Review by konichiwa21
Many stars short ...
When I first heard about Super Mario Galaxy 2, I thought "wow what a weird move by nintendo". There hasn't been a true direct sequel in the Mario series since Super Mario World followed up SMB3. But, it's Nintendo so I had to give them the benefit of the doubt, assuming that whatever they would do next with Mario would be awesome. My preconception of Galaxy 2 was the original on crack, with bigger and better levels, an awesome hub, and plenty of other inovations.
78 stars in, I regret to announce this isn't the case at all. Most of the "real" stars are incredibly easy to get, the galaxies are linear linear and much shorter. It's barely impressive, the variety of stuff introduced throughout the galaxies because most of the new elements don't really change anything at all. The few levels with the spring powerup, can be completed much faster without the stupid power up in the first place. The motion controlled bird levels are really obnoxious and unresponsive.
The story is a replica of the first Mario Galaxy, I mean of course Bowser is going to kidnap peach, you have to overlook that. Galaxy 2 takes the repetition one step further though, and litteraly copies the exact turn of events. At least this time you get to work for a funny purple star guy, instead of that annoying Rosalinda that never shuts her mouth.
I was actually kind of confused when I discovered half way into the game, that it's very much a 2D-3D hybrid. Many levels are purely played in 2D perspective. It's not a bad thing, but it continues to drive into the ground - the lack of exploration and level detail. Likewise, your hub is a tiny mario shaped planet with virtually nothing to do, you get to levels in a simplified SMB3 style map. The same rule applies to everything in the game. The galaxies only ever have two major stars to collect, sometimes a secret one and a commet one They're all really short and small, which almost nothing to explore. The secret stars often require you to get a said number of coins, find the Luma and go beat a completely unrelated mini-level. The really annoying thing about these is sometimes you go to the new part of the level, die, and then are put back in your latest checkpoint without your coins - leaving you no option but to leave the galaxy and come back.
One thing I wished to see disappear from the original were the cop-out comet stars. Unlucky for me, there's a comet star to every galaxy - each of them as uncreative as the last. Daredevil comets give you one health to do something ridiculous, purple star commets are better for the sole reason of being way shorter, leaving prankster commets to be the only slightly original and fun ones to collect. All of them just rehash small chunks of the galaxy and twist the difficulty up a few hundred notches , they are extremely difficult (which is out of context of the super easy main stars) - leaving you with virtually no motive to collect them.
A few other small things really would annoy me more than they should. Galaxy had similar problems with stupid little add-ons that just wasted time. Bringing Luma's onto your sheep and sorting through their dialouge, then feeding them up with stuff, is just annoying. Why can't they just get fed on the fly in real time ? Why can't I get powerups in real time ? Why do a lot of things have to stop instead of just continuing in real time ? At least the god awful abundant spherical black transitions that you would get every galaxy entrance, are long gone. Still, there is no shortage of annoyances and nuicanes to bite at your patience.
The game does a lot of big things wrong, but the initial stars can be a lot of fun to collect. The sharp, creative, scenic graphics from the first return here (although the galaxies often lack the level of polish the original had) and the Mario Galaxy Orchestra really blows it out of the water this time. The music has taken a wide turn for the better, with fantastic remixes on classics and brilliant original material. What the Wii lacks in polygons and raw proccesing power, is made up with fantastical artistic design and dazzling lighting. Lava, grass, dirt, water, ice, it's all marvelous eye candy.
I always fully complete Mario games, making sure every star and secret is collected. With this, I don't really care to finish it at all. The challenges are monotone and stale. A stupid monkey with sunglasses always give you stars for jumping on a set amount of enemies in the time limit, or a gear guy will want you to destroy a bunch of stuff in a time limit. What's even worse is outside of the monkey and gear guy giving you these "kill all enemies" challenges, the prankster comets will sometimes throw them at you ! All of these stars are so frustrating and familiar to each other, it more than propells me away from any completionist mentaity.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Super Mario Galaxy 2 (US, 05/23/10)
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