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Mario & Luigi: Doing RPGs Better Since 2003

by Tyler Ohlew - November 10, 2012, 6:59 am PST
Total comments: 13

Is it possible to trump Paper Mario in every way? Why yes, and I'm glad you asked.

While certainly taking advantage of Paper Mario's physical predicament, the Mario & Luigi series handily crumples its figurative brother and throws it into the trash. No, not the recycling. That would mean it would have a chance to come back.

Excuse the initial hyperbole, because the Paper Mario games most certainly deliver. They're fun, but they have also always had the home console advantage. Paper Mario has always been taken more seriously, with more eyes on it. But the Mario & Luigi series outshines it without breaking a sweat. It has had to earn our respect from the handheld ghetto. It's a scrapper, and better in many ways.

For starters, the Mario & Luigi series is far more creative. Perhaps in trying to stand out on handhelds that boasted catalogs rich with great RPGs, M&L had to be riskier. It viewed the world of Mario from a very goofy lens, playing host to a cast of memorable characters and enemies, all of which hinged on excellent humour and writing. Enemies in the Paper Mario series made their splash and then it was on to the next; there was never any longevity. Wham, bam, thanks for trying to take over the Mushroom Kingdom. But Mario & Luigi had Fawful, an enemy just as constant as the brothers. Starting as an oddball assistant in Superstar Saga, he slowly plotted his return from beneath Peach's castle in Partners in Time, and made his triumphant return as the big baddie in Bowser's Inside Story. Fawful obviously made a splash among the Nintendo faithful. Is there anyone remotely analogous in Paper Mario? Worst of all, word is that Paper Mario: Sticker Star doesn't put much emphasis on writing and dialogue, and that a lot of the humour now comes from sight gags. I suppose it's just succumbing to the hilarity of its competition.

What I adore the most about the Mario & Luigi games is its sprite work. It's not likely you'll see anything like it elsewhere. Crafting sprites and their animations take time; there's a genuine reason titles like Ace Attorney and Professor Layton are moving to the third dimension. But AlphaDream is staffed by madmen (or child labourers) willing to give it all for their craft. Throughout the entire series, there are animations that occur only one time. That's insanity! Paper Mario cannot compare. Hell, it hasn't even taken proper advantage of its paper aesthetic. The series started off on the Nintendo 64, so its visuals are hardly a highlight. Superstar Saga was a Game Boy Advance game, and its 3D brethren still can’t outdo it.

AlphaDream's work on the M&L series makes you speak poorly of games that you otherwise love. Putting any entry of the series next the best of what Paper Mario has to offer isn't even fair. But if you do it, don't be shocked to see Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door turn into an actual turd.

Talkback

ThomasONovember 10, 2012


Worst of all, word is that Paper Mario: Sticker Star doesn't put much emphasis on writing and dialogue, and that a lot of the humour now comes from sight gags.


I guess this site isn't very credible.


http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/impressions/31937
http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/impressions/32228

MagicCow64November 10, 2012

Yeah, Bowser's Inside Story was certainly the best RPG I've played since the classic 16-bit days. Shame it got so little attention when drab borefests like Elderscrolls ruled the roost.

TamazoidNovember 10, 2012

I'm not trying to be negative but this comes across as fanboy drivel. You're ignoring that the last two Paper Mario iterations have strayed from the usual formula in attempts to innovate while the three M&L games are very similar to each other. I don't really see the need to claim that one series is better than the other, they both bring different things to the table. Why can't we just enjoy both? Both have great humour, interesting stories and usually satisfying gameplay. Both Alpha Dream and Intelligent Systems are top tiered Nintendo developers. Maybe I just don't see people's constant need to say one thing is better than another.

tylerohlewTyler Ohlew, Staff AlumnusNovember 10, 2012

Quote from: ThomasO

Worst of all, word is that Paper Mario: Sticker Star doesn't put much emphasis on writing and dialogue, and that a lot of the humour now comes from sight gags.


I guess this site isn't very credible.


http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/impressions/31937
http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/impressions/32228

On this point, I'd like to point out this from Aaron's preview,

Quote:

The game is less text-heavy due to the lack of partner characters, but what's there is truly funny.

