Super Mario Odyssey Is “No Masterpiece”

By Shamus Posted Sunday Jan 14, 2018

Filed under: Game Reviews 185 comments

Like I’ve said in the past, Joseph Anderson is one of my favorite game reviewers. His content usually isn’t directly useful to me because our tastes are so hopelessly divergent that we have very few games in common. Even when we do both play the same game, we come away with very different opinions and seem to want different things out of the games themselves. But while I can’t use his reviews as a guide as to whether I’ll like a game or not, they’re immensely informative in helping me understand what makes these other fandoms tick. If I ever find myself thinking, “How can anyone enjoy X?” then all I need to do is find a Joseph Anderson review of X and I’ll be able to turn the question around and ask, “Dangit, why can’t *I* enjoy X?”

Anyway, here is his two hour(!!) review of Super Mario Odyssey:

Link (YouTube)

This is really interesting because it goes against the grain of what I’ve been hearing from critics. I’m not part of the Mario fandom, so I really only hear about the game from big sites. And according to those kinds of people, Odyssey is an instant masterpiece. But Anderson makes the case that the game is shallow, repetitive, uninspired, and lacking in meaningful challenges.

It’s always a little scary when you stick your neck out and argue with a consensus. I know this because next week I’m going to be starting a series where I do exactly that and I won’t rest easy until I’ve made my case. There’s always the worry you’ll end up arguing with an angry crowd, and that’s no fun.

I know I don’t have a lot of Mario fans here. My audience definitely leans towards PC games in terms of platform, and RPG games in terms of genre. But if you’ve spent time with Odyssey I’d be interested to hear what you thought of it. Are you new to Mario / Nintendo? Did you like Odyssey at first? Did you actually finish it, or did you get bogged down by the busywork repetition?


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185 thoughts on “Super Mario Odyssey Is “No Masterpiece”

  1. Warclam says:

    I haven’t played Odyssey, but I’ve watched some streamers play it. It sure does look repetitive and shallow, with the sheer density of moons to look for. Not sure if I’d call it uninspired? But then, I haven’t watched the review.

    1. kdansky says:

      Ah, this is my bus, mind if I get on? I had the very same impression.

      Everybody praised it to the moon and back, and whenever I saw gameplay of it I thought: “Eh, this does not seem all that special?” – But I think Anderson nails it pretty early on when he splits the Mario games in two halves, Explation vs Challenge. I liked none of the exploration Marios very much to begin with, and this seems more of the same, at difficulty levels for children (like Skyward Sword).

      Funnily, Anderson thought BoW was great, and dissed Odyssey, while Jim Sterling dissed BoW and loved Odyssey.

      However that makes perfect sense: Jim is a great pundit, but he’s just not very good at video games. Not everybody is! That he’d like a game with super low difficulty makes sense, and he would never grind for all 880 moons anyway. Anderson is very hardcore (he finished even Darkest Dungeon!), so Odyssey offered nothing truly new, and was boringly easy and repetitive. He’s still full of praise for movement and camera.

      In afterthought, I’m not even surprised he said it’s bad.

      1. Droid says:

        Finishing Darkest Dungeon isn’t hard at all!

        Oohh, you meant winning. Uh, go on, then.

        1. Coming_Second says:

          Darkest Dungeon: You never knew how easy it is to break a keyboard.

      2. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Everybody praised it to the moon and back

        Pun intended?

      3. Echo Tango says:

        I combine the best of both Anderson and Sterling, and think both BotW and Odyssey are poor examples of their franchises. :P

      4. Redrock says:

        I think Jim’s problem isn’t being bad at video games, but rather his occasional inability to let go of some preconceived notions about gameplay mechanics and learning to look at some features differently. For example, his main problem with BotW was the weapon durability system. And yes, the system goes against your basic gaming desire to earn and own things. But once you manage to let go of that, the system actually has some benefits – it forces you to constantly think on your feet, it stops the weapon system from becoming obsolete halfway through the game because you’ve found the most effective weapon and decide to stick with it, which happens in every other open-world game. And with the ability to throw any weapon for a critical hit, BotW’s combat has a certain improvisational scrappiness to it that makes it feel quite fresh. And hell, learning to not get hung up over owning stuff is pretty healthy overall.

        Same with Vanquish, another case when Jim went against the consensus. Vanquish requires you to play in a very particular way, carefully managing the boost and generally maneuvering around enemies, with melee being a last resort that comes with a heave penalty. Incredibly fun when played as intended, but not all that flexible.

        And I must say that Anderson’s approach just doesn’t connect with me. I skimmed his review of Odyssey, but I gathered that his major gripe was the lack of challenge which personally doesn’t bother me all that much. I could never really understand gamers that obsess over hard gameplay and choose the most hardcore modes with additional self-imposed restrictions, like Anderson did with Prey. Games are supposed to be entertaining and 99% of the time harder modes just mean more tedium, the way I see it.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          but I gathered that his major gripe was the lack of challenge

          That wasnt his main gripe,it was the repetitiveness and blandness.I mean would you say that finding a random rock in all the game that you need to punch 100 times is easy?If not,does it make it challenging?

          Games are supposed to be entertaining

          Not really.I prefer TotalBiscuits assertion that games are supposed to be compelling.Its really hard to say that a deliberate grind as in papers,please is entertaining.Or the depressiveness of spec ops:the line or the walking dead.But they are compelling.

          1. Redrock says:

            Well, I was talking about gameplay when I said entertaining, and not themes. Themes can vary, obviously. But gameplay is supposed to be entertaining most of the time. Spec Ops nailed that with all the ironic slow-mo exploding headshots and the like. The Walking Dead too.

            And, come on, we like to pretend, but we still spend most of the time in games being entertained. The game might have some heavy themes, but after a sad cutscene it’s back to murdering folks and collecting loot or whatever. Some adventure games might buck the trend there, sure, but even Telltale adventures will give you a steady supply of cool cutscenes and QTEs where you smash and shoot and run and win. I’m sorry. It’s entertainment.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Ok,what about grinding and inventory tetris?Even for those who like that,it quickly becomes boring.But we keep doing it because it helps us in our goal to be dominant over our enemies later on,we endure the long tedium for the brief moments of badassery.

              1. Redrock says:

                Em, no. No, any action game that forces you to spend more time in the inventory than actually doing action is not a very good game. If you have to endure long stretches of tedium for brief moments of badassery, it’s time to play a different game.

                1. Echo Tango says:

                  Calling everything that’s not “badass” is a sign of a bad game is like saying every movie needs to be an explosion-filled action piece. The dramas, romances, slashers, and other genres of the world, apparently do not fit into your definition of what is acceptable for a game.

                  1. Redrock says:

                    Again, mixing up themes and gameplay. I was referring to gameplay, which in games has to be consistently entertaining, regardless of genre and theme. The badassery thing was in reply to DL and regards the balance of various gameplay elements. Also, I clearly write ‘action game’, so there is that.

        2. Bloodsquirrel says:

          Games are supposed to be entertaining

          …and some of us don’t find games with trivial gameplay entertaining. It doesn’t encourage system mastery and it doesn’t demand enough of our attention to keep us engaged.

          99% of the time harder modes just mean more tedium, the way I see it.

