All About The_Deepblue
First and foremost, my name is Daniel, and I am a Baptist Christian and an English Major/Secondary Education minor at Winthrop University in South Carolina. I enjoy writing reviews, but I will admit that my early reviews on this site were quite poor. I've progressively improved, but I still feel as if my writing on here is second rate to say, an essay for school, but that's okay. I'm not running for Gamespot Mayor or anything. Welcome to my page, a place where I post my opinions primarily on Xbox 360, Nintendo, and various handheld titles.
I am once again proving myself to be a Super Marioholic. At least once per year, I pick out a handful of Super Mario titles to play through in succession. As of now the selections are: Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario 64, and New Super Mario Bros. 2 (I'm also playing through Paper Mario).
I completed New Super Mario Bros. 2 not long ago, unlocking all of the hidden stages, obtaining all of the star coins, moon coins. I have not collected *speaks in Dr. Evil voice* one million coins yet, but I plan on buying the DLC and racking up some gold ones in Coin Rush mode.
NSMB2 does little-aside from the gold coin fiasco-to differentiate itself from recent entries, but it is yet another fluid, colorful, and joyous romp. There are plenty of secrets, and finding them all presents a hearty challenge, and the golden theme of the game is easy on the eyes and is nicely implemented into the set-up of the stages. Below is my review of this solid 3DS platformer.
Headline: Nothing here will wow the Super Mario fan, but its finely-tuned, addictive gameplay will please platforming enthusiasts
Review: It's the type of adventure that Wario and Waluigi could only dream of embarking on: to scour the Mushroom Kingdom and other lands for coins, one million of them. There is the cumbersome task of rescuing Princess Peach from Bowser and his evil family members, however, and those two would devise some cheap scheme to get what they want with as few burdens as possible. So this must be a job for Mario. He has done it many times before, and he's as fast and nimble as ever, even though his weight stays at a hefty level. With all the Tanooki leaves scattered across the stages in New Super Mario Bros. 2, Mario will be doing more flying than running to keep his belly from further bulging.
Gold is the shiny element central in this installment of the legendary series. Gold coins used to mean something back in Mario's eight and sixteen-bit days, but as the Mario titles scaled down in difficulty and gave coins out more liberally, the value of the coin dropped even more. Not to say that this game does not pour out the coins, because it does. There is an official coin count at the bottom right of the bottom screen, chronicling your progress en route to collecting one million coins.
Mario can get richer by bopping into golden blocks, which fall on his head (he becomes a golden blockhead), and as he runs, coins stream out from its top. The fire flower, which enables Mario to shoot fireballs, returns, but so does a new, golden variation of that power-up. The gold-flower turns the plumber gold and gives him something of a Midas touch. With it, he can shoot large, golden fireballs that turn brown blocks into gold coins, and Mario is rewarded with golden coins when he uses it on baddies.
Though collecting a million coins seems to be the primary goal of New Super Mario Bros. 2, this idea, aside from the marketing of the game and the huge amounts of coins in the stages, is not pushed to the forefront in the story or in any other way. Mario's story does not have to become complex or even change its basic foundation, but the gold coin gimmick is restricted to a number count on the bottom of the screen, and that's all. Earning the goods can be fun; a new mode called Coin Rush was implemented. In this mode you dash through previously completed stages (that are scaled down or made more linear), racking up as many gold ones as Mario's pockets can hold. It's a good way to get that money count up, but regardless of how one does it, reaching the million takes a lot of time and dedication.
I have completed every single stage in the game, including the secret worlds, and I have not cracked the one hundred-thousand mark yet. Granted, I have not put much time into coin rush, for now I am racking up all of the gold-star coins. I do not know what the payoff is, but from what I have heard, it is disappointing. So I still felt, having completed a bulk of everything this game has to offer, that I had enough experience under my belt to review it. And my final verdict is this: New Super Mario Bros. 2 is perhaps the most basic since the original on the NES, but that's okay, because the timeless formula that that game established still makes for a good time today.
If you have played a two-dimensional Mario platformer before, you know what to expect here. Mario will jump and fly his way through the Mushroom Kingdom, the desert, the sky, and worlds of fire and ice. The Tanooki suit is a welcomed return, and unlike in Super Mario 3D Land, the power-up is very useful in New Super Mario Bros. 2. It's good for whacking bad guys with a tail-twirl, but it helps Mario to reach hidden areas up high or on the far sides of the screen. And there are a good number of secret places that unlock paths to hidden stages and even hidden worlds. Finding all of the secrets, including star coins (there are three in each stage), is no easy task. This aspect, aside from the frenzied coin mission, is probably the most challenging in the game, and even Super Mario vets will get stumped on how to gain access to every area on each world's map.
