Review by CooperF4
"It's 2010 and Mario has still got it!"
What can I really say about this game that hasn't been said already? Others have said that this is why we play video games or why you should have a Wii or why Mario is such a popular franchise....all of those statements are correct and this game is a perfect reason as to why they are. If you have played any previous 3D Mario game you'll immediately understand what there is to be accomplished in this one and this is a good thing. What are the reasons it's worth your money? Let me attempt to explain:
Story 7/10 - Probably the weakest element of the game, but in no way should this deter you. It's simply standard Mario fare of the Princess getting captured, Bowser running away with her, and you fighting your way through each level to get to him and get her back. Not a lot of backstory although playing Super Mario Galaxy helps to explain a lot of what goes on in this game. Given that I went through Galaxy, I had little trouble understanding this game. The story does exactly what it is supposed to. It sets a nice, unobtrusive, yet somewhat interesting background for your gameplay throughout the game.
Controls 10/10 - Being that this is a Wii title, this category is pretty important. This game uses one control scheme and that is Wii Remote + Nunchuk. It works beautifully. You use the analog stick to control Mario the same as you always have since Super Mario 64. The pointer is used to aim star bits (& Yoshi's tongue) which are used for various things throughout the game. It's also used to collect star bits, which is very useful. The A button jumps while B shoots star bits. Z is used to help you do various jumps and that's pretty much it. The Wii Remote itself can also be shaken to cause Mario to swing in a circle with punches which is used to hit enemies and activate switches among other things. The Wii's unique motion capabilities are put to good use with mechanisms throughout the game being manipulated through it (such as holding it vertically to balance Mario on a ball or holding it horizontally and steering a bird that Mario is hanging onto. Simply put, the controls are not at all difficult to come to grips with (especially if you have played previous 3D Mario games), and they work very well making good use of the unique capabilities of the Wii. This game couldn't have been pulled off on any other console.
Graphics 9/10 - One of the best looking Wii titles by a long shot, it takes the previous game's engine and improves on it in a few areas. It's not an HD quality experience, but with a component cable and a good TV you will still appreciate the eye candy that is there. The art style is great and the game also makes great use of shadows and lighting effects. The water in particular looks almost real. Each level has its own unique style and you never really feel like you are doing the same thing more than once.
Sounds 10/10 - Incredible. Nothing else really needs to be said about this soundtrack. It combines a great orchestral score with a ton of new original tunes along with some great remixes of Mario classics and sound effects. Each level has fitting background music and all of the various characters and enemies have sound effects that sound as they should. Even the "voices" seem to fit though that could be because many of the same names are back to voice the characters such as Mario & Bowser. The game is just about as much fun to listen to as it is to play. Without spoiling anything if you haven't read about it, there is a certain retro level and as soon as I entered it, the music brought me back to 1996 with Super Mario 64....a great treat you'll come across later in the game if you are into nostalgia.
Gameplay 10/10 - Fun. It's rare that I have this much fun with a video game. I try to be picky about the games that I buy, but now and again I'll make a poor choice. This game certainly doesn't fit into that category. It is great from beginning to end. It combines the 3D world of older 3D Mario platformers (Super Mario 64 & Super Mario Sunshine) with the linear level progression of games like New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Most of the stars you collect throughout the game are fun to get and for the most part nothing really feels like a chore. The difficulty is just right for the most part with some stars being pretty easy and others being incredibly difficult. It will certainly test your platforming skills. The level design fits perfectly with the capabilities of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk control setup. You always feel like you are doing something that could only be done on the Wii and in my opinion that is part of what makes the game so special. It truly makes use of the stuff that makes the Wii different from other video game systems. The game is fairly lengthy and just when you think you are done, you realize you've got a lot more to do. The level design is very diverse and the boss battles (in particular the Bowser battles) are nothing short of epic in many cases. The inclusion of Yoshi was also a great choice and levels with the green dinosaur are some of the most fun you'll have. The two player co-op mode introduced into the last game in the series was expanded on and its still pretty fun to have someone sit down with you and assist you as you go. It's great for people who would otherwise be intimidated by a game like this. Its a novel feature that adds to the value of the overall package.
Replayability 8/10 - As I said before it's a long game, and in reality when you think you're done, you've still got a lot of work to do. This one will keep you coming back for a while as there is a ton to do. The two-player mode adds some to the score for this particular category as it really can be fun if you have someone who wants to play too.
Overall 9/10 - Everything in this review has probably already been said, but I felt it necessary to put my own endorsement of it because I hope that everyone who owns a Wii gives this game a try. It is truly worth the money that you pay for it, and it shows that Nintendo is still committed to bringing us classic games that will likely endear themselves to us. You owe it to yourself to try this one out as you will not be disappointed if you like platformers and adventure games. 2010 will be remembered as a great year for a certain Italian plumber. I'm not really sure how this particular game can be topped. It is almost shear perfection in everything that it tries to do. Nice work Nintendo!
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 07/19/10
Game Release: Super Mario Galaxy 2 (US, 05/23/10)
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