It's a vast improvement over Super Mario Strikers, but it isn't perfection.
There are plenty of modes very similiar to the ones in SMS, but the main draws are Road to Strikers Cup, and V.S.. V.S. is like Grudge Match, but you have the option to choose how many games you want to play. Up to 9 in a row can be played, and in order to win you (obviously) have to have the most goals. Road to Strikers Cup is a bit more completed. You play a certain number of matches in each cup and keep your team at a certain rage of rankings in order to get to the knockout round. There are three cups available, including the Fire, Crystal, and Strikers cup. This mode is the only way to unlock bonus content and new characters and stages. Each match in these two modes are played like this-
First, you choose your character. All characters have their own unique ability and stats, ranging from playmaker, offensive, defensive, and even power. There are 12 main captains in all, 3 of them can be unlocked via Road to Strikers Cup. After you choose your captain, it's time to choose your sidekicks. In SMS, all three sidekicks were the same specimen, and there were only four of them. They didn't even have their own stats or megastrike. Fortunately, Next Level games fixed these flaws by doubling the roster, letting you choose who plays and what position they play, giving them their own stats, and (best of all), their own Mega-Strike. This is the best improvement of the game, hands-down.
After your roster has been decided, it's time to play. There are 18 stadiums to play at in all, 6 of them being unlockable. All of the stages (except one) have an electrical fence around the sidelines. The experience of being hit into it is quite shocking. *laughs softly, then clears throat* Anyways, at the beginning of the match, you captains are equidistant from the ball. After possession of the ball is gained, the match begins. Offensive controls are simple. Use the Control Stick to navigate your player, press the A button to pass or switch between players, and press and the B button to take a shot or clear the ball. Holding the B button unleashes your player's special attack. Toads unleash fireballs, Birdos shoot a large egg, and Hammer Bros throw hammers. The ball is shot, too, giving you a greater chance to score. Captains also still have their trademark megastrike, but with an upgrade. Now, you can shoot up to six balls, and they go faster than ever, giving the goalie a bigger threat. Defensive controls add a little more motion. Shake the Wii Remote to throw yourself into your opponent and press the Control Pad to slide into them and gain possession of the ball. Goalie contols involve the same offensive controls, except Kritter can't shoot. Other than that, touching Kritter will result in a painful tackle or hit. During a Megastrike, the goalie's role is to destroy all the balls that come hurtling towards. This little minigame works by pointing the Wii Remote at the balls, and pressing the A button to destroy them. If you're not careful, your opponent may end up with a big score. There are also items that can be used as well. Banana peels, red/screen shells, mushrooms, and even stars. Captains even have their own items. Mario and Luigi can grow huge, Wario passes clouds of gas, and Peach can even freeze-frame opponents in their tracks.
After the match is finished, the highlights of the game roll in. In SMS, anything could be a highlight, including the Super Strike that earned two goals, which was a little frustrating. Now, only one-point goals are in the highlights, and the camera does a good job showing the goal. V.S. and Road to Strikers Cup are easily the most fun in the game. The 5 on 5 arcade soccer game fundementals are greatly improved, there are plenty of awesome characters, stages, power-ups, and items, and it's pretty harsh. Unfortunately, the game doesn't express The Wii's motion controls very well, and Road to Strikers Cup is next to impossibel to beat. However, it's satsifying to make goals, and the bonus character/stages unlocked are even more fun than the ones available at the beginning.
Challenge mode involves matches in which you need to achieve some goal for each match. The story behind each match in cleve, and they put challenge in there for a reason. Strikers 101 helps you get an understanding of the game, an it does well at that. Wi-fi is also on here, too. This is the second Wii game that uses Wi-fi, and it does a good job at it. There are a few problems if the internet connection isn't good, but it's fun playing with other people.
Overall, Mario Strikers Charged is a very great sequel. The soccer game fundementals are very improved, there are plenty of awesome characters and stages, and it's fun to play with ... anybody! It's a vast improvement over Super Mario Strikers, but it isn't perfection. The controls aren't expressed well, it can be punishingly difficult, and there are some annoying problems in Wi-fi. I still like this game a lot, though. I'll be looking forward to more games from Next Level games.
Sound and Music: 8.5/10
Replay Value: 7/10
+ Great, vastly improved soccer game fundementals.
+ Awesome characters and stages.
+ More violent and harsh than ever.
+ Nice multiplayer with or without Wi-fi.
- Doesn't express the Wii's motion controls very well.
- Road to Strikers Cup can be very difficult.
- Some problems with Wi-fi can be encountered
FINAL WORD: Theme songs for each character are very catchy, but I find no reason for Waluigi's Bluegrass theme. WTF?!