Why I’m now interested in New Super Mario Bros 2

Now in the past, you may have noticed that I was kind of skeptical about New Super Mario Bros 2 and not as excited for it as Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon or Paper Mario Sticker Star.  I thought it was a bit ‘samey’ and a bit generic and wasn’t quite sure of how the whole coin collecting feature would really be implemented.

However, I now seem to have much more of an interest in the game.  Why is this? Because it looks increasingly interesting.  Because every single video makes me actually think that this game does have that spark of creativity to it, that every new trailer shows enough new ideas and level designs that I actually care for this game now and somewhat look forward to buying and playing it.

For example, I initially thought the graphics looked far too much like those in the DS or Wii game, but they don’t.  I’ve compared them side by side with the ones from these games and while the style is vaguely similar in that it has the ‘New Super Mario Bros look’ to it, they’re certainly not lazily made or ripped from any of the past games despite what your short term memory is probably telling you.  Not to mention that many levels don’t even use graphics of a similar style to the older ones, a recent ice level has a background like those from Super Mario World, a recent sky level has a background unlike anything I’ve seen before and the bonus areas have the beautiful multi coloured sky and rainbow, again not seen in the DS or Wii version.  Is it Rayman Origins, Donkey Kong Country Returns or Wario Land Shake It style impressive?  No.  But it looks good enough and it’s at least unique enough looking I think the game’s worth a chance.

Back in the old days he just walked around the room and died in three hits!

The level design and boss design is also interesting me more than it used to.  Climbing spider webs was already a pretty nifty thing in itself, but I do like the new appearing blocks gimmick in the lava level (which has a very Mario Galaxy like feel to it), the underwater tower/fortress, how Morton throws spike balls down platforms in a manner remniscient of the original Donkey Kong arcade game, how you can turn all the enemies to gold and all the possibilities it brings, etc.  And the fact it’s now confirmed Reznor does indeed fight like in SMW complete with the disappearing bridge and fireball shooting at least makes it better than it did when we saw the gimped first fight in  a recent convention video.

Reznor fights like he always has done.

The bit where all the Koopalings chase you in the Koopa Clown Car and shoot dangerous magic that lights up the background after every shot looks like a clever new level design too:

Koopaling chase

It really does seem like the level design is really interesting in parts and that it’s at least at the same level as quality as the levels in the likes of Super Mario Bros 3 or World.

It also seems to be significantly harder than previous games were.  This spike tunnel underwater looks downright murderous:

Hell

And when you add in the now required flight sections, bits where you have to bounce on Bullet Bills, etc, the game looks to be getting as close to kaizo gameplay as possible in the finale and secret worlds.    Really, if you think Super Mario World still looks harder than this game you’re in denial.

Okay, it doesn’t all seem perfect, the music seems relatively untouched from New Super Mario Bros Wii in many cases, but is this really the worst thing ever?  It’s not like the castle theme got worse all of a sudden:

And while it seems the soundtrack of the past games has quite a few critics, I don’t honestly think it’s that bad.  In fact, much of the music is quite good and at least comparable to that in Mario games prior to Galaxy, it’s just that everyone’s got all spoiled and expects Galaxy level orchestration in every new Nintendo game ever made now.  Remember that at one time, this is all we got:

Not mention, you can still do a lot of neat things and have a lot of great music even in midi format.  Is the old fashioned castle music really better than the current stuff?  The old underwater music better?  The old tower music better?  I don’t really think so, and while the lack of new themes can be a bit disappointing it’s not like the original music is bad.

All in all, while it’s still not a Super Mario 64/Galaxy level upgrade from the previous games it’s still ingeniously enough designed I now have more an interest in it, so my previous dislike of New Super Mario Bros 2 has kind of faded after all the recent videos of the game and I do think I’ll be buying it on day one the minute it comes out.

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