Why I dislike BIS DX (WARNING: LOTS OF TEXT)

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Disclaimer: This is just my opinion. I'm not insulting anyone who likes the game, nor am I attacking those who worked on it. I think the Alpha Dream employees did the best they could given the circumstances of this game's development. I'm not a game designer, and I'm not going to pretend like I know more than them. This is just how I feel, as a fan of the original game.

I love the original Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story. It's one of my all-time favorites. I consider it to be the best Mario RPG. I think the music is excellent, the combat is fast and fun, the story is engaging, the writing is hilarious, and I think it has one of the best villains in the entire Mario franchise. But when the remake was announced, I was... confused. In retrospect we now know it was Alpha Dream's last attempt to save themselves from bankruptcy, but at the time, it seemed like the most pointless game ever. You could already play BIS on the 3DS through backwards compatibility. And even if this remake was on Switch, I'd still argue that BIS didn't need a remake. Yes it has flaws, but the original game is still perfectly playable.

So I chose to pass on it. I watched it come out on the same day as New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe (...why?) and saw it become one of the worst selling Mario games ever made. No one I knew bought it, and the stuff I read online about it didn't entice me. Last year though, I decided I wanted to give it an honest chance. I went in with an open mind and... I hated it so much that I dropped it after Plack Beach. Yeah, it was that bad. I could hardly stand playing a version of one of my favorite games for more than a few hours. Many months later I decided to just power through and finish the game. My opinion didn't change very much. I wanted to rant, so here I am logging into my old Mario Boards account to do so.

Before I list the negatives, here are some positives:

- The tutorials are tuned down in the remake. It's very simple to decline tutorials when they pop up, and they're way less obnoxious. This was by far the biggest flaw with the original, so I'm glad they fixed it in the remake.

- You can FF through dialog in the remake. Not that the original desperately needed this, but it is a good feature to have.

- You don't have to blow in the mic in the remake. Makes giant battles way more tolerable, plus it means you don't look like an idiot when playing the game in public.

- In the remake, you can have both bros. jump by pressing Y, even if you don't have the jump command selected. This is a nice QoL feature carried over from SS DX (and maybe PJ? idk I never played it).

- The new backgrounds inside of Bowser look great. They even have some moving elements that didn't exist in the original.

- In the remake, you get the option to retry any boss you die on. The original let you do this if you had any "retry clocks," but there were a finite amount of them and they were hard to come by. Making this a standard feature was a good move.

- I like how in the remake, bosses will enter fury mode when low on health. It spices up battles a bit and lets me know I'm nearing the end of the fight.

- The new song for the Dark Star is great.

Okay, now for the negatives. As a warning, there's a lot of text. I wrote so much that my fingers started to hurt. I've separated each section into different parts to make things more readable:

No disrespect to Yoko Shimomura, I love pretty much all of her work, but I think the new OST is awful. Music is subjective of course, but I'm very unhappy with the remixes. Every time I entered a new area I was like "Oh God why does it sound like that". I hated what they did to Cavi Cape, In the Final, Deep Regions, the boss theme, Mario and Luigi's battle theme, and many others. It seriously brought down the game for me. And I wouldn't even care as much if they gave me the option to use the original OST, but there's no such option. The original OST does exist in the game, but you can only listen to it in the options menu.

Some will defend the new OST by saying that they made new songs for Dark Fawful and the Dark Star, but honestly, I don't like Dark Fawful's theme at all. It's just a slowed-down version of Cackletta's theme from SS, which doesn't fit the fast-paced combat of Mario & Luigi in my opinion. I would've been happy if they just reused the Dark Star's theme for that fight instead. I will concede that some songs are okay, like Peach's Castle DX, Plack Beach DX, and the new Dark Star theme like I said earlier. Also, Bumpsy Plains DX is a genuine improvement if I'm being honest.

The remake runs at 30 FPS, as opposed to the original which was at 60. Normally I don't mind games not being 60 FPS, especially a 3DS game, but considering SS DX ran at 60, I'm disappointed they couldn't achieve the same thing here. And despite what some will say, YES, the framerate matters in this game. Having less frames means you have less chances to successfully perform action commands. Because of this, I was having trouble jumping over Durmite's string, which isn't something I had to worry about in the original.

