In Defense of New Super Mario Bros 2; Is it really that bad a game?

Because some people seem to have gone all end of the world/panic mode about New Super Mario Bros 2 and started ranting about the downfall of Nintendo and the Mario series, here are some reasons not to pre judge the game by just four screenshots.

1. It doesn’t look as good as Kid Icarus Uprising!

So?  Most 3DS don’t and most future ones won’t either including most by Nintendo.  Does every game under the sun have to use the full power of the console it’s released on now?

It’s perfectly reasonable to think Nintendo were lazy with the graphics in New Super Mario Bros 2.  But be a bit more rational here, there’s nothing particularly wrong with the style either and it isn’t really that different from the one in Super Mario 3D Land or any other recent Mario game.  Besides gameplay is far more important than graphics, and comparing this game to Kid Icarus is comparing apples and oranges.

2. Being mostly made of familiar elements from past games isn’t a bad thing

Really, that’s what most recent Mario games have consisted of.  Was the shift from New Super Mario Bros to New Super Mario Bros Wii really much more of a shift than the one from New Super Mario Bros 1 to New Super Mario Bros?

But more importantly, many of the elements Nintendo seem to be bringing back are ones fans have wanted for ages.  How long have people wanted Raccoon Mario and proper flight again? And if these elements are in New Super Mario Bros 2, who knows what else could turn up.  Look at some of the array of classic things New Super Mario Bros Wii brought back:

  1. Koopalings
  2. Rideable Yoshi
  3. Kamek + transformations
  4. Airship Levels
  5. Porcupuffer
  6. Spikes (those spike ball turtle enemies)
  7. Munchers
  8. Ptooies
  9. Fuzzies
  10. Boo Rings
  11. POW Blocks…
That’s just some of it.  When you consider that there’s still quite a lot more awesome stuff from older games still available to bring back for this game (have to say, I’d personally hope for Roto Discs, Reznor and Chargin’ Chucks next), should we really be complaining too much about this one?  Considering we’re even getting a new Mario game less than a year after Super Mario 3D Land and that we’re getting a potentially much better one on the Wii U a short time after that, why not just chill out a bit and look forward to the old school stuff that Nintendo might bring back in this game?

3. It’s too similar to NSMB… Choose your poison carefully

Really, for all the people complaining it’s too much like the first two New Super Mario Bros games, keep in mind what happened in the past every time Nintendo (or anyone else) tried to drastically change their beloved series and try something new.

People hated it for being new and different to the older games.  Remember a well known game called Super Mario Sunshine?  It’s a great game and it was very different to the Mario games before and after it.  Pity fans hated various elements and practically every new character it introduced, at least initially.

It also sold the least of all Mario platformers in history.  Meanwhile look at games that didn’t change a whole lot like New Super Mario Bros and you get games which sold well over 20 million copies and ended up making Nintendo an absolute ton of money.  Is it really any surprise why they stuck with what’s familiar in making this game?

 4. We’ve seen just four screenshots

Isn’t that just a little early to judge a game?  We don’t even have any gameplay footage or any form of trailer yet and who knows what’s in this game that we can’t already see?

Look at New Super Mario Bros Wii for instance.  It’s not the most ambitious game in the world or the best possible 2D Mario platformer ever but it definitely turned out to be better than people expected.  The boss battles were excellent:

How many boss battles are shown in these screenshots again?  Zero.  Heck we don’t even know who’s helping Bowser in this one, or (at least in theory) whether Bowser is even involved in the first place.

Another thing that was at least decent about the New Super Mario Bros games was the music.  Yes the grass land theme was annoying and overused.  But I don’t know anyone who disliked the castle music so far, in either game:

But seeing as we have no footage of the game and hence no way to hear any of the soundtrack we don’t know in the slightest how catchy some of the music might be.  For all we know that desert level could have something majestic and almost egyptian sounding playing in the background that makes people think it’s awesome.  Like this:

Not as if people on the internet seem to care, half of them seem to think anything not orchestrated is no better than elevator music nowadays.  Yes Super Mario Galaxy had the better soundtrack, but that doesn’t mean the music in New Super Mario Bros is mediocre or bad. Or that New Super Mario Bros 2 won’t have an even better soundtrack than the last two New Super Mario Bros games…

Another thing that can’t be judged is the quality of the level design, whether the levels will be fun to play in general or what gimmicks may show up in the rest of the game.  For all the ‘OMG rehash’ comments New Super Mario Bros Wii got for being like its predecessor, it’s hardly as if the game didn’t have a ton of gimmicks and clever tricks up its sleeve in the later levels.

