Once again, it is stars.I don't know if you've heard, but Super Mario Galaxy 2 is beloved by all who critique video games for a living. It's also beloved by thousands and thousands of people who were avid fans of the previous Mario adventure. I happen to be one of those people who went out in the early morn on Sunday so I can experience this 5-star game according to Giant Bomb.com. And over 40 stars in, I am really enjoying the experience so far. You know how great the first game was? Well it's at least equal in greatness.
Surprise, Nintendo fan loves Mario game, film at 11!
Yeah, I'm declaring this game to be awesome in almost every way imaginable, but I'm not going to get all giddy about the fantastic level design, the amazing new suits, and the game's beautiful aesthetic. Eh, who am I kidding, there will be some giddiness splattered throughout. Enough chit-chat, here's what you need to know about Super Mario Galaxy 2.
A sense of deja vu all over again... to a point.Probably the biggest gripe people have about the game is this notion that Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a complete rehash cash-in. On the surface, it does look like Super Mario Galaxy, but as stated by various critics, more Super Mario Galaxy can't be a bad thing. When I first got settled into my spaceship and started exploring the galaxies, I noticed that Nintendo did their fair share of recycling. Yep, Nintendo is going green. I was not surprised to see the same enemies, characters, power-ups, etc. Goombas, coins, and Lumas aren't gonna look any different. However, a number of gameplay elements return such as the ball-rolling sections where you use a pseudo-flight stick control scheme to control the ball and the return of the many suits. It was said that about 90% of Super Mario Galaxy 2 is new and I can agree with that statement. Most of the galaxies share similar themes with the last game, but the galaxies themselves still feel very fresh. The only pure rehash experience I think I had was the trash cleaning sections where the robot dude will give you a Star for clearing out his junk.
And to those who might bitch about the sameness of Galaxy 2, don't. The vast majority of current-gen games ending in 2 or II do the same thing. Modern Warfare 2 in a lot of ways feels and plays exactly like the first Modern Warfare, but why change something that works well? Mass Effect, Gears of War, Uncharted, I could go on and on. If it was a great success the first time and the masses want more of the same, you give them more of the same. Which leads to my next point.
Am I playing Super Mario 64?Mario games are notorious for laying the nostalgia on thick in spots so I wasn't shocked to hear a World 1-2 remix on occasion, but now I think we've gotten to the point where now Super Mario 64 is nostalgic to a large enough group of gamers to add remixed Super Mario 64 tracks and even an entire galaxy (Throwback Galaxy) totally ripped from previous 3D Mario games. Even the plot is plucked straight from the Super Mario 64 playbook! Spoilers: cake is involved.
Holy crap the Super Mario 64 references take me back to my sophomore year in high school. Now does that 10% of recycled material include stuff from Super Mario 64 and Sunshine? I'll have to get Miyamoto on the cell and get back to you on that. Oh, there's also Supermassive Galaxy... giant enemies. Tell me that's not a throwback!
Oh hey, Luigi... no I've totally got this.Unlocking Luigi was the big prize for collecting all 120 stars, but now he figured he should be available earlier now. I've got 3 things to say about this.
- It's really odd to have him available only after collecting about 25 Stars or so. It's like he was stuck in traffic or something... or just goddamn lazy.
- I don't want to use him until I collect all 120 Stars. It just feels dirty whenever I don't use Mario during the first playthrough.
- Does he jump higher or anything? It feels like I'm just swapping costumes.
Luigi has a tendency to hang out in the beginning of certain levels just begging to be ignored by me. He's all like, "Hey you feelin' tired? I'll take over for ya, you go ahead and make-a-pizza pie." You'd think Luigi would be up for some co-op, but Mario ain't gonna break for nobody. And so Luigi is relegated to seat filler. Maybe he can hook up with Rosalina since I'm also avoiding her like a disease-riddled whore. Speaking of seat-filling whores, I think Sonic is a bad influence on Mario.
What's with the all the woodland creature stowaways?One minor gripe I actually have with the game is the unnecessary padding they add to earlier parts of the game with stuff like "plots" and "dialogue." I have a strange feeling Nintendo ran out of things to add near the end of the development cycle and contacted Sega on advice on what they should add and they said, "MORE WOODLAND CREATURES!!!" So now Mario is channeling Sonic by saving bunnies, penguins, turtles, pelicans, unicorns, and other animals not actually in the game. After getting a Star, I just wanna move right to the next challenge, but the game has a way of interrupting me with a brief scene where a giant penguin tells you that you should talk to that bunny over there and he'll dance for you. I don't want to talk to anybody and I totally want everyone off my faceship! IT IS NOT A FUCKING CARNIVAL CRUISE!
I want them off my ship. Now.
Yoshi can stay for now, but don't overstay your welcome.I am in the Davis camp of Yoshi haters that completely hate the existence of the race of multi-colored, boot-wearing, Koopa-fucking dinosaurs which inhabit this universe. So I am normally against all things Yoshi. But I've already spread enough Yoshi hate, this Yoshi is not terrible... in fact he's pretty good this time around. The best implementation of Yoshi has to be the areas where he nom noms on a spicy pepper and goes berserk speeding across the land like a champagne supernova in the sky. So yes, Yoshi is kinda badass in his own way.
This is a conclusion.I somehow managed to completely talk about Super Mario Galaxy 2 without mentioning the greatness of the level design, the addition of the numerous suits like the Rock Suit which turns you into a roundish boulder or the drill that... drills. And what about those levels? When Miyamoto said they had a bunch of leftovers they couldn't cook up 3 years ago, he was not shitting with us. There are several 2D side-scrolling sections that rival and even outdo anything New Super Mario Bros. Wii did, many of them seamlessly blending with the 3D world. There's also the streamlining of the world map, the Prankster Comet challenges, the Lumas you want to hug and squeeze, chimps, fruit that turns Yoshi into Violet Beauregarde, the airships, Bowser totally being Bowser, Bowser Jr. being not Bowser, and finally this piece of music mayhem.
To summarize, Super Mario Galaxy is pure bliss. End of blog.