Since all the attacks were originally designed for a game that ran at 60 FPS, the developers had to rework them so they wouldn't be frustrating to do at 30. Less frames = less opportunities to time your button presses. Their solution was to slow down everything. Moves that were once fast paced and fun to pull off, are now much slower and harder to mess up. To make the attacks not take forever, most moves have less hits, and each hit does more damage (as to not nerf them). So although the attacks take about as long in both versions, the ones in the remake are way less fun.

For example, the Spin Pipe is an attack that requires heavy focus. In the original game, it hits 8 times, and speeds up after each hit. The pipe will also switch up its rotation to mess with you. The reason this attack is fun is because it requires skill to pull off. The Spin Pipe in the remake however, does not. It only has 5 hits, it's pitifully slow, and never gets faster. Additionally, unlike the original, it never switches its rotation to mess you up. It's a boring, inferior attack that isn't nearly as fun as the original. Pretty much ALL the attacks are like this. And yet I still see people saying "it's an RPG, the FPS doesn't matter at all."

I think the worst change was what happened to the Magic Window. In the original, Magic Window was an attack that could theoretically last forever. It was obtained after defeating the secret boss, and it would keep going, getting faster after every hit, and wouldn't end until you messed up. It was my favorite attack. It's fun to get good at, fun to see how long you can go without it ending, and it's impressive watching people online reach absurd numbers. But in the remake, it's completely different. Because the remake runs at 30 FPS, porting over Magic Window faithfully would make it too frustrating to use. If they just slowed it down, then it would become OP. Even if they nerfed the damage, that wouldn't matter because it's infinite. So they made the decision to remove its main appeal and just turned it into a normal attack that hits for a specific amount of times with a finishing blow at the end. They definitely made the right move, but it just sucks that it has to be this way. This is what frustrates me about the whole debate surrounding BIS DX's framerate. No, the FPS isn't just about how it looks or feels, it's the reason why they overhauled every attack, and in my opinion, made the game less fun.

I also have complaints with the difficulty. This probably has to do with Bros. Attacks being easier to do, but bosses die way too quickly. I was watching Chuggaaconroy's stream the other day, and he said that he one-shotted several bosses on the first turn, without grinding. I didn't experience anything like that, however I was disappointed with how quickly Junker died.

I've played the original game multiple times. And in my opinion, Junker is the hardest boss. Some people will argue the Fawful Express is harder, I disagree but I can see why. Nevertheless, I can defeat most of the bosses in 1 try, but Junker is the exception. I enjoyed how hard Junker was in the original, so I was really disappointed to see how pitifully easy he was in the remake. In the original, he had this one move where he'd just remove Luigi from the battle, and you'd have to spend at least a couple turns getting him back. It was complete BS, but hey that made it fun and challenging. In the remake however, you can avoid this entirely with a new action command that takes zero effort. So what was once a challenging fight that took me many tries, is now a pushover that I took care of in >10 turns.

The title screen is way worse in the remake. Most people will say that this is not important, but I really like the original BIS's title screen. It has Peach's Castle on the top screen, with a pool of water on the bottom. Eventually, Peach's Castle's reflection turns into Bowser's Castle. It's both a great way of utilizing the DS's dual screens while also showcasing the theme of the game. I also like how the options are on the bottom, and selecting one will cause a ripple in the water.

But my favorite part of it by far is the music. I love it. It gives me such a warm feeling, and every time I start the game, I spend a couple minutes just listening to it. It's no wonder they why reused it for the credits theme. But the remake changed all of it. Now, the new title screen isn't exactly "bad". It has a neat animation of Bowser inhaling everything, then shows him at the top with Mario and friends on the bottom. It's a good way of showing the main mechanic of the game, but I still prefer the original. Also it has a completely new song which is... fine, I guess. As an additional complaint, why is there no play time counter for your save files? The original had it, why not the remake? Yes, you can look in your 3DS's activity log, but this game has 2 save slots.

