A remake of Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
Mario, Bowser, and Peach partner up to repair the wish-granting Star Road in this approachable role-playing adventure. Team up with an oddball group of heroes to save Star Road and stop the troublemaking Smithy Gang. This colorful RPG has updated graphics and cinematics that add even more charm to the unexpected alliance between Mario, Bowser, Peach, and original characters Mallow and Geno. Enter (or revisit) this world of eccentric allies and offbeat enemies in an RPG for everyone.
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I want to like this game, I really do - it’s cute, got great music (Yoko Shimamura score my beloved), charming visual style (tho I think I prefer the original snes look)….but none of it seems to do it for me.
I think if I played this when I was 5 it would’ve had more of an impact on me, but unfortunately that award goes to Final Fantasy Mystic Quest so ¯\(ツ)/¯
You could argue that the Super Mario RPG remake actually loses a fair bit of the original's soul. The visuals are no longer 16-bit pseudo 3D, meaning the weird, off-kilter and somewhat creepy atmosphere from the original has been lost. Not all of the remixes on the soundtrack are a hit. But I can really appreciate the care put into the Super Mario RPG remake after playing a remake like Persona 3 Reload that feels like it had the soul zapped straight out of it.
Super Mario RPG remake is so close to the original experience that in a lot of ways it's like a remaster rather than a remake. But it's impossible to remaster a 16-bit pseudo 3D game into a real 3D game, so make no mistake, this game was built from the ground up. The isometric perspective is kept along with all the various other quirks about Super Mario RPG. And while things like the isometric perspective make Super Mario RPG feel dated, keeping them was essential for retaining the game's soul.
I know there some people who have issues with the remake's visuals, but personally I was very impressed. Many of the game's locations feel like a pure translation of the pseudo 3D artstyle into real 3D. The game's world map is a great example of this. Some people would have liked the game to be remade to be claymation... however, to me the original Super Mario RPG's actual in-game visuals don't resemble clay at all.
Remaking a classic soundtrack like Super Mario RPG's is very difficult, but I think Yoko Shimomura did a pretty good job for the most part. Most of the remixes on the soundtrack gain something from using real instruments while also losing something by not using SNES audio. That's about the most you can hope for when remaking an excellent soundtrack. Thankfully only a handful of remixes can be considered far worse than the original. What's more impressive is that there are a number of tracks that even surpass the originals by leaning into a style of music that the SNES just couldn't replicate. For example: the Booster Tower lobby remix is fantastic. The original track was going for a sort of Bossa Nova feel (I think that's the style of music, correct me if I'm wrong), but the track really needed real instruments to achieve the kind of style the original was going for. This is why I think the Booster's Tower lobby theme is the best remix on the soundtrack. It was able to become something more than the original track rather than being a desperate attempt at trying to recreate the original exactly the way it was. And possibly the best thing about this remake in the sound department is that you have the option to choose the original soundtrack if the remixes aren't your thing. No DLC required. (Another strike against Persona 3 Reload)
Super Mario RPG never had a super interesting battle system or anything, but I do like the added super moves and ability to change characters during combat. Though I do think they made an already easy game even easier, so the option to play on a harder difficulty was sorely needed.
There are plenty of reasons to remake a game, but in my opinion it's all pointless if the remake loses the soul of the original game. Quality of life features are nice, but I'd take a clunkier experience that retains the original vision any day over a remake that sands off all the rough edges but sands the soul off as well. But I don't think we should have to choose between those two options. The ideal would be that the remake is just a purely better version of the same game, which is something that can be argued the Super Mario RPG remake (mostly) achieves. The best thing that can be said about the Super Mario RPG remake is that new players won't be playing a watered down version of Super Mario RPG with the remake. They'll be getting the authentic Super Mario RPG experience - for better AND worse.
I wish more companies would follow the example of this remake. I like remakes but I feel like too many lately are ruining something good by trying to be different instead of trying to preserve what was good about the original game.