Rhibecka's Super Mario Sunshine (GC)
| [February 8, 2008 11:42:21 PM]
I felt more comfortable playing this game the second time I approached it. After the first few levels the cut scenes (which didn't add much to the game)pretty much stopped and a better game pace was established. Although I still found myself confused at times, playing for a few more hours allowed me to better adjust to the specific way this game worked. Many of my previous frustrations were overcome with practice and more gameplay experience. For example, knowing what to do next was stressful at first, but now I know the game formula better; which makes the game more fun to play and less frustrating.
I felt the missions became more exciting as the game went on (but I wish they had become more exciting earlier). It took a solid hour or two for the gameplay to feel exciting. I accredit this to an ineffective tutorial. As I stated in my previous log, the beginning part of the game tried to keep the tutorial significant (story wise), which made actual game play during the tutorial less effective. I wish they had a tutorial completely separate from the game where you learn how controls work, how the game is played, etc. without endless the cut scenes of storyline. I believe this would have allowed the player to get "into" the game faster.
My overall feeling of this game still stands mixed. On one hand, this is a fun game with an interesting environment and unique elements such as FLUDD; the water blaster which Mario uses to battle enemies. However, I believe the many frustrations I encountered can not be ignored. A large number of "getting stuck" moments will hurt a game even of the most creative design. I personally felt I was unsure of what to do a lot, which left me upset and stressed.
Even though many stressful moments existed, the game does have some strong points. One of the strongest being the game environment and upbeat tone. The graphics are definitely impressive for a Gamecube game (the water looks just as good as in xbox 360 games). The designers also did a really good job creating a fun mood throughout the game by using bright colors and happy environments. The environment was always uplifting and inviting, which I believe was what the artists intended. So even if I was frustrated, I couldn't help but be slightly more at ease with the cool island sun.
Many of the design elements of this game mirror it's predecessors such as Mario N64. The challenge segmentation of the game succeeds in keeping game play interesting as new elements (such as new water blasters) make their debut. I believe my gameplay entries for this game already touched on game design elements that I appreciated (i.e. Delfino's island environment) and elements I found frustrating (i.e. a lack of an "answer all" tutorial). However I have neglected an important element that brings a new form of challenge and interaction to the typical 3d platformer; the usage of FLUDD (Mario's water blasting weapon).
I find battling enemies one of the most difficult parts of a game like this because of control systems. I played Mario Galaxy recently and found it nearly impossible to jump directly onto enemies. Even a small fault would result in me losing health by slightly missing them. Playing this game more has allowed me to really appreciate "FLUDD" . This allows Mario to attack enemies from a further distance, minimizing health loss. This makes the game more enjoyable as the player uses FLUDD more often and utilizes its special abilities. For example, one spout allows the player to spray water at enemies, while a different spout allows Mario to hover in the air as FLUDD turns into a "water-jet pack" (which is really cool).
Although it is more difficult to loose health with FLUDD (a long distance weapon), I believe the game designers were wrong in limiting the player's ability to regain health (there are far less coins in this game than with other Mario games). I don't understand why there can't be more coins around. Using FLUDD from a distance means less health loss from direct hits (which I really appreciate as a not-so-experienced gamer). However, when I find myself in need of health, no coins can be found! The lack of coins was frustrating (since my playing style often involves losing health), especially in the beginning levels when I was first learning. I accidentally touched the sludge and lost nearly all my health. I then spent the next 20 minutes looking for coins to gain it back. (The game doesn't even tell you to use coins to regain life, one of my friends had to tell me. Are they assuming I have played Mario N64?) I feel this game isn't about "not dying", so why do I have to spend so much time finding ways to gain back life I have lost? I can appreciate that they make it difficult to actually die, but I wish it was easier to regain health. Hoarding your health isn't what this game is about.
Although regaining health was frustrating, I was really impressed at how effective FLUDD was as a weapon and source of game play. I liked how he doubled as a friend to Mario through the whole journey. I really felt he was a strong addition to the game and fully contributed to the game's likability and "fun" factor.