          That’s the recurring issue with games that were made easy to start with and had to try to add difficult on the back end by upping health pools or similar tricks. Games which are fundamentally designed around challenge aren’t tedious. Bungie-era Halo games on Legendary difficulty have good enough AI and dynamic enough systems that even if you’re replaying a segment over and over trying to beat it you’ll still wind up seeing the fight go a different direction each time as you try different approaches.

          Challenge is something that needs to be baked into a game’s base systems, which is why it’s so obnoxious when people pretend like you can turn SMO into Dark Souls just by adding some kind of self-imposed limitation or something. The difference between a challenging game and an easy game is as profound as the difference between an RPG and a platformer.

          1. Geebs says:

            To this day it never cease to amaze me how many people who claimed to like FPSs have failed to “get” how much better Halo's Legendary AI was than pretty much any of its competitors. Bungie absolutely nailed the tactical elements of the encounters (right weapon, right range, right time) in those games.

            1. Sartharina says:

              Eh…. Hall’s legendary difficulty did have some bullshit, like counter-flanking jackal snipers

          2. Redrock says:

            I agree that no one likes trivial games, but I was making the point that Anderson’s understanding of difficulty differs from, I think, the majority of gamers. The guy obviously cares very much about being challenged. Which is fine, absolutely, just a relatively rare approach.

            I agree that games built from scratch to be challenging are ususally better at it than the hard modes in easier games, but, personally, I think that many inherently challenging games, like Dark Souls and the like, are also pretty tedious and annoying in that regard. Especially when RPG mechanics are introduced and you never really know whether it’s you getting better or just the stats helping out. If I want a challenging game, I’d go for some twitchy platformer or a Hotline Miami thing, where it’s just skill and no virtual stats to improve by grinding.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              His preference of difficulty in other games is irrelevant here.Thats why he does not touch the challenge rooms and parts of the game he actually found challenging.He is mentioning them only briefly because they were not relevant for his main problems with the game.Which are lack of variety,no difficulty increase,and plethora of empty spaces needed to be retread multiple times.

      5. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Funnily, Anderson thought BoW was great, and dissed Odyssey, while Jim Sterling dissed BoW and loved Odyssey.

        Whats funny to me is that Jim giving a game “a mere 7 out of 10” is considered dissing a game,and so is Joseph saying how a good game needs improvement to be a masterpiece.

        1. Redrock says:

          Look, while the reaction was insane, Jim’s review wasn’t really good. And his scoring was way off, if only because Horizon Zero Dawn got a 9 from him, despite being a well-polished but ultimately a pretty derivative open-world adventure. Jim couldn’t see beyond his personal gripe with the weapon durability system. I don’t consider Breath of the Wild to be the BEST THING EVAR, like some, but it has amazing achievements in terms of interactivity and system interplay. Jim didn’t really acknowledge that.

          That’s a problem with review scores more than anything else, but giving Horizon a 9 and Zelda a 7 is as close to an objective mistake as you can get in the review business, where there is no true objectivity. I don’t like scores, I prefer a system that says “people that like x will like this game too” and the like. That’s what I used to do back when I reviewd movies, at least.

          1. Geebs says:

            Horizon's combat is far more exciting and complex than BotW's, and it has an actual plot.

            BotW is OK, but it's terribly fiddly and full of pointless systems that don't actually add anything, such as the weapon degradation and cooking. It's no Link to the Past.

            1. Redrock says:

              Like I said elsewhere in the comments to this article, I think that the weapon degradation system is far from pontless and makes quite a lot of sense as an attempt to fix a number of problems with open-world games. Cooking I can take or leave. I’ll admit that it’s fiddly when trying to create a number of meals, and doing it through a crafting menu would have been more efficient – but it’s also part of the game’s charm, the way you have to put ingredients in a pot, or even drop some fruits by a fire to bake them.

              See, there are a lot of games with great combat. Open-world games where you can chop down a tree and roll the trunk downhill to smash into enemies? Or start a fire by hitting a flint near kindling with a metal weapon, and proceed to melt a block of ice with that fire? Or see some objects float and others sink in water? Or, hell, climb anything you see? Not so many.

              Horizon gets points for story and design. But it also has weirdly restrictive climbing and simplistic stealth, along with a frustrating health system. The combat is fine, true. But it’s still a pretty conventional open-world game where your interaction with the world is limited to shooting weak spots in slow-mo most of the time. Zelda tries to do something different, while also working as a handheld title. It’s altogether a more important and innovative game. Again, not the BEST EVAR. But not a 7 to Horizon’s 9.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                Weapon degradation also opens up a lot of problems not present in other games.One of which is pointless inventory fiddling,something you already said is a bad thing in an action game.There are better ways to make you constantly switch weapons and use what your enemies drop without the need to stockpile on a bunch of crap before every combat.

                And compared to everything else you listed about combat,weapon degradation is a really pointless thing that adds nothing of value.

                As for the health system,links health is also weird and frustrating.Joseph Anderson described at length how silly health,armor and healing items are.But some people,like him,can ignore those problems and still enjoy the rest immensely.Some,like Jim,cant.Just how some people,like Jim,can ignore the sameyness of odyssey and enjoy that game immensely,while others,like Joseph,cant.Neither of them is wrong for having a different preference,different things that they enjoy,and different things that annoy them.

                1. Redrock says:

                  I think it actually does add something of value – variety, a need to stay on your toes. And the weapon switching is rather quick and easy, I’d say, no different from a power wheel in any other game. And it does give you the ability to snatch up a skeleton’s arm and beat its friends to second death with it before throwing the damn thing in the last one’s face and watching it explode. Less annoying than selling off a sword for the hundredth time because a new one has some better numbers and a purple icon. No, while I’m annoyed by the cooking and the way rain works at times, I don’t think that the weapon durability thing is a flaw that has to be tolerated. I view it as a cool feature that just requires some mental readjusting. As I said, we gamers are often very much into having stuff in games of that kind. BotW is, to put it in Fromm’s terms, more about being rather than having. Which can be quite cool.

                  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                    You are comparing it to other open world rpgs,which is understandable.But the things you are describing are more closer to a different type of games with a far superior combat:brawlers.You would get the same variety of weapons and their usage even without the wheel and the need for stacking them by using one of the plethora of systems from a brawler.

                    So instead of link having a bunch of shit weapons with him,how about him having a default sword that he can upgrade,and then have you take away weapons from enemies,usable only for that one fight.There you go,the variety and versatility without the need to fiddle with the wheel and keeping an eye on the hit number of crap you are lugging around.Plenty of brawlers have successfully used such a system already,so we know it can work well.

                    1. Geebs says:

                      You just described Prince of Persia: Warrior Within. Which I wholeheartedly endorse.

                      The bit that most annoys me about the weapon degradation in BotW is that when your bow breaks, you can’t select another one without going back into the terrible inventory screen. That’s just plain bad UI.

                    2. Redrock says:

                      Giving Link a decent permanent weapon defeats the purpose, I think. I usually detest weapoon durability systems, like, say, in the Witcher 3, because they are just a minor annoyance, an unnecessary speed bump, that require just an extra trip to the blacksmith or carrying an extra repeair item with you. But when taken to an extreme like in Zelda, making all weapons transient, to me, there is something extremely liberating about that. I’m usually a terrible hoarder in games like that, and the fact that it forced me to rethink my approach is, I think, part of what makes the experience so refreshing.

