Review by infringement153
"Traverse spheres and shoot across the sky! Now do it again in the sequel!"
Maybe it's because I dropped away from video games for a period of time, but I completely missed the pre-release hype for this game. I was browsing the internet one day, and saw that this would be coming out soon. I brushed the game away in my head, telling myself I wouldn't buy it. However, after finding a good deal at a local store, I bought it. I'm glad I did.
The story goes that first, Bowser gets big. Then, he takes Peach away. You must rescue her. There are other, very minor things going on, but for the most part, that is it.
This game is very aesthetically pleasing. Without sounding like I'm advertising the game, the environments are beautiful, and the music is passable. There are a number of different galaxies, and each one has its own look and style. You'll find yourself on beaches, in haunted houses, in castles, and in grass. Everything looks great, but if you have a big TV you'll notice jaggies a lot due to the Wii's 480p resolution. This can really detract from the immersion of the moment.
The music isn't very notable, but it is orchestrated. Most times, it's just forgettable, however it can occasionally be very pretty or fitting for the moment. It's never intrusive, though.
The basic gist of the game is that you go around various "galaxies", or collections of planets. There are a lot of galaxies, and in each one, you can get one or two stars (which is different from the first Super Mario Galaxy, where there were fewer galaxies, but you could get five or six stars in each one). You collect the stars by entering various episodes, and when you get enough stars you can advance in the over world, which is strikingly similar to Super Mario World's, without the toad houses and other fancy stuff. As you progress, you reach castles at the end of the over world, where you beat a boss character to advance to the next over world.
The vast majority of the time, controlling Mario is very easy and intuitive. Veterans of the first game, or even of previous third-dimensional Mario titles should have no trouble at all picking it up, and those without previous experience should be able to get the basics down quick. Any sort of move that isn't immediately apparent can be demonstrated to you by billboards interspersed throughout the galaxies. For example, you can see a tutorial on how to do a long jump. Occasionally, however, you'll find yourself running in a circle, even though you're pushing the analog stick in one direction. This is very rare, and can only happen when you're rounding the bottom of spherical planetoids. It also clears up after a second or so. It can cause a frustrating death here and there, but for the most part, the controls for this game make it very enjoyable.
The game will keep you riveted. Or, at least it will for the duration of the main story. You collect stars, defeat bosses, and advance on until you reach the end of the final over world. You defeat the boss character there to beat the main portion of the game. After that, you can have a lot of fun collecting the rest of the stars. You only need to collect 70 to beat the main game, but you can collect all 120 if you want. Personally, I couldn't stop. The only annoying part was collecting comet medals, which you need to get to trigger prankster comets to appear in galaxies. These allow you to take on galaxies with warps, such as only having one life, or having to collect purple coins, in order to receive another star. I disliked collecting comet medals because their place can seem random or arbitrary at times, making it a frustrating search. It's usually obvious where they are, though.
After that, unlike in other Mario titles, there is actually more to the game after the initial 120 stars. You can then go on and collect "green stars", which are like normal stars, except that the green stars are placed all around galaxies. There are an equal number of green stars as normal stars in each galaxy, and they are definitely randomly and arbitrarily placed. You pretty much go around, hoping to find everything. Because there are 120 green stars, this gets extremely tedious. I personally quit before I found them all. However, if you like searching high and low for stuff, you may find joy in just running around the environments and doing cool and unnecessary moves to get to them, like I do. And, even if you don't collect the green stars, you still have the original one hundred and twenty stars, which actually are difficult to get due to difficulty, not obfuscation.
Mostly, though, gameplay is solid. You'll encounter some problems, but you can easily forget them and remember how great it ultimately is.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 has its flaws, but its ultimately a very great game. It looks and sounds great, and plays like a blast. Its has no story, and it does not provide anything new from the original Super Mario Galaxy (aside from the green stars), but those do not detract from how great this game is. I was skeptical at first, but I just bought it anyways, and was very greatly and pleasantly surprised. You should buy it, too.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 06/28/10
Game Release: Super Mario Galaxy 2 (US, 05/23/10)
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