JRPGs with a single stroke. It'd be like saying all first-person shooters are like Call of Duty, or all fantasy novels are like The Lord of the Rings.

The irony here is that you are doing the exact same thing to MMOs and getting upset when he does it to JRPGs.

No, I'm not.

I'm making the educated guess that, based off of 95% of the other reviews of multiplayer-centric titles Yahtzee has ever covered, his opinion is going to align very similarly with what he said of every other MMO he's criticized. Therefore, you could get the same end by rewatching any of those videos.

His biggest problem with MMOs - the each side autoattacks and "whoever showed up with the biggest boots wins" - is not present in WildStar. So yes, I am curious as to his take on it.

Because he was so in love with Guild Wars 2, right? He's got a laundry list of issues with MMOs and the way they do things which extends far beyond the basic combat (just look at his review for The Witcher); and from everything I've heard, Wildstar hasn't made a big splash within even the community of people who do like MMOs. Hell, I didn't even know it had finally launched, and I'm around this website and follow many Youtube gaming personalities almost every day. Considering the hype it had leading up to its release, it should've had a more resounding impact.

And he clearly has nothing more pressing to review on his plate - he's even run out of indie games.

Yes, the summer drought has struck once again. I still wouldn't expect Yahtzee to look at yet another MMO any time soon, and I wouldn't get my hopes up for it to be positive if he did.

It's also a timely subject not only because of Smash Bros. since people are wondering whether or not Earthbound and/or Mother 3 protagonists Ness and Lucas (see also: SSB Brawl, for goodness' sake) will return after Earthbound came out on Wii U - on the download shop's front page, no less - and Mother 3 is gazing hopefully at the Game Boy Advance game parade there.

But Earthbound is also relevant because it's a Club Nintendo Platinum reward, among NES Remix (also good, if you like arcade-y NES games), Game & Wario (very hit-and-miss), and the 3DS port of Donkey Kong Country Returns. FYI, Platinum rewards are for getting 6 registered and surveyed-about big games' worth (some downloads count as more, such as NES Remixes and Shovel Knight) of points.

Heh, Kamina glasses.Good one.

While we're on the subject of Earthbound, has anyone pointed out Yahtzee's review to Starmen.net yet? You'd figure the biggest fansite devoted to the game ever, to the point of constantly petitioning Nintendo release the other titles in the trilogy, would be all over the idea of a guy like Yahtzee giving the game good marks.

Also just to get this nitpick out of my system, Yahtzee just because a JRPG falls back on the whole "teenagers defeat God" trope, doesn't mean it's always a bad thing. I wish they would use that trope less nowadays but it's not a bad thing.

I found the last cock line way to funny. maby I'm a little tired, or I'm extremely childish but I literally broke out laughing my ass off.

shrekfan246:

No, I'm not.

I'm making the educated guess that, based off of 95% of the other reviews of multiplayer-centric titles Yahtzee has ever covered, his opinion is going to align very similarly with what he said of every other MMO he's criticized. Therefore, you could get the same end by rewatching any of those videos.

And again, I can make the exact same educated guess about 95% of JRPGs he has played. Yes, it is the same. But just as Earthbound was the exception here, maybe a sci-fi MMO where he isn't a space quantity surveyor (a la Eve) will be the 5% there too.

Or maybe it won't. But it would still be entertaining regardless.

Because he was so in love with Guild Wars 2, right? He's got a laundry list of issues with MMOs and the way they do things which extends far beyond the basic combat (just look at his review for The Witcher); and from everything I've heard, Wildstar hasn't made a big splash within even the community of people who do like MMOs. Hell, I didn't even know it had finally launched, and I'm around this website and follow many Youtube gaming personalities almost every day. Considering the hype it had leading up to its release, it should've had a more resounding impact.

As much as you claim to be around though, did you miss that it advertised on the Escapist when it launched? Indeed, around Yahtzee's own videos?

If you missed it because you're blocking commercials on the site, I'd like to refer you to Jim's great video on the subject.

shrekfan246:

Yes, the summer drought has struck once again. I still wouldn't expect Yahtzee to look at yet another MMO any time soon, and I wouldn't get my hopes up for it to be positive if he did.

I don't expect any of his reviews to be positive - he's a Caustic Critic after all. But he is fair about pointing out the things they do that work.