                    3. Redrock says:

                      Geebs, what do you mean? Don’t you just use the quick select like with melee weapons?

                    4. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      Giving Link a decent permanent weapon defeats the purpose

                      Only if that weapon is stronger than anything you can use in your environment.On the other hand,if your main weapon deals 1 damage,but a weapon taken from the enemy does 3,youll always be encouraged to find a way to grapple it from them and use it against them.

                    5. Geebs says:

                      @Redrock: the quick select button doesn’t work for bows unless you have a bow equipped (unless they’ve fixed that in an update since the last time I played)

                    6. Redrock says:

                      @Geebs, just checked and yep, even with the bow unequipped you can hold the aim shoulder button (which makes Link look at his empty hand), and the quickselect buttons will go from shield and weapon to arrow and bow, as always. Didn’t figure it out right away, as I recall, but it’s there.

              2. Shoeboxjeddy says:

                The idea that you think you can be objectively correct that Zelda BotW is “better” than Horizon Zero Dawn shows that you’re actively clinging to the idea of an “objective review score” despite knowing in your THINKING mind that that is a nonsense, impossible concept. You just WANT it to be true that Zelda is better than Horizon in some way that even a Horizon fan would be forced to concede, when the truth is that it just isn’t so. Jim’s 7/10 score for Zelda could ONLY be incorrect if HE agreed that a different score would be more appropriate, but he was forced for some reason NOT to give that score. Because it’s HIS score of HIS opinion of the game. You saying that HIS opinion of the game is incorrect is some kind of nonsense land of interpretation. That’d be like me asking you what your favorite meal was and then sternly informing you that your answer was incorrect.

                1. Redrock says:

                  Not really, no. I actually don’t really care about review scores, as I mentioned, I prefer other systems that actually provide useful consumer advice. The whole Zelda vs Horizon thing on Jim’s site is a good case to abolish scores. ACG’s buy, wait for a sale, rent or never touch scale is much better, as is Kotaku’s no score whatsoever system. I think that in his THINKING mind Jim knows that, hence his decision to give up reviews in favor of impressions videos. You see, game reviews aren’t just pieces of criticism, they are consumer advice. While you can’t be objective, if you call your work a review, you have to at least try to take other people’s tastes and interests into account, as well as a game’s place in the overall medium. It can’t really be all about you, not when people come to you for advice on a 60 dollar purchase (or in case of Zelda – a 360 dollar purchase for many). Mad Max comes to kind, similarly scored quite low by Jim and many others, while being quite amazing in its own right. There is a disconnect there, and while that disconnect is fine for art criticism, games aren’t just art – they are also products and services, expensive ones. So you either consider your audience and create a useful and internally consistent scoring system, or, as Jim did, quit calling your work reviews. Which was a good decision on his part that shows integrity, imo.

                  1. Shoeboxjeddy says:

                    It’s impossible for a reviewer to read minds. Or, should they just say that games that are sure to be popular are good? Since the vast majority of consumers will like them? And even if Jim (for example) COULD read minds… whose should he read? There are huge amounts of people who would prefer Horizon to Zelda and vice versa. There’s people who would agree with him that Mad Max was a derivative checklist game with little of what makes the IP appealing, and others who found the game exciting and fresh. Which of those groups should he defer to?

                    I know your consumer advocate thing sounded smart in your head, but its untenable as an actual standard for writing reviews. There is NO METRIC where you should score Horizon worse than Zelda if you, as the reviewer, believe Horizon is BETTER than Zelda. Jim didn’t give up reviews to be more fair, he gave up scored reviews because of frankly terrible fanboy comments like the ones you’re making right now. What you want to do is say that Jim’s score is “wrong” but you know that’s stupid. So you’re trying to think up a framework where it seems rational to call his opinion score wrong, rather than just admitting that you want the things you like to get high scores and it upsets you when they don’t. It’s a natural reaction, but an immature one that does you no credit.

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    As Ive commented on that video:
    This is the problem with collectibles in modern games.Walkthroughs are easily accessible these days,and available to everyone,and plenty of people like using them in order to not miss things.So because you still have to challenge these players in their collection quests,developers have increased the number of collectibles to insane levels.Because everyone knows that moar stuff is the same as challenging stuff.

    1. Daimbert says:

      Which leads to the vicious cycle that since there are now so many of them, spending time looking for them would extend your game for too long, so more people turn to walkthroughs to avoid wasting time looking for things that aren’t there, which leads to adding more, and so on and so forth.

      Although I think the big problem is less that there are so many and more than they really do matter to the game. Mass Effect 3 had a way to limit the “patience” aspect of getting the War Assets, but since the War Assets mattered so much to the ending it just meant that you really needed to get them all but couldn’t simply grind that due to Reaper activity. This made me use the walkthrough, when otherwise I would have just ignored them. Whereas in Mass Effect I got pretty much all of them without using a walkthrough because while it was grindy, it was a lot more fun than doing it in ME2 or ME3.

      Good collectibles should require patience, and should be easy to skip if someone doesn’t have the time or patience to collect them.

    2. Christopher says:

      That sounds like an odd reason. Surely the reason there are tiny korok seed challenges wherever you explore and different shrines that are visible for miles from every tall viewpoint in Breath of the Wild isn’t to make it hard, it’s to make every path viable and exciting. You’re not gonna walk a random place in the open world and get nothing. I’m sure that’s the idea behind all the moons, too.

      I guess that’s torment for the 100% completion nutters though.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        You can make an empty part of the map exciting and worth exploring in a way that does not involve shoving collectibles everywhere.Plenty of other games do.

        1. Bret says:

          So does Zelda.

          I think your problem here is approaching things from the prospective that the seeds are primarily a motivation for, rather than an acknowledgement of, exploration.

          You look at the map, the seeds are placed so that you find them by doing what you’d want to do anyway, like climbing a tower or solving a little puzzle. It’s a way for the devs to go “Yeah, that’s a cool thing. Good work.”

          It’s notable the “reward” for getting all the seeds is a trophy shaped like a piece of poop. The goal is to make the player satisfied with what they’d want to do on their own, not to force them to engage with things they wouldn’t care about.

      2. default_ex says:

        That’s a problem with modern games and gamers. Everywhere must have something to grab or unlock another somewhere with something to grab. Play through older RPGs and you’ll find a lot of empty world that does little more than tell story by being there. I like to point toward EverQuest and it’s expansions up to and including Planes of Power for this. There are ares where I was just wandering around, noticed something off in the distance and decided to go investigate. Upon arriving at what I seen it turned out to have no treasures, no monsters and no NPCs. Instead it was often an empty abandoned campsite, a weird rock formation, a ruined building or a feature only visible at distance but dissolves into the terrain up close. Most players don’t seem to appreciate those spots but if you spend a little time talking to NPCs in towns and reading the lore books you come across (and there are a ton of them in that game). You begin to find references to those places. “Oh hey, that camp is where Mordin was the night before he died in battle” or “that rock formation was put there by some mischievous dwarves to mess with people” or “that weird at a distance feature was a landmark for the trade routes of the past”. It gives the world character and makes it feel alive.

    3. Nope says:

      I don’t really think so. I think that Nintendo have basically taken their own spin on the Ubisoft Open World game collect-a-thon with both this and BotW. It’s not really like old school collectibles and walkthroughths ruining secrets (And often secrets were nonessential fun anyway in old school titles).