I say the emphasis has been placed elsewhere, and it is fair to say that. From Nintendo Power`s review,

Quote:

The barebones cast makes for some pretty thin storytelling and severley limits the opportunities for comedy-a Mario RPG trademark. There are still plenty of humourous touches, and the localization team led by Nate Bihldorff has once more done a fantastic job with hat writing is there, but Sticker Star just doesn`t have as much personality as its predecessors.

As well, Nate himself told us that most of the game`s humour goes to IS for their sight gags.

Quote:

I'm not trying to be negative but this comes across as fanboy drivel. You're ignoring that the last two Paper Mario iterations have strayed from the usual formula in attempts to innovate while the three M&L games are very similar to each other. I don't really see the need to claim that one series is better than the other, they both bring different things to the table. Why can't we just enjoy both? Both have great humour, interesting stories and usually satisfying gameplay. Both Alpha Dream and Intelligent Systems are top tiered Nintendo developers. Maybe I just don't see people's constant need to say one thing is better than another.

It is a blog, so it represents my opinion, not the site`s. As well, I am having fun here, and repeatedly said that I love the Paper Mario series. Lets not take what I wrote as news.

red14November 10, 2012

It's kinda true in a way. While both game series certainly have satisfying aspects, I can't deny I was more exited for Partners in Time than The Thousand Year Door around when they came out. I knew how much work was poured into the first Mario and Luigi game, and just knowing that there were two more characters to control this time, I couldn't sit still for it. Paper Mario's my favorite game series, but I'm fully aware of how uniquely packed the Mario and Luigi games are. And, if AlphaDream decides to create another, I'll eagerly await it of course.


Tomorrow, however, I hope the new Paper Mario game provides something long overdue.

RasNovember 11, 2012

I couldn't agree at all.  I like them both, but the first two Papers have more wit, charm, and a more enjoyable combat system. 

I'd be downloading the new one right now, but Nintendo lied about it being released at midnight.

RasNovember 11, 2012

They didn't lie by much, so I was able to download it.  I'm maybe an hour to an hour and a half in and loving it.  The combat system doesn't suffer at all by being sticker based.  Welcome back, classic Paper Mario!

buttleNovember 11, 2012

As an RPG Mario & Luigi is better, but Paper Mario has better action, exploration and puzzles.  I enjoy them both but for the type of gamer I am, I enjoy Paper Mario far more.

Luigi DudeNovember 11, 2012

Quote from: MagicCow64

Yeah, Bowser's Inside Story was certainly the best RPG I've played since the classic 16-bit days. Shame it got so little attention when drab borefests like Elderscrolls ruled the roost.

Bowser's Inside Story sold over 4 million copies and is the best selling Mario RPG of all time.  So it actually got quite a lot of attention.

Mop it upNovember 11, 2012

Paper Mario never did much for me. I felt Super Mario RPG was a near-perfect balance of RPG and platformer, but Paper Mario simplifies things too much, and the writing can be downright tedious at times. Though Mario and Luigi isn't quite as deep as I'd like, it's still a great series that blends its elements well. I agree about the graphical style as well, Mario and Luigi does it better, and I'm pretty sure that the whole paper idea was just because it was easier than creating 3D models.

MagicCow64November 12, 2012

Quote from: Luigi

Quote from: MagicCow64

Yeah, Bowser's Inside Story was certainly the best RPG I've played since the classic 16-bit days. Shame it got so little attention when drab borefests like Elderscrolls ruled the roost.

Bowser's Inside Story sold over 4 million copies and is the best selling Mario RPG of all time.  So it actually got quite a lot of attention.

Ah, did not know! I guess I've just never met anyone in meat space who has even mentioned it. Silent Majority. . .

Quote from: Mop

I'm pretty sure that the whole paper idea was just because it was easier than creating 3D models.

I thought the original idea was to do a 3D game with 2D characters in reverse to how SMRPG was a 2D game with 3D characters.

Mop it upNovember 12, 2012

I recall reading somewhere that the developers chose 2D sprites because of their inexperience with 3D, but I can't find the source, which is why I phrased it as "pretty sure." It may have been in Nintendo Power, which is hard to find online.

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