Nitpicking great games: Super Mario Galaxy 2

Posted by SuperfluousMoniker (2913 posts) -

 Mario Galaxy 2 has received almost universal praise from reviewers. Look at its freakin Metacritic page, for crying out loud. There is no doubt that it's a fantastic game. But is it the best game ever? The best Mario game ever? Is it even a five star game?
 
I don't think so. But what problems could I possibly have with this game? Well...
 
All the best material is at the beginning of the game.

When I sat down to play Galaxy 2 for the first time, I was blown away. The game gets you right into the action, eschewing the slightly long intro the original had. And then, one level later, you're riding Yoshi and flying from a Launch Star while a volcano explodes in the background spraying dozens of Star Bits everywhere. I had a nerdgasm.

The first three worlds in the game are densely packed with moments like that; perhaps a little too densely. Creative new bosses and level designs abound. Every star introduces some kind of new gameplay mechanic. And then, suddenly, the creativity just stops and the game moves into filler territory. By the time I reached World Six, I was expecting things to pick up again for the end of the game, but the downward slide continued all the way into the disappointing final boss battle. But the worst was yet to come.

World S is an awful rehash of Mario Galaxy 1.

After beating Bowser you unlock the seventh world, World S. Let me be clear: World S is a travesty. It has exactly two galaxies that aren't ripped verbatim from the original Mario Galaxy, one of which is a ball rolling level (ugh). There is also a galaxy which is simply a collection of the bosses from the original Galaxy, fought one after another, Mega Man style. After coming off the excellent bonus world from New Super Mario Bros Wii, I was left with a very sour taste in my mouth.
 
 Ideas are introduced and never expanded upon.
 
Some of those cool gameplay mechanics I mentioned, mostly involving Yoshi, appear exactly once in the entire game. Using Yoshi's tongue to pull platforms? Happens once in the entire game. Giant fruit? Once. The Spring Mario powerup (which is much improved over the original Mario Galaxy version, and is actually fun to use now instead of frustrating)?  Appears once in the entire game. Usually in a Mario game, when something new is introduced you can expect it to reappear in some more complex fashion later, or just to reappear later, period. Not so much here.
 
Wrapping this up, I guess two of those points are really the same basic complaint: The game starts strong and gets progressively worse the farther you get into it, kind of like a bizarro version of Final Fantasy XIII. Mario Galaxy 2 is by all accounts a great game, and if you own a Wii you are doing yourself a serious disservice if you don't play it. But you might not want to put in the effort to get all 120 stars in this one. Shiggy, see me after class.

#1 Posted by SuperfluousMoniker (2913 posts) -

 Mario Galaxy 2 has received almost universal praise from reviewers. Look at its freakin Metacritic page, for crying out loud. There is no doubt that it's a fantastic game. But is it the best game ever? The best Mario game ever? Is it even a five star game?
 
I don't think so. But what problems could I possibly have with this game? Well...
 
All the best material is at the beginning of the game.

When I sat down to play Galaxy 2 for the first time, I was blown away. The game gets you right into the action, eschewing the slightly long intro the original had. And then, one level later, you're riding Yoshi and flying from a Launch Star while a volcano explodes in the background spraying dozens of Star Bits everywhere. I had a nerdgasm.

The first three worlds in the game are densely packed with moments like that; perhaps a little too densely. Creative new bosses and level designs abound. Every star introduces some kind of new gameplay mechanic. And then, suddenly, the creativity just stops and the game moves into filler territory. By the time I reached World Six, I was expecting things to pick up again for the end of the game, but the downward slide continued all the way into the disappointing final boss battle. But the worst was yet to come.

World S is an awful rehash of Mario Galaxy 1.

After beating Bowser you unlock the seventh world, World S. Let me be clear: World S is a travesty. It has exactly two galaxies that aren't ripped verbatim from the original Mario Galaxy, one of which is a ball rolling level (ugh). There is also a galaxy which is simply a collection of the bosses from the original Galaxy, fought one after another, Mega Man style. After coming off the excellent bonus world from New Super Mario Bros Wii, I was left with a very sour taste in my mouth.
 
 Ideas are introduced and never expanded upon.
 
Some of those cool gameplay mechanics I mentioned, mostly involving Yoshi, appear exactly once in the entire game. Using Yoshi's tongue to pull platforms? Happens once in the entire game. Giant fruit? Once. The Spring Mario powerup (which is much improved over the original Mario Galaxy version, and is actually fun to use now instead of frustrating)?  Appears once in the entire game. Usually in a Mario game, when something new is introduced you can expect it to reappear in some more complex fashion later, or just to reappear later, period. Not so much here.
 
