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"[GAME] Super Mario Galaxy 2"

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This thread has been linked to the game 'Super Mario Galaxy 2'.
Sat 26/06/10 at 16:03
Regular
"previously phuzzy."
Posts: 3,487
Utter joy is not an easy concept to describe. Explaining the peculiar feeling of absolute elation takes eloquence, and precise articulation. Humiliating defeat is also not an easy concept to describe. Explaining the sinking feeling of your stomach bottoming out takes time, remarkable humility and a certain lingering sense of shame. So for Nintendo to go and make a game which is both bliss and hell incarnate from start to finish is some achievement.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 is rainbows, cinnamon buns, ice cream and puppies. It is also knives, saws, pain and ginger step-children. It is schizophrenic, waggling its finger teasingly at you, luring you into the garden of platforming Eden, then smacking you over the head with the trowel of poorly timed jumps. And it’s brilliant.

So – those who follow such things (or understand the function of numerals after game titles) will realise this is a sequel to the 2007 masterpiece. However, with all brand new galaxies, and plenty of original power ups, things have changed. Controlling Mario feels as intuitive and fluid as ever, with improvements to the camera and handling in peculiar gravity environments helping greatly to keep the focus on traversing the levels and not battling poor camera placement or unnatural control flippage halfway round a planetoid.

Some power-ups make the chop from the original, whilst others are fresh off the… platforming… original… boat.... yeah. Adorable bee Mario (fly around, grip to honeycombs) returns, as do the boo (turn into a ghost, float and fade through walls) and spring (BOING BOING BOING) suits. Each is used sparingly and only where appropriate, and never do they feel tacked on or unnecessary. New to the roster are the drill – allowing planets to be dug through in one swift dive – as well as the boulder suit, for insane rolling antics, and the cloud suit, allowing Mario to create jumping platforms at will. Perfectly weighted, with skill required to master the finer techniques of each, these new power-ups serve to improve the experience and offer freshness and challenge even in worlds you’ve previously visited.

However, perhaps the biggest addition is Yoshi, absent from Mario’s outings since Sunshine and this time, resistant to water! He has his own fair share of abilities and power ups, ranging from the simple hover jump to several fruits and veg which he evidently gets some buzz from. The Dash Pepper sends him into an incandescent rage, steaming in whatever direction you point at great speed and allowing him to run up vertical walls and evade oncoming lava flows. The Blimp Fruit temporarily fills Yoshi with helium, taking him and you to new heights as long as you’re quick enough. The Bulb Berry briefly illuminates the surrounding area where it otherwise wouldn’t have been, but timing and precision is crucial as the spot of light grows ever smaller.

Whilst these could have been randomly tacked on to levels and used simply for novelty value, they feel right at home with the large roster of other power ups. A particular highlight in later levels is the way that several abilities are required to complete a given course, each linking beautifully into the next. Oddly, the best comparison I can make is with Mirror’s Edge – each action fluidly connecting to another, allowing seamless sequences of platforming joy. That is, if you don’t mess it up.

Of course, the biggest deal with any new Mario game is the addition of all those new worlds (and galaxies) to be explored. SMG2 removes the hub world of old and replaces it with a New Super Mario Bros.-style map, with branching paths offering multiple routes and hidden areas. Thankfully, none of the new maps fail to reach the brilliance of the original, with a good few surpassing even the best Miyamoto previously had to offer. Without spoiling too much – music-based madness on flipping tiles, an epileptic’s worst nightmare in slow strobe of the Flashblack Galaxy, polar worlds into lava and lava into polar on the stomp of a button, giant slides round tree trunks whilst dodging angry caterpillars, one big Mario 64 homage in the Throwback Galaxy, and the abstract secret platform hells of Mario Sunshine. I have yet to come across a single one that I didn’t want to complete in its entirety – even the underwater levels, which I normally loathe. Full of colour, action, intensity, cunning, secrets, challenges and crucially, that one-more-shot factor, each level is a pleasure and a nightmare. Stone Cyclone, I’m looking at you.

