Author Topic: *New* Super Mario Brothers Wii! (9.4/10)  (Read 914 times)

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Offline copb.phoenix

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*New* Super Mario Brothers Wii! (9.4/10)
« on: December 17, 2009, 08:58:11 pm »
Game: New Super Mario Brothers! Wii
Genre: Oldschool Platformer
Company: Nintendo
Release (US): Late November 2009


Introduction

Well... I actually thought my second review would be the one to end up on FTR, but, failed take after failed take, I gave up on it. Of course, the curiously wacked review of Mother 2 was my first review, which, although it predates FTR's resurrection, it's certainly important. Well... At any rate, I suppose I should take this seriously, so, bringing myself into a little more focus:

Review #3 is of the (relatively) new New Super Mario Brothers! Wii. If you've never played any Mario games whatsoever, don't fret too much. This game stands alone rather nicely, at least in terms of having an almost entirely self-contained storyline. If you've been playing Mario's games from the Atari 2600 onward, you're going to love this game as well, for sheer value of nostalgia. In fact, I couldn 't possibly go further without mentioning games/series in the Mario lineup that this game will undoubtedly make you think about:

Mario Brothers
Super Mario Brothers
Super Mario Brothers 2
Super Mario Brothers 3
Super Mario World
Super Mario World 2
Super Mario 64
Mario Party
Luigi's Mansion

See that list? Excluding Luigi's Mansion, these games are all at least a decade old! This truly is a revisiting of what made Mario good in the "good ol' days" of platforming. So, yeah, what's the plot, right?

Plot/Story

Long before games were cinematic and on par with Hollywood and primetime television, we had to use something called "imagination". I know this may sound foreign, but the game doesn't have a solid plot. It's just "Oh, for freak's sake, the Princess got kidnapped AGAIN?!?" With that, Mario sets out to save her. Seriously, that's the whole plot - I'm not even kidding.

Gameplay Ethic

Honestly, this is the first solid platformer I've seen come out since Sonic 3 & Knuckles first debuted back in the heyday of platformers. If you grew up playing Super Mario Brothers 3 nonstop, you'll feel right at home with this. The game borrows a few skills from almost every Mario game in that list up above - From Mario Brothers' POW Block to Super Mario 64's "Hop, skip, leap!" of a Triple Jump. However, while this forces me to be nostalgic and actually hook up my Famicon RMX, it doesn't stand testament to where the game truly shines: Multiplayer.

There are really only two ways for multiplayer to take place in this game. The first is cooperative and the second is EXTREMELY competitive. In cooperative mode, you don't take turns - you play at the same time, a true first in the history of Mario, from 1985 all the way to today, 2009. That's right - this game was almost 25 years in the making - that's even longer than Natasha has been alive! While I'd hardly want to spoil the game for you, I will say that it's worth dragging a friend and a Wiimote in just to see that the game is every bit as solid cooperatively as it is in single player, though we could easily debate which runs quicker.

In cooperative mode, cutthroat seems like sheer bliss. It's a mad dash for coins, and stages exist to imitate several pieces of Mario's history - from Mario Brothers all the way to Mario 64. I really can't say much more for it without putting across the impression that you have to try it to understand the joy in it. Truly.

Beyond all this, there's two more things that are nice to have in this game. The first is the ability to add and drop players at will. Have four people playing, but one needs to stop and do their drum lessons? No problem - go back to the map, pause the game, and you've got a menu to add drop. Sitting at home playing w-erm, by yourself, and then three friends show up? Again, no problem - the same interface will let you add up to three players, for a total of four.

The second thing... If you didn't grow up with a big brother or someone like Brian there, you'll feel how I did... But, there's now a sort of "help feature" in the game that becomes available whenever you're failing miserably. Upon activation, it will gladly do the level for you, and actually insists that, "Hey, now that you've been shown this, you should try again." The parallel to a big brother here is drawn because it's like that thing you can turn to when you just cannot figure something out and go "help me!" - and you will use this at least once, even if you've been playing literally your entire life, I promise.

Audio/Video

Though I've been trying to separate audio from video for the last twenty minutes writing this review, I find it nigh impossible. So, they have to be done as if separately together. Yeah....

At any rate, the colors are bright and sunny - even the color Black seems to shine with a sort of poppy glow. Not bad, if you aren't sensitive to bright colors (yep, sorry Ninten, but you're hurting my eyes). However, adjusted brightness aside, everything flows aesthetically and visually - it all goes together in the best possible ways. Beyond that, on the visual angle, light effects appear to be drawn dynamically, and you may find yourself saying "Hey, I wonder if I can use this as a source of light?" in many levels. Not to mention, the backgrounds, though drawn in less detail, are in full 3D, and they actually do have some minor activity going on.

The audio is also somewhat dynamic, though I wouldn't go outside of prerendering. If you've played older Mario games, specifically, Mario World, you'd know that personal actions used to affect the music in the game. This one is the first to noticeably return to that ethic - grabbing a Yoshi will give you that trotting effect in the music, not to mention that every powerup has its own unique and subtle effect on instrumentation. The overall experience is love it or leave it - it comes down more to if you can appreciate well done video game music befitting the 1990's or if you'd rather listen to progressive rock while only the sound effects play. (Personally, I'm in the second group, but it's a sincere case of "I hate it, but I know there's respect I've got to give it.")

