Review by CanuckGamer04
Why do people think this game is so good?
When I first played Earthbound, I had heard a lot of good things about it, how it was fun, original, and quirky. Unfortunately, I only found it to be one of these things, and quirkiness does not a great game make. I wanted to like this game, like most others, but I just found it impossible, and it soon returned to my closet, never to be seen, nor played, again.
People flock to this game because of it's supposed original gameplay and funny jokes stuck in here and there, but I don't think it deserves the credit it is given. Earthbound's battle system is a practical replica of Dragon Warrior's, and that isn't a good thing. It gives a first person view that, while simplistic and easy to use, gets very old, as most of the time you will be using the 'Bash' attack, or just pressing Auto Fight, as that is about as much strategy is needed. A good point is that if you are strong enough, you can beat enemies without even battling them, and still get the experience! Too bad that's one of the only good points. The game is very well translated, I'll give it that, but it seems to be in place of good gameplay elements. A thing that really grinds my gears is that it's good when you have only Ness, but once you get a second character and so on, the new one always starts at level 1, so good luck getting him/her to survive in the areas that Ness can handle, and they will be dying left and right, making you go to the hospital and spending at least $100 every time that person dies. And when they do, the screen goes an annoying pink color, as if you would have forgotten that your main character was a ghost floating behind you! It's also hard to save in Earthbound, as you have to get to a phone and usually pay, by talking to your Dad, who somehow can afford to deposit $1000 every time you talk to him! Also, you sometimes have to pay upwards of $150 to stay at a hotel and advance the story.
The story in this game is... oh, how should I put this.... AWFUL!! It doesn't make any sense whatsoever!! You start as Ness, a random boy who lives near the site of a meteor crash, and decides to check it out. You are, out of nowhere, apparently the savior of the world, and must band together with other random misfits, to stop the evil force. Did I mention that you are told this by a bug? Named Buzz Buzz? People around town seem to do things with no motive, at least not any explained one, making the story make even less sense! When you get new party members, they just seem to get up, like a robot, and rendezvous with you, without any second doubt to why they are doing what someone told them telepathically, with little to no character advancement.
Most will say that the graphics are only NES quality, and that they should be better for 1995, but I don't really have a problem with them, except for the character sprites. They're horrible, just random blobs of colour, in most cases! The towns are nicely coloured. The sound is okay, but nothing special, I don't find myself humming the tunes like I do with really good soundtracks.
I wouldn't play this game again if I was payed 1000 dollars every time I picked up the phone (I'm so witty), it's that bad. You'll have plenty of your Earthbound fix, if you actually like this game, from one playthrough, which I admit takes awhile. The characters are all practically mute, so there's no reason to play for them, the story is uninspiring, and the battle system is a copy. The dungeons are also short and unimaginative, with easy bosses at the end.
Don't waste your time scouring Ebay and searching garage sales just to find this game, it nowhere near worth it. There are some clever jokes and pop culture references, but they are not worth sitting through the rest of this train wreck. Save your precious $50-100+ dollars and buy a good RPG, like Chrono Trigger. I hope I never see this abomination again.
Product Release: EarthBound (US, 06/05/95)
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