      It’s that it’s core gameplay, or mandatory character progression. Collecting IS the game. With these modern titles, they pad out the length of the game by using repetitive, easily made content. The objective in SMO is to collect moons, rather than moons keeping score. They then justify it with “It’s exploration” and make big, generic worlds and fill it with this busywork. From Far Cry to Breath Of The Wild, it’s just different flavors of the same. That’s not to say that all these games are terrible, or that there aren’t things to like in them, but that the framework for the game has changed to pad the size of the game, and it cheapens both “Exploration” and the basic mechanics themselves.

      They’re really nothing like old-school collectibles-if they were, they wouldn’t actually be much of a problem.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Thats the end result,yes.But I was talking about the root of this.Instead of making new fun challenging collectibles,modern games simply put a shitton of them.The reasoning behind this is that it doesnt matter that you can practically trip on them while walking down the road,because there are so many of them thats the same like there are few challenging ones.Better even,because theres just so many.

  3. antlink15 says:

    I loved Mario Odyssey, to the point where I happily put in the time to get all 880 moons. Joseph Anderson’s reviews are so long that I can’t get through them all at once, so at this point I’ve only watched this one to about halfway through, but so far the criticisms he has made are valid, as you’d expect from him, and I don’t deny the veracity of what he says. Nonetheless, I personally did not find my time in Odyssey to be a chore, and I fully expect to continue to enjoy it the next time I go back. For me, the sheer joy of controlling Mario, exploring everything each kingdom has to offer, and just playing in the true sense of the word was the primary enjoyment I got from it, so I saw the sheer number of moons, even the ones Joseph (fairly) derides as copy and paste or lazy, as mainly an incentive to spend more time there, rather than busywork. I’m glad critics like him are holding Nintendo to high standards, and would love to see them do even better with Odyssey 2, but it doesn’t change the fact that I and many others still genuinely love what we got here.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      For me, the sheer joy of controlling Mario

      Well,he did start the video by saying that its the best controlled mario game yet,and fully acknowledges why that fact can make it so that most people would overlook the tedium.

      1. Mephane says:

        That comment reminds me very much of Destiny 2. (Disclaimer: I have not played Destiny 1 as I don’t have a console.) It’s got its flaws – though many things that Destiny veterans consider flaws are good points in my book – but the entire gunplay is just so good.

    2. I’m not done yet, but I’m headed in that direction, and I agree with you. It’s a 92, not a 98. His criticism that more of the 2nd moons in the rooms, and more of the moons in general, should have been tied to a challenge I thought was particularly apt.

      Still a good game. Maybe a lower-case g great game. Not a masterpiece.

  4. NilkadNaquada says:

    Hey, long time reader, first time commenter, as far as I recall. Wanted to weigh in because I’ve spent the past few days since I watched the review thinking about this.

    I think how much a person will get out of Super Mario Odyssey comes down to two major factors (both of which are points of contention between Joseph and I);
    1. How much you value game feel compared to other aspects of a game
    2. How much completionism your playstyle tends toward, either by some basic facet of your personality or due to obligation.

    Personally, I highly value game feel, often to the exclusion of other aspects of a game, and I trend very far away from completionism, just the opposite in fact, I’ll drop a game as soon as I feel that I’m no longer getting anything out of the time I put into it. (This is mostly a practicality step to help manage my ridiculous backlog.)

    Joseph, on the other hand, as far as I can tell from his videos (obviously I don’t know him personally and can’t read minds), is less interested in the basic feel of the game than he is in analyzing the structure and systems, and clearly has a history of completing all or most of a game’s content before beginning to critique it.

    I think Mario Odyssey is almost perfectly designed to appeal to someone like me while turning off someone like Joseph. The sheer breadth of expressiveness and kinaesthetic feel of the jumping mechanics in Mario Odyssey is enough to carry me through a lot of playtime, and repetitiveness of the content doesn’t bother me because if I don’t find a particular objective interesting, I simply won’t do it. On the flipside, someone like Joseph would view the platforming mechanics as more of a means to an end rather than an end in themselves, and the high degree of repetition and padding would quickly become frustrating for anyone looking to complete the game, especially given how arbitrary a lot of the moons can be. (That very arbitrariness is another thing that will appeal significantly to players like myself; If I happen to throw my hat at a sign or look at a ship in the sky and get a moon, that’s a pleasant surprise and an anecdote for later. If that happens to someone looking to complete the game, it’s a frustrating non sequitur and an obligation to check a bunch of other nondescript parts of the gameworld.)

    While I can definitely see where Joseph is coming from with a lot of his criticisms, and I definitely agree that ideally, it’d be best if the game were less repetitive and padded, a lot of the flaws that bugged him the most simply didn’t apply to me in any way, they just didn’t hurt my experience. Even the padding is more of a minor annoyance than something that will ruin my time with the game; Which isn’t to say that structural problems like that can’t ruin a good set of mechanics for me, only that they need to be way more intrusive and frustrating. (Super Mario Sunshine is a good example of a game with excellent mechanics that still ended up turning me off with consistently frustrating, overly demanding platforming design and an extremely high amount of punishment for failure.)

    The thing that strikes me as really unfortunate about the discourse surrounding this video is how many of the people who disagree with Joseph can’t see his side of the issue at all. I’ve seen several people on twitter taking clips from the video and describing him as “joyless” for the criticisms he levels, which is just ridiculous if you look at the full context of the entire video, where he states that the game does what it sets out to do very well but just doesn’t appeal to him, and absolutely ludicrous if you take his entire critical backlog into account, where he’s shown himself to be fully capable of critiquing games he likes in a very positive manner, most notably (at least to my recollection at the moment) What Remains of Edith Finch. It’s disheartening to see people conflating getting enjoyment from different experiences with simply not experiencing it at all.

    1. Ilseroth says:

      A lot of people think criticism is equivalent to not liking something. That wanting something to be better means that you didn’t like the core game. In reality the opposite is true. People who really genuinely care about a game/series are the ones who want it to push harder. they don’t celebrate mediocrity and if they see the series do something they deem questionable they want to talk about it.

      Unfortunately it seems the majority of people see that as an attack on something they care about, instead of a question “How can this be better?”

      In any case, he did spend a really long time in the video going over the importance of game feel, and that it was one of the better feeling 3D mario games literally going over every single one and explain how it’s changed over the series. Claiming that he wasn’t as interest in kinaesthetics seems to be dismissive, and he even faulted the games ability to express yourself in it’s movements by pointing out how limited a lot of your options are in terms of verticality. The side jump and the wall jump are horribly crippled compared to previous iterations of the game, while now you have a huge jump in horizontal mobility with the hat jumps. You can still get some verticality with wall jump into hat jump into long jump, but it all starts to feel eerily the same once you figure it out.

      1. Nope says:

        Agreed. Anderson himself has spoken about game feel in particular before as well, and has specifically criticised games for how lacking in that department they are.

        I’m glad you’re so openminded Nilkad, but I think you’re a little off base there. Anderson spent most of the start of the video describing how the game felt, the mechanics, and he actually rated it very highly. To say he’s “unconcerned” with game feel is a bit unfair. Especially since you say that you sometimes value it to the exclusion of everything else, I really think he’s taken a more balanced approach.

        It was the world design, the level design, the padding, and the shallowness of the padded content that he mostly took issue with.