In my opinion, Charles Martinet's performance in BIS is one of his best. He does a fantastic job. There's so many scenes that are carried by his voice acting. But the remake for whatever reason changed so many lines, that in my opinion, removes a lot of soul that the original had. Here's some examples:

- Remember the "Let's-a go! Okey-Dokey!" that played when you entered battle? I love it. It's very cheerful and enthusiastic, and gets me pumped up for battle. But in the remake, they changed those lines. Mario now gives out the most unenthusiastic let's-a go I have ever heard in my entire life. Seriously. I dare anyone in this thread to find a SINGLE let's-a go that sounds less upbeat. Spoiler: you can't. They also changed Luigi's enthusiastic okey-dokey to the nervous one from SS, which I mean is a good line, but I personally prefer the one from the original BIS.

- Bowser still says "Showtime" when entering battle, but not when he gets a first strike. Instead he just laughs. Not a huge deal, but it makes me slightly less happy to get a first strike.

- In the original, Luigi had a line where he'd cry Mario's name. This was used in a few different places. In the remake however, it was changed to another line where Luigi just casually says his name. This makes it feel very out of place when used in the game's contexts. Like that time when he cries after being reunited with Mario after being inhaled by Bowser. It doesn't match his crying animation at all.

- This one is by far the biggest example. There's a point in the game where Mario and Luigi need to fake being sick so they can see a doctor. What made this scene funny was Luigi's "cough", but they ruined it in the remake by changing his line. Here's the scene from the original, and here's the scene from the remake. You tell me which is funnier.

So, the remake definitely looks good. Some elements make it look a lot better than the original. However there are a few things that I don't like about it. Here's a couple examples:

- The grass in Peach's Castle (technically Fawful's at that point in the story) was changed from pink to this lifeless gray color. I completely understand the argument that the gray is more fitting in the context of the story, but idk man I like pink grass more.

- I hate the way Bowser looks. He just seems too... scary. Bowser's character in BIS is that he's a goofball. A very capable goofball, but still a goofball. But this version of Bowser is just too threatening. Not too mention, his facial expressions are way worse than in the original.

Those are all the major gripes I have, but I do have a few minor nitpicks.

- The effect where the bottom screen shakes as you move Bowser is more apparent in the remake, and I personally find it distracting.

- They changed it so Bowser can't use Syrup and added Cheese instead. Was this really needed? It just adds more stuff I have to scroll passed when going through my inventory.

- I really hate how the game keeps saying "Don't forget to restore your HP & BP!" every time I use a new save block. I don't need to be reminded of this, game.

- There's no left-handed mode for giant battles.

- I heard that the game lags when playing on an older 3DS model. I played it on my New 2DS XL so I didn't have this issue, but I thought I'd mention it.

- In the original game, the Midbus fight in Bowser's Castle was fought inside a cage, and Fawful referred to it as "The Heavyweight Cage War of All Destruction". In the remake, they removed the cage, but Fawful still has his original line. He talks about a cage that doesn't exist. Boy, I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder.

So yeah, there's my thoughts. I might add more later on if I remember anything. But I'd like to hear what you guys think. So few people bought the remake that there's not much discussion of it online.

Also, here's a fun fact: If you think about it, Bowser's Inside Story is both the best and worst selling Mario & Luigi game.

Edit: Punctuation, spacing, factual errors, wording.
 
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I definitely understand the criticisms but I still love the remake. I was downright crushed by how badly it sold, doubly so when the news broke of AlphaDream's bankruptcy.

Believe it or not I didn't really notice the FPS being lower until it was pointed out online. I did notice the timing of attacks was different, but that was also the case in the Superstar Saga remake so I didn't think much of it, I just got used to the new timing.

As a terminal Fawful fan, I ate UP everything Fawful related in this remake. His new sprites, his new music (even if yeah I kinda agree that his new battle theme is too slow and could have been much better), and oh boy HIS CASTLE RENOVATIONS. Especially Peach's Castle, I LOVED how it's now cold and industrialized rather than being the exact same colors & designs as the normal Peach's Castle just with some added pipes & damage and Fawful emblems here and there. In the remake he COMPLETELY overhauled it and i'm here for that.

