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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mother 3 and Death

I'm a little over an hour into Mother 3, and already I have a feeling like this is going to be a very emotional type of game.  The first chapter is called "A Funeral," so it's expected that someone is going to die.  They introduce you to several different characters, so you're not sure who's going to die.  When it's finally revealed, it hits with an unexpected punch for a couple of reasons.  I'm trying to limit how much I say about it, since I don't want to give too much away.  However, this all happens right at the beginning, so I don't know how spoiler-y it is.

First, Mother 3 seems relatively grounded in reality.  Sure, there are robotic caribou and dragons, but the town feels shockingly real.  Everyone has a name.  There are no villagers named "Villager."  They have personalities.  There's the town drunk, the old man who knows he's not as useless as everyone says, and others.  They converse with you like you're a real person and don't just say "Mystic seaport is that way."  There's a lot of depth to the city, so you feel more interested in the world when the death happens.

Second, in most video game deaths, the main character gets down on his knees and screams "Noooooooo!" overdramatically, or they mope around and vow revenge on "whatever did this."  That's not how death is in real life.  In real life, there's a powerlessness, a helplessness that pervades everyone.  It doesn't matter what you do, that person is dead, the person sitting next to you will die someday, and you will also die.  The death of one person reminds us of our own mortality.  That's how it's handled in Mother 3. The characters react in an astoundingly realistic manner.  The character most affected doesn't behave heroically.  He actually behaves like a big jerk, which is what happens at times.

I have to say that so far, Mother 3 is living up to the expectations.  If the rest of the game is just as gripping as the beginning is, I'm in for a great ride.