We don’t even know if this game will have the same world themes as the last two New Super Mario Bros games will.  Yes it’s got a forest world, a grass world and a snow/ice world.  Oh wait, it’s got levels with those themes.  But so did Super Mario 3D Land which turned out to have no themed worlds whatsoever.  Might the same thing apply here?  Or perhaps Nintendo might even return to a more Super Mario World type map.  Who knows?

All in all, be reasonable and actually wait for some more information before judging this game as a lazy rehash or the death of Nintendo or the Mario series or anything else.  Don’t go judging games based on exactly four screenshots and assume you know what happens in the rest of the entire game as a result.

Nintendo Direct; Full Breakdown of announcements

In case you missed the Japanese version of the presentation this morning, here’s a nice summary of everything that gets announced.

Update planned for Mario Kart 7, which will be released in May.  It’ll supposedly remove some unfair shortcuts/glitches from online play and be required to play online, putting a stop to the Wuhu Mountain Loop fiasco.  No word about if it adds anything else, some people think it might add characters, options or karts.

New Super Mario Bros announced, and due this August (at least in Japan).  Screenshots and information can be found in this post:

April 25th firmware update confirmed.

Heroes of Ruin released June 15th with voice chat and daily DLC missions for an entire year.  Nice to know some companies are willing to make use of the parental controls for the system rather than arbitarily limit their games and copy Nintendo.

Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance is out June 20th.

You can find a video of that game here:

Theathrhythm Final Fantasy out in the summer.  Knowing the above, probably either June or July.

Again, video can be seen here, this was shown in the event:

Some Kid Icarus Uprising techniques and tips are shared by Sakurai.  The tips video can b watched below:

Some footage of Epic Mickey the Power of Illusion shared, and can be seen below.  Also, Warren Spector discusses the game and how it ties in to past Mickey Mouse platformers.

So yes, that’s all from yesterday’s Nintendo Direct.  Back to normality I guess.

Mario Tennis Open Trailers and Information

Right from Nintendo Direct.  Yes it’s a bit late, but it wasn’t particularly easy compiling all these tiny videos from the official site into a longer video worthy of Youtube, and it took an awful long time to get the trailer from the full presentation.  But now that’s out the way, here are some videos of the game.

First, the special modes in action:

You can see Super Mario Tennis, Ring Shot, Galaxy Tennis and Ink Tennis here.  Interesting enough extra modes.

Next all the characters shown so far:

Finally, a general trailer for Mario Tennis Open showing Miis and customisation and other things of interest:

Some information is also known, all thanks to the official site.  In Mario Tennis you can share Miis via StreetPass and customise them with over 200 items and accessories that you unlock throughout the game.

The game also has both local and wifi play, so you can play people (presumably both friends and strangers) online as well as locally.

All in all, Mario Tennis Open looks to be a great game and well worthy of a buy for any Mario sports game fan that happens to be out there.

Full Nintendo of Europe Nintendo Direct Presentation

Has just been uploaded to Youtube by Nintendo’s official UK channel, and can be watched in it’s entirety here:

Good if you missed something and need to watch it again to see what’s been announced.

It also comes with a break down/timeline/whatever to make it easier to understand, although I haven’t watched this version of the presentation yet myself.

So yes, good if you missed anything.

Mario Kart 7 Being Patched; A Few Issues?

1. Is the patch included with new copies of Mario Kart 7?

Because it’s required to play online, so if it isn’t available by default, Nintendo have absolutely destroyed the long term value of the game.

You see, some people (okay, probably the majority) don’t really follow news that much.  And a very significant portion of Nintendo’s userbase probably don’t even know about the eShop to begin with.