In regards to the other Mother games, if you ever feel the desire to review them, or just play them for fun, I recommend playing Mother 3. (There's no official translation, but there IS an incredibly well put together fan-made one.)
From what I've seen/heard of Mother 1, it's really not that good. I believe Mother 1 is similar to Earthbound, just not as good; while most people that've played Mother 3 enjoyed it immensely.

Yeah, apparently the screwed up scenes towards the end were inspired by the creative director's experience as a child. Where he accidentally stumbled into an adult movie theater as a child and thought that the sex scene was someone getting raped...weird uncle Peter ain't got nothing on that.

I remember Earthbound having a really really huge box compared to rest of the games at the time. (it's because it include this massive manual that had some art in it.) You could rent it from blockbuster at the time, but I had little interest in it. Everything about it just scream too quirky/zany for my sensibilities at the time. My best friend's younger brother was an Rpg nut, and played it, but he didn't love it or recommend I play it.

I've played my share of rpgs, and I can grind with the best of them if I like a game. During early 2000s when you could get roms easily for anything from the 16 bit or 8 bit era , I finally played Earthbound, and I just couldn't get into it. It was archaic even when it came out, as it had as much animation as the dragon warrior/quest series. I give it props for being one of the few rpgs in a modern setting at the time, because overwhelming majority are Medieval fantasy or occasional sci fi fantasy setting. I still am not going back to try it again.

corronchilejano:
Saying "the game hasn't aged well" doesn't do it justice, because even though the battle system itself was already old and simple when it came out, it's the ambience the whole reason to play the game, and its still unique in its own way. Sure, it has a few references here and there, but most of it is self contained humor.

Everyone sees something different in the game. I wholeheartedly recommend you think about playing it. It's a unique experience.

I believe you it's a unique experience, I really do... Just I don't think it's for me.

I have no problem with "quirky" or "weird" games, especially from Japan. Whenever someone asks me to explain why I enjoy Japanese games or animations, I tell them, that I have to change my mindset, and accept the "rules of the game". The villain is using a black/white teddy bear as his avatar? There is a school accepting only "Ultimate Students" in one category, even if some of them are idiotic like "Ultimate Fanfic Creator"? Half of the characters look like they have no sense of fashion? As long as I'll answer "sure, why not, I accept that" for those doubting questions, I can get past those oddities and enjoy myself with a cool story and interesting mechanics (also - yes, I am replaying Danganronpa for the third time right now, how did you guess?). But in Earthbound's case... I cannot. I simply cannot convince myself to accept the premise, and I don't want to play a game while questioning everything that happens on the screen, and this review clearly told me, that's going to be the case (little kids fighting road signs and cosmic horrors?). Maybe someday, when I'll be more positive toward it (when I'll have my own kids perhaps?) I'll give it a go, but right now I'm pretty sure its charm will bounce off of me, and I don't want to spoil the experience with my own attitude.

corronchilejano:

Saying "the game hasn't aged well" doesn't do it justice, because even though the battle system itself was already old and simple when it came out, it's the ambience the whole reason to play the game, and its still unique in its own way. Sure, it has a few references here and there, but most of it is self contained humor.

Everyone sees something different in the game. I wholeheartedly recommend you think about playing it. It's a unique experience.

I don't see this get mentioned frequently, but this right here is the point of half of Earthbound's humor. It's basically a send-up of the "traditional JRPG:" NPCs who wonder why you're rooting through garbage cans for food, tutorials where the NPC forgets to stick with the game's terminology, convenient-but-useless plot items, events that specifically call out JRPG tropes (to the point of breaking the fourth wall.) The silliness of the tropes in those games looks downright wacky when translated to real world analogs, such as the psychic desert monkeys who teach you teleportation or fighting anthropomorphic street signs.

I'd say this doesn't get appreciated too much because the original audience for the game likely played it as starry-eyed youth who couldn't see the satire but still enjoyed the game on its own merits. Years later, the nature of the satire is well-tread soil, as well as being a slow boil (per Yhatzee,) so I'm betting the new players aren't seeing past the nostalgic elements and gameplay.

Optimystic:

shrekfan246:

No, I'm not.

I'm making the educated guess that, based off of 95% of the other reviews of multiplayer-centric titles Yahtzee has ever covered, his opinion is going to align very similarly with what he said of every other MMO he's criticized. Therefore, you could get the same end by rewatching any of those videos.

