After sifting through a host of reviews calling Nintendo's new Super Mario Galaxy game "one of the best Mario adventures yet", I decided to head down to my local Gamestop and pick up a copy.
Now, it should be noted that I have played each and every Super Mario game dating back to Super Mario Bros. and have always been a fan of the series. In fact, to this day, I still consider Super Mario Sunshine to be one of the better games in the Mario franchise. Further, Super Mario 64 was simply a marvel of its time and easily one of the best experiences I've ever had gaming.
But after playing through Super Mario Galaxy for the past week, I simply don't get all the hype surrounding the game. Is it a good game? Sure. Is it a great game? No.
The first thing that struck me about this game was the utter lack of beauty. And while I realize the Wii doesn't have the horsepower we've all come to know and love in the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 or the PC, this game looks no better than games released back in 2001.
Is graphics everything? Of course not. But don't you think Nintendo could have done a slightly better job creating a better looking world? I hate to be picky, but compare this game to Resident Evil 4 on the Gamecube -- Nintendo's last generation device -- and there is no contest. And after playing games like Call of Duty 4 and Assassin's Creed, I can't help but think this game is downright ugly for this generation.
But alas, Mario games have always been about gameplay. And while much of the jumping and fluid motion I had come to love in Sunshine is still present, the interaction of the game with the Wii-Mote made this game feel gimmicky.
Am I the only person in the world who started playing this game and thought the need to "shake the Wii-mote" back and forth was one of the dumbest aspects of this game?
And I think that's where Nintendo lost me. With a first-party game, I truly believe the Wii-mote should be inexorably tied to gameplay. Unfortunately, it simply wasn't. In fact, it almost seemed like this functionality was tacked on at the end because, after all, a Wii game must use that Wii-mote in some way, right?
But perhaps this is an issue that plagues the Wii more than this game itself. Is it possible that Wii-mote interaction is difficult and it only really works on mini-games and sports titles? Now that I've played Super Mario Galaxy, I certainly believe so.
One other major issue I had with this title is its unbearably boring story. Why must I sit through drawn-out text discussions of the story when all I really want to do is play the game? Suffice it to say, Nintendo's way of telling a story through a dialog box is out-dated and stupid. It should have been thrown out the window with the Gamecube.
Of course, not everything was bad in Super Mario Galaxy. In fact, Nintendo broke the mold of gameplay in quite a few ways that should usher in some new ways to make games. I especially enjoyed running under planets and moving around and jumping was as simple and fun as it always has been.
But in the end, I was left wanting more out of this game. Not only does it look downright ugly at times, the tacked-on feel of some of its controls and its utter lack of a compelling story preclude me from calling it the "wonderful" game others have called it. Is it a good game? Yes. Is it great? Not a chance.
If you ask me, this game deserves a 7 out of 10.