I also loved the side story. (the STORY specifically. The gameplay is whatever, just like Minion Quest) This has to be the most I've ever given a shit about the Koopalings in any Mario game ever. And Bowser Jr's growth is heartwarming. This game made Morton my favorite Koopaling and firmly warmed me up to the personality he's had since Color Splash. On top of that, I love the Best Fitness Friends and was very glad to see three totally new original villains, something that we had not seen in the RPGs since Dream Team. Sadly they were gone as fast as they arrived and thanks to how poorly this remake sold they're destined to be some of the most obscure and unknown characters in the franchise.

Out of all the gripes with this game, the voice clip one bothers me the most. Mainly because of how inconsequential it would've been to just use the same voice clips they used originally, but for some godforsaken reason chose not to. Regardless, I still came out of the remake with far more positives than negatives, and I still look back fondly on the time I streamed it at midnight when it first came out. Both the Superstar Saga and Bowser's Inside Story remakes generated similar hype from me to the SMRPG and TTYD remakes we're getting now. Heck my reaction to the BIS remake was THE moment of that Direct for me, over even the tease of Smash.

In the end, Nintendo blessed us with modern Fawful appearances to a room full of crickets, that will never not break my heart :(
 
I didn't like how Partners in Time got snubbed.
 
I definitely understand the criticisms but I still love the remake. I was downright crushed by how badly it sold, doubly so when the news broke of AlphaDream's bankruptcy.

Believe it or not I didn't really notice the FPS being lower until it was pointed out online. I did notice the timing of attacks was different, but that was also the case in the Superstar Saga remake so I didn't think much of it, I just got used to the new timing.

As a terminal Fawful fan, I ate UP everything Fawful related in this remake. His new sprites, his new music (even if yeah I kinda agree that his new battle theme is too slow and could have been much better), and oh boy HIS CASTLE RENOVATIONS. Especially Peach's Castle, I LOVED how it's now cold and industrialized rather than being the exact same colors & designs as the normal Peach's Castle just with some added pipes & damage and Fawful emblems here and there. In the remake he COMPLETELY overhauled it and i'm here for that.

I also loved the side story. (the STORY specifically. The gameplay is whatever, just like Minion Quest) This has to be the most I've ever given a shit about the Koopalings in any Mario game ever. And Bowser Jr's growth is heartwarming. This game made Morton my favorite Koopaling and firmly warmed me up to the personality he's had since Color Splash. On top of that, I love the Best Fitness Friends and was very glad to see three totally new original villains, something that we had not seen in the RPGs since Dream Team. Sadly they were gone as fast as they arrived and thanks to how poorly this remake sold they're destined to be some of the most obscure and unknown characters in the franchise.

Out of all the gripes with this game, the voice clip one bothers me the most. Mainly because of how inconsequential it would've been to just use the same voice clips they used originally, but for some godforsaken reason chose not to. Regardless, I still came out of the remake with far more positives than negatives, and I still look back fondly on the time I streamed it at midnight when it first came out. Both the Superstar Saga and Bowser's Inside Story remakes generated similar hype from me to the SMRPG and TTYD remakes we're getting now. Heck my reaction to the BIS remake was THE moment of that Direct for me, over even the tease of Smash.

In the end, Nintendo blessed us with modern Fawful appearances to a room full of crickets, that will never not break my heart :(
Yeah the changes made to Peach's Castle at the end are really great. It's one of the aesthetic enhancements from the remake that I really appreciate. Though personally I can't fully enjoy the area because of the new remixed song. It's another subjective thing, but the original Deep Castle is one of my favorite pieces from the original OST, and I hate the new version.

I never played the side mode. I tried Bowser's Minions in SS DX for about 10 minutes, thought it was boring, and never touched it again. I didn't think I'd enjoy Bowser Jr.'s Journey either, so I passed. But you seem to like it so maybe I'll give it a go.

I didn't like how Partners in Time got snubbed.
I've actually never played Partners in Time. I watched Chuggaaconroy's LP of it a few years back but yeah.
 