Much of the levels are pretty straightforward, but Nintendo does enough to keep the game's rhythm and pace from becoming boring. Some stages are water levels in which Mario swims from beginning to end. Others are those that scroll on their own and Mario must keep up, and there are dangerous Tower and Castle levels as well as those tricky Haunted Houses (also known as Ghost Houses). At the end of the Tower and Castle levels are bosses. Ranging from yawn-inducing easy to fun and nostalgic, few of the boss battles really give you a sense of accomplishment after winning. A few are recycled from past entries in the series, and the originals do not present much of a challenge. The final battle with Bowser was satisfying, but compared to other encounters with Mario's shelled nemesis, it was decent at best.
New Super Mario Bros. 2 looks and sounds excellent, but the problem is that the aesthetics have not evolved much from the other "New" games. The animation is certainly impressive; the backgrounds and character models are colorful and pretty, and these graphical pluses is a reason why I prefer this entry to its Nintendo DS predecessor, but there still is not enough diversity in its paint. Musically, the same can be said about the soundtrack. You'll hear the tried and true New Super Mario Bros. theme song quite a lot, but you will also become accustomed to and jaded by other themes. You just know what tune to expect whether Mario is swimming with the fishes or hopping over lakes of lava in a castle.
Nothing here will surprise or wow the Super Mario fan, but there is more than enough finely-tuned, solid gameplay here to satisfy platforming enthusiasts. There could have been more diversity in the aesthetics, the coin idea is refreshing but perhaps too taxing on the perfectionist, and there is a lack of new power-ups. Nonetheless, this is a high-quality Super Mario that will get you hooked, and replaying those stages to find all of the goodies and unlock the secrets will prove to be a ton of fun worth your coins.
Favorite Lyrics of 2012
I bought and listened to nine or ten albums in 2012- not much, but there was a fair selection of fantastic songs and lyrics. You must listen to the actual songs to feel the anguish, anger, curiosity, love-sickness, and realization in these lyrics. So do that. I didn't list the song or album names from which these lyrics came, but I did list the artists. Lyrics are in alphabetical order by artists' names.
1) Lately, you wanna be in my heart
But where exactly is my heart and where does it start?
- Animal Collective
2) Every single night I endure the flight
Of little wings of white flame
Butterflies in my brain
These ideas of mine percolate the mind
Trickle down the spine
Swarm the belly, swelling to a blaze
That's where the pain comes in
Like a second skeleton
Trying to fit beneath the skin
I cant fit the feelings in
- Fiona Apple
3) My heart's made of parts of all that surrounds me
And that's why the devil just can't get around me
- Fiona Apple
4) But you were such a super guy til the second you get a whiff of me
We are like a wishing well and a bolt of electricity
But we can still support each other
All we got to do is avoid each other
Nothing wrong when a song ends in the minor key
- Fiona Apple
5) Remember when we argued on the concept of regret?
You were an expert even then but not me, not yet
Now all you gotta do's remind me that we met
And there ya got me, that's how you got me, taught me to regret
- Fiona Apple
6) If you built yourself a myth
you'd know just what to give
What comes after this?
of what you do to me
- Beach House
7) Like the pages of the book I'd never get to write
On the Eastside of the city
Where the ink is running dry
And if you love me like you say
take this book and burn the page
the rain will wash away the ashes
On the Eastside of my heart
8) I'm gonna start combing my hair in a thousand ways
Maybe he will notice and maybe look my way
- Dirty Projectors
9) I never walk about after dark
It's my point of view
That someone could break your neck
Coming up behind you, always coming, and you'd never have a clue
10) My heart
I never be
I never see
I never know
And then it falls
And then I fall
And then I know
11) I don't know if I know
Though some with certainty insist no certainty exists
Well, I'm certain of this:
In the past fourteen years, there's only one girl I've kissed
12) Get a little closer, let fold
Cut open my sternum, and pull
My little ribs around you
The rungs of me be under, under you
- Purity Ring
13) It feels like I only go backwards, baby
Every part of me says, 'Go ahead.'
- Tame Impala
14) Won't dance, not without you
Small steps, they don't lead to your heart
You keep me waiting in the dark
- Jessie Ware
Legendary Japanese company Capcom has been under much scrutiny from the gaming community as of late. Some of the criticism is against marketing strategies that have been part of the company's philosophy for many years (e.g., releasing the same game many times, adding a few extras with each rerelease); contempt has been directed toward the company for taking its beloved franchises and completely revamping them to the point of stripping away everything that made them so captivating in the first place (e.g., Resident Evil). Although its most recent blockbuster title, Resident Evil 6, is a seller, it is no secret that Capcom has been in the hot seat with many of its fans. A great multitude of once Capcom loyalists would seemingly be willing to forgive the mishaps under one condition: Megaman makes a comeback.