And again, I can make the exact same educated guess about 95% of JRPGs he has played. Yes, it is the same. But just as Earthbound was the exception here, maybe a sci-fi MMO where he isn't a space quantity surveyor (a la Eve) will be the 5% there too.

Or maybe it won't. But it would still be entertaining regardless.

I'll apologize if I don't share your view of being interested in the utterly expected. He's found more JRPGs which he has enjoyed than MMOs, so him covering a JRPG can be a pleasant surprise. Him covering an MMO generally treads the same ground he already covered in whatever the last MMO video was.

Because he was so in love with Guild Wars 2, right? He's got a laundry list of issues with MMOs and the way they do things which extends far beyond the basic combat (just look at his review for The Witcher); and from everything I've heard, Wildstar hasn't made a big splash within even the community of people who do like MMOs. Hell, I didn't even know it had finally launched, and I'm around this website and follow many Youtube gaming personalities almost every day. Considering the hype it had leading up to its release, it should've had a more resounding impact.

As much as you claim to be around though, did you miss that it advertised on the Escapist when it launched? Indeed, around Yahtzee's own videos?

If you missed it because you're blocking commercials on the site, I'd like to refer you to Jim's great video on the subject.

I don't pay much attention to ads when I can help it, except to mash the buttons which mute, skip, or close them.

shrekfan246:

Yes, the summer drought has struck once again. I still wouldn't expect Yahtzee to look at yet another MMO any time soon, and I wouldn't get my hopes up for it to be positive if he did.

I don't expect any of his reviews to be positive - he's a Caustic Critic after all. But he is fair about pointing out the things they do that work.

On the occasion that he actually spends enough time to even experience it in the first place.

Perhaps if he did another gimmick review, I'd be less cynical about the thought. But just from pure supposition, I would think that no matter how different it may in fact have become Wildstar would get little more than a "Like World of Warcraft but..." stamp from him, so I'm not terribly enamored by the idea of him checking it out.

I'll grant that there is always the chance to be surprised, however.

So what exactly is interesting about this game then? For such a cult thing, it doesn't seem to have anything in it apart from being slightly quirky - but which JRPG isn't.

I know the *grumble grumble* "no games released in summer, have to do old retro games" *grumble* stuff is schtick, but I would relly like to see review of games that are coming out. Like Divinity. Or easing off the schtick because it gives the impression that nothing comes out, and that isn't true. Triple A nonsense is not all of gaming, there is a good crop of mid tier (in funding) games out on the market now, that isn't steam greenlight deluge of searching through the shit for the diamonds, but games from actual established dev teams that aren't bajillion dollar flash and action blockbuster releases.

Seeing as how Yahtzee is running out of old game he likes for his retro-reviews, maybe next year we'll get old games he didn't like.

prats93:
Earthbound and it's sequel Mother 3 are the closest games will ever get to literature.

Can we please all stop putting literature on such a high pedestal, the only reason why so many good stories are books is because literature has been around for a very long time.

There's nothing about literature that makes them any better than movies comic books video games or any other storytelling method, i actually think that its inferior to other storytelling methods.

Let's not forget the other thing that Mom does in the game: Cures Ness' homesickness (a status ailment) by calling her.

Yahtzee, you tease! That "Mother" bit towards the end sounded like the perfect place to toss in lyrics from that one Pink Floyd song from "The Wall"! You also didn't point out the fucked-up-ness of how you and your little pals kill the final boss:

02.37 I dislike doing that and not because I have no soul, but because I know that it's going to stop being funny a lot quicker than the game is going to end.

I don't know or this opinion is heretical, but I like mother 3 more than earthbound, and this is after I've started to become more critical of the stupid anti technology Aesop of mother 3.

That's not to say I dislike earthbound, I think it's a fantastic game that any gamer should at least try out, I just prefer the world and darker tone of mother 3.

Funny.

Now review Conkers Bad Fur Day!

Liquidprid3:
Yahtzee reviews my favorite RPG of all time.

Am I in fucking heaven?

I do believe I said the exact same thing. And after the giddiness wore off, I was glad someone else (with like, credentials and stuff) liked it. There must be more of us out there.

Oddly, I am in the middle of playing this myself. Not so much to get over the Summer drought, but to ignore the backlog of 100 games I have unplayed on Steam including XCOM, Bioshock, Spec Ops: The Line, Deus Ex, Bastion (half played, friend deleted save) etc....

