Review by websterboy604

"Mario leaves the Mushroom Kingdom and embarks on an adventure that's out of this world"

Finally, a year after its launch, the Wii has a first party title that seems like much more than a Gamecube game masquerading as a Wii game. I was one of the individuals disappointed by Super Mario Sunshine, especially since I grew up on a diet of Super Mario 64. However, Galaxy is a return to form, and it is in my opinion the best of the 3d Mario games.

Story- Let's get the not so great out of the way...the story in Super Mario Galaxy isn't all that great. Sure, the setting is unique, but there are practically no cutscenes, and the ending sequence is very brief. Nevertheless, I don't believe most of you play Mario games for the story, so moving on...

Graphics/Sound- Firstly, the graphics. The graphics in this game are both technically (for a Wii game) and artistically stunning. The way the game plays with gravity, multiple enemies/objects on the screen, as well as furry textures, is nothing short of wonderful. The water looks great, the draw distance is fantastic, and all of this is delivered at a steady framerate and overall crisp presentation. For those looking for faults, there are very minimal instances of popup in a few of the galaxies, but nothing that should detract from the experience. Sonically, the game fares remarkably with remixes of old favorites as well as new (orchestrated) compositions. The sound effects are great as well; the voice acting is pretty sub-par, but there is very little of it in the game. I can't rave enough about the wonderful music, but I do wish each galaxy had its own theme...a few of them are repeats.

Gameplay- I'm assuming if you're reading this review, you know a bit about how the game plays, as far as the spherical worlds/gravity/Wii controls are concerned; let me cut to the chase and say that the game is very enjoyable and plays wonderfully. There are very many WOW moments to be had throughout the course of the adventure. One of the biggest improvements from the past two 3d Mario games is the camera, which almost never gets wonky, and is almost always fully controllable. The controls themselves are very good, and you'll be able to skillfully jump on the smallest of platforms. The controls are occasionally wonky in a few instances of the game, but it's not due so much to faulty design as intuitive design; I saw many things in this game that, as a gamer, I had never encountered before. Some scenarios are mind-bending and will require you to question which way is up or down; these moments aren't frustrating, but you might die a few times before you become more oriented with the gravity. There has been a lot said about this game's difficulty, so I'll give my two cents; the main path through the game is very easy, as others have stated. However, should one desire to collect all of the stars, there are some challenges to be had, so the whole game will not be a walk in the park should you desire to completely plumb its depths. It is worth mentioning that Super Mario Galaxy seems more linear than either 64 or Sunshine, and while I would have enjoyed a few more open-ended worlds to explore, I believe this linearity is a return to the classic way that the 2d Mario games play; instead of wandering a huge 3d space wondering where to go, you will almost always be given an explicit path to traverse, which is more of a help than a hindrance. One area that could have used some improvement is the structure of the game. This is the 3rd Mario game in a row to require the player to collect stars from the different worlds (in this case galaxies). While almost every star is a joy to collect, it eventually grows stale (should you desire to collect them all). Also, some of the challenges are more of an annoyance than a challenge, such as the 100 coin challenges as well as a few of the comets. However, there is a pretty worthwhile reward in store for those who are persistent and collect them all...I won't spoil that for you, but for the uninformed, you're in for a pleasant (and long awaited) surprise.

All in all, Super Mario Galaxy is a wonderful game, and one of my absolute favourites, if not my favourite so far of 2007. It's not the greatest game I've ever played, but as far as platformers are concerned, it is definitely one of the best in my opinion. I almost gave the game a 10, but no game is truly perfect, so I'll have to lower it to a 9 for Gamefaqs' purposes.

+Great all around presentation
+Evolution of the Mario series
+Lots of WOW moments and overall a very entertaining game

-Story, although I can't knock the game too much for this.
-Some of the objectives for the stars are growing a bit stale (How many 100 coin challenges do we really need?)
-The next Mario game will have a lot to live up to...hopefully we won't have to wait another 4 to 5 years for it.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/20/07

Game Release: Super Mario Galaxy (US, 11/12/07)

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