REVIEW – It’s very, very common these days for an older game to be remade and either superfluous or nowhere near the original (the Saints Row reboot was one such case, and Volition has since closed). Nintendo has set a good example with ArtePiazza: it stays true to the original, but brings back Mario’s isometric adventure from the SNES with a suitably modern style and refined gameplay.
Square’s game ArtePiazza was able to respect the style, so the 16-bit visuals are gone, but everything has a very similar design, and for that reason we can’t say a bad word about it.
Still Enchants Like 27 Years Ago
Super Mario RPG Remake is just as atmospheric as it was 27 years ago. Sure, it has a more modern and transparent interface (both in terms of combat and menus in general, it brings the style of more modern Mario games combined with Square Enix RPGs), so it’s not as clunky to navigate. The music has also been remixed, so you can hear the original tunes, but in a more modern, sometimes jazzy, sometimes more tropical style. It’s a pleasant sound, as it enhances the sound of other recently released games (such as Super Mario 3D World or Super Mario Odyssey). I have no complaints about the music or the en bloc sound effects. As for the difficulty: Super Mario RPG Remake offers two difficulty levels by default, but even for beginners it’s not really worth choosing the easier Breezy option, because it’s absolutely perfect as a nice weekend experience. The term “weekend” is deliberate, because even if you take your time, you can collect all seven stars in 6-7 hours (it’s no coincidence that the original subtitle was Legend of the Seven Stars), but if you turn over every stone, it will still take no more than 10 hours.
This is probably the only element that holds the game back from an outstanding rating, because even the design of the enemies, but also of the main characters, is the same as we saw on the SNES (or SNES Classic…), only this time there are no technical limitations. No joke, but Super Mario RPG Remake is probably one of the most faithful remakes of the original material, and the following statement is not meant as an ode, but others could learn a lesson or two from Nintendo’s example (on the negative side, Mack was renamed Claymorton, Yaridovich became Speardovich, Frogfucius became Frog Sage… what’s this?).Of course, there are new elements, such as the special attack scenes where your bar goes around the bottom left corner, and this can be increased on both attacks and defenses. Timed attacks can hurt everyone, and we can even swap team members during fights, and the longer we time our hits right, the more combos (chain) can be created. A chain of 30 is an absolute minimum, because you can go much further than that. But that’s only one side of the coin; there are some minor nuances that can be confusing.
Just Missing the Old Names Sometimes
So it’s just been mentioned that some characters have been renamed.This is basically stupid, because they could have kept their names if Peach’s (originally Toadstool) secret unnamed object in her room (XXX in Japanese…) was left in the remake.Anyway, at least they didn’t mess with the button assignments:B is for defense, A for attack, X for items and Y for special moves.The original soundtrack is also present.But the difficulty still isn’t there.Maybe it would have been better to offer three difficulty levels by default, because if you had the original, there’s no greater challenge this time (maybe for the hidden boss, but it was the same on the SNES; proper preparation is essential), and yes, the classic trio is still the winner this time: with Mario, Peach and Bowser are the perfect team.
Spoilers could be made, because the story is the same as in 1996: Bowser’s castle is taken, he teams up with his nemesis and the princess who was kidnapped at the beginning, and yes, he’s still the “funny” character (easy to like), except for Booster, who looks even more like Wario this time. Other than that, it’s hard to find any major negatives, because it’s a really good game that doesn’t feel like it was made for the sole purpose of making money.It’s an honestly renovated game that’s mostly impeccably authentic to the original, and it still has the same charm it had back then, even though it was a huge step for Nintendo to put Mario, who was a platformer and go-kart racer, into a story like this.
Too Easy, But Still Fun
Super Mario RPG Remake only gets an eight and a half out of ten, and that’s only because it’s still a little short and easy.Otherwise, it’s an excellent product. If you liked the original, it’s highly recommended. If you like the genre, it’s a good buy.It won’t last long, but it’s not bad to pick it up every few years, and ArtePiazza’s carefully treated title is perfect for that.
+ Remained authentic to the original in almost every respect
+ Superbly remixed soundtrack
+ Faster, more dynamic fights
– Still a bit light and short
– Why were some characters and objects renamed?
– No third negative, hess
Style: isometric RPG
Release: November 17, 2023.