A Great Mario Game, RPG, and Game in general, in exciting 2D. *Spoiler-Free*

User Rating: 9.5 | Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door GC
Pros: Wonderful 2D/3D graphics, Epic story, Fleshed-out characters, great turn-based RPG combat, Long, Really draws you in.
Cons: I'd be hardpressed to find something bad about this game, but I guess the music during the combat gets kinda repetitive. Were you expecting anything but great? It's Mario, for God's sake; but to some people that means nothing; so I am pleased to tell you that this game is nothing short of incredible, Mario or not. PM:TTYD is a 2D/3D RPG, sequel to Paper Mario on N64, with different elements from different Mario games thrown in, to create a fleshed-out world; much like Final Fantasy (before XIII). You play as Mario (of course) as he arrives in a new town ready for a new adventure, plot happens, and he has to open a Thousand-Year old door to save the world.This game is much more story-based than most Mario game, being an RPG and all. To speak more about the story would be to give some fun plot points away; so I suppose we should move on to how it plays. It plays much like any other RPG; you walk around, explore, buy things, do side quests, walk in to battles, grind to level up, and discover secrets and such; just with a lot of Mario thrown in, which is a good thing. You walk around as Mario, along with a partner, which you find some of during the game, each with their own powers and weaknesses; break things with his hammer to find items (such as health, and power-ups), which can help you in the most difficult of fights. Combat occurs when you walk into an enemy (or they walk into you, whichever happens first), and it takes you to this stage where you fight the enem(ies) in front of a "live audience"; the actual fights themselves are just basic RPG turn-based action: you stomp, hammer, or use a move you learned to attack once, then they all attack you once, basic stuff. People could argue that it sucks you can't just pass by enemies when you're not "up" to fighting, but I say what kind of logic is that? This is an RPG, you need XP to get through it, which you get from killing enemies; at least it's not like Final Fantasy III on the NES, where you are just walking around and a battle hits you instantly, with no indication of such an enemy. The rest of the game consists of puzzles and such, exploring, and back-tracking; don't be afraid of exploring, you never know what you might find.... The sound design and graphics are both stellar. The score is exactly what you'd expect in a Mario game, and the graphics are great; being a mix between 2D characters moving a long a 3D plane, and 3D paper-looking graphics. Everything on that end is great. There is also this fortune teller, who can tell you fortunes, such as where items are located and how to solve puzzles, at a price; but it doesn't take a genius to know you can just read the fortune, turn of the system, and keep the cash and the fortune; a similar thing can happen at a lottery, where you buy a ticket and a number is randomly chosen at midnight; the time is based off of the Gamecube clock, so you could buy another ticked if you just changed the time, of course you'd be fined $500 dollars (in-game), and get a Game Over screen if you tried it again; this is sort of the video game equivalent to going into Target, stealing something, not getting caught, all while they know you did it; you come back, do it again, keep doing until they have a big enough case against you to arrest you for a long time (those guys are serious). Bottom Line: This is a one-of-a-kind game that will keep you grinning for hours to come, everything you want from an RPG. Final Score: 10