Review by ABXInferno
"Dream"ing of greatness and succeeding - an excellent RPG by any standards
Mario & Luigi Dream Team is the 4th installment in this portable RPG franchise and the first on the 3DS. The game has had its territory stolen by Intelligent Systems when it put its Paper Mario franchise, traditionally on consoles, as a 3DS game a little over a year ago and while that RPG disappointed with cryptic puzzles, Dream Team is the first great RPG on 3DS that I really enjoyed. Here's the lowdown: If you enjoy RPGs and own a 3DS or enjoyed the previous games in the series and was deciding between buying this game or not, stop reading and buy it now - it's a fantastic RPG that I really enjoyed playing.
This is a massive jump for the series and Alphadream has done their homework - the game looks flat out gorgeous and never does the framerate dip considerably. The environments are colorful and where it matters, the game looks truly stunning and even when 50 Luigis are on screen, the framerate is buttery smooth and while there were slight dips, it never even approached the point of being distracting.
The soundtrack is also great but none of the tracks really stand out and this is a bit disappointing, considering that this is a Nintendo game after all. All the tunes fit the tone of the environments you were in quite well and the game does its part pretty well in this area, even if it fails to produce any tunes that stand out as memorable.
The story is pretty generic. Mario and Luigi and Peach have been invited to Pill'o (Pillow) Island and then Peach is kidnapped (again, for like the hundredth time) by a villain named Antasma and taken into the dream world. Bowser hears of this and becomes mad and works together with Antasma to take Peach after she's saved. Bowser uses a stone known as the Dark Stone and you have to beat him with its counterpart, the Dream Stone. Its a pretty generic story that's been played out by Mario games of the past, but is quite different and more complicated so that it doesn't feel like that the developers just ripped the story from 1985.
This is where the game truly shines. Everything you loved about Bowser's Inside Story is largely back, but then you can't play as Bowser. Instead of playing inside Bowser's tummy, Dream Team has portals that put you into the dream world where you have to destroy all of the dark gems that trap one of an ancient race. The interesting thing is that in Luigi's dreams, he can be ANYTHING he wants. Luigi can be a GIANT guy, a guy with 50 copies of himself or a ball made up entirely of himself. These parts are really fun and I can't help but look forward to these sections.
The game features the attack pieces returning from Bowser's Inside Story. Dream Team still puts 10 of them in each area and 10 more inside a dream world, one per area and you learn new Bros. or Special attacks by doing so. It's well worth seeking out these pieces and the game does have some extraordinary attacks such as Ball of Luigis and Stack of Luigis that do heavy damage to dream enemies. It's not that hard to find these blocks, especially because the game allows you to see the blocks on the map.
The controls are pretty standard. The Circle Pad moves the duo, the A button lets Mario jump and B lets Luigi jump. You can press the R Button to cycle through options such as hammering or possesing a dream object in the dream realm. The hammer can also be used to make Mario go underground and squashed using Luigi's hammer, but you'll need to learn it first before you can use it.
The game is a great in this area and offers up a satisfying experience. For me, this is the first great RPG in 3DS's lineup and Alphadream has to be praised: this is a great RPG by any standards.
Dream Team is a fantastic RPG by any standards and a fitting sequel to the great Bowser's Inside Story. It has a pretty fitting pun in its title that gave me a chuckle, but anyway back to the main point. If you own a 3DS and love RPGs, Dream Team is worth checking out and if you loved the previous games, you should definitely buy this game or at least worth renting.
FINAL SCORE - 9.35/10
+ Fantastic visual quality with constant framerate.
+ Slightly more complicated story than usual.
+ Impressive gameplay that follows up Bowser's Inside Story.
+ Really fun dream sections.
- Average soundtrack with no tracks that stand out, especially considering it's a Nintendo game.
- Completing 100% is a bit of a pain.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Mario & Luigi: Dream Team (US, 08/11/13)
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