For RPGamers, this game might be the most overlooked gem at E3 2003, which is a shame. The Mario RPG legacy continues in a great way here. You control the Mario brothers by moving them around area maps quite reminiscent of the first Mario RPG, although not as the 45 degree angle this time. The brothers can each jump and can also do combo moves together. Upon encountering an enemy, you switch to a standard fare RPG battle screen.
The system is turn-based, letting you attack with Mario or Luigi, or choose a combo attack. The attacks, in classic Mario RPG style, do more damage depending upon whether you time a button smash at the right moment. This goes even further on combo attacks, where multiple button smashes at the right moments will continue to build up the power of the move and make it even deadlier. You could also hit the corresponding button to fend off an enemy attack, even damaging them in some cases.
The downside so far is that it looks like only Mario and Luigi will be playable characters, but that might not be true in the end. Many players will find using just one button per character awkward, especially when trying to pick items from a menu. Otherwise, this game is classic Mario RPG fun and anyone who liked either of the earlier two games should pick this up when it is released.