        1. NilkadNaquada says:

          I think my comment came off a little more forceful than I intended it, I didn’t mean to imply that he didn’t care about game feel at all, just that it wasn’t as primary a concern as certain other aspects and that it couldn’t carry a game for him like it can for me.

    2. galacticplumber says:

      To be fair he DID spend minutes and minutes at a time, repeatedly, on snarky little gags and sniping at people he disagreed with, and thus has NO right to complain when people apply the worst possible light to his criticism. Poison the well, get forced to drink some of it.

      1. NilkadNaquada says:

        I never found any of what he said in the video to be as dismissive as a lot of the response I’ve seen to this video, and I definitely didn’t see him outright misrepresenting peoples’ viewpoints as has been done to him.

        1. galacticplumber says:

          And? Aint no kill like overkill when someone has deliberately offended you.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Wait,what?When has Joseph Anderson offended anyone?The closest thing to that I can think of is when he said that he cant understand how so many reviewers are praising the game so much while disregarding all of its flaws.How is that offending anyone?

            1. galacticplumber says:

              When he spent several minutes straight on a gag at the game’s expense, and then made it personal by pointing it at its fans directly? It isn’t rocket science to trace offense even if you aren’t personally one of the offended. I’ve never even played the game, but I’d be a bit snippy over that if I had.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                Making fun of the game is now making fun of people enjoying the game?Sucks to be Joseph Anderson then,because the very beginning is him talking about why he too liked the game,even though he doesnt adore it like some others.

            2. Rack says:

              Saying that the only people who can enjoy it without wishing it was more complex are children?

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                He never said that.He said that the game was AIMED at children.Which is true of most of the nintendo games.That does not mean adults cant enjoy them as well,just that they arent the intended audience.

  5. Ilseroth says:

    I haven’t played the game yet; that said his argument seems to be mostly the same as his issues with BotW. A lot of the Trials in BOTW were either copy pasted fight rooms which generally weren’t very interesting, or puzzle rooms that failed to take a base idea to a more interesting conclusion.

    Same issue in Odyssey, a lot of Moons are just slapped around with no real thought put into making them anything more then “Hey, you found it, good job.” When they do have a “challenge” put to them, most of them fail to convert the challenge to a proper one.

    A lot of games will first present a concept/challenge so you understand what you’re doing, then introduce a challenge to test that basic concept, and finally iterate on that concept, frequently mixing in already known previous concepts. This culminates as you progress from the game so that by the end they have you using all the knowledge you got from the whole game to succeed.

    While games may vary in their capacity of interweaving their systems, the idea is that the more familiar your player is, the more challenging you can make it, thereby keeping the player challenged enough to maintain interest.

    Odyssey doesn’t have interest in challenging the player. You can challenge yourself, a bit, in how you get around levels, but the game itself is more interested in introducing concepts, then immediately moving on to another concept. You’ll be bouncing around through dozens of minigames, possession forms, environments, enemies, objectives and so on. It’s goal is to keep you interested through sheer amount of stuff, rather then any level of depth in any of those singular mechanics.

  6. Between this and Zelda, there seems to be a consistent theme of ‘tendo trying to transition to a less hands-on approach to the designs of their games and not quite getting the balance between free-form content and tightly designed experiences they were always so famous for. Hope they stick with it though.

  7. Christopher says:

    I haven’t watched his video on this thing all the way through. He talked like he was about to list every single moon – on given the length of the video, that seemed likely to me. I’m an old fan of Mario and Nintendo, and I’m probably gonna give it a go eventually. It’s not out of the ordinary for me to watch a video on something I might pick up(I watched Chris’ Night in the Woods spoiler-filled video months before I picked it up) but I’m not gonna watch a video that will spoil every single challenge and world in the game for me.

    I did watch his Zelda video, which sounds like a lot of the same complaints. I can see his perspective, but I’d also say the comparison of it to other games left a bit to be desired. It was most of all a game like Skyrim, for one thing, and compared to what’s in that game I thought it was a massive evolution. It also didn’t take into account how stale the Zelda series has been for a decade, a lot of retreads of the same formula ever since Ocarina of Time, and a lot of subpar entries for the entirety of this decade(possible exception: A Link Between Worlds, which I have not played). If you count every shrine and enemy type and lay it all out, ultimately, it doesn’t amount to a lot. But there’s a reason the game is named after the open world and not some item or ability this time, and you can’t measure the joy of exploration in a numerical value. I looked at his critique and went “Yeah, it would be nice if there were more enemies and the dungeon parts weren’t so meh”. But at the same time it was my GOTY.

    I wonder what amount of your audience actually play a lot of Nintendo stuff. Considering your GOTY list, we have a single game that you didn’t write anything about all year in common, and I still read your blog pretty much every day.

    1. Arctem says:

      He goes through every moon in the same way he went through every shrine in BotW. He groups them into categories, analyzes that category, and then says “there are 57 moons in this category”, then moves on. I think he makes about 15-ish categories total? The main point is that each category isn’t really broad enough to fit the number of moons it is forced to.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      It also didn't take into account how stale the Zelda series has been for a decade, a lot of retreads of the same formula ever since Ocarina of Time

      We have Yahtzee for that.He awarded his GOOD AWARD OF THE YEAR to a hat in time over odyssey precisely because of that.

  8. MichaelGC says:

    we have very few games in common

    Aye, same here. I've spent infinitely longer watching his Dark Souls videos than I have playing Dark Souls. In fact I've just checked his channel and I've only ever played three of the games he's looked at (Fallout 4, The Witness & Dungeon Keeper). But I've watched every video on there at least twice! I guess that's one of the many plus points to the depth of detail he usually provides – it helps partially counterbalance any shortfall in personal experience.

    (There's a guy whose writing achieves similar with games I haven't played like the Borderlands series or (I predict) Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, but I can't remember his name for some reason. 🤔 I'm sure it'll come to me – it's probably staring me in the face.)

    1. MichaelGC says:

      Edit: lies: I haven't actually watched this 7,200-second review of Odyssey twice (yet).

    2. Decius says:

      I haven't watched his other videos. Is his time spent making those videos infinitely more than his time spent playing the other games as well? He gets basic facts wrong (not opinions, he says that you start in a Kingdom that you only get post-credits.)

      1. MichaelGC says:

        You've missed something – see below.

      2. cerapa says:

        He gets basic facts wrong (not opinions, he says that you start in a Kingdom that you only get post-credits.)

        That was intentional. To prove a point and make a joke.

  9. Decius says:

    SMO isn't supposed to be a hard game, in exactly the same way that Dark Souls is supposed to be a hard game.

    There aren't many times playing SMO that you will have to redo a part that you have already completed because you failed the part after it (the challenge worlds after you beat bowser being kind of an exception, because the challenge there is to go through the entire dungeon or boss rush in one go, so it doesn't make sense to have checkpoints in the middle).

    It is the exact opposite of Do It Again, Stupid, and I bet that people who agree with you about DIAS will tend to like SMO (and BOTW), and vice versa.

    1. Decius says:

      Prior post made before sitting through half the video and realizing that the reviewer spent five minutes talking about how awesome Dark Souls was.

      Also, when the reviewer talks about Mushroom kingdom being the first world, I realized that he didn't play SMO at all. At all. Mushroom Kingdom is only available after beating Bowser; Cap Kingdom is the first playable area, and the first time it's just a tutorial. Lost Kingdom is the first exploration area, and anybody who had played SMO in person wouldn't make that error.