Yeah in terms of the soundtrack I liked most of the remixes, they sounded about how i'd expect those songs to sound in a 3DS M&L. The only one I personally think was a notable downgrade was In the Final, but it's fucking In The Final, imo 99% of the liberties you can take with it will downgrade it in some way. The ideal way to remaster that song is just to use the exact same instruments in higher quality. I also think it's a shame that the title screen song was just replaced with something else, though I like the new song itself.
 
I pretty much agree with all your points on the Bowser's Inside Story remake. It was a completely unnecessary remake that spelled doom for AlphaDream as a company and sullied an otherwise legendary game. Particularly the point you made about the framerate being abysmal; I could feel it right away too, and it just left a bad taste in my mouth. I beat the game in its entirety, and a lot of things were changed just for the sake of change, and I can't say they were for the better (I eventually just sold my copy off on eBay, as I was ashamed to be a part of the measly few that bought it on release, and I just would rather keep the DS version instead).

I'm not sure if you feel the same way, but you forgot to mention how different the giant Bowser battles are from the original. If you recall, the giant Luigi battles in Dream Team were in full 3D, gorgeously modeled by the folks at Good-Feel (Since AlphaDream lacked experience in 3D modeling). It looked amazing and they were a step up from the giant battles in BIS. It had an almost cel-shaded look to it at times; it was very smooth and the fact it ran as well as it did on the 3DS was nothing short of impressive.


giant luigi battle.png


It translated the Mario & Luigi style perfectly in 3D, and it made me excited at the prospect of a potential full-on 3D game in the future in this style. However, they didn't contract Good-Feel again for the BIS remake... Which is weird, because I was told they were allegedly taught rudimentary 3D modeling by Good-Feel in order to get Cackletta Soul out as a model for the Superstar Saga remake. Instead, they contracted Arzest... You know, the infamous devs behind Yoshi's New Island and Hey! Pikmin. Their skill at 3D modelling is not as good as Good-Feel's is on the 3DS. Models from them look very jaggy and not as robust... They are almost cheap in the way it's made. I'm sure people feel similarly about their recently released Sonic Superstars game as well.

Anyways, the point is, I don't think they did as good of a job as Good-Feel translating the M&L look to 3D. Whereas I would wager the quality of the DT fights were almost GameCube/Wii quality, the ones here in the BIS remake feel like Nintendo 64 quality at times. I think they even reused the Bowser model from DT, which is just another aspect of its cheapness. I'm not sure whether its placebos, or if DT's art direction was superior, but there is something different and off about the battles this time around. It is hard to explain, it's like a very rote and lazy translation lacking any "oomph" to it. I guess Super Peach's Castle looks OK, but the rest...


giant bowser.png


Here in one example, you can see the characteristic jaggy-ness of the models that resemble their other 3DS games. It really speaks volumes as to how desperate AlphaDream were that they had to settle for someone that was super cheap like Arzest. I guess they just couldn't afford to pay for Good-Feel's expertise anymore? Or perhaps Good-Feel was busy with Monkey Barrels at that time. Either way, I don't like the look of the giant battles in the remake. I could tell the quality apart immediately. Some people might not see much of a difference, but I could sense there was something off.

Ultimately, I guess I can chalk it up to it being that in the original, they used scaling sprites, which had a charm of its own and sold the grand scale of the battles, but here Arzest were just dutifully remaking it in 3D, and it loses some of the magic in the process. And in DT, the giant battles had more room to be whimsicial due to the dream theming, but alas...

I think about the only thing I enjoyed in the remake was the Koopalings and Bowser Jr's development as a character in the story for Bowser Jr.'s Journey, as well as the Best Fitness Friends, but that was in a rather testy side mode with auto-chess gameplay I didn't really find all that engaging. I still say to this day that this one side mode was the best characterization the Koopalings and Jr. ever got, and it really helped flesh them out. Sadly, we will never know what future plans AlphaDream had after this final swan song, as flawed as it was.
 
I pretty much agree with all your points on the Bowser's Inside Story remake. It was a completely unnecessary remake that spelled doom for AlphaDream as a company and sullied an otherwise legendary game. Particularly the point you made about the framerate being abysmal; I could feel it right away too, and it just left a bad taste in my mouth. I beat the game in its entirety, and a lot of things were changed just for the sake of change, and I can't say they were for the better (I eventually just sold my copy off on eBay, as I was ashamed to be a part of the measly few that bought it on release, and I just would rather keep the DS version instead).

