Fangame Review: Mother: Cognitive Dissonance

I have been a fan of the EarthBound series for many years at this point. I first became a fan from watching various lets plays of the game back around 2008 or 2009, because at the time I knew nothing about roms and emulators, and I clearly could not afford a copy of EarthBound. After having been moved by both EarthBound and Mother 3, I was enamored with the series for several months to the point of near obsession. As such, the series was very influential to my experiences as a gamer, despite me having experienced them over a decade after EarthBound’s release.

I didn’t end up playing EarthBound on my own until I bought a cart myself despite the huge price, and I’m still glad I have a physical copy seeing as how it’s my favorite game of all time, and I only played Earthbound Beginnings last year when it was released on the Wii U e-shop. Hell I still have not legitimately played Mother 3 and am waiting until its inevitable e-shop release to do so (although as I said, I have seen let’s plays of it and know enough to say that’s it’s pretty much a masterpiece) Read more

EarthBound (SNES/GBA): Pure Artistic Desire (Detailed Review)

Earthbound | Ness's Nightmare

EarthBound is a game that has been well received since its introduction, but has only recently received a serious look by mainstream gaming websites in the past few years. We now find it frequently in top-10 lists near the number one spot. The weird thing about this however, is that Nintendo of America has ignored the EarthBound series and has given it no publicity over the years, so what was there to increase its publicity so drastically that major gaming sites started noticing? The answer would be the game’s rabid fan base that is incredibly loyal to the series and have pushed hard to get it noticed. This however has led some to some fans that are really overzealous and give the series a massive amount of hype with great expectations to fill. I myself at one point have been in that same position of near obsession with the series, but it has been years since then and I have moved on and played many other games that have made me just as passionate as EarthBound did.

I recently decided to replay EarthBound and I expected that losing my overzealous passion would make the game’s flaws more noticeable. Despite having a very special place in my heart I expected this review to be one that, while still having a positive tone, was more critical of the game. I was wrong, and being wrong has never felt so right. It turns out that not only in this play-through that I re-discovered exactly what it was that made me fall in love with it in the first place, but I discovered more. This play-through marks the only time that my opinion of a game I already played improved despite being one of my all time favorite games to begin with. Read more

Persona 3 FES (PS2): Finding the Will to Live (Detailed Review)

Persona 3 | What I wanted most

When people think of the biggest JRPG series, what do they usually think of? Likely Final Fantasy at this point but the series is no longer what it once was. There’s also Dragon Quest if you are in Japan or are a total weeb like myself, there is also the Tales series if you are a weeb as well. But the face of new console JRPGs for the last decade or so has arguably been the Persona series.

Persona 3 was the first new entry in the Persona series in 6 years when it originally came out. The original Persona was pretty popular in Japan but it just kind lingered in obscurity in the US since it was a JRPG released before Final Fantasy VII. The first entry in the Persona 2 duology was not even localized at the time and as far as I know the second one wasn’t successful.

It was Persona 3 that decided to change its entire approach and that was almost single-handedly responsible for putting Atlus on the map. I first played Persona 3 almost a decade ago and had yet to replay it until earlier this year. While it is not without flaws, it is an immensely powerful game and is likely to remain a cornerstone in the genre for quite some time. There is a lot to talk about with Persona 3 both good and bad. Read more

RPGs of the Famicom: Earthbound Beginnings

Earthbound Beginnings | Title

With the release of Earthbound Beginnings on the Wii U e-shop, Nintendo of America has corrected a 26 year old mistake on their part. Earthbound Beginnings is the prequel to Earthbound on the SNES that was not originally released in Japan. The game was originally intended to be localized but was canceled despite the localization having already been fully completed. Until now the translated version of Earthbound Beginnings (which was otherwise known as Earthbound Zero) could only be played via emulation or a reproduction cart. Nintendo just now released the translated version for the Wii U e-shop making it available more easily and and legally.

