Thursday, 10 June 2010

Return to Super Mario Galaxy

Just a forewarning to say that this may be the nerdiest blog I've written to date. Although I do promise that I will try to keep it as entertaining as possible for all!

Within the last couple of weeks, I read one of Jon Budworth's blogs over at i'll blog all over your face that discussed how great a recent game on Xbox and Playstation called 'RED DEAD REDEMPTION' was. Well in the last few days I've had the chance to play a game that is different in many ways, yet better in more ways. The game of which I speak is SUPER MARIO GALAXY 2! (See there Jon, this game deserves bold print as well as capital letters!) As of writing this game is set to be released tomorrow, but one of the perks of working for a particular chain of rental stores means that I get to rent games and films early.

Now, in the last so many years I have become much less of a gamer than I once was. I've always stuck loyal to Nintendo, even through the dark days of the Gamecube (although it must be said the Gamecube was awesome anyway), but I used to be a lot more into it than I am now. I guess with having jobs, studying for a degree and rediscovering my loves of both books and film, and doing the 'cool thing' in having a girlfriend (no offense sweety, love yah really ;-) ) videogames have taken a backseat in the car that is my life. Don't get me wrong I still play my Wii and DS, and admit to being a subscriber to ONM (Official Nintendo Magazine), it's just that I'm not always in the know anymore, and if, or actually, when customers ask me about games on Playstation and Xbox at work, I simply stare back at them blankly, smile and nod as I haven't the faintest idea of what they're talking about half of the time. The last several years of my life in videogames have consisted of the annual Smackdown and Madden NFL games, Mario Kart for each and every Nintendo console, Sonic and Sega Allstar racing (basically a Mario Kart clone), the Zelda franchise and Wii Sports. So I've basically played it safe with franchises that I know I like! The exceptions to the rule being Scribblenauts which if you don't own on DS yet you need to buy now, Professor Layton which again is a must on the DS, and Okami which is one of the best looking videogames I've ever laid eyes on.

So, as I've already established, while I enjoy a good videogame, especially a Nintendo made one, I haven't had as much time to play through as many as I used to. With that said, as well as my mostly relying on established franchises, back in 2007 when a game named Super Mario Galaxy was released, I made sure to get my copy on release date from my then employer, the late Woolies. Having grown up on a gaming diet of Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario 64, along with Super Mario Sunshine thrown in for good measure, Galaxy was an absolute must! I went into the game safe in the knowledge that I was in for a treat, having never experienced a bad Mario game, something which I don't think does, or ever will, exist, and having read the great reviews it had. Despite this, I never could have imagined how good it was to be and it was soon labelled as my favourite videogame of all of the times. It went unchallenged in its spot as the best until now.

Many wondered how Nintendo could improve on what was still arguably the most fun, and best visually looking, Wii adventure as it had near perfect scores across the critic boards. In their review of the new sequel Super Mario Galaxy 2, ONM ask if Nintendo could top perfection. The answer of course was yes, and in their longer magazine review, they described the first game as standing at the top of Mount Everest, while the sequel stood besides it wearing platform shoes to make it that little bit better. If right now, you're questioning the possible bias of a Nintendo magazine reviewing a Mario game, then head over to Metacritic where the overall score taken from reviews in media the world over are averaged out to give a true unbiased score and you should find that Super Mario Galaxy 2 is the second highest rated game of all time!

Having now played the game myself, I can say that so far into the adventure, that it is certainly giving its predecessor a good old run for its money in claiming the top videogame spot in my heart. Nintendo have taken what was great about the first, added a couple of the features that worked well in New Super Mario Bros. such as the world navigation system and including a couple of almost 2D levels, and given us a truly great, fun and easy to pick-up experience. The addition of Yoshi is also a welcome one, as riding the little green dragon thing (in a non-sexual way of course) adds new challenges and types of level.

Not actually an image from the
game, I just find it both hilarious
and heartbreaking at the same time!

I am thrilled that I have already had the chance to play the game before release. The child in me (again, non-sexual, it's a metaphor) was absolutely relishing it. I obtained the first 20 Power Stars, which for those of you not in the know, means that I completed 20 missions within the game. I basically beat the first two worlds, beating the Bowser (who is bigger than ever by the way) for the first time in the game as the last thing I got to do before having to return the game.... Oh yeah, that's right, it was only a rental and unfortunately I had to return it. It killed me having to check it back in at work tonight. A few minutes into the shift my colleagues found me rocking in a corner sobbing over it. 'Surely you'll be buying it tomorrow?' I hear you ask, but alas I can not, for my date of birth is once again nearly upon us, and as such will most likely receive it next week. Basically I've been banned from buying stuff until after my birthday by the laws of Stacey and my parents. I reckon one of them has definitely got it for me, and if they haven't, there will be a temper tantrum and tears on my 21st birthday!

It's probably for the best anyway, as I should be revising for an important exam I've got coming up in the next week rather than playing with Mario anyways!

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