I'm not sure if you feel the same way, but you forgot to mention how different the giant Bowser battles are from the original. If you recall, the giant Luigi battles in Dream Team were in full 3D, gorgeously modeled by the folks at Good-Feel (Since AlphaDream lacked experience in 3D modeling). It looked amazing and they were a step up from the giant battles in BIS. It had an almost cel-shaded look to it at times; it was very smooth and the fact it ran as well as it did on the 3DS was nothing short of impressive.


View attachment 39985

It translated the Mario & Luigi style perfectly in 3D, and it made me excited at the prospect of a potential full-on 3D game in the future in this style. However, they didn't contract Good-Feel again for the BIS remake... Which is weird, because I was told they were allegedly taught rudimentary 3D modeling by Good-Feel in order to get Cackletta Soul out as a model for the Superstar Saga remake. Instead, they contracted Arzest... You know, the infamous devs behind Yoshi's New Island and Hey! Pikmin. Their skill at 3D modelling is not as good as Good-Feel's is on the 3DS. Models from them look very jaggy and not as robust... They are almost cheap in the way it's made. I'm sure people feel similarly about their recently released Sonic Superstars game as well.

Anyways, the point is, I don't think they did as good of a job as Good-Feel translating the M&L look to 3D. Whereas I would wager the quality of the DT fights were almost GameCube/Wii quality, the ones here in the BIS remake feel like Nintendo 64 quality at times. I think they even reused the Bowser model from DT, which is just another aspect of its cheapness. I'm not sure whether its placebos, or if DT's art direction was superior, but there is something different and off about the battles this time around. It is hard to explain, it's like a very rote and lazy translation lacking any "oomph" to it. I guess Super Peach's Castle looks OK, but the rest...


View attachment 39987

Here in one example, you can see the characteristic jaggy-ness of the models that resemble their other 3DS games. It really speaks volumes as to how desperate AlphaDream were that they had to settle for someone that was super cheap like Arzest. I guess they just couldn't afford to pay for Good-Feel's expertise anymore? Or perhaps Good-Feel was busy with Monkey Barrels at that time. Either way, I don't like the look of the giant battles in the remake. I could tell the quality apart immediately. Some people might not see much of a difference, but I could sense there was something off.

Ultimately, I guess I can chalk it up to it being that in the original, they used scaling sprites, which had a charm of its own and sold the grand scale of the battles, but here Arzest were just dutifully remaking it in 3D, and it loses some of the magic in the process. And in DT, the giant battles had more room to be whimsicial due to the dream theming, but alas...

I think about the only thing I enjoyed in the remake was the Koopalings and Bowser Jr's development as a character in the story for Bowser Jr.'s Journey, as well as the Best Fitness Friends, but that was in a rather testy side mode with auto-chess gameplay I didn't really find all that engaging. I still say to this day that this one side mode was the best characterization the Koopalings and Jr. ever got, and it really helped flesh them out. Sadly, we will never know what future plans AlphaDream had after this final swan song, as flawed as it was.
I didn't pay the giant battles much attention because tbh I'm not a big fan of them, even in the original game. They're cool for spectacle and the song is nice, but the actual battles are just okay. I think I did notice that Bowser's model looked pretty rough, but my main frustration with the giant battles is that there was no left-handed mode. So even though they're "improved" in the sense that you don't have to blow into the mic anymore, I still prefer the original because I'm left-handed. However it is nice that you can rematch all the giant bosses in the remake.

I haven't played Dream Team in a LONG time, and I never finished it, so idk if I even experienced its giant battles.

Now that 2 people ITT have told me Bowser Jr.'s Journey is good (or at least the writing is), I'll definitely give it a try.
 
Ti me it didn't feel like a big deal. I don't really care about frame rates or anything, they just seemed like basically the same game and it didn't matter which one you played. I played through the first, and now playing through the remake, they really are just not that different.
 
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