      1. MichaelGC says:

        Slight spoiler for the Odyssey review. Yes, that's an extended joke. He keeps hammering away on the fact that the stuff you do there is really basic, but this is OK as it's just the tutorial. After some considerable time he reveals that it is of course not one of the early levels at all, throwing the fact that it's all been so basic and introductory into stark relief.

        1. Decius says:

          Oh, so he spends 45 minutes not demonstrating any familiarity with the game at all just in order to complain that there’s a drastic change of pace one of the ways you can go after beating the game?

          Super Mario Bros 3: You start out with three item bars full of hammer suits, which makes sense because it can ease you into the game without being punished severely every time you get touched.

          Oh wait, that’s after you win. Lol why would there be no-challenge content after you win. And Darker Side is too hard!

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            No,thats not the point at all.Also,you are doing the exact same thing now that you accused him of doing,only worse in that you are continuing it even after told that your initial assertion was wrong.

          2. Nope says:

            You’re demonstrating you have no familiarity of the video to try people’s patience by misunderstanding things, even when they’re explained to you.

            Please don’t. Reread Michael’s post.

            1. Decius says:

              There’s a difference between disagreeing with the point and not understanding it.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                Youve shown that you did not understand it.

          3. NilkadNaquada says:

            That’s not comparable at all, it’d be more like if after you beat Super Mario Bros 3 you unlocked a level with no pitfalls and only one goomba near the end of the level, and the rest of it was just easy platforming over solid ground with occasional question mark blocks containing powerups.

            1. Decius says:

              Suppose that to be the case. Would that make SMB3 worse?

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                If every level was like that,safe for a few challenge optionals,then yes that would definitely make it worse.

      2. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Yeah,you should really not comment on a Joseph Anderson review before you watch it completely.He very often goes on a LOOONG talk about something before going back and saying “I lied to prove a point”.

        1. King Marth says:

          This is the sort of trick you can only play if you already have audience trust, and if you don’t have that trust it’s a terrible way to earn trust. I’m reminded of one anime (A Certain Magical Index) which tried this trick; during the world introduction phase there’s a particular part of explanation (limits on memory, that Index can store precisely one year’s worth of living alongside her library of a mere 750,000 books before her brain would be fried by overuse) that makes no sense, but given it’s lumped in with a bunch of other descriptions of how magic works in this world (and media in general is terrible at making sense), it slips right by… until it’s brought up that even in-universe this makes no sense and in fact it was a lie used to manipulate characters.

          It’s actually kind of clever in retrospect, but it’s extremely frustrating if it doesn’t click with you, as you need to invest a lot of time in a blatantly flawed premise before you get to the payoff that congratulates you for spotting those flaws. Now, given I’m being introduced to this guy by Shamus, someone whose content I am aware of, Joseph gets some trust by proxy, but it didn’t hold up long enough for Decius.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Its not really that much time,especially compared to the length of the entire video.

            1. Decius says:

              The excessive length of the video is not a defense of the excessive lengths of parts of the video.

              I don’t like the speech rate or time padding, but that isn’t important.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                It is the most important.Criticize THAT,not stuff that you didnt get to because you dont like the length and pacing.

          2. Nope says:

            Considering how far into the video it is, and the consideration that Anderson takes (Which is why the videos are that long), it really isn’t.

            He is describing the game, he’s just kept one detail from you, and the people who are in a position to know what he’s keeping from them, by virtue of having played the game to that point, also necessarily are aware of where exactly in the game that is.

            Lot of people looking reeeeeaally hard to make some exceptionally trite complaints. Man’s the GRR Martin of game reviews, he makes them longer and longer to fit in every consideration, and people still aren’t satisfied.

            1. Rack says:

              Except the reason the videos are so long is he takes no consideration at all. He makes 2 hour long drafts with about 10 minutes worth of insight and content.

            2. Shoeboxjeddy says:

              You can’t make something longer and longer to fit every consideration, as some important considerations might be “finishing in a reasonable amount of time” or “good pacing” or “getting to the goddamn point.” George RR might DIE before finishing his books because he lacks the ability to edit himself or get to the point. You’d think this would be a lesson for other content creators, but it seems not. It took Stephen King having a near death accident to actually get his ass in gear and finish the Dark Tower series. The ending is contentious, but it’s certainly better than failing to produce.

          3. Bloodsquirrel says:

            The only way this would be a problem is if you’re going into the review with a combative mindset.

            Otherwise, if you’re opting to watch a two hour review of a video game, then you’re not in a rush, and you’re specifically looking for this kind of in-depth explanation, and won’t mind him taking a while to get to the punchline. You’ll either recognize what he’s doing if you’ve played the game, or you’ll have a little surprise if you haven’t. But outrage requires a level of emotional investment that is, to be frank, inappropriate here.

        2. Decius says:

          If he could keep a speech rate that suggested he valued his audience’s time, varied tone of voice enough that I could pretend he was entertaining, and managed to present a good summary up front, that still wouldn’t excuse him outright lying.

          I don’t even have a problem with his motte. SMO isn’t a masterpiece, and I probably won’t even finish 880 or all purple coins on it, because the last few collectibles were too much of a GuideDangIt for my taste. But if the reasons he almost finished giving in the first 45 minutes was “I disagree with the pacing of Mushroom Kingdom” and “There isn’t any movement tech more complicated or harder than ‘Precisely positioned triple-jump into cap-jump into twirl into dive’ in single-player controls”, he’s failing to justify his premise.

          Honestly, anyone who claims to understand the complexity of the movement features can post their race times if they want to be taken seriously. You can finish the game with basic moves, but there is a very high skill cap in moving around.

          1. NilkadNaquada says:

            You’re actually misrepresenting his point big-time here. His complaint wasn’t about how Mushroom Kingdom is paced, it’s that the entire game is substantially lacking in challenge, any level could’ve been the tutorial level because they’re incredibly easy and simple, and he didn’t complain about a lack of complex or challenging tech, he complained, separately, about a lack of vertical movement options (and the nerfing of the ones that are there) leading to upward mobility becoming a tedious chore, and a lack of interesting and unique challenges making the whole game feel like a chore.

            1. Decius says:

              And when he said that the game was lacking in challenge, did he include his race scores?

              Most of the moons are easy, a handful are frustratingly hard, and which ones are which vary between people.

      3. Ilseroth says:

        As other people have said, you didn’t watch long enough.

        That said, you also completely missed the point the “Dark souls is awesome” part you spoke of was trying to make. It was less about dark souls and nioh and more how inserting more things into the same basic idea of a game doesn’t intrinsically give merit. It’s about utilizing each idea well and in a way that is genuinely interesting.

        He never remarks to any comparison between dark souls and mario odyssey, if anything he’s drawing a parallel between Nioh and Odyssey. The point is that simply by jamming more moons into a game doesn’t give it more quality, and can in fact dilute the quality of content already in the game, since you’ll be spending time with all of it, and the game doesn’t sort the moons into “Boring” “All right” and “Great” categories. all moons are equal in the games eyes, with exception to the bosses that give 3.

        1. Decius says:

          Exactly: It took him five minutes to explain that superficial measures of complexity aren’t deep.