This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Feb 9th, 2008 at 21:21:29.
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| [February 8, 2008 04:09:58 PM]
| GAME LOG #3- due 2/8/08|
Mario Sunshine is a 3D platformer where the player plays as Mario (the adventuresome plumber). After landing on the island of Dolphino with princess peach and company for vacation, Mario finds that the island is covered in a "sludge" by a culprit who looks like Mario (Evil Mario)! Mario must clear his name and clean up the island all while collecting "shines" (similar to stars from N64) in order to progress through the game!
My first impression of this game was very mixed. First of all, I found the game visually stunning! The details of the characters and realistic look of the water were extremely impressive. The bright colors and Island environment contributed to making the game seem fun and upbeat. I felt excited and ready to explore the beautiful environment before me! I also found the control system very easy. Although his water gun (which is his primary way of attacking the sludge) was occasionally difficult to aim, I blame that on my inexperience with this game type. Even the camera angles were relatively easy to control . I took advantage of the "zoom in and out" feature which came in handy during battles. I also have to compliment this game on its overall mood. I felt the fun Island environment and music (reminiscent of previous Mario games) helped me stay in the excited mindset one should be in during a Mario game. The environment made me feel relaxed and calm, but many of the logistics made game play stressful and frustrating.
Although the graphics proved impressive and the control systems proved simple, the many shortcoming of this game are already showing. My first qualm with this game is the cut scenes. The game opened with a (rather long) scene, and I thought to myself, "I'm glad to get that storyline out of the way, now I can play!". But only after a few short seconds of playing, there were more cut scenes! They felt long and terrible, slow voice acting didn't help. The cut scenes made me feel anxious and bored, when they should have added to my initial excitement. I know I can skip the scenes, but I don't want to miss anything important!
However, I found my initial tasks even more frustrating, and sometimes downright confusing. There was one challenge where I had to chase Evil Mario to save Peach. I began to chase him, but then couldn't find him. Thinking it was just part of the game that he disappears with Peach (like most Mario games), I continued to walk through the town trying to find something else to do. If I didn't accidentally run into him, I may still be wondering around!
The game designers must have seen that knowing what to do next would be a problem. To fix this problem of "not knowing what to do" Mario Sunshine has a news feed at the bottom of the screen which tries to point you in the right direction using newsflashes. The news feed was an interesting innovation (I know the designers are trying to help address a problem) but I feel it was very confusing and ultimately distracting. It is impossible to play while reading it as it passes across the bottom of the screen. Whenever I needed to read it I had to stop Mario and wait for the entire important message to roll by before continuing. This chopped up the game play a lot and the news feed rarely fixed the problem I was having. Also, the news feed usually refers to places to point you in the right direction ("It has just been reported that the guy you need to find is passing the town square"). But since no detailed map is provided, I don't know where these places are!
The "fun" feel gave me high hopes for this game. However, so far, I have also run into many frustrations which prevent me from feeling relaxed as I played. I have left this session feeling that this game lacks in "intuitiveness". After a good thinking I have realized, most of my frustrations involve the game not communicating with me properly (I get stuck and don't know where to go, the game informs me on how to do a double jump AFTER I accidentally do it, the news feed [which is meant to help] is difficult to read while playing, goals are not obvious, how to gain health is trail and error, etc.). I feel this Mario game is not as intuitive or openly helpful to the player as previous versions.
My overall opinion of the game play after this first session is:
Awesome Ideas, Awesome Graphics, Frustrating Game play
I am hopeful that as I continue the game will prove easier to play and that my frustrations will clear up!
Till next time!
This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Feb 8th, 2008 at 17:06:32.
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Rhibecka's Super Mario Sunshine (GC)
Current Status: Finished playing
GameLog started on: Thursday 7 February, 2008
GameLog closed on: Thursday 21 February, 2008