When first announced, I think just about every Nintendo and Mario fan was elated with the fact that the Paper Mario franchise would be making its way over to the Wii. After a bunch of rumors, screenshots, movies and other teases, Super Paper Mario has finally made its way to retail.
What did we think of it? Hit the jump to find out.
I really, really wanted to like Super Paper Mario. I don't mean that I was really excited for it (I wasn't, very) or that I'd overhyped it in my mind (I hadn't), but I didn't want to have to give another Nintendo game a sub-6 score and I really appreciated what SPM tried to accomplish.
And even if you do get low on health, you can just use one of many plentiful health potions to get you back up to fightin' strength. As a result of these factors, the player is never forced to be careful: you can hurl yourself into easy situations with reckless abandon and get hit as many times as you want, because you'll only lose about a third of your health (which will immediately be replenished). There are puzzles too, of course, but these are almost always very, very straightforward (look around, get stumped, go into 3D mode, find a clue, solve puzzle, repeat).
I gotta tell you, gang, I'm really wrestling with the idea of slapping Super Paper Mario with a verdict, despite the fact that I enjoyed the hell out of it. It's one of those games that I imagine I'll be revisiting a number of times over the years -- the sort of title that you don't trade in, that retains a permanent position on your shelf. One romp through World 3 solidified this opinion, and despite the several ill-conceived levels and design decisions that are peppered throughout the remainder of the game, my adoration stands. It's a weird kind of love, though, the sort that you have to qualify with an asterisk and a brief explanation.
That being said, I still had a blast playing it -- the game's use of 2D/3D flipping as part of its platforming and puzzle elements do well to complicate what we've come to expect from the genres it represents. Ironically, this is also one of the game's greatest limitations; the need to design levels with "flipping" in mind makes for some very, very plain 2D landscapes with not much to do until you make a break for the third dimension. It's disappointing, but only when compared to the amazing level design witnessed in some of Nintendo's titles in years past.
After playing Super Paper Mario for a while, I must say, RevAnthony certainly makes me feel like I'm a complete dumbass. This game really is a love/hate relationship for me, so this review feels extremely awkward. When the game is good, it's phenominal; when it's bad, I want to punch it. This is also my first time playing a Paper Mario game, for those of you wondering why I bring up blatantly obvious things.
Super Paper Mario is a darn good time, simple as that. I wish I could just present a photo review because the giant smile on my face throughout almost every sequence would pretty much sum everything up real nice. Now, that is not to say the game is perfect. However, in my opinion, the strengths far outweigh the weaknesses and result in a final product that is unlike anything I have ever played (and that's a very good thing!).
It is very rare for a game like this to offer a player so many different characters (playable and non-playable), each one with his/her/its own unique personality. And to top it off, all of this was accomplished without any voice acting; that's a pretty impressive feat. Call me old-fashioned, but I have yet to join the "Nintendo has to have voice acting!" crusade that seems to be growing in numbers every day. To me, it is the little detailed touches in the text itself -- like how speed and font help portray emotion -- that make a game like this special. Why take that uniqueness away? Until that gets old, there is no rush to have characters talk just for technology's sake (see: Symphony of the Night).
Granted, the game dropped some of its RPG pounds to fit into a sleek, platformer dress, but having only one main hub town and no real reason to go back and visit previous locations made the game feel a little too linear. In that, I do agree with Anthony that at times it felt like I was just performing a series of tasks.
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