So, here's the part where you're reading this thinking "Phoenix, you just separated this into two groups and tackled them nicely. What gives - why are you whining about not being able to separate them?" To that, I say this: Green and Red Koopas, Flowers, Piranha Plants, and even POWERUPS FREAKING DANCE. I'm not even kidding - the music has a flow that allows for a little bit of unique irregularity in terms of rhythm, and it's in these that everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING gets caught up. If you're smart, you'll keep the music on, learn the pattern, and use it to your advantage - you can do everything from knowing when an enemy will stop attacking to getting that 1UP 'shroom to pop across a hole and right into you with proper timing. This is why I can't really separate audio from video - they're made to blend together nicely and seamlessly, and I must admit that, despite my hatred of the musical style and the sensitivity of my eyes, I was highly impressed by how well everything works together.

Right, Wrong, WTF?!?

Well, before I take this apart, I have to put my foot in my mouth. Despite clocking almost 30 hours, I have only obtained a ~60% completion rate for a game with only 8 (9?) worlds. Sorry. But, I promise, this is all valid:

+ Audio and video go seamlessly together.

+ Ice Mario!

+ Penguin Mario!

+ Enemies now have friendly fire. It's good for strategic people, trust me.

+ Skipping all worlds with a specific powerup means you don't get it. Thumbs up, Ninten!

+ I got Nostalgia! And I'm not even a huge Mario fan!

+ Slowly building the difficulty. Freaking, A++!

+ Multiplayer is almost better than single player, and it certainly reminds me of Mario Brothers.

+ All the secrets and videos will leave you playing each level again and again.

+ Super Mario Brothers 3 style items and bonus games. A++!

+ When Miyamoto manages to get me to simultaneously praise and curse him for bringing back things, I know he's done well.

+ Toadstool. Costumes. Epic. Win. Seriously.

+ While I hate it most of the time, having an opt-in help feature is great for family-orientation.

+ Adding and dropping players on the fly. Why didn't we think of that before?

+ A certain trick pertaining to Koopa shells and walls that's been gone since the first Super Mario Brothers.

+ Endless curveballs in enemy behavior. Don't trust your nostalgia, believe you me.

+ Yoshi can now ingest attack matter to spew back at enemies. Fireballs, shells, magic, hammers, etc.

+ Carrying your friends if they don't understand your explanation. A++!

- Where's my gigantic shroom? That was fun on the DS...

- Did it really have to be so bright? I live for the nightlife, but, man!

- I wanted to hear "Thanks for rescuing me, but the Princess is in another Castle!"

- No poison 'shroom? Took all the time for classic nostalgia, and then missed The Lost Levels?

- I understand the reason, but why no Classic Controller support? I don't have to shake anything.

- Control display on screen doesn't directly represent what you're using if it's "Nunchuk" style. Sorry.

? Where's Birdo?

? Hammer Brothers can now use ALL OF MARIO'S POWERUPS?!?

? Where's the Angry Sun? A million and one places to stick it, and you never did anything?

? So, if my partner goes offscreen because I'm rushing, they die? Really?


Why your inner fur will like it

While I cannot attest so much to how bright and sunny the darn thing is, I think you'll appreciate the thing in context. Mario's been around for a long time, and I still remember an age when Sega was in solid competition against Nintendo. Scalies will undoubtedly love the countless Koopa family members, as well as Yoshi's comeback. If that's not enough, or if you just aren't into scales, Penguin Mario makes everything worth it in the end, even if you hate penguins and Mario.


Conclusion and final rating


A piece of honest advice, which you can thank me for later: absolutely, under no circumstances, ever, ever, EVER, even consider skipping World 3. You can thank me later.

Plot/Story: 8/10
I have to dock it a couple points for being generic, but, honestly, you paid for pure platforming goodness, and I promise that this game just beams with it. In spades, not clubs!

Audio/Video: 10/10
The poppish feel might not be my style, but everything is pleasing to the eyes, and the audio is really well thought out. Not to mention, the first time you see a Koopa dance, you'll definitely agree that I'm right on this, as well as my insistence that they not be separated.

Gameplay Ethic: 9/10
It's a fantastic first player game and an incredibly solid multiplayer game. Though I've got a few complaints, for a first try, it's a whole lot more than just "respectable".

R - Nostalgia: 10/10
I truly did remember happier days playing this strictly to write out the review. It's not often I get that from a game - most just make me think "Ok, well, at least I have an idea what I'm buying into here." This was different - although I knew this wasn't the same, I also had memories come to me of when I was 4, 5, 6 years old, and I used to play mario with my sister and my mother's fiancee. Truly, I know it's hard to grasp, but this game draws just as much on being a solid product as it does on reminding you why you started playing Mario in the first place.

Final Average: 94% (9.4/10)
Personal gripes aside, this game is irrefutably solid. In AB college, a 94% is a middle A, a value that very few games that I play just because I "know what I'm buying" get. Congratulations Ninten - I sincerely hope that this game garners you a lot of business, and that's coming from the guy who hates your war against having an open platform.

EDIT:
Woops! Not going to change this, but it matches Schism's write-up for FTR. I gave up.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2009, 09:06:10 pm by copb.phoenix »
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