Family and Finality
To some of you, it may sound odd that the story in a series like this would be compelling or deep. But I do quite enjoy the plot of these games. Jason and Eve’s struggle against the mutants has been a tale to behold for me. But to explain why we need to cover the first two games plots briefly. As such, please be advised there are spoilers for Blaster Master Zero I & II. Ready? Let’s go!
The first game’s plot revolves around Jason searching for Fred and fighting the mutants. But, along the way, he rescues Eve and befriends her. Now, at first glance, you would have no way of knowing Eve was a support droid, or gynoid, as Zero III likes to inform us. And Jason treats her just like a person. However, even after he learns the truth, he doesn’t treat her any differently.
She’s not a tool or something disposable. He still respects and cares for her as a person. This extends even to the game’s climax, where he infiltrates another space to save her from the mutant core, which is taking over both her and Sophia the 3rd. In the end, he succeeds, and you can tell the two have some chemistry between them. But sadly, this was only the beginning of their trials.
Blaster Master Zero II picks up with, as I mentioned, the pair on their way to Planet Sophia. The reason? Eve has become infected with mutant cells from when the Mutant Core tried to assimilate her and Sophia the 3rd. And sadly, she is becoming corrupted and mutated. While one might think this means she’s about to be scrapped, Jason will have none of that and sets out with her to find a cure.
Their journey takes them across the stars, and they end up meeting other Metal Attacker teams (the Metal Attackers are the tanks you drive in the series). The bonds that Jason and Eve form end up saving them when at the end of this adventure, it’s Eve and the other MA teams who save Jason. With Eve somehow gaining the power to purify the mutants and, in the end, rid herself of the mutant corruption. This brings us to the third game.
Blaster Master Zero III is the conclusion of the trilogy, and as such, has a lot of questions it needs to answer. Especially when it comes to Eve’s sudden recovery. Specifically… was it really a recovery? On the one hand, it does make sense for the forces of Planet Sophia to immediately detain and quarantine Jason, Eve, and the Gaia Sophia SV until they can figure out what’s going on. On the other… yeah, Jason and you as the player aren’t going to stand for this.
You’ve fought too long and hard to let something happen to Eve. Not to mention, by this point, I wanted to see Jason and Eve together as a couple. After all, with what they’ve been through, they deserve some damn happiness. Hence, why I was so invested in this game and its plot. I really wanted to finish this fight so these two could have that happily ever after. Is it a silly reason to be invested in a game? Maybe, but that’s what a good story does.
While I love stuff like Super Robot Wars T, which is a grand epic tale, sometimes all you need is the desire to see your heroes be happy to tell a good story. Good characters can draw you in and make you care about the simplest of things. Heck, slice-of-life anime thrives off that idea, for example. Though, the real question is, does it deliver?
While I obviously won’t spoil the ending, I will say that I did enjoy the direction Inti Creates took this time. And Blaster Master Zero III is a fantastic finale for the trilogy plot-wise. If you enjoyed the previous two games’ plots, I think you’ll enjoy this one. Though, is there anything that doesn’t work? We’ll… there are a few things. Let’s keep the character train rolling and talk about your supporter for this game: Leibniz.
Dealing With That One Jerk
Leibniz was a character that was introduced in Blaster Master Zero II as kind of a rival for Jason and a cautionary tale. While at first glance, he seems to be a rouge Metal Attacker pilot, he does have his reasons for standing in Jason and Eve’s way. His character growth is a major plot point in Zero II. However, in Zero III, they made him the support character that rides around in Gaia Sophia SV with you. I got to admit I don’t like this change.
While I understand why the developers did things this way, it’s just uncomfortable. I always enjoyed listening to Jason and Eve’s banter in the first two games. I’d often stop and pause the game on each screen just to see if there’s any new dialogue between the two. Here though… well… Leibniz says he’ll make you regret calling him each time, and… yeah, he kind of does. While he’s not offensive, he’s just a jerk. That said, as I mentioned, I get why the developers put him there.
This journey is just as much his as Jason’s from a character perspective. As such, if you like the guy, you’ll really like what they do with him here. If you find his jerkiness annoying though, like I do, then you’re not going to want to talk to him much. Unless you like him kicking Jason’s chair. Still, Leibniz isn’t the only thing that bugs me about this game. No, there’s one more thing we need to talk about, and that’s unlocking the True Ending.