          That means he thinks it takes five minutes to explain that idea, and that the comparisons between DS and Nioh are important. That he does so with a slow speech rate isn’t /objectively/ bad, but it makes me feel like he’s filling up a time slot rather than a content slot.

          1. Nope says:

            Mate, the fact that people like you will go out of their way to misunderstand him says otherwise.

            1. Decius says:

              He made a true thesis, and then failed to support it meaningfully.

              Consider a game that you consider a masterpiece (by modern standards, not then-current ones).

              Change all of the things about SMO that were listed.

              is the fixed SMO as good as your reference masterpiece? If not, then the reason SMO is not a masterpiece lies somewhere else.

              If you want to use then-current standards, judge SMO by those same standards, and ask if SMO meets the standards that you are using to define ‘masterpiece’.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                You not listening to his whole video does not mean he did not support his thesis.

              2. Bloodsquirrel says:

                That’s just silly. He doesn’t just complain about a few design flaws, he points out that the game lacks things like compelling level design. “Change all of the things about SMO that were listed” is such a hilariously open-ended exercise that we’d never agree what that game even looks like.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Do it again for the cheevos is not the opposite of do it again stupid,just a different brand of it.And when one of the collectibles just does not exist on your first go through a level,that worse than making a really hard game.

      1. Decius says:

        So you think the BOTW DLC made BOTW worse by adding things that weren’t in the original.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          False equivalence.But Ill answer you anyway:

          A dlc can definitely make the original game worse if for example it interweaves stuff into the original game without giving you the option to turn it off(some dlcs actually do this),if it negates bunch of the gameplay from the vanilla,or worse improves it and thus shows how bad it was initially.

  10. Dreadjaws says:

    This kind of thing is complicated. I haven’t still played a Mario game I haven’t liked (disclaimer: I never played one of those non-Nintendo-published ones), but I don’t think I’ve ever found one that I’d consider a masterpiece. Even those ones I really liked tend to bore me at some point, since they become extremely repetitive.

    Granted, this is not necessarily a problem I have with Mario games, but with all games nowadays that tend to overstay their welcome. Yeah, a short game can be annoying, but a game that’s too long can be equally annoying.

    This is surely a side-effect of growing up and suddenly not having much time to play games due to work. When I was a kid, I most definitely prefered longer games. So, I don’t know; maybe it’s unfair to blame the games for it. I do understand why others might call it a masterpiece, though. It’s not like a Marvel movie, which I tend to like, but I find absolutely preposterous when people pretend they’re flawless.

  11. Rosseloh says:

    I have Odyssey. I’ve played it for ten hours or so. Technically it’s the first Mario game I’ve played in any major capacity since Sunshine for the Gamecube – and I never really played much of that, either, so it’s not like I’m a crazy fan of the series or anything (I’m more of a Zelda guy).

    As a Mario game, it’s fantastic. But he’s right – masterpiece is a bit far. As a “game”, compared to every other game out there (which is really stupid because there are so many genres and styles that comparing them is DEFINITELY not apples-to-apples)…..yeah, I can see it being called shallow and repetitive. The mechanics are cool and useful but there aren’t a ton of them, and the sheer volume of moons does make each individual one seem a bit lackluster. I think I had one kick where I got like 10 of them in five minutes or so.

    Honestly, if I had to describe it, it’s been “cut into bite-size pieces”. Which might be a symptom of the market. You can hop on (and with the Switch, it’s really as simple as pressing a button and within five seconds you’re playing again as long as you keep the thing charged), get a few moons, and be done, all during a smoke break (or whatever you might do to take breaks during the day). To do that, they had to make it very accessible and very simple, really.

    Is any of that a bad thing? Not at all. And it does have depth in some ways: I’ve watched some videos of folks playing it and it’s crazy how many moves these people were doing that I didn’t even think existed (eg: using the hat jump feature to get up a ledge that I personally climbed the “right” way, which took way longer)….

    Anyway, I see where he’s coming from. It really is a good game if you like Mario, but treating it like the second coming is a bit much (that prize lies with Breath of the Wild which I really need to play again).

    1. Redrock says:

      The bite-sized friendly design is. I think, intentional. It is supposed to be played on a handheld, after all. To me, it helps to think of the Switch as a handheld with a TV mode and not the other way around. Even though Odyssey requires you to use separated Joy-Cons for the very best experiences, so there is a certain internal dissonance there. But still, bite-sized chunks seems to be the design intention for most Switch games.

      1. Rack says:

        One of it’s biggest actualproblems is its split personality. The design informs a handheld mindset but it unnecessarily demands motion controls which work poorly with motion controls.

  12. RyanMakesGames says:

    He talks like every moon has to be some big epic challenge, and I’m not sure why he assumes that to be the case.

    In my mind, Odyssey is like a playground with a variety of activities to do all around and you just go do the things you think are fun. The game never expects you to 100% any area, so you can just skip stuff you don’t want to do.

    So to me it sounds like he is complaining that this playground has too many see-saws and slides and not enough monkey bars and rock climbing walls. Like, kids and non-gaming parents play this game. Maybe they should be able to enjoy it without having to make it a second job.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      He talks like every moon has to be some big epic challenge

      No he doesnt.There are far more options than just the “make everything a trivial chore” and “make everything teeth pullingly hard”.Also,the worst moons he mentions are the rock ones(X rocks contain moons,but there are X^Y rocks in the game)and the ground pound ones(X spots contain moons,but there are X^Y spots in the game).No matter how easy or hard you like your cheevo challenges to be,those dont fit into either category,but rather in the “stupid chores that necessitate a walkthrough” category.

      1. RyanMakesGames says:

        I would argue that one man’s “stupid chore” is another man’s “satisfying challenge”, especially when we consider that this game is supposed to fun for kids too. Personally, I liked finding the moons hidden in ground pound spots. They kinda felt like an Easter egg hunt? I can’t defend the ones in rocks though…

        The game often rewards moons for just traversing the normal path of the level, and yeah those are easy for us gamers, but I bet they feel a lot more satisfying to a new player. And really, if those moons don’t feel like enough of a challenge, then you can go into the challenge rooms for more moons. And if you can beat those, then you can go for the extra moon in each challenge area.

        Everyone deserves to have a fun time collecting moons, even if they aren’t very good at the game.

      2. Blake says:

        You only need to get a small fraction of the moons to pass any given level, which means all those you miss aren’t “stupid chores that necessitate a walkthrough”, so much as “minor rewards for players who pay close attention. (also the game has built in hint systems like talkatoo and amiibo if you’re stuck for any reason).

        If you’re trying to 100% the game you’re going to find a lot of repetition, but if you’re just playing through the thing then you might only encounter a few of them and be pleasantly surprised when you do.

        SMO is a game that is designed to reward play, you look around, see something interesting and it probably has a prize in it. Most of the moons aren’t challenging to players with decades of platforming experience, but that isn’t a problem for everybody.

        For me it’s a really fun, enjoyable exploration Mario game, like Mario 64 (and to a lesser extent Sunshine).

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          The video already addresses that.You dont know in advance how plentiful moons are,or how many of them are necessary.

          1. Rack says:

            The game not telling you how many moons you need if you ignore the game telling you how many moons you need is not valid criticism.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              So the game does tell you that those moons hidden in rocks are less than 1% of all the existing moons?