Wrapping this up, I guess two of those points are really the same basic complaint: The game starts strong and gets progressively worse the farther you get into it, kind of like a bizarro version of Final Fantasy XIII. Mario Galaxy 2 is by all accounts a great game, and if you own a Wii you are doing yourself a serious disservice if you don't play it. But you might not want to put in the effort to get all 120 stars in this one. Shiggy, see me after class.

#2 Posted by spankingaddict (2736 posts) -

Mario Galaxy 2 is Mario Galaxy 1 on steroids!

#3 Posted by Kentobi (88 posts) -

I think the diversity of the game is one of its real strengths.  It gives each level an incredibly unique feel, and makes each moment more memorable. 

#4 Edited by Willy105 (4691 posts) -

Odd, the best parts about the game were how it continues and increases the momentum it got from the start. How it never becomes boring or slows down, but only speeds up. And how things are only rarely seen twice in the game, how it is all new and fresh through and never makes itself repeat. The introducing new ideas and never making them old is what a lot of critics said they want to see more in games.
 
And I didn't think anybody could say with a straight face the ball rolling levels were anything less than awesome.
 
And complaining the Special World uses stuff from old worlds, it's like saying the ending credits of a movie suck because it's just replaying the music that played through the movie.

#5 Posted by SuperfluousMoniker (2913 posts) -
@Willy105: 
 
*Straight face* I hated the ball rolling levels. I don't like the control mechanism they use. That's not to say that I'm entirely opposed to alternate control methods; I liked the flying levels, which also use a 'tilt the wiimote' mechanism... There's just something about those ball rolling levels that irks me. Like how easy it is to lose control and fall off a cliff. Yeah, that's probably it.

As for the World S stuff, I think I was disappointed because I was expecting a lot of brand new material, like there was in NSMBWii. To get the (admittedly cool) 8-bit Mario sprite from G1, a ball rolling level, a level pulled from Mario Sunshine, another level from G1, and then a G1 boss rush level... THEN there was a fun new level but it felt like too little, too late at that point.
 
Don't get me wrong. I loved the game, and this is some hardcore nitpicking because I expected a lot out of it. It's a solid four star title, but definitely not as good as the other two main series Mario games on the Wii in my humble opinion. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm still hunting for some green stars.
#6 Posted by Willy105 (4691 posts) -
@SuperfluousMoniker 
 
Well, I haven't played NSMBWii, and I haven't gotten that far into Mario Galaxy 2 to have an opinion on those later levels, so I can't say anything on that. Especially since you are spoiling the game for me.
 
But dude. The ball rolling levels? Those were awesome. I wish there were more.
#7 Posted by DickDanger (107 posts) -

I would dare to say that SMG2 is one of the best, if not thee best, example of fun, contemporary gaming. 2D Mario games used to be this example and in this generation, I feel like a lot of companies have made progress by leaps and bounds to get games back to how fun they were during the Super Nintendo days (Red Faction comes to mind, also Left 4 Dead. Ratchet and Clank was great for this during the PS2 days). Developers are finally getting it and Nintendo is one of them. Nintendo has finally figured out how to translate 2D  Mario into 3D and it's amazing. Half of stuff in Galaxy 2 are things from Galaxy 1, sure, but they are perfected and then polished it with a cherry on top. But really, if you want to argue the likeness of SMG2 to SMG1, you might as well talk about how the series itself reuses everything and in that I would argue, isn't that why we play Mario? For his crazy world? That said, I bought New Super Mario Bros. Wii and I liked it but I wasn't all that impressed. I dunno if it was because I played a lot of the DS version when it came out or what, but I feel that the Galaxy series far exceeds the NSMB series.
 
The ball rolling levels were great! I know the exact level that Moniker is complaining about and it seems silly to complain about a level that is challenging and has a small learning curve to the control. I died probably 3 or 4 times till I got used to using the ball and rubber banding back and forth but once I understood the physics, it made sense.
 
I disagree with the statement of all the good stuff is at the beginning. The game is so perpetual, it's insane! For one the challenge starts off super easy and then climbs to a point where you can't understand how they developed such a challenging and strange level. For two, the keep introducing stuff through the game, making it fresh from beginning to end. I never once said, oh great another "insert type of level here". It's stays fresh and never outstays its welcome, which very important. The point where you're bored or over a game is when you can start gradin it lower. Really the only thing I ran into were some challenging stars and instead of quitting I would move on to another star because I knew there was so much to do! It's here where I would disagree with you and say that none of he ideas need to be expanded upon more. If they were, you'd be complaining that there wa too much drilling used in this or too much cloud Mario used here. I honestly don't think they could have peppered and paced the game any better.

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