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Super Mario Odyssey Review

Super Mario Odyssey Review

Written by Jose Vega
Edited by Max R, aka OneOneTwo

Purchased copy for the sake of review.

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: October 27, 2017
Suggested Retail Price: $59.99
ESRB Rating: E10+

For every console Nintendo brings out, there will be a Mario game that stands as the pinnacle of each console generation. When Nintendo announced their new console the Switch last year, fans wonder if a Mario game would follow suit. At E3, a few months later, Nintendo announced Super Mario Odyssey. After a lot of waiting, the game is finally released. It would go on to sell more than 2 million copies in 3 days. Does this game deliver on the hype that Nintendo provided?

The story in Mario games tends to be simple with a few twists here and there. This game is no exception. The plot involves Mario having to stop Bowser yet again. However, there is a twist, it’s that he kidnapped Princess Peach for the sole reason of marrying her. But Mario isn’t alone. He teams up with a Bonneter named Cappy who’s along for the ride to save his little sister Tiara. Together the two of them travel all over the world to stop Bowser, save Peach and Tiara and deal with a gang of rabbit wedding planners called the Broodals.

It’s the same as with every Mario game with Mario having to save Princess Peach from Bowser. This is no exception here, but I for one like it. What’s interesting is that now there’s an actual premise with a wedding and Bowser bringing along a new set of minions to keep Mario occupied. It’s familiar but I feel it’s fresh. It’s what you are used to when playing a Mario game.

What about the meat and potatoes, the gameplay? The game feels familiar yet offers something new in the process. If you have played a previous 3D Mario platformer, then you’ll feel right at home. Mario plays exactly how he should and Nintendo has taken great care in having it feel familiar. But like every Mario game, they always offer something to make the experience rewarding. Cappy is an excellent example of this. Cappy is Odyssey’s main gimmick and he is useful in a variety of ways. For example, you can throw Cappy at anything whether it be enemy, creature or object to possess it. Cappy also provides a secondary function, serving as a platform used for extending jumps or taking down enemies from afar. This also serves to replace Power-ups for this game. It has a variety of features and they’ll be needed whether to solve puzzles, attack enemies or find Power Moons. Power Moons are like the Power Stars of Odyssey. Like in previous Mario games, collecting them is needed. This time, they serve the purpose of powering up your ship, the Odyssey so you can travel from one kingdom to the next. There are a total of 17 kingdoms to explore. Each kingdom also has special currency called Regional Coins that you have to collect in order to get clothes native to the respective place. You can also use regular coins to buy items as well such as Power Moons and increased health.

As for the controls, there are many ways on how to play the game. For the best experience, it’s recommended that you play with the Joy-Cons in each hand. The motion controls for it are precise and they provide a lot of additional features. Other options such as the Pro Controller are allowed but either way, you have many options to choose from. There’s also co-op where one player plays Mario and the other Cappy and you can team up to play through the game. Odyssey is one of these games that will have you spend a long time finding everything. It’s a collect-a-thon yes but a very good one. Length-wise, the game will take you 15-20 hours to complete but if you plan on trying to 100% the game, it’s much longer around 40-60 hours. The replay value for it is very high and even after beating the game, there is a lot to do. There are plenty of boss fights with each area offering a challenge. It’s not too hard or too easy, it’s the right amount of challenge. Sometimes you even have to rely on the environment around you to win.

Mario Odyssey is home to many kingdoms for Mario and Cappy to explore. From a presentation standpoint, the game is amazing. Each kingdom offers something different and how they look is marvelous. Whether it is the desert locale of Sand Kingdom or the big city of Metro Kingdom, Odyssey never disappoints. The main characters like Mario, Cappy, Bowser and Peach are very expressive. Many of the world’s inhabitants also look well and depending on where you go, it offers something new. The music is amazing, with each world having several tracks that represent the many areas. Jump Up, Super Star, the theme of Mario Odyssey is catchy and addicting. Pauline’s voice actor, Kate Higgins nailed it and it shows.

Honestly, I couldn’t find anything wrong with a game like Super Mario Odyssey. It felt as if everything from previous Mario games has been put into a blender delivering something that is fantastic. To be fair, one nitpick that I have with this game is that they removed lives, which has been a staple in every main Mario game. It’s the first and only game I know where it’s impossible to get a game over. When Mario dies, he loses 10 coins and since as you play, you’ll get tons of coins making it pretty much an afterthought. I feel that this streamlines the game to make it more accessible and I feel it was the right choice. Like every Nintendo game, there is Amiibo support and using any of the Mario line of Amiibos unlocks new costumes for Mario to wear. Mario Odyssey also has its own special line of Amiibo in the form of wedding variants of Mario, Bowser and Peach. Using any of them unlocks some wedding costumes for Mario to wear. Seeing Mario dressed in a bridal gown is a bit funny but kind of weird. Note that Amiibo are not required and one can still 100% the game without them, albeit it is a little trickier to do so.

Super Mario Odyssey is everything that you would love about 3D Mario games, taking everything that made the previous games great and perfecting it in every way. You have incredible gameplay, a presentation that’s second to none, responsive controls, high replay value, great music and tons to do. It’s insane how Nintendo is able to pull something like this off and they did. They did the impossible and I can honestly say that Super Mario Odyssey is the best Mario game ever made. If you’re looking forward to owning a Nintendo Switch and you can’t decide what game you want first, get this one. You will not regret it. This is one journey you don’t want to ever miss out on.

