When I heard about this game a few months ago, I was pretty excited because most of the problems of MP4 were supposed to have been fixed. Better 1-player, more mini-games, and lots of new features were added. Well, now the game is out and...
The graphics are pretty good in this game. I would only give a 10 to the best graphics I have ever seen, and these aren't it. The characters look good, but they look about the same as MP4, maybe a little better. I certianly can't complain, but the GC is capable of more. Since there isn't a lot of on-screen action at any one time, the processor could handle more polygons.
There is nothing new here. You have your character voices (each one only has a handful of phrases, and half of them are moans and cheers) and your typical, happy-go-lucky Mario music. There are 15-20 different songs for the mini-games, so many games share a single song. The songs match the theme of the board map pretty well, but the songs just play in a loop over and over, and can get annoying on longer games. Sound effects are nothing special.
I don't know why Nintendo keeps trying to put a story in the Mario Party games. Why don't they just accept that;s it is a party game and isn't supposed to have one? Anyway, like the MP 4 the story is very weak and pointless.
In this one, Bowser is invading people's(who?) dreams and wants to change them to make him happy, ruining the sleeping person's dream. OH FREAKING NO!!! Is that the worst story you have ever heard or what? I'm all against the GC's stereotype as being ''kiddy'', but this game is extremely childish, seeming like something out of a toddler's storybook You, as the character you select have to save the dream by defeating Bowser's 3 kids. The new story mode is less tedious than the last one, but is still very boring.
Here is what I mean. It is just more of the same. You do the same thing on each board that I have been doing since the first one. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy MP games. The second one on N64 was pure gold with 4 players.
The 1-player mode. It was supposed to be completely redone so it moved much faster. Bowser tells his 3 kids to kick your butt inside someone's dream. You each start with 20 coins(no stars in story mode)and have to make each of Bowser's kids run out of coins. Every time you pass or land on a space that an opponent is on, you can duel them, taking their coins if they lose, and you lose coins if you lose. This is how story mode is played. It is better than the MP4 single player(*puke*), but is still boring.
If you want to get the most of this game, get AT LEAST 3 players. But my friends and I have a much better time playing the N64 versions than the GC versions. If you want a good multiplayer game you can sit down and play for a while, play the N64 versions. Don't have one? Buy a used N64 ($20 at my game store, comes with 2 controllers)and a copy of MP ($15). Then buy 2 more controllers and you are ready to go. You can get all this for less than the price for a copy of MP5.
Buy/Rent/Don't bother: Rent. You will get everything you want from it in the 5 day rental period.
Bottom Line: If you are a huge fan of the MP series, then give it a rent. Chances are you already have the N64 versions, and chances are you will like those better. If you usually play alone, or don't like party games, then stay away.