Josh explains why Super Paper Mario is better than its predecessors.
Super Paper Mario is the best Paper Mario that has been released to date. If you are swearing at me or have left the page, I can’t really blame you. This is the internet after all. If you haven’t done either of those things then please allow me to explain.
Super Paper Mario, at least for me, has a lot of positive things going on in it. I found the whole 16-odd hours of my first playthrough to be a lot of fun. First and foremost, it was advertised as an action-RPG, and that’s precisely what it was. It has a simplified leveling system and was more focused on the traditional head-bashing that Mario has become accustomed to. At times, the action gets repetitive, chiefly courtesy of those god-awful fetch missions, but regardless, it still flows very smoothly throughout once you got the hang of the jumping controls. At first, it seems as though simple head bashing would suffice, but soon the “style” aspect of the game is introduced. To gain more skill points, you have to shake the Wii Remote vigorously after jumping on an enemy’s head to gain style points. It takes a while to master, but once you pick it up, it’s easy and natural.
However, that’s just the gameplay. Super Paper Mario also had an interesting and fun story. In the beginning, Peach finds herself about to marry Bowser and before she can run away she is hypnotized to say “I do,” which triggers the event that was foretold in a book called the Dark Prognosticus. After this, the world is essentially thrown into chaos and it’s up to Mario to collect the Pure Hearts and defeat the evil but well meaning Count Bleck. I found myself wanting to keep playing as the story progressed and evolved. Granted, it's not a thriller or anything, but I had my theories from the start of the game regarding Tippi (Mario’s pixelated butterfly companion) and Count Bleck. While playing through, some of my theories were proven right, while others collapsed upon a single piece of information. But by the end, I felt content with the story as a whole.
While I love Super Paper Mario, I’m not here to knock or bash the other Paper Mario games. The first Paper Mario paved the way for its successors, and The Thousand-Year Door is a great RPG with an excellent turn-based combat system. The thing about the other two games is that I just wasn’t pulled in as much as with the Wii release. The Thousand-Year Door just doesn't do it for me visually, feeling unfinished at times. It doesn't have the same feel as the first Paper Mario, which is reminiscent of a hand drawn story book, and it doesn’t have the same pop and color of Super Paper Mario. The original Paper Mario is still a fantastic game, but the battle system feels lacking. Super Paper Mario learned from the mistakes and shortcomings of the older games, taking the best aspects from those games to make it one of the better games of its kind. It has cleaner visuals and takes a different approach to combat than its predecessors (probably because the battle system in Thousand-Year Door was nearly perfect). It still kept what makes the Paper Mario series great: the style, music, and gameplay all coming together to deliver a fantastic presentation.
If you still don’t agree with me, that’s understandable, but you have to at least give credit where credit's due. Super Paper Mario is visually pleasing, and the off-beat story keeps going from the beginning (Bowser’s about to marry Peach?!) and stays strong the whole way. Unfortunately, I have no defense for the fetch missions. **** fetch missions.