A tough decision, I know. I give Super Mario Odyssey a flawless 10 out of 10. It’s a must-buy for anyone that either owns a Nintendo Switch or plans on getting one.

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Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy Review

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for the sake of this review.

Crash, Crash, Crash… for over 20 years, this Bandicoot has been in our hearts with games that offer a challenge while providing satisfying experiences. But after 2010 with Mind Over Mutant, no one ever thought that another Crash game would be possible. That changed. Last year, Activision announced that Crash would be playable in Skylanders: Imaginators but in addition, Vicarious Visions would be working on a remastered port of the original three Crash Bandicoot games, in the form of Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. Did Vicarious Visions do justice that Naughty Dog has done all those years ago?

For a remastered trilogy, the presentation is a huge step-up compared to the originals. It’s marvelous. I’ll be fair. The original three still hold a lot of memories to players but you can’t deny how this port did them justice. All the characters look amazing. The locations look vibrant. Even the voice acting is a step up from the originals. It’s a delight seeing many scenes, especially the openings of each game to find that they are just as good, if not better and I like it. I like it greatly. The music is simply amazing to listen to. Every single song from all three games has been given a facelift. Honestly what more can I say? I’ll be honest. I was blown away when I first heard it. It’s a delight. They are all very addicting to listen to, especially for the bosses.

Now for the gameplay, and if you played the originals back on the PS1, you will feel right at home here. Unlike the originals, there are some features the remastered trilogy has that set it apart. For example, Coco is a playable character in all 3 games. With Crash 1 and 2, you need to defeat the first boss to unlock her whereas, in Crash 3, she’s unlocked from the start. She’s similar to Crash if nothing else but it’s nice that his sister is playable in not one but all three games. I commend Vicarious Visions for improving on Coco’s design and like Crash, she is also expressive especially in her death animations. The games are similar to the originals, minus a few changes they made to make the game feel accessible.

The controls are similar to the originals so if you played the game before, you’ll manage. There are some things that make this feel different from the originals. One example is the jumping. The jumping feels heavier. It can have its issues especially on levels where platforming is key. Not only that but I feel in sections like Crash 3’s jetski, the controls for the ski feel a bit rough. I believe that Vicarious wished to add realism to how you actually ride a jetski. Personally, I prefer the original in terms of controls since the physics feel close to perfect. Guess some sacrifices have to be made huh?

Speaking of accessibility, the N. Sane Trilogy has some tweaks to make the game less of a pain, especially in the first game. Originally if you die on a level, you have to restart it in order to get the gem. Here, unless it’s a colored gem, all you need to do is break all the boxes. This is a much-needed change for people that just want to play and complete everything. With Crash 2, they made changes to the hub area by having the boss room included and the option for you to access the hidden area where the secret levels are. It’s pretty nifty. As for Crash 3, there are no added changes. The game also includes time trials for Crash 1 and 2 so you can now try to get the fastest time and collect relics. Leaderboards are also included so you can compare times with other players, as well as the requirements to get a specific relic. Saving the game is easier as you can pretty much save on the overworld or level hub. It’s another welcome feature.

It will not make a difference since each Crash game will take quite a while. Depending on what game you play, the length can take around 6-8 hours each, longer if you want to complete everything. With all of this, your skills as a player will be tested especially for new players that have never played a Crash game. Expect some trial and error if you wish to complete each game and get 100%. There is trophy support for all 3 games as well so that adds length to a complete package.

But if I were to have any nitpicks, it’d be this. Since this is pretty much an updated compilation of three classic games, the difficulty is one thing I find to be the most problematic, especially in Crash 1. Some levels like Road to Nowhere & The High Road can drive any player into madness. At least the sequels alleviate the difficulty by toning it down and making them less stressful. It still doesn’t excuse the fact that some levels will have you throwing the controller in a state of rage. My advice for players is to take it nice and easy. At least the game will not punish you if you lose lives or anything. The boss battles are still easy if you figure out their patterns. Some can be tougher than others. There is paid DLC in the form of a level that was never completed called Stormy Ascent. Stormy Ascent was a level that never got into the final game due to its intense difficulty. If you plan to tackle the level, be warned. It will show no mercy.

The N. Sane Trilogy does the original trilogy justice in so many ways while adding and refining them to make the games better. The presentation is amazing in all categories, the game feels familiar while challenging and it overall feels like a big improvement to a series that is considered classic. Though there are some issues, it shouldn’t stop anyone from picking it up and playing it. Whether you are a new player that wants to experience it for the first time or someone who wants to relive memories, the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is a package I feel that’s worth the purchase price. The best part is that this is $40. You get 3 remastered games that have been given a lot of love and respect at an affordable price. How can you say no to that? You can’t! Get this game now! Show Activision that we need more games like this and maybe we may get a remastered Spyro trilogy! Get this game now! It’s worth the full price.

I give the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy an 8.5 out of 10. If you haven’t gotten this game, you should. Do it. Now!