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The rest of SMG2's strengths extend from that simple spacey focus. The graphics are some of the best and brightest the Wii ever had, thanks in part to the economic way the devs handled their resources to make everything on the screen matter. Additionally, the numerous boss fights offered streamlined, fresh approaches to iconic Mario battles, and were some of the best in franchise history.
As carefully as SMG2 used its resources, it’s overloaded with brilliant new uses for the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. Countless levels adopted ingenious techniques for the Wii's motion controls, such as keeping your balance on a rolling ball or using wind to direct Mario while he’s trapped in a bubble. Entire games could’ve been built around mechanics that the Galaxy games toss off with abandon.
But the greatest accomplishment of SMG2 was its devotion to Nintendo's ideal of the perfect video game, one oriented around gameplay and tactile fun. Unencumbered by the arms race of photorealism and filmic storylines, Nintendo could double down on SMG2's moment to moment movement and interactivity in a dynamic and imaginative world, and it resulted in one of the most purely fun games available.
Though the first Galaxy and its sequel can be judged as a whole, Super Mario Galaxy 2 gets a slight edge in our estimation because it was able to cut what little fat there was in the first Galaxy game. The interface was trimmed down from the original, and SMG2 had a mountain of new ideas that were executed beautifully on top of everything that was included in the first game. Even after you collected your 200th star, SMG2 still has new surprises to throw at you.
Ultimately, the Super Mario Galaxy series helped prove the Wii was more than a fad. The first Galaxy came out near the end of the console's first year, a time when many rejected it as a Wii Sports machine. SMG2 was evidence that traditional games could not only be made for the system but would be better than ever. And in 2010 the sequel proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Wii could not only stay competitive with enough hard work and imagination, it could surpass its technological betters.
"Why _____ is one of the best games ever made" is a weekly feature that goes through GamesRadar's list of the 100 best games of all time and highlights different titles, explaining why they're on the list, what makes them so amazing, and why we love them so much.