Super Mario Odyssey was the first Mario game I actually bought, played for any significant amount of time, and completed. Well, I got to the end of the story - I have not, and will not, try to get all of the remaining Power Moons. I'll leave that to the lunatics.
The Super Mario series is just one of those things that passed me by - like many other Nintendo first party games. So it was with great curiousity that I bought Odyssey, especially considering how a lot of online reviewers were calling it the greatest game of all time, ever, in all realities. Ever. I had a feeling this was most likely a nostalgia thing considering a lot of reviews dropped the holy words "Super Mario 64" about a million times.
Super Mario Odyssey is good. But it isn't great, isn't the greatest game of all time, and isn't even my favourite game on the Switch. That said, I was pleasantly surprised at the level of polish that had gone into it. The opening cinematic, the crisp sound design and brevity of the set up all gave a great first impression. The central mechanic of being able to possess many of the inhabitants is neat and gets used extremely well. It helps add variety to a game where Mario's traditional core abilities are nowhere to be seen.
I don't want to go on about all of the positive aspects of Odyssey, since hundreds, if not thousands of others have already recorded those aspects down for future historians to ignore. I want to focus on two negatives. Two negatives that were such massive issues for me that for at least several minutes during my play-through, I thought everyone else on the planet was a moron.
First up, the checkpoint system. It sucks. There simply aren't enough checkpoints in the game to play without frustration. The number of times I would get past what felt like a dozen different challenges, just to die because of a single, well placed Goomba, and be sent all the way back to the beginning, was too damned high. On more than one occasion I put down my Switch because the thought of going through all of those areas again was too much for me to handle. However, this issue wouldn't have been such a big deal to me, if it weren't for-
The mother fucking camera. How no one had any issue with this garbage piece of garbage is beyond me. The number of times Mario would go flying into a bottomless abyss because the camera refused to look where I wanted it to is more than I care to remember. It was unbearable. I would jump from platform to platform, just to see Mario's stumpy little body go tumbling into nothing and fall to a platform seven levels down, and I'd have to do everything again. A game series lauded for its 3D camera placement for the past 20 years has no excuse having these kinds of problems. I honestly believed that the entire planet was smoking crystal when they talked about this game being perfect when I was having trouble getting Mario to walk in the direction I wanted him to.
Those two glaring issues aside, I did enjoy my time with Odyssey, and I was glad that there was actually a post credits game to continue to play through, unlike in Breath Of The Wild. But that would be the only thing I would put in Odysseys favour, when comparing these two games. I think its a pretty interesting dichotomy between the two, and a great example of good nostalgia and bad nostalgia. A game being considered great because it reminds people of a childhood favourite, versus a game that has its roots set in tradition, but which embraces modern expectations.
Or maybe they're both great games and I just hate really poorly implemented camera systems.
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