I’ve always been a bit more critical towards the Mother trilogy as a whole than most. In my mind, most of the praise these games get is coming from hipsters who don’t really play this sort of game in the first place. Over the years, it’s gotten praise for it’s bizarre sense of humor, unique setting, and charming moments.
But what about most important thing… the gameplay?
No one ever seems to talk about it, and for good reason. It’s not all that engaging at all. sure, a lot of enemy designs are fun to look at, but the actual battle system is plain boring, and exploring the map is way too slow paced. This sort of set up sort of works in the much more polished Earthbound, even if I still think it’s quite an overrated game, but Earthbound Beginnings is another beast altogether. Mind you, it’s no Breath of Fire 1 (which I genuinely think may be the worst JRPG I’ve ever played) but the sheer tedious nature of the game, which forces you to spend a significant amount of time leveling up to beat even the simplest of enemies, absolutely kills the experience for me. Especially since the pay off isn’t all that interesting in it’s own right. The game doesn’t even have the same quirk atmosphere that Earthbound is so famous for.
Beginnings is an extremely tedious, boring game, but I still find myself slogging through it just to get to the ending, and a big part of that is because I know it builds up to the vastly superior sequel. I would, personally, only recommend this game to the most die hard Nintendo fans out there who like experiencing pieces of history like this one.
On it’s own merits, Earthbound Beginnings simply does not deliver. It is too tedious for what it is, and there are several other classic Nintendo titles that deserve more recognition than this one.