Started playing this again. Real joy in hearing Mario's yammering as I long jump my way to the castle.
Super Mario 64's camera will have a mind of its own sometimes, but that is because it has the charm of being controlled by a Lakuta Bros. camera man. In Sunshine there is no Lakuta Bros. The camera is something that just belongs to the game, to the machine which has reached full operationalism in filming itself. In Galaxy, the camera is like space itself: dead.
Let us look at the history of the camera:
Super Mario 64
A) [Normal Camera] - Camera will follow Mario
B) C-Button Left + Right [Directional Camera Control] - Camera can be adjusted to move to the left or right
C) C-Button Up + Down [Directional Camera Control] - Camera will zoom in or out
D) R-Button [Zoomed-in Camera] - Camera will zoom in close behind Mario
The camera for the most part works fine. It's just that you can't expect to rotate it fully in one direction (a 360 degrees spin) around Mario. It rotates to a limit off to the side and won't advance anymore (like a camera after the last shot of film has been taken).
When I beat the game long ago (and acquired all 120 stars) I did not bother with the zoomed-in camera. I guess after playing Resident Evil 4 this viewpoint really appeals to me and there is heavy interest in doing an entire playthrough with it. It looks really cool having Mario do his long jump with it. Turning, however, is problematic. If you run to the side it whips around in a jarring fashion to follow Mario. Somersaulting backwards is best done unzoomed. Have yet to try wall jumping with it on.
Reading a sign is surprisingly unfriendly as you have to line up Mario perfectly in front of it.
Great level design that is not horribly segmented into little worlds like Wario World or Super Mario Galaxy. I like how the early levels are like mountain tops. There is an immensity to them whether it is slowly making your way up higher and higher making Mario into a very small man one step from a nightmarish freefall or descending downwards clutching a small penguin whose very survival depends on your careful downstepping of ground laid with snow and ice.
More to come.