Even though this is an awesome game, it has the easiest last boss ever ! All you do is pray to defeat Giygas.

This is an awesome review. I think he describes the game very well, and I liked how he is drawn to the kids playing heroes meets cosmic horror aspect to it.

I found it interesting that he described the plot as school children fighting God, because he borrows a bit of that archetype for his Metroidvania game Poacher. After avoiding certain actions that would force you to face your crimes in the Abyss, you get a secret boss fight with the narrator of the game, who turns out to be the deity who rules the Abyss: the Judge of All the Earth. He's like a pure negative manifestation of God, combined with traits of Hades, Satan, and Yahtzee himself. What's most interesting about the noss fight is that it has a retro-arcade theme song that steadily becomes a hard rock song, just like the last boss fight with Giygas in Earthbound. And after you shoot the Judge's eyes, he chases you blind, and looks rather like Giygas' true form. Even a You Tube player commented that the Judge was "Giygas scary." That's one of the reason I wish Yahtzee re-released Poacher with commentary, just to know all the inspirations, because there's definitely an Earthbound homage in the Judge battle.

If Yahtzee wants to play the other games in the Mother series, then tell him about the Mother 1+2 and Mother 3 translation patches he can use with the ROMs and the Virtual Boy. I think he might really be compelled by Mother 3, considering that it shares some cosmic sensibilities with his work. The Adventures in the Galaxy of Fantabulous Wonderment and Trilby's Notes come to mind.

Now that I think of it, Yahtzee should totally do a Mother/Earthbound veined-game in Game Maker. I think he would come up a concept that is appropriately Mother-ish.

Yes, I knew he liked Earthbound! Was wondering with this would happen.

I want to play it again now, just to kill Hippies.

Good retro review, been awhile since you done one, although despite the drought, there's got to be something that came out not too long ago to review.

*cough*Kirby Triple Deluxe*cough* Oh sorry, random cough.

Groverfield:
One reason this didn't sell well that I remember was it had a pricetag north of $100 in the only store that carried it, and was locked away at the top shelf above the normal shelving unit with peripherals like the superscope6 and mario paint and those really dumb controllers bigger than an arcade stick that no one seriously wanted and they didn't have a ladder to pull it out unless it was the night crew, and if it was the night in the mid 90's and you were in the electronics store buying games, it was something stupid and gorey like Eternal Champions.

And that kids, is why American Kirby looks hardcore.

Also hard to find. I tried getting it as my b day was at the end of the month it was released, couldn't find it even with relatives help.

I'd just like to mention another feature that goes with genius feature of auto-ending battles when you fight enemies when you're way more powerful than they are: they run like hell when you approach them. You actually have to corner weaker enemies in order to fight them.

Something I wish Yahtzee had mentioned is how funny the writing is. Even in the battles, you'll have things like cowardly party members using you as a shield or apologizing profusely to the enemy.

Gizmo1990:
Seeing as yahtzee has nothing new to play, how about a ZP on The Wolf Among Us now that ep 5 has been released?

After the last Telltale game ended up being one of his favourites of the year, I was honestly expecting this.

prats93:
Earthbound and it's sequel Mother 3 are the closest games will ever get to literature.

I'm pretty sure stuff like Zork is closer to literature. Much more text.

DarkhoIlow:
Yahtzee review Divinity Original Sin next? That's a lenghty and good RPG to tide you through July.

He made a passing comment at the beginning of this weeks Extra Punctuation that he found it boring and had nothing to say about it, so I highly doubt that's going to happen.

Still not sold on it. Although the dark undertones do make it sound kinda intriguing.

What platforms is this on?

A3sir:
I wonder how many people are going to know what a Tuckshop is. Very regional of you.

You mean, it's not just an Australian thing?

Optimystic:

I assure you I'm not new. *points at join date*

Also, that must be why he didn't review Tabula Rasa, or Age of Conan, or Eve, or Cataclysm, or DCUO, or SWTOR, or ESO... oh wait.

My mistake.

I still don't get the feeling he likes doing those games, so he takes great pleasure at tearing them a new one.

Stratigo:
I know the *grumble grumble* "no games released in summer, have to do old retro games" *grumble* stuff is schtick, but I would relly like to see review of games that are coming out. Like Divinity.

He mentioned it in this week's Extra Punctuation and said that he simply has nothing interesting to say about it.

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