So picture this.  Nintendo’s expanded audience finally buys a 3DS each and get Mario Kart 7 alongside it (given that the Wii Mario Kart game sold about 20 million copies, this is very likely to happen).  They then decide like you do that they should start playing online…

And then up comes a message like ‘sorry, but you need the latest patch to play Mario Kart 7 online due to critical bugs, download it from the eShop’.

Why do I have this feeling Nintendo is going to be flooded with angry customers annoyed that they can’t play Mario Kart 7 online for the next two years?

People do not read instructions or manuals.  They generally don’t go looking for information online the minute they buy the game either.

So if Nintendo doesn’t include the necessary patch on the game cartridge by default, they are going to be in the middle of a huge customer support nightmare for the next few months/years.  You can almost see the hilarity that’ll occur when Nintendo is trying to explain the patching system to a really pissed off mother annoyed her son/daughter can’t play Mario Kart 7 online.  Or how every Nintendo forum on the internet will end up filled with unlucky people asking why Mario Kart 7’s online features don’t work…

This update better damn be included on the game card by default for the next batch of Mario Kart 7 games.

2. Will it potentially break other aspects of the game?

This is one reason companies and individuals absolutely DREAD patching an already complete game.  For every bug fixed, you end up with another one added. Take Wuhu Mountain Loop for instance.

Everyone hates this place, right?

It’s fairly obvious why the glitch exists, and in the most logically strict sense of the term it isn’t really a glitch.  There are two areas, one at the beginning of part 2 and one at the end of it, and the end section passes generally by the starting section. So the water which drops you in the end of section 2 was originally meant to catch people who fell off the track near the end of the section.

So assuming Nintendo makes it so falling in the water/on the rock wall puts you back at the start of section 2, what happens if you fall off the near the end?  Do you end up a whole lap behind everyone else?  Because that’s what could easily happen if Nintendo takes the easy option in regards to fixing it.

What happens if you fall off here?

What if they just put a wall there to stop people reaching said area?  Well that’s problematic because the glitch technically still exists.  Gamers don’t like walls telling them where to go in video games, and I guarantee within a week someone will have found a way past any barricade Nintendo can put that spot.  As a result, just adding a wall or barrier would just mean it’d take a little longer for someone to exploit their way through it.  You’d need an infinite height invisible wall + fence for the entire length of the pond and cavern to really block anyone.

Note how easy it is to reach said area.  A fence won’t work very well.

Final possibility is that they remake much of the checkpoint system, but that’s both extremely hard to do at short notice and would potentially break a lot of other tracks.

That’s hence one problem, how to fix the glitch in a way which doesn’t cause other glitches or get it used again in about a week when people figure out how to break your ‘fixes’.

3. Which bugs count as ‘unfair’?

Obviously Wuhu Mountain Loop is one of them, but what others?  I see it being fairly likely they might also patch the one on Island Loop (the one near the lighthouse at the end) because of how common that’s becoming online, but those aren’t the only two exploitable bugs.

What of the Bowser Castle 1 glitch?

Or the DK Jungle glitch?

Or the Koopa Cape glitch?

If they only patch the Wuhu Island courses, I can easily see the Bowser Castle 1 being the most abused glitch online and that track being chosen near constantly.  Pity it’s even worse in that only certain karts can do it.

If that turns out to be patched, then God help us, because the Koopa Cape shortcut might end up being the most overly abused glitch on wifi and the minimum skill level to play has pretty much shot up massively since it’s a really difficult glitch to pull off correctly.

Hopefully all the glitches get patched otherwise online just gets filled with people using different ones, and we could end up with a Bowser Castle 1 and Metal Mario only ‘standard’ like how we had nothing but Funky Kongs on Bowser Bikes in Mario Kart Wii.

However there is one bright side to all this…

It’ll be hilarious whenever Wuhu Mountain Loop comes up.  Because you know people don’t pay much attention to what updates actually do and you know some luckyless moron will try the uber shortcut anyone.  More fool them when they end up in dead last.

I can see a lot of annoyed Japanese users using Metal Mario now their precious shortcut isn’t in the game any more…

In conclusion, let’s hope Nintendo carries out this update correctly and doesn’t end up causing more problems than they fix.