If I was to go back into time 20 some-odd years and tell a much younger, confused at why I was using this chance to time travel to talk about video games, and still in middle school, version of myself about the ever increasingly popularity of Earthbound throughout the years I am pretty sure that he wouldn’t believe me—that among other, better and more important questions than just how I clearly wasted my chance to alert the course of history. Truth be told, I can’t really put my finger on the moment that the nostalgia for the game went from something that people joked about to something that was held in super high regard. However it happened, Citizens of Earth is a love letter to that game that is almost begging everyone who hasn’t played it to boot up their Wii U and download it.
You play as the newly elected Vice President of Earth, although aside from leading a group of people around you don’t really seem to do anything aside from talking—so I guess that bit is exactly like real life. Normally at this point in the review I would talk about the plot, but for the most part it kind of seems like stuff happens, which leads to other stuff happening, which leads to a bunch of stuff happening—much in the same way that the spiritual predecessor for this game’s plot flowed. There isn’t even a problem with the way that the game carries events as a fluid movement from one event flag to another as whoever made the game just seems to have crafted a world in which that sort of thing happens.
The most interesting aspect of the game is that almost every character that is spoken to can be recruited at one point, although that presents the same problems that occur in other games with the same mechanic. It is great when a large cast of characters is introduced into a game, but the problem quickly becomes making every single one of them different from the last one—which they aren’t. The characters almost instantly fall into one of three categories, healer, damage dealer, and some kind of on the field utility character. The first two are self-explanatory, although the problem with those become that some of them are simply better than others, while the utility characters manage to do things on the over world. The life guard allows the players to walk underwater, the car salesman lets players summon a car to drive around faster, and the repairman fixes… things… The problem with them is that they are almost never useful aside from that one skill and pretty much get tossed the moment it is no longer needed.
Citizens of Earth is a great game, and in all honesty is a pretty easy recommendation to anyone with any system that is capable of playing any kind of game—it came out on almost everything. The only massive fault of the game is simply from the genre that it falls into, and we probably would have been having an entirely different conversation about it if it had done something different there. That said, there is no doubt in my mind that this is exactly the game that the team behind it set out to make; they also did that very well and skillfully. The least you can do it pick it up.
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