Another Mario Strikers
Well, it is time to review one of my favorite Mario sports games Super Mario Striker: Battle League. Indeed we have waited a long time since the absolute horror show that was whatever the last one was called, but now there is a new one. The question is can they make up for that abysmal failure that was... whatever it was called? I do not even want to look up that Wii game's name. Luckily for me, Nintendo also learned from its mistake.
Battle League goes back to its roots. The characters move around and tackle; even better, the ball moves like a soccer ball. You have items and tackles, and well, the game is precise as a Mario sports game should be, that sport in name. They even return to the hyper-shot system, where if you get a perfect shot, it cannot be blocked. I cannot remember much from my Gamecube days, but I am pretty sure the Battle League hyper shot system functions the same, which is excellent because that system works. Just like the celebrations.
While the intensity of the celebrations has been toned down a bit, it still feels genuine. That is one thing I always like about this particular franchise. It tries to capture more of the sport's experience than other games where celebrations are just kind of there. Granted, the game is very PG in its expression, unlike the first game. Which is kind of lame, but I get it. Of course, they missed the mark on the outfits.
I guess what drew me to the original strikers was their obnoxiousness. You had obnoxious victory dances and skimpy outfits for the ladies. You know, typical fun game for guys. Well, all of that has been toned down. Then merged with the idea of armor from the Wii version, which I do not like. Especially since you have to buy all your armor. Truth be told, I just prefer to have a baseline idea of what the characters can do. I am not a huge fan of adjusting their strength to fix weaknesses. Buying the armor is the hardest part of this. You have to put forth a fair amount of time in the tournaments. There might be multiplayer bonuses, but I am not sure.
Another aspect I am not a huge fan of the emphasis on multiplayer. One of this game's major selling points is that you can play with eight people, which is excellent if you do not have to share a screen. However, most of us do. There are very few cups, and I have not tried tweaking the AI too much. This game is made to be a multiplayer game. Which makes sense; most of these games are not fun without that. However, the original Mario Strikers managed to have a riveting story along with the multiplayer aspect. I might change my mind if I played the multiplayer aspect of the game more, but for now, I am a bit annoyed with it, especially with the lack of characters.
That is right, and there are very few characters in this game. I have seen nothing to indicate that I will unlock anyone down the line, so I guess we have to look forward to DLC, which I hate, so I will not have. The characters are an odd cross-section of the main characters and a few side characters. I wish they would bring back some Mario 2 characters, but that would be a stretch. If this game was not $60 to buy, I might have taken them up on their DLC, but that will not happen.
All in all, though, this game is worth the buy. It has enough of the good old days, with some new ideas. There are not enough drawbacks for me to say do not waste your time. I really did enjoy this game, and I think you will enjoy it too, especially if you are a fan of the original Mario Strikers. Sadly though, the DLC stuff that will be coming, if the game does well enough, is something to be annoyed by. However, as they say, "If you do not like it, do not buy it" So go out there and get yourself a copy of the game, and you might just happen to find me online playing it.