NSMB2 DLC 2 and more thoughts on Pokémon Black 2

Youmacon, Detroit’s premier anime convention, is happening this week, which I’m incredibly excited for. But, I already wrote about some do’s and don’ts at conventions last Spring, so I’m instead going to post my thoughts on Black 2 (as far as I am), and the new NSMB2 DLC that came out last week. Let’s start with Pokémon Black 2!

Pokémon Black 2

So far, I have 6 badges and am currently stopped at Cobalon (I’m going to RNG him with 31 IV’s and a good nature so I can EV him and hopefully use him in a team if I feel like it), and so far am loving the game.

When I make a team, I generally just look for a team that wasn’t a team caught in the beginning, and try to give myself superior coverage and the like. This time, I decided to copy the team the male protagonist of Black/White 2 in the animated trailer has, and so I have an Emboar, Lucario, and Arcanine (nick-named Slamboar, Dunkario, and Jamanine, respectively). Needless to say, Burgh was a piece of cake thanks to my having two fire-types. To top it off, I caught an Eevee (wild Eevee are incredible), and was going to give myself a Jolteon to destroy water-types, but the one I caught had a modest nature, so I turned it into an Espeon (my favorite pokémon). Coincidentally, I’ve never gotten an Espeon before for an in-game team, so it’s awesome to finally be using my favorite pokémon for the story mode. I normally nick-name my Espeon Anzu, but it’s male, so I named it Slameon. Coincidentally, the next Eevee I caught was Timid-natured, so I will be having a Jolteon soon! I got Genesect (named Genesect because I don’t nick-name legendary pokémon), at the very beginning of the game, and that’s my current team. I have a Ducklett that I use as an HM slave, but once I get the new dragon I’ll be using that on my team.

The game’s story is not too bad. The in-game scenes do not give the animated trailer justice, but I wasn’t expecting anything crazy. I haven’t actually really gotten too deep into the story. I’ve only encountered Plasma a couple times, although the old Plasma team in Driftviel city is pretty cool. Also, it’s AWESOME that you do bump into the other protagonist and that he/she has a purpose. I haven’t confirmed it, but I think she’s the subway boss for the Battle Subway singles, and if that’s true I’ll be really hyped.

Once I finally finish the story mode, I’ll put up my review where I’ll go more into the other cool little features, but those are my thoughts (and my team) so far.

New Super Mario Bros. 2 DLC 2

The two new courses for NSMB2’s Coin Rush are actually really good – they’re much more difficult than their two previous DLC counterparts (which are collect tons of coins and then a more competitive-oriented level). I nailed 30,000 on the first one without breaking a sweat, but the second one I just kinda ran through, but I found a few routes I can use to maximize my score. I need to find a good route for the first level, though. Stupid Boo Houses.

Just sayin’

REVIEW: New Super Mario Bros. 2

New Super Mario Bros. 2, according to most reviews that I was reading online, was sub-par compared to its predecessor, New Super Mario Bros. So when I picked it up and started playing with my brother, I wasn’t expecting too much, and what I got was something that, to me, was just as good as – if not better – than New Super Mario Bros.

Atmosphere (Music/Graphics):

This is the worst part of New Super Mario Bros. 2. The graphics and music are exactly the same as New Super Mario Bros. and New Super Mario Bros. Wii. While those worlds, models, backgrounds, and music are all passable and allow you to enjoy the game, I was hoping for something a little different. Maybe a different song here and an entirely new level there. If you look at New Super Mario Bros. U, you notice that the style of the game is completely different in backgrounds and in actual models (except for Mario), and I was hoping they’d do something like that with New Super Mario Bros. 2. I mean, would it have killed Nintendo to put in a monochrome or all gold/silver world? That would’ve been cool!

Gameplay:

Where New Super Mario Bros. 2 excels is in its gameplay. I haven’t really played the game solo yet, instead opting to complete the game with my brother, but I would assume it’s still as fun as the rest of the New Super Mario Bros. series. The amount of coins is the only difference you’re going to see in gameplay, and while you’ll probably be obtaining a ridiculous amount of lives, the levels aren’t drop-dead easy, and trying to get as many coins as possible is harder than you think. But let’s talk about the co-op.

The co-op is, simply put, fantastic. Not only do you get a x2 coin bonus when both Mario and Luigi are on-screen, but the levels are just begging to be played in co-op. So far, there is only one level my brother and I found ridiculously difficult with two players, but other than that, every level has been awesome for co-op. In reviews, I heard that the camera is a gripe, but I disagree. My brother and I have been able to stay on-screen for most of our time playing, and when we haven’t, there’s the ever-omnipotent bubble to bring us back together. Many of the harder challenges in single-player (like getting to a specific warp pipe) is made simple in co-op, but it still requires a degree of skill to learn how to bounce each other around (especially when moving forward).

The camera itself will not only focus on Mario. If Mario dies, Luigi is the first to go through a warp pipe, or Luigi reaches the checkpoint first, the camera will switch to him (and vice-versa if the camera is on Luigi). Also, you can take the camera away performing a ground pound on the bro with the camera. Sometimes, the bro without the camera will fall behind and be caught in a bubble loop, but this has happened so few times that it’s negligible to really talk about. If you and your friend are roughly the same level of player, you shouldn’t be having any problems with the camera.

Aside from the co-op, there’s one extra feature that I am currently addicted to, and that is Coin Rush. Coin Rush is very simple – you are randomly selected 3 levels (the last always being a mid-point or ending castle), and you have 100 seconds for each level to get through it as fast as you can and collect as many coins as you can. As a gamer who loves to speed run, this mode is right up my alley, and I love it.

The best part is the ability to play as either regular Mario or White Raccoon Mario (which is a Tanooki Suit and Star combined). This lends itself to some rather interesting strategy – should you play as regular Mario or White Raccoon Mario? I’m sure some of you are thinking White Raccoon Mario, but you’d be wrong – regular Mario is usually the better choice, and here’s why: golden hoops. If you go through a red hoop, you have the ability to get 8 red coins – if you go through a golden hoop, then every enemy becomes golden and has different properties to earn coins (Koopas leave a trail of coins behind them, Lakitus throw coins, Boos spawn coins behind them and run away from you, etc…). As regular Mario, you can take advantage of jumping on Goombas and earning more coins with every consecutive bounce or following a golden koopa shell as it spawns coins after being kicked. Regular Mario has access to the Gold Fire Flower, which makes Mario’s Fire Ball turn everything into coins. White Raccoon Mario does not have access to those, and that really makes the difference in the amount of coins you can get. However, there are certain levels where White Raccoon Mario outperforms regular Mario.

Now, since it’s random when playing normal Coin Rush, this isn’t really something to think about – but when you start using Street Pass to pass along your best record (which you can save), you can challenge those records (meaning you play the same three levels they did), and that’s where picking which Mario to play becomes important.

New Super Mario Bros. 2, while really lacking new graphics and music, makes up for it with its incredible co-op and surprisingly deep Coin Rush mode. If you’re a fan of the New Super Mario Bros. series, definitely pick this game up.

Score:

Atmosphere: 5/10

Gameplay: 10/10

Overall: 7/10

Just sayin’