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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By Nintendo
Developed By: Nintendo EAD Tokyo
Genre: Platformer
Players: 2 Co-op
Rated: E (Everyone)
Release Date: May 23, 2010
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matt Guile

June 13, 2010 - Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and while it may be on a person to person basis, I believe there is an exception. Super Mario Galaxy 2 is that exception, for any given soul that knows how to play a video game. It's simply very well crafted and is one of the best experiences anyone can have on Wii or any other console, from any period. This, however, does not dictate that Super Mario Galaxy 2 is the best video game of all time. It is, however, the best 3D Mario platformer, but beware that doesn't mean it's perfect.

Although Super Mario Galaxy 2 is similar to its predecessor, it improves and revolutionizes on the original. Simply put, it fixes what has been wrong with 3D Mario titles. An obvious example of this is ridding of what is known as the HUB world for a much smaller and streamlined planetary starship. With this new system, no longer do players need to travel across any trivial planes to get to actual Mario levels, instead players just need to stand on a rather large yellow switch that sits before the helm. Once a player performs this deed, he or she is then led to a planetarium or rather, a large map separated into various worlds, which are unlocked as each world is completed, much like New Super Mario Bros. Wii.

Continuing on about outdated HUB worlds, it will be quite obvious to anyone who plays this game that what is left of the HUB world is much more manageable and just as enjoyable, compared to previous Mario HUB worlds. While it may have been fun to venture about Mushroom Kingdom's castle, Delfino Square, or Rosalina's Observatory, almost everything that could be done in those HUBs can be done on Starship Mario with the exception of various secrets. Besides, since Starship Mario actually moves map to map, the backdrop changes along with the music, but keep in mind, while the backdrop changes, the music never changes when wandering about Starship Mario. It does, however, when a player switches to a different world, while selecting a level. Overall, most people should find this newest alteration to be refreshing and convenient.

Another correction Galaxy 2 has made is the streamlining of levels. No longer does anyone through a majority of the game's levels ever have to backtrack or wonder where to travel. While it is true that the original succeeded quite well on this front, Galaxy 2 takes it to a new level with bigger and sometimes more imaginative level design. That is not to say that Galaxy 1 did not accomplish this, but Galaxy 2 does it more often. So, let's backtrack, for anyone that remembers Super Mario Sunshine, while a great game, it often had players wondering how to do various objectives and where to go. With that in mind, the beauty of Galaxy 1 and especially 2 is that it does away with that cumbersome element and just forces the player to rely on pure skill and reaction time, due to its superb level design.

Speaking of reaction time, Galaxy 2 will put that to the test. At first, several levels will be tough, but not extraordinarily tough. As the game progresses, the difficulty medium will jump about, but, generally, it will become increasingly tougher. But, where the true difficulty or perhaps pleasure lies are in the comet challenges. Unlike Galaxy 1, which only had a handful of comet challenges, Galaxy 2 has one for each level. With or without comet challenges, though, Galaxy 2, despite being a tougher game then its predecessor always finds a unique balance between insanity and the manageable. And if a player finds him or herself incapable of completing a hard level, time to time, the game will have a subtle option that will allow it to do it for you or give you a hint, if you so ask for it. Thankfully, not once does the game ever force its assistance on you. Matter of fact, it barely even informs you that it can and will help, if needed. Also, this game has mid-level checkpoints, which come in handy.

Now, once and if you do bypass the insanity, fortunately, the reward system or what you get for completing the game is much more rewarding this time. By the way, pardon me for any minor spoilers, in this paragraph... Galaxy 1 simply used the ole switcheroo once a player completed the first 120 stars. Galaxy 2 instead does something more creative and rewarding, and allows Luigi to be fully playable at a much earlier stage. All in all, this time, players might actually want to go through the trouble of collecting another 120 stars, as it's much more compelling.

Although most players may not care to, it is entirely possible to show-off legitimate skill, as you can do in other 2D and 3D Mario platformers. Based on my own experiences, if you truly desire to do so, you can make watching the game extremely entertaining for spectators. This is because the game encourages creativity as there is usually more then one way to move about any of the levels. While I may not be flashy or extremely skilled, some of my friends for instance enjoy watching and that is without being ridiculously good. There is more though as to why this is entirely possible and that is because Mario controls extremely well. Simply put, Mario essentially is the pinnacle of character control. Everything works with near flawless execution. Therefore, if there is something that you cannot get to work control wise, you are more and likely doing something wrong.

Like most Mario games, the power-ups in this game are quite fun and creative. The rock and cloud suits are plain-out remarkable as they're flexible. The drill is just the as innovative. Mario's other suits from Galaxy 1 also make a few appearances, but frankly, Galaxy 2's power-ups make Galaxy 1's look like a joke. I do wish some of the older power-ups got a bit more use though, especially Spring Mario.

Others improvements include co-op, as it is significantly more refined then it was in the original. In comparison to the original, co-op partners feel actually involved, as the second player has more sway on enemies, coins and starbits. Hence, this mode is especially useful for any parents or relatives that have or want to play a game with younger players. It is unfortunate though that a second player cannot jump in as Luigi. As a side note, another neat, but minor feature is the ability for files to share starbits.

Click the following two URLs (1 and 2)to see what I mean about the flexibility of control in Galaxy 2 and how flashy players can really get. Trust me, both videos are well worth watching, as even I, after playing Galaxy 1 and 2 for an insane amount of hours learned quite a bit. By the way, I dare you to match or do better then what the person in the second URL did.

No game is without flaws. Rest assured though that Galaxy 2 does not have any game-breaking flaws that I am aware of. Instead, it has occasional graphic pop-ins, few and far between flawed camera angles, a glitch with the stairs where Mario may have a hard time getting back on his feet - it happens every once in a while, when knocked down by an attack on the stairs, but it's not too much to worry about, and other technical bugs that I may not be aware of. As to nontechnical issues, to me it felt that the cinematics at the beginning and end of the game are a bit weaker then they are in the original Galaxy. The music also feels a bit less epic. Not to mention, the final boss fight felt slightly weak compared to the original end battle in Galaxy 1. Those last few bits, however, are firm personal opinion.

Onto other technical information, to me, it is a slight disappointment that Galaxy 2 does not improve much of anything over Galaxy 1, graphically. We saw improved overall grass and the like in one of the Galaxy 2 trailers, but that portion does not appear in-game. Whatever people saw in Galaxy 1 is graphically identical to what is in Galaxy 2. This, however, is not much of a problem as the Galaxy games look absolutely remarkable. Also, just like Galaxy 1, the soundtrack is fully orchestrated and just as beautiful, although not as epic, as I stated before, as a personal opinion.

Normally, you know what you're going to say as closing remarks when reviewing a video game, but all I can say is that it is an awesome experience that is extremely unique. While it may be a sequel, it takes one of the best games of all time and vastly improves what matters most. It will throw challenge after challenge at you, and hardly ever will you go to the next stage and think, I've already done this a hundred times over, as it constantly innovates upon itself. All in all, the sheer amount of content will dazzle, and its toughness will make even the most seasoned players want to scream. No matter(about the screaming part), it's very well worth it.


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