Highly anticipated releases in the series were cancelled, including a sequel in the cult classic spin-off series Megaman Legends and the intriguing 2.5D Megaman Universe. Just when it looked as if Megaman was going to star in a few titles that veered away from the predictable formula found in the Megaman platformers: the original series, X series, Zero series, etc, Capcom pulled the plug and seemingly acted as if one its most iconic characters never existed; Mega Man was not even a selectable character in Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 but was instead late downloadable content. Until the recently announced Mega Man X Street Fighter, the robot boy in blue had not seen his own game in two years, and his short death was greatly mourned, but should it have been?
Megaman has starred in nearly one hundred and thirty games total, including five different games from 2006-2010. Two of those five games, Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10, were eight-bit entries in the main series that were lavished by fans with praise. The Mega Man series has seen a dizzying amount releases throughout its lifespan, enough to make Mario jealous, and yet admirers of the franchise were up in arms over the fact that they had not had a new Mega Man game for nearly two years. Their frustration is justified if it is for the reason that Capcom has stunted the series from potentially steering into a new and innovative direction. Capcom recently announced the intriguing Mega Man X Street Fighter, but fans should not be satisfied with just any game with Mega Man's name inserted into the title.
The trailer for the newly announced Mega Man X Street Fighter is not very telling, nor does it show us much new. It is an eight-bit game, and that's okay for good nostalgic purposes, but it made more sense when the original series made a real comeback with Mega Man 9. The original Mega Man series is so simplistic in style that Capcom can experiment with various forms of artistic design.
Actually, Capcom has (successfully) experimented in the past. Mega Man: Powered Up was very charming, visually, and reminiscing on the sixteen-bit glory days of two-dimensional gaming, Mega Man 7 was a good-looking game- a natural graphical progression of Mega Man's NES days. It begs the question: why aren't sixteen bit graphics considered for touching the Mega Man series with nostalgic paint? Keeping Mega Man in eight-bit land signifies staying in the past, and staying in the past means playing a predictable game.
Aesthetics, however, are secondary; it's the gameplay that counts, of course. "Eight new bosses, eight new weapons" boasts the new Mega Man X Street Fighter trailer. Sounds very familiar. I truly hope I am wrong, but from what I have seen, the "new" Mega Man looks awfully similar to the old ones, except for the fact that eight-bit Street Fighter characters are jumping around on the screen. Though Mega Man is a historic franchise, it never has been an elite series. Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Metal Gear Solid, Halo, and God of War are elite; they're in the upper class of gaming for being long running franchises that know how to maintain the fundamental design that made them excellent, yet they introduce just enough new, fresh elements that keep them not only relevant, but standard setters. Mega Man remains the same, and some fans not only accept it but claim that its sameness is part of what makes it great; and the monotony is politely labeled as "nostalgia."
Mega Man has always been good and fun but never amazing and exciting, and it continues to lack innovation. Mega Man: Powered Up is the closest that the series has come, in recent years, to offering something different with its level editor and allowing you to play as boss characters. Mega Man Legends and its sequel were great stepping stones for the series in 3D gaming, but instead of potentially transforming the Legends spin-offs into something extraordinary, Capcom touted a new Legends for the Nintendo 3DS after many years, only to cancel the game.
So after the outcry from fans over the neglecting of Mega Man, Capcom gives us a cross between Mega Man and Street Fighter. It's no doubt an interesting concept, and I am sure it will be enjoyable. However, I cannot help but to wonder if Mega Man Legends 3 or Mega Man Universe would have been two titles to instill new life into a franchise that has always been and remains "merely" good. If Capcom were willing to take its time and put some real love and effort into making a stand-out Mega Man game, then I don't want to see the blue bomber yearly or even bi-yearly for that matter; he can stay in his capsule until he's ready for excellence.
My Recent Reviews
May 19, 2013 10:02 pm GMTThe_Deepblue reviewed Uncharted: Drake's Fortune and gave it a score of 6.5
May 5, 2013 10:13 pm GMTThe_Deepblue added Big Bang Mini to their owned game list
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May 5, 2013 10:12 pm GMTThe_Deepblue added inFamous Collection to their owned game list
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May 5, 2013 10:12 pm GMTThe_Deepblue added Fallout 3 to their owned game list
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May 5, 2013 10:11 pm GMTThe_Deepblue added Uncharted: Drake's Fortune to their owned game list
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May 5, 2013 10:11 pm GMTThe_Deepblue added Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception to their owned game list