E3 has come, and gone (for quite a while now), leaving a trail of FPS demos, Lara Croft controversies and disappointment. Now that the annual hype massacre’s faded into the horizon, it’s time for the far more interesting season of video games – late summer/autumn/winter (so catchy)! So, with that in mind, over the next two weeks, I’ll be taking a look at the twelve biggest video games of Q3 and Q4 2012 (in the format of my movie-themed Twelve for 2012 series from back in March) with each one going under my purely virtual microscope. First up, it’s the one with the plumber, his brother, and the coins. Part one, New Super Mario Bros 2!
Release date: August 17
Platform(s) Nintendo 3DS
It’s the sequel to the best-selling Nintendo DS game of all time – and it fully deserved its success, too. 2006′s New Super Mario Bros. updated the old-school 2D platforming of the first few Mario games, and made it fresh but still entertaining. With the same development team on board, New Super Mario Bros 2 is almost certain to retain the polished old-school fun of the first game, while still remaining fresh. Well, as fresh as a franchise that’s been milked to an inch of its life can be.
It’s daring to steer away from the New Super Mario Bros. Wii feeling of ‘well, if it ain’t broke, add Yoshi and a couple of playable Toads, but don’t fix it’, by re-focusing the objective of the game. In an indirect embracing of capitalism for Nintendo, Bros 2 is all about collecting coins. There’s a new power-up that turns everything you shoot into coins. There’s more coins on every level. Coins are plastered all over the marketing, and there’s an ultimate goal of collecting one million coins. It’s not the freshest thing that’s ever been made, but it’s a change from the trusty format of previous games, at least.
The multiplayer aspects of the game sound pretty great. NSMB‘s multiplayer was fun, but it had next to no replay-ability, and the appeal of pushing your friends into pits to gain stars wore pretty thin as time went by. Bros 2 gives you two multiplayer options: the more conventional Coin Rush mode (which can also be played in single-player), where you race against the other player to get a certain amount of coins in a certain amount of time, and the far more appealing (in my opinion anyway) option of playing the single-player campaign with someone else, allowing more annoying your friends for your money.
The idea of paid DLC sounds interesting, and could possibly be a nice addition to prevent the game from gathering dust once it’s been completed. I’ll also cover the negative side of the first ever appearance of DLC in a Mario game below:
Mario’s always been a franchise that’s leaned uncomfortably close into bloated cynicism territory from time to time, and with the pretty large amount of Mario games that have been coming out recently, NSMB2 might lead it to topple into full-on cynicism. In the last eight months, Mario Kart 7, Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Tennis Open, Mario and Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games have all been released, and New Super Mario Bros U‘s coming out a couple of months after NSMB2 as well. It begs the question: can you have too much of a good thing? (I’m not including Tennis Open in this one. No Mario sports game is a good thing.)
Paid DLC doesn’t sound very Mario-y(if that makes sense. It probably doesn’t. Anyway, I digress). The price of a 3DS game is already pretty steep, so when you factor in paid DLC, you’re paying a lot of money for something that’s probably not even worth all the cash. Previous Mario games have got on fine without any form of paid DLC, so why now, Nintendo? Is it the sound of coins again?
Will it be good? It’s a 2D Mario platformer, so of course it’ll be good. The question is, will it be a Mario game too far? (That doesn’t really fit, does it?)
Will it succeed? In its late August release slot, it should flourish and overtake its 3D counterpart Super Mario 3D Land to take number one spot on the 3DS chart.
Next time: Tomorrow, I take a fall with Transformers: Fall of Cybertron. Oh yes. The awful puns are back.