It has been a while now since the release of Mario Party 9 came upon us, and we have been in for a wild car ride haven’t we? Many fans and “professional” reviewers alike have gained a good amount of expectations in regards to what the game could possibly give to them after a 4 year long hiatus. That wait has made some believe that there must have been some deep positive collaboration among the minds of NdCube. So then a question must be asked: what can we say overall about how Mario Party 9 has been received in its first weeks on the market so far? (disregarding Japan’s release, which isn’t until later….. much later)
Overall, according to websites like Metacritic and Gamerankings, Mario Party 9 has received mainly positive reception among a multitude of “professional” video game reviewers. Compared to what Mario Party 8 received, Mario Party 9 is generally considered to be a better game according to the added averages among reviewers. It’s not surprising to hear things like that because the long development time really gave NdCube something to think about very deeply. NdCube had to take note on the common reasonable complaints the previous iterations of Mario Party had from the people in order to carry on with later development. They can’t continue on with the series while keeping the same reasonable complaints because that will only reduce the faith fans have towards the series as a whole. For the most part, fans have been able to settle nicely with the games’ features and content. They may not be satisfied to a full extent, but it’s enough to refer to the game as “Good”.
Nintendo Power goes ahead to state that
“The majority of the game’s 78 activities are fun.”
I agree that the MAJORITY of the game’s “activities” are very entertaining. Some are painful to experience because they are either boring or negative towards my overall standing with the rest of the players on a board or mini-game. Even the luck based mini-games are fun to play since there are less of them and they don’t seem to appear as much. Speaking of types, Mario Party 9 has the right balance of every type of mini-game in order to make the entire experience a fun one.
Continuing on with Nintendo Power, they state that:
“Some may be discouraged by the game’s radical changes.”
To a certain extent, I did feel that way before actually playing it. I was VERY skeptical because of the new gameplay, and was led to believe that this issue might cause larger-scaled problems. Because of that, I can infer that some aren’t going to bother with it because of the huge formula change. That could explain the sales within the first few weeks of being in the market: only +/- 352,050 copies were sold between the European release and 4/6/2012. Mario Party 8 sold 309,964 in the FIRST week of just the US release (VG Chartz). Being discouraged could be a reason why Mario Party 9 has been rather slow in the sales department; however, Mario Party 8 was influenced by the still new Nintendo Wii at that time and it drew many peoples’ attention. The odds of Mario Party 9 surpassing Mario Party 8 aren’t all that good, but it doesn’t need to sell 7.6 million(VG Chartz) to be successful. I also find Mario Party 9 to have been released in a very bad position during the Wii’s life-time. The life-time of Wii is draining away, and the Wii U is waiting out near the horizon for the holiday season. Whether Mario Party 9 will have a successful holiday season or not is very uncertain. It’s a fact, the Wii U may stray the people away from Wii games, and that will have a big impact on the potential holiday sales Mario Party 9 could gain by the end of the year.
IGN Entertainment, a very popular entertainment-based website praises the “graphical improvement” and its “control style.” The graphical improvements are noticeable, and they do deserve some praise especially when compared to what Mario Party 8 looked like. The control style is a lot better aswell since motion is more involved here in mini-games. Many of Mario Party 8’s mini-games didn’t take advantage of the vast amounts of motion control possibilities which are available on Wii. Though Mario Party 9 doesn’t use the Wii-remote to its full extent (as in not using Wii Motion Plus), it’s still enough to consider it puts the Wii-Remote to better use than the previous installment.
Staying in with IGN, they strongly criticize the luck-based factor of the game and claim it as a very bad thing. Seriously, that complaint is getting old. It’s not only them; it’s many other reviewers and fans stating the same complaint which decreases review scores and probable receptional success. Reviews aren’t fair that way if the person reviewing the game dislikes the aspects of chance. Board games in general are based on chance. Since gameplay is a very important part of Mario Party (obviously), and chance governs a major portion of gameplay, that unfortunately means Mario Party will most likely not see critical success in its lifetime with regards to reviews from the public. It may receive high sales, but reception will never be up there with the rest of the great games. I love Mario Party, and I know that chance will play a large role in any of the series, so I really don’t have any good reason to complain so much to a point where I would deduct large amounts of points from my personal review score. I may lose a game in Party Mode or Solo Mode, but I also may win. It turns out that I win most of the time, regardless of the chance-based aspects. Luck isn’t all to blame for one’s loss, though it’s usually the culprit commonly blamed for. That’s rather unfortunate.
Moving on, UGO Entertainment goes on to give Mario Party 9 an “A-“grade, which is more than what I would give the game, but the review makes a valid point nonetheless. What’s criticized the most is the single-player content. I would agree that the Single Player content isn’t what it could be, but like them I would not reduce the rating all that much because of just that one aspect. I’m not at all saying that single player mode isn’t fun, it’s just not as fun as while playing with multiple people. That’s usually the case with the Mario Party series, the developers have yet to bring up the content of Single Player to the same level of fun and excitement as what Multiplayer brings. I rarely play Mario Party games with others, so I find Single Player quite fun.
MyNintendoNews (a Nintendo-specific website) gives the game an 8.5 / 10 stating that the game is fun; however the lack of online does hurt it very much. I agree, that may be a major reason why I gave the game a review score of 8.45/10. The series has had now 3 games (including Mario Party DS) on systems that have full online capabilities yet the developers have failed to recognize the probable high potential. I guess we can only hope for the next installment (whether it’s on Wii U or 3DS) to have a full online mode. Think of the possibilities!
GamesRadar goes on to award the game an 8/10 stating that it’s “balanced” but then criticizes the predictability of the boards. It’s a fact, now that the boards are one-way, they are VERY predictable. One will know when they’ll reach the inevitable captain events, one will know when they’ll reach the “almost there” space, one knows when Bowser will show up to throw more Bowser Spaces into the mix and one will know exactly what events will occur next (some are forced events). Apparently no two games are meant to be the same, but the events will occur at the same spots and most are unavoidable. It would have been nicer if those things were shuffled up a bit for each game, unfortunately the game wasn’t designed to do that.
Mario Party 9 averages roughly 75-85% among all reviews which is understandable in some instances. I’ve noticed inconsistencies with some reviews when compared to other series of games though. Call of Duty is in one of those inconsistencies. In a similar manner, both series’ are criticized for being too “repetitive” yet Call of Duty ends up being more positively favored. I believe it’s because of the constant “it’s too dependent on chance” argument which causes the Mario Party series to be received in a much more negative way. It seems like this will never change, because complaints from the “fans” will continue regardless of installments. That’s unfortunate. Hopefully NdCube in the future will be able to do something to finally shut that complaint up and lock it away (especially since some constantly complain about it)
Do you agree with what “experts” say about Mario Party 9? What fans overall believe?