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Don't Mess With My Game!

20th March 2012; By Patrick

Recently, I made
an appeal to developers to challenge the idea of a conventional sequel, but after spending some time with PokéPark 2 and Mario Party 9, I can now appreciate the fact that this should not always be the case.

    First, for PokéPark 2: Wonders Beyond (review forthcoming), the game follows almost directly in the footsteps of its predecessor. Explore the world, play a mini-game, befriend a Pokémon, rinse and repeat... The cycle goes on almost endlessly. The main justification for this sequel is the inclusion of the Generation Five Pokémon, while the biggest change besides that is the ability to play as the Gen. Five Starters in addition to Pikachu. The game is a more traditional sequel, and while somewhat weak, it's sure to appeal to fans of the first.

    Mario Party 9 (review also forthcoming), on the other hand, is a different beast altogether. Presumably due to the developer change (seeing as Hudson Soft has now dissolved into Konami), the gameplay has definitely changed for the first time since Mario Party 2 introduced items in 1999 (nine games ago). Instead of going around a board repeatedly, there are now stages that you and your friends traverse together towards an end boss. Mini-games are also much less frequent, and are implemented differently than any game in the past. This is a sequel that changes up the formula; yet I would go so far as to call it a "bad sequel".

Now here's the rub, as it were. I am definitely not calling
Mario Party 9 a bad game. I am also not calling PokéPark 2 a better game. But I am calling PokéPark 2 a better sequel for one reason, and one reason only: Fans of PokéPark Wii can expect more of the same general experience, but more refined. As for the Mario Party games, however, with such a dramatic shake-up in both gameplay and focus, 9 is sure to alienate some fans.

    There are likely to be two types of reaction to the changes present in the latest Mario Party. Reactions along the lines of "Oh my goodness, they ruined it!" are expected (and have already been witnessed), yet these same people would cry out "Another same-old Mario Party?" had the changes not been implemented. Either way, it certainly provides a different experience for anyone, regardless of their opinion on the changes.

    Even though Mario Party 9 is a better game, PokéPark 2 makes for a better sequel. What do you think? Do you think there's no difference or am I completely wrong about Mario Party 9? Feel free to let me know, as always!

Feature by Patrick