Earthbound Beginnings is different from its successor in plenty of ways and is mostly an inferior game, but this is usually to be expected in terms of sequels. Even if one were to hold Earthbound Beginnings to the standards of a lot of modern day games it still handles things far more competently than most and is an amazing game on its own. Read more

Amazing VGM: The Dark Colossus Destroys All (NieR)

Ah yes, three of my most shilled games in a row for Amazing VGM. I’d normally do something from Saya no Uta since I just reviewed it but I kinda hinted at this one last week so I better follow through. Anyway I’ve been meaning to touch on this one for a while since it really is an amazing track from an amazing game.

NieR is known for its outstanding music after all, so it’s time to cover a track that was good enough they made it twice! Starting with the original. Read more

Amazing VGM: Spider Dance (Undertale)

Undertale | Muffet

Well it’s that time of the year everyone… no not that one. I mean the other that time of the year! Either way, my Amazing VGMs are all going to be Halloween themed for this month to fit the theme. I figure I’ll start with an Undertale track this week since I just put my review of it up and because I’m likely not going to be in the mood to cover this particular track for a while afterwards. Read more

Undertale (PC/PS4/Vita/Switch): A Deeply Moving Tale (Detailed Review)

Undertale | Memory Statue

Chances are, most gamers nowadays may have heard of Undertale, especially if they frequent this site. After all, it won the sites “greatest games of all time” contest and beat out games like Ocarina of Time and Final Fantasy VII. Some may argue that the victory doesn’t count because it most votes came from Tumblr users who don’t frequent GameFAQs, but it does not change the fact that it was always intended as a popularity contest and that every vote was from an individual who thought it deserved to win. So yes, it did in fact prove that Undertale is very highly regarded in the gaming community.

Keep in mind that this was all for a game created in Game Maker and that did not even have a press kit when IGN approached Toby Fox. So no this is not the same as some crap like game publications proclaiming a multi million dollar AAA title to be the Citizen Kane of gaming within a minute of putting the disk in the console. The only boost that Toby Fox got with Undertale was a successful Kickstarter campaign, and regardless of how one feels about Kickstarter, this shows how good it can be when used correctly. Read more

Amazing VGM: Gods Bound by Rules (NieR)

NieR | Boxman

It’s been a little while since I covered a track from NieR as an amazing VGM hasn’t it? The last one I did was “Weight of the World” from NieR Automata and that was at the end of December of last year. This time, I’m going to cover one of the more underutilized and thus underrated boss tracks in the original game; “Gods Bound By Rules.” Read more

Amazing VGM: Determination (Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift)

Get all your Undertale references out of the way now because lord knows this blog has enough of them as it is!

Many of the Final Fantasy spinoffs tend to be overlooked. Most of us are looking for the best of the best when we seek out new games, and thus most would assume that the mainline entries are better than the spinoffs. When a series has been milked as much as Final Fantasy has, you know that the games that aren’t numbered entries may be forgotten in the conscience of the mainstream gaming community. I mean sure the first Final Fantasy Tactics is remembered as a classic but you don’t hear as much about the two sequels; Tactics Advance and Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift.

People disliked Tactics Advance because it wasn’t as edgy or “mature” as the original since it dealt with a bunch of school children being transported to a fantasy world as opposed to the politically driven nature of the original Tactics, but I find myself more attached to Tactics Advance than the original. Granted this could be because I only saw the original Tactics through a let’s play which makes it harder to keep track of things, and it could be possible that once I rectify this I may change my mind, but the point is that I like Tactics Advance. Read more

Amazing VGM: The Path is Open (Persona 3)

Persona 3 | Thou art I and I am thou

This week’s VGM is a special track. This track has an especially notable significance to me in not only how it sounds, but also what it represents. In the past I have often made Amazing VGM pieces that connect to me personally in regards to my very own struggles in life, I believe that games have a very significant personal element to them that many are often discouraged from sharing for not being “objective,” and I feel this greatly undermines the medium as a whole.

Anyway this week’s track is from Persona 3, a flawed game in many ways but nonetheless one of my all time favorites. I have been replaying this game and I’ve just about reached the end of The Journey portion of the game. While I find the overall musical output of Persona 3 rather average, there are some standout tracks that have a very deep and meaningful impact when you hear them. This track is one of those.

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