I absolutely love Blaster Master and Inti Creates have taken the franchise to new heights with their Zero trilogy so let's see how it ends.
Even though there have been countless incredible games in recent years, few series have remained as consistently high-quality as Blaster Master Zero. The first game was a fantastic modernization of the NES classic while the second expanded upon its formula by having you traverse areas in outer space. Plus, that sequel introduced a wonderful cast of imaginative and endearing characters. It really is amazing what the developers have accomplished with these games. Additionally, their old-school approach to providing a substantial and rewarding sense of challenge makes these games stand out in the deluge of video games that seem to be getting easier and easier. I still love being challenged when I play games so this aspect is greatly appreciated and I'm sure it is for many other old-school gamers, too.
So, where does Blaster Master Zero 3 fit in to all of this? Well, sadly, it's the end of the Jason trilogy but that makes me wonder: will there be a spin-off starring Eve? Knowing Inti Creates as well as I do; I think that's very possible. Anyway, although it's the end, it continues the trend of the previous 2 games in a fantastic way. Its blend of side-scrolling overworld areas and overhead dungeons is as gratifying as ever and on top of that, you'll gradually gain access to a whole new arsenal of abilities and weapons that make traversal, solving puzzles, and dealing with enemies involving feats that never become tiresome, especially considering how intricate its world is.
One feature that I love is the fact that you can assign skills to a couple of shortcut buttons which means that you can tap 2 of the face buttons to use your currently-equipped primary and secondary weapons while occasionally deploying some extra firepower by tapping 2 shoulder buttons. You can do this whether you're on foot or in G-SOPHIA SV (the new tank) and it's super-helpful. Speaking of which, there are loads of abilities and weapons to acquire such as being able to deploy spider-like legs to walk on dangerous surfaces, scan for enemies and fire homing lasers, liquefy and dash through certain surfaces, start equipment with electrical sparks, and much more.
On top of all this, Blaster Master Zero 3 has the most intricate world in the series so far due to its VRV system which allows you to enter portals to another dimension. In other words, areas can have multiple layers so you'll regularly have to traverse this super-dimension to progress in the regular dimension. Plus, many bonus dungeons use this extra dimension for alternate paths. Needless to say, it gets confusing fast. In fact, it can make figuring out where to go next exceptionally perplexing at times. Even though you have a map, you'll still end up wandering around which quickly gets tedious. With that said, I still appreciate the awe-inspiring complexity of it all.
Of course, Blaster Master Zero 3 has a top-notch retro-inspired soundtrack as to be expected and its pixel-perfect visuals are spot-on for an old-school experience. I also enjoy the character artwork within the cutscenes as well as the animations which make the tank and Jason himself come to life. Meanwhile, the story is intriguing as it's set after Blaster Master Zero 2 and upon reaching Eve's home planet of Sophia, Jason is captured but escapes with the help of a mysterious gentleman. From there, you'll meet some familiar characters.
I enjoyed the story a lot but in the end, found it to be a bit of a step down from Blaster Master Zero 2 which really took a huge leap from the first game to provide a memorable cast of characters who occupy a truly epic and varied game world that takes place on multiple planets and everywhere in between. Blaster Master Zero 3 feels slightly more confined in its world and its new characters aren't as special as Blaster Master Zero 2's. It still makes for one excellent adventure, though, especially if you're familiar with the story and cast.
Blaster Master Zero 3 is a rewarding and memorable conclusion to an epic trilogy of incredible games. So, if you're bored with the recent wave of hand-holding AAA titles, you'll definitely enjoy its old-school level of challenge that's set in one amazingly intricate world.
- + Awesome action-packed gameplay that's tight and wonderfully challenging
- + Excellent music and pixel graphics
- + Loads of secret upgrades to discover
- - Figuring out where to go next can sometimes be perplexing and tedious
- - Game world is less captivating than the one in Blaster Master Zero 2