AVAILABLE ON: Wii, Wii U (Virtual Console)
RELEASE DATE: May 23, 2010
Super Mario Galaxy, as we all know, spread like wildfire in the Wii community. Not only was it named one of the greatest video games of all time upon arrival, it also served as Nintendo's one defining underdog asset at the peak of the last great console war. After its release, Mario creator and developmental manager Shigeru Miyamoto quickly commissioned an updated version of the game to capitalize on its success, and gave the team a year to complete Super Mario Galaxy More. Its updates largely consisted of material that was cut from the original game due to time restraints and gameplay issues. As the game began to take shape, and as the creative designers seemed to come up with completely new ideas by the hour, the deadline of the game expanded by over a year, and it was decided that the game was to be a true sequel to Super Mario Galaxy instead of the intended re-release of the original. Upon its arrival - in the twilight of the original Wii - Super Mario Galaxy 2 was hailed as yet another masterpiece in the exact vein of its predecessor. This one, I missed completely, as even none of my friends were active Wii gamers at that point of time. Super Mario Galaxy proved to be a positive surprise after a lousy first impression from years back, let's see how this one fares now that I've got all the bases covered. It was an update, sure, but were all the black spots that plagued the original truly harvested?
Dinosaurs in outer space
I hadn't even started with Super Mario Galaxy for the second and definitive time, when not one but two of my friends were already telling me that Super Mario Galaxy 2 was so much better. Well, I'm a completist, I didn't really care all that much, but granted, these sudden praises, as well as the surprisingly good taste Super Mario Galaxy left me with, got me all pumped up about Super Mario Galaxy 2. Firstly, what we've got here is one gigantic game - there are over 240 DIFFERENT Power Stars to collect in Super Mario Galaxy 2 (with 70 once again being the minimum to beat the game), 49 galaxies to explore, a serious multiplayer mode for those who care (whereas Super Mario Galaxy only had the daddy's little helper mode available for a second player), and a hell of a lot of secrets to unravel. Though, once again, most of these secrets are pretty much shoved in your face. Be that as it may, beating Super Mario Galaxy 2 will take a good while. Completing it... will not happen for casual players. I'll surely get back to the game's enormous difficulty level.
|Here we gooooooo...|
He's green, he's lean, he's a digesting machine
Yoshi's back in the supporting role he's most famous and acclaimed for, and as the one key element that really separates this game from its predecessor. He's also a good key to start talking about the power-ups, since he's kind of like a power-up in himself; like all power-ups in the world of Super Mario Galaxy, he's only required for certain, occasionally optional, tasks to be completed. I was kinda frightened how Yoshi's core features would work using the Wiimote controls - the 3D setting, not that much, since I already had experience playing as him in the Super Mario 64 remake. You use the Wiimote to point at stuff to eat and press the B trigger; it's a solution worth tipping your hat for in most situations, in the most precise ones it's a bitch. When you're crossing a raging lava pit using Yoshi's tongue to swing from one connecting point to another, you'll wish you'd had a larger TV - it feels that not even 48" is enough to constantly register a connection to the remote.
|Gee. It's Bowser. Oh my God.|
Yoshi has his own short set of gimmicky power-ups, and man, will you rupture a vein or two. The Blimp Fruit allows Yoshi to float upwards for a short spell. The Bulb Berry's a strange one, as it illuminates and "creates" platforms that otherwise aren't really there. The Dash Pepper makes Yoshi run straight forward like crazy, and he's even more of a bitch to control than Rock Mario, not that much if you're going for level completion, but God forbid if you're trying to actually do something in particular, like collect coins or a Comet Medal or something. Which finally brings us to that enormous level of difficulty critics have sometimes blasted the game for - as will I.
|Yup. The bosses are huge.|
Further adding to the difficulty are the controls, which are still not perfect, and make us fear all the new stuff this game has in store. Surprisingly it's the Nunchuk that seems to break more often than the 'Mote; Mario seems to either slow down, or stop altogether whenever you suddenly change direction in the middle of the most urgent run, and both Rock Mario and Dash Pepper-powered Yoshi are almost impossible to keep in some modest form of control. I've lost hundreds of lives in this game just because of the glitchy analog control and that alone. That's not an angry gamers' view, that's a fact which I've had other people see for themselves - people that would be happy to point out that I'm just a bitter, frustrated old gamer, and that there's nothing wrong with the controls. Since the quality of the controls at the very least is a flaw that the player can't do zilch about, "unreasonable" is pretty much the one word to describe Super Mario Galaxy 2...
...But, if only it were that simple. Super Mario Galaxy 2 is also, at its core, a very good and entertaining game, and slightly better than the first one. Hell, let's just say it: one of the best Mario platformers there is, at the very least of the few most recent generations. Whereas New Super Mario Bros. goes for the faithful recreation of the most classic 2D Mario set-up, Super Mario Galaxy does the same to the 3D schtick of Super Mario 64 (adding in the gravity mechanics, of course). Neither one of these arcs never hit the prime of their respective concepts, in my opinion; it was the actual cross (not just an occasional mash-up) between the 2D and 3D realms of the Mario franchise that hit the ultimate jackpot of these times. I guess that one's up next.
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