Friday, June 4, 2010

Super Mario Galaxy 2 Review

Super Mario Galaxy 2 Review

Please ignore the lack of a picture for this review.  I had a hard time coming up with anything humourous or cool-looking to draw.
So, I must preface this review by stating that I may have some trouble reviewing this title as it's...well it's hard to find anything that's actually wrong with it.  Everything the game sets out to do, it accomplishes well and in a very polished manner.  I'm not calling it the best game ever but the fact is that there's simply nothing bad about it, though I suppose I can try my best to delve into the specifics and at least give you an idea what you're in for.
To change things up, I'm going to start with commenting on the soundtrack; I always seem to save this for last even though it's the part I'm least interested in.  That said, the soundtrack is very memorable.  From the returns of the instant classics of Super Mario 64 to the brand new orchestral numbers, it's beautiful work that carries a tone both epic and yet fitting for the game.  Chances are you'll quickly be humming tunes from the game without even realizing it.
In the area of graphics, we have yet another example of 'games that make me think Nintendo is withholding information from third party developers'.  Everything is just so smooth.  When you look at a game like this (or Smash Bros. Brawl, Metroid Prime 3, etc.) it's difficult to understand why so many third party games look so bad on the Wii.  The game is, of course, also very colourful and vivid.  The beauty of space and the fun 'cartooniness' of Mario go hand in hand perfectly.
So...gameplay.  Super Mario Galaxy (that is, the first one) did gamers quite a favour by pushing 3D platformers into a new realm.  Prior to the gravity-centric platforming of Mario Galaxy, all 3D platformers I played could probably have also been made in 2D in some way or another; I'm not saying it would have been practical, just possible.  These games, on the other hand, truly take full advantage of being in three dimensions and do a wonderful job of it.
Regardless of whether they liked it or not, no one who's played the first Mario Galaxy can deny it's bursting at the seams with creativity.  The no exception to this.  I would say Mario Galaxy 2 is just as creative as its predecessor, no more no less.  Then again, that's still pretty damn creative.
Of course, the mechanics of playing the game are still the same.  Run, jump, spin, etc.  There are a few additions that are worth taking note of:  The Drill, the Rock Mushroom, the Cloud Flower and, of course, Yoshi!  Rather than getting into long-winded explanations of how each of these work, I'll leave it to you to find them in trailers or to simply experience when you play.
Now as you may already know, Super Mario Galaxy 2 was originally conceived as an expansion pack for the original that simply grew too big.  The seeming result of this is a simpler hub to traverse levels and minimal story presentation.  Ironically, I find this to be an improvement; much like No More Heroes 2 was improved by the removal of the open world.  This lets you get to the fun and action quicker without sacrificing anything at all that's actually important.
As wonderful as the game is, if I could change it, I definitely would.  The multiplayer is practically the same as it was in the first game; unnecessary and boring for the second player.  Personally, I would love to see co-operative play treated something like Kirby Superstar; i.e. the second player gets Luigi (of course), no split screen, if and when Luigi falls behind he simply "teleports" to catch up rather than slow down any progress.
The present multiplayer is pretty lackluster but I don't count it against the game because 1. the game gets everything else so right and 2. at its heart, Mario Galaxy 2 just is a single-player title regardless of what the instruction booklet or in-game dialogue might tell you.  The experience for the first player, or rather the one and only player is thoroughly enjoyable.
So, to (very quickly) wrap up:  Get it.

My next review probably won't be a Wii one (finally).  Transformers: War for Cybertron is set to come out in less than 3 weeks and currently I'm leaning towards either the 360 or PC version.  I'll probably grab one of the DS versions as well, but those aren't going to be the same as the HD console/PC versions.

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