Those that criticised SMG1 for being too easy have nothing to complain about here either. Whilst the game introduces plenty of help for newcomers to the series, it also simultaneously ratchets up the difficulty with a huge array of prankster comets and bonus galaxies. Improving on the first game’s random element for prankster comet appearances, every level now has a comet medal hidden for collection, enough of which spawn additional challenges on previously-completed worlds. Again, expanding on the original, these challenges vary from timed coin collectathons, strategic murder of octopi, daredevil boss runs and steeplechases with ghostly clones. You will know pain by the speed run on Boss Blitz galaxy. You will know pain.

As you would expect from Nintendo, the polish has been liberally applied and the production values are akin to Iwata’s stock options. In addition to being pretty much the best looking Wii game available, it also has a beautiful score. Mixing the orchestral swellings of SMG1 with retro old-skool chiptunage of yesteryear, it’s a pleasure to listen to and suits the interstellar ethereal psychedelic lands to a tee. A particular highlight is the Slimy Springs galaxy, a rather peaceful, meandering level ending with a beautiful sunset in the shadow of other planets. Extroverted where awesome, introverted where appropriate, Galaxy 2 is always pitching itself at the right level, providing down time and learning experiences as well as tension and good-natured frustration.

SMG2 is exactly what a sequel should be. It has trimmed off the fat, polished what remained, then added a shedload of original ideas. None of the joy of playing has been eroded, and somehow the difficult has been upped whilst making the game feel fairer. Few could complain that when they die it’s anything to do with a glitch, spike or error on the game’s part. Mario will obey you, and the world will follow rules. Those rules might involve gravity inverting on a timer, an elaborate series of delicate wall jumps, or the ground and sky folding around you in a cube of disorientation, but those are the rules. You might slam the remote down in anger or throw obscenities at “that bloody Italian plumber”, but in the end you’ll always go back. I know. I nearly cried when I saw Luigi’s Purple Coin Chaos. I shouted. I pleaded. I left. I returned. Then I did it. Why? Because it’s incredible.

10/10

Completed all 120 power stars, working through the ‘extras’
There have been no replies to this thread yet.
Sat 26/06/10 at 16:03
Regular
"previously phuzzy."
Posts: 3,487
Utter joy is not an easy concept to describe. Explaining the peculiar feeling of absolute elation takes eloquence, and precise articulation. Humiliating defeat is also not an easy concept to describe. Explaining the sinking feeling of your stomach bottoming out takes time, remarkable humility and a certain lingering sense of shame. So for Nintendo to go and make a game which is both bliss and hell incarnate from start to finish is some achievement.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 is rainbows, cinnamon buns, ice cream and puppies. It is also knives, saws, pain and ginger step-children. It is schizophrenic, waggling its finger teasingly at you, luring you into the garden of platforming Eden, then smacking you over the head with the trowel of poorly timed jumps. And it’s brilliant.

So – those who follow such things (or understand the function of numerals after game titles) will realise this is a sequel to the 2007 masterpiece. However, with all brand new galaxies, and plenty of original power ups, things have changed. Controlling Mario feels as intuitive and fluid as ever, with improvements to the camera and handling in peculiar gravity environments helping greatly to keep the focus on traversing the levels and not battling poor camera placement or unnatural control flippage halfway round a planetoid.

Some power-ups make the chop from the original, whilst others are fresh off the… platforming… original… boat.... yeah. Adorable bee Mario (fly around, grip to honeycombs) returns, as do the boo (turn into a ghost, float and fade through walls) and spring (BOING BOING BOING) suits. Each is used sparingly and only where appropriate, and never do they feel tacked on or unnecessary. New to the roster are the drill – allowing planets to be dug through in one swift dive – as well as the boulder suit, for insane rolling antics, and the cloud suit, allowing Mario to create jumping platforms at will. Perfectly weighted, with skill required to master the finer techniques of each, these new power-ups serve to improve the experience and offer freshness and challenge even in worlds you’ve previously visited.