A Seven-Hour Detour That Should Have Never Happened
Each game in the Blaster Master Zero trilogy has had both a regular ending and a true ending. To access the true ending, you have to do something specific. In the first game, it was collect all the items on the map. In the second, you needed the three Metal Attacker Emblems you got from the other MA pilots you met along your journey. If you fulfilled these conditions, then after what would normally be the final boss, you’d be able to continue into a new area and finish off the game properly. Blaster Master Zero III, however, does things a bit differently.
While Blaster Master Zero III does have both a normal and a true ending, unlocking the true ending is not like the other two games. And that’s where-in the problem lies. While the method does make sense after you learn about it, the game’s hints for the method aren’t very intuitive. How so? Because I spent over seven hours trying to figure out the method before giving up and asking Inti Creates for help.
Now, keep in mind, I had a pre-release code. As such, there was no internet resource I could turn to figure this out. As such, I put my thinking cap on and tried the following things:
- Collect every item in the game except the disposable shields
- Collect every item in the game, including the disposable shields
- Tried to complete as much of the map as I could
- Tried desperately to access a few areas that you seem unreachable unless you’re in Super-Dimensional Space
- Tried delving into the Sophia Base dungeons repeatedly to fill out more of the Super-Dimensional Map squares
- Beat the final boss without getting hit.
- Looked everywhere for a hidden item based on a small icon in the equipment screen suspecting it would let me access Super-Dimensional space at the end of the game.
As you could see, I tried just about everything. The game does try to give you some hints, but they’re honestly so vague I never caught on. Even when version 1.1.0 dropped and finally gave you a clue. I was completely stumped. That’s one reason I wrote a quick guide and posted it up on our site. Because if I’m running into this issue, I’m going to assume others are as well. This brings me to the main problem. This was just not well communicated.
Now, I want to be clear. The idea that Inti Creates had here was a good one. It’s an interesting and immersive idea. The problem is that the game is expecting you to do something when you’ve never had to perform that action in that way before. I know I’m being vague here, but I’m trying not to spoil things for you. Think of it this way. Remember how I mentioned you access the true endings in the previous games? Those made logical sense, and if you played the first two games, you’d expect this one to follow a similar pattern. But it doesn’t. Instead, it’s confusing and frustrating. Still, was it worth it in the end? Hell yes!
As I mentioned, the problem I have here is that method for accessing the final area, and the ending is so vague. The final area and the ending are fantastic. I just hope Inti Creates learns from this. It’s ok to be creative, but just make sure what you’re doing is in line with player expectations or if you’re going to throw a curveball, then provide ample hints. This is Blaster Master Zero, after all. We expect this game to work like the previous ones. That all said, let’s wrap this expansive review up.
Blasting a Way Forward Into the Future
Blaster Master Zero III is a fantastic game. This was one of those titles where I really had to sit down and think about what score to give it because this game has very few flaws. So, what were they?
As I mentioned, I find Leibniz to be a minor annoyance, and I wish the cutscenes had a little more animation in them. However, the main sticking point for me is accessing the true ending. I’m more than willing to admit that I didn’t understand the clues. However, I can also see other people getting stuck on this for a while. And no one likes a frustrated or disheartened gamer. This is an Inti Creates game, after all. While their games aren’t the hardest things around, they also aren’t the easiest. Getting to the final boss is a rewarding challenge itself. Throwing a vague puzzle on top of that just throws things off. That said, there’s a ton of good in this title.
The action and gameplay are solid. The music is fantastic. And Jason, Eve, and the rest of the cast’s story come to a satisfying conclusion. Yes, despite the seven-hour delay, I was still happy I played and beat this game. I did feel fulfilled upon completing this. And while this may be the end of the Blaster Master Zero trilogy, I really do hope that Inti Creates and Sunsoft continue making Blaster Master games. There’s still a lot they can do with this series. So, what’s my recommendation? Buy it now!
Yeah, this is one of those games where you don’t need to wait for a sale. $15 is not a high asking price for this game. It’s a steal, in my opinion. It took me approx. 17 hours to complete the game to 100% though that’s with including me being completely stumped. You’ll be able to finish the main campaign in about 5-6 hours. With another 2-3 to tackle the final area. The rest of my time was spent searching for how to access the true ending. So, a casual playthrough will probably last about 7-9 hours. And trust me, Blaster Master Zero III is an enjoyable 7-9 hours.
Here’s hoping that this is not the end for this fantastic franchise or its cast.
Final Verdict: 4.5/5
Available on: Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S; Publisher: Inti Creates ; Developer: Inti Creates; Players: 1 ; Released: July 29th, 2021; ESRB: E10+ ; MSRP: $14.99
This review copy was based on the Nintendo Switch version of Blaster Master Zero III given to HeyPoorPlayer by Inti Creates.