Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 10, 2017

Email: 3D Mario is becoming like the Aonuma Zelda games

Dear Master Malstrom,

I am very underwhelmed by Super Mario Odyssey like you and other readers are. It seems like Nintendo are changing the core fundamentals of 3D Mario to the worse. I feel like the marketing of this game is like The Emperor’s New Clothes. Nintendo keep saying how big and open the world is and it is just like Mario 64, so all the sheep gamers are now saying the same. If you actually look at the footage showed at E3, the game seems very constrained in what you actually can do. There is very little acrobatic and skills needed, which used to be the CORE of 3D Mario. Acrobatics and skilled jumps were the means for a player to play the game DIFFERENTLY and show his or hers PERSONALITY. Have you ever seen a Mario 64 speed run? They are damn fun to watch. Because the most skilled players do all these crazy things that were never meant to be done, but is possible due to game’s level design, which focuses on acrobatics. This is also why both bad and good gamers to a certain degree can play Mario 64 and have fun. The bad gamers will just do what is meant to be done, whereas the good gamers use advanced methods to get to the goals quicker.

Back to Super Mario Odyssey. In the New York City stage, there is very little skill needed to get the moons (which used to be stars). You can wall jump between two buildings, but what is the point, when you can just capture the electricity poles and go to the top of the buildings on-rails without even controlling Mario yourself. Also, the flagpoles are now used as a warping system similar to 3D Zelda. The appeal of this game is really just the funny and nostalgic references to the older games, the costumes, the captures and the “funny” NPC’s. It is all glitz and glamour, without a solid core gameplay. Sure, even I think some of aesthetic design is adorable, but you know what… it does not make it a GOOD game. They sell this game as “exploration”, but there is not really that much to explore, besides eye candy and funny references. In New York, the goal is to get some musicians together so they can play that stupid main theme song and you get a moon as a reward. This has very low replayability. The first musician stands just outside of the building. Again, the appeal of this is not HOW to get the moon, e.g. performing skilled jumps and so. It is more about SEEING the “story” of Mayor Pauline and the musicians and “explore” the beautiful 3D-graphics (which actually suck in the city, some of the textures in the backgrounds look like something from the PSX era).

Also, the Jungle/Dinosaur level. Try to rewatch the Threehouse playthrough. Almost nothing happens. The whole gimmick of the level is to look at the dumb sleeping T-rex, which we will be able to capture. And then you can change your costumes and change the tune of the level if you jump on an old ghetto blaster (yeah?) The last part of the level has some platforming, but it looks very similar to 3D Land/World, which was okay (at least “Land”), but did not set the world on fire. This is nothing like the later levels of Mario 64.

One last thing: Nintendo are bragging about each level will have 30-50 moons to collect, like it is an example of the game’s huge content. It is not. If you watch the footage of the game, the moons have become like the old star coins in 2D Mario. Sure, some of them are hidden well, but they are no longer used as rewards for overcoming a hard obstacle course of a boss. If get then if you walk around without any real urgency.

This game is not going to perform well. The only people who are truly excited are the hardcore gamers and diehard Nintendo fans. The game was voted the best game of E3 two years in a row. It says a lot, does it not?

Super Mario Odyssey wasn’t known until Switch software reveal in January 2017.

I can see the appeal of Mario 64, even though it is not for me. I despise later 3d Mario because it doesn’t even try to be 3d Mario. It is trying to ‘trick’ 2d Mario fans to liking 3d Mario. Nope! This Mario game doesn’t appeal to me on any level, not even aesthetically. Of course, on forums like the Switch reddit where posters go, “Mmmm, more Nintendo kool-aid please!”, nothing truly gets discussed. So we are stuck between Kool-Aid Forum and Hardcore Gamer Forum.

I’m taking a break from Switch, and going retro until games I like start coming out. I look forward to more RPGs. I could care less about Nintendo online plans. I bought Switch for Zelda. Mario Kart 8 has been a total dud for me personally. Game just isn’t fun or interesting.

Good games create demand. I don’t see Nintendo making those games. I see Wii U 2.0 games. Zelda was a breath of fresh air though, and it got my hopes up. I’m hoping for better third party and first party games for 2018.

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