However, perhaps the biggest addition is Yoshi, absent from Mario’s outings since Sunshine and this time, resistant to water! He has his own fair share of abilities and power ups, ranging from the simple hover jump to several fruits and veg which he evidently gets some buzz from. The Dash Pepper sends him into an incandescent rage, steaming in whatever direction you point at great speed and allowing him to run up vertical walls and evade oncoming lava flows. The Blimp Fruit temporarily fills Yoshi with helium, taking him and you to new heights as long as you’re quick enough. The Bulb Berry briefly illuminates the surrounding area where it otherwise wouldn’t have been, but timing and precision is crucial as the spot of light grows ever smaller.

Whilst these could have been randomly tacked on to levels and used simply for novelty value, they feel right at home with the large roster of other power ups. A particular highlight in later levels is the way that several abilities are required to complete a given course, each linking beautifully into the next. Oddly, the best comparison I can make is with Mirror’s Edge – each action fluidly connecting to another, allowing seamless sequences of platforming joy. That is, if you don’t mess it up.

Of course, the biggest deal with any new Mario game is the addition of all those new worlds (and galaxies) to be explored. SMG2 removes the hub world of old and replaces it with a New Super Mario Bros.-style map, with branching paths offering multiple routes and hidden areas. Thankfully, none of the new maps fail to reach the brilliance of the original, with a good few surpassing even the best Miyamoto previously had to offer. Without spoiling too much – music-based madness on flipping tiles, an epileptic’s worst nightmare in slow strobe of the Flashblack Galaxy, polar worlds into lava and lava into polar on the stomp of a button, giant slides round tree trunks whilst dodging angry caterpillars, one big Mario 64 homage in the Throwback Galaxy, and the abstract secret platform hells of Mario Sunshine. I have yet to come across a single one that I didn’t want to complete in its entirety – even the underwater levels, which I normally loathe. Full of colour, action, intensity, cunning, secrets, challenges and crucially, that one-more-shot factor, each level is a pleasure and a nightmare. Stone Cyclone, I’m looking at you.

Those that criticised SMG1 for being too easy have nothing to complain about here either. Whilst the game introduces plenty of help for newcomers to the series, it also simultaneously ratchets up the difficulty with a huge array of prankster comets and bonus galaxies. Improving on the first game’s random element for prankster comet appearances, every level now has a comet medal hidden for collection, enough of which spawn additional challenges on previously-completed worlds. Again, expanding on the original, these challenges vary from timed coin collectathons, strategic murder of octopi, daredevil boss runs and steeplechases with ghostly clones. You will know pain by the speed run on Boss Blitz galaxy. You will know pain.

As you would expect from Nintendo, the polish has been liberally applied and the production values are akin to Iwata’s stock options. In addition to being pretty much the best looking Wii game available, it also has a beautiful score. Mixing the orchestral swellings of SMG1 with retro old-skool chiptunage of yesteryear, it’s a pleasure to listen to and suits the interstellar ethereal psychedelic lands to a tee. A particular highlight is the Slimy Springs galaxy, a rather peaceful, meandering level ending with a beautiful sunset in the shadow of other planets. Extroverted where awesome, introverted where appropriate, Galaxy 2 is always pitching itself at the right level, providing down time and learning experiences as well as tension and good-natured frustration.

SMG2 is exactly what a sequel should be. It has trimmed off the fat, polished what remained, then added a shedload of original ideas. None of the joy of playing has been eroded, and somehow the difficult has been upped whilst making the game feel fairer. Few could complain that when they die it’s anything to do with a glitch, spike or error on the game’s part. Mario will obey you, and the world will follow rules. Those rules might involve gravity inverting on a timer, an elaborate series of delicate wall jumps, or the ground and sky folding around you in a cube of disorientation, but those are the rules. You might slam the remote down in anger or throw obscenities at “that bloody Italian plumber”, but in the end you’ll always go back. I know. I nearly cried when I saw Luigi’s Purple Coin Chaos. I shouted. I pleaded. I left. I returned. Then I did it. Why? Because it’s incredible.

10/10

Completed all 120 power stars, working through the ‘extras’

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