              1. Shoeboxjeddy says:

                “I’m stressed that I could hypothetically need to collect every rock Moon, so I wasted a whole bunch of time looking for those” is a really stupid criticism. It’s like you’re saying “I was scared you were going to do something stupid (require the player to find each and every moon to finish the game), so I ruined the experience trying to deal with that thing you could have done, without checking first to see if you had done it.”

          2. Bob says:

            The user interface has little icons on the top left of the screen saying how many moons you need to advance in the game.

    2. Xyllar says:

      Yeah, at one point he says he is not the target audience for the game and I definitely agree with him there. On the other hand he implies that the lack of challenge makes it a “kids’ game” and I think there he is doing it a disservice. He talks like he didn’t find any of the moons at all difficult and how he just breezed through the final post-game challenge levels, which probably took me at least a dozen tries, so I for one am glad the game doesn’t hold up to this guy’s difficulty standards. It sounds like he is looking for something like Dark Souls level of gameplay or something, which is certainly not what I want in a Mario game.

    3. Destrustor says:

      He also mentions that the game might be better served having different reward tiers of sorts; Some of those tasks are so insignificant that they don’t feel they deserve the fanfare of a moon.
      He doesn’t necessarily mean those things should be harder, just that if they weren’t celebrated on the same level as the harder things they’d feel less like pointless handouts.
      Some of the older games awarded coins or lives for the little things being celebrated with moons here, and he felt these were more appropriate rewards.

      It’s like being given a first place racing trophy for everything you do, even if you’re not even racing. It feels meaningless, and that meaninglessness seems to be a big part of what he didn’t enjoy with the game.

      1. RyanMakesGames says:

        I think the players who are new/bad at the game deserve to have fun collecting moons too, even if it means that veteran/skilled players have an easy time of it. The game has more challenging moons in it too.

        Having equal rewards means that new players can have fun collecting the easy ones, then move on to steadily more difficult ones as they run out of easy challenges, which gives them time to get better at the game. Tiered rewards only serve to point out a novice player’s lack of skill while flattering the egos of the veterans.

        This isn’t a sport where only one person can come in first place. In Super Mario Odyssey, everyone can be a winner. Even the players who suck.

        1. Bloodsquirrel says:

          This isn't a sport where only one person can come in first place. In Super Mario Odyssey, everyone can be a winner. Even the players who suck.

          Except that players who don’t suck still have to waste their time slogging through content that is too easy to be engaging for them. And they’re also paying full price for a game when only a small portion of it is relevant to them. That’s not “winning”. That’s a highly compromised experience.

          Anderson is right: this game is not aimed at him, or anyone at his skill level. There’s no reason skilled gamers should be expected to worship at its altar instead of calling it for what it is: a game that is too easy for them.

          1. Blake says:

            “There's no reason skilled gamers should be expected to worship at its altar instead of calling it for what it is: a game that is too easy for them”

            Super Mario Odyssey can be both too easy for me and great fun to play.
            It doesn’t need to be a challenge to be a joy.

            1. Bloodsquirrel says:

              That’s great for you, but it’s not true for everybody, and this constant insistence that it is and should be is supremely obnoxious.

              It’s like going up to somebody who likes RPGs and telling them that they have think that the latest shooter is the best game ever, and that if they like RPGs better than shooters then it’s no excuse because, look, the shooter has an upgrade system, and that’s should be enough RPG elements for them to be happy about.

              1. Shoeboxjeddy says:

                Bad analogy. This is like players who only like really mean-spiritied challenging RPGs like SMT Noctourne complaining that the Tales of… games are too easy for him, and therefore are bad. They may be easier than his preference… doesn’t make them bad.

                Your analogy is about some genre changing thing that isn’t relevant.

          2. Rack says:

            Except there’s no need to slog through that content, except to unlock darker side of the moon. That is a design flaw, the hardest content can only be unlocked by completing a significant portion of the easier content. But aside from that you only have to do the content you are interested in. If you argue that you are doing content you are not interested in for no reason then you’re really only criticising yourself.

            He’s right that the game isn’t aimed at him, but he then uses that to fuel a self-aggrandizing rant that it’s only aimed at children. Which is just silly.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              He never said that its just for children,he said it was aimed at children.Theres a difference.My little pony is aimed at young girls,but it has a large adult audience.Does that mean all those people need to be ashamed of what they are enjoying?

              1. Supah Ewok says:

                Of MLP? Yes.

                A better analogy is Pixar movies and some of the better/older Disney animations. Aimed at kids? Sure, in so much as they’re made for kids to be able to understand easily. Enjoyable by just about anybody alive? Also true, with more mature themes going on under the surface for the discerning eye.

                Whether Odyssey misses that mark I can’t say, not owning a Switch yet, but to say that Nintendo games are made for kids in general is really doing them a disservice. They are made to be ABLE to be played by children, not FOR them. I finished playing ye old Super Metroid recently. Had a blast. Game had all sorts of hidden or semi-hidden mechanics a kid was unlikely to find, but they were there for platforming veterans to have fun with. And just as many, maybe more, adults enjoy the 3d Zeldas as the kids do. Super Mario Bros 3 was a masterpiece of design, and it too was able to be played by kids.

                I frankly don’t trust anybody who says Nintendo products are aimed/for kids. It shows their insecurities or personal bias. Even if it were, challenge is not a metric for being a masterpiece. Dark Souls is a great classic, and Dark Souls 2 is crap. Both are challenging. Engagement is a far better metric (which you personally brought up somewhere up there in the comment jungle), and although challenge can be a part of that, it’s something you really have to be careful about judging since everyone has a different brain and thus different ideas about what is challenging.

            2. Bloodsquirrel says:

              Except there's no need to slog through that content, except to unlock darker side of the moon.

              Except that, as he points out, finding the “challenging” content requires pursuing the trivial content, since none of it is separated, and there’s too little of it to support an entire game.

              1. Shoeboxjeddy says:

                The “challenging” content isn’t intended to be an entire game, that’s a lame criticism. The Mario games have NEVER been “a whole game of platforming too challenging for a general audience”, so why Odyssey having this characteristic is suddenly a flaw is… questionable.

  13. Daemian Lucifer says:

    What I find interesting about this is that he is basically describing an asscreed game.ALL of them are like this.And we who enjoy some of those games simply dont care about it if the game plays well(like black flag),but find it tedious when it doesnt play well(like anything but the black flag*).

    *I kid.Post black flag asscreeds are just as much of a mix of good and bad as the pre black flag ones.Its just a turning point in the franchise,not the only good one.

    1. acronix says:

      We clearly are more lenient about game design when stabbing people is (sometimes) (vaguely) involved.

    2. Nope says:

      I actually really agree with this, which is ironic because just a moment ago I disagreed with you describing it as an effect of the spread of information and making collection harder.

      It’s definitely the “Open World Collecting” genre having an impact.

    3. Redrock says:

      Eh, Black Flag is massively overrated. The combat system works worse than in Brotherhood and Revelations and is straight up painful during ship boarding. And everytyhing about boarding is repeptitive but also slow, with all the same unskippable cutscenes, fiddly climbing with a lot of objects for Edward to get stuck in. Also, I maxed out my ship and equipment maybe 25-30% into the story. I dunno. I get why people liked Black Flag, but it has flaws and fails to integrate its two identities. The more I played, the more I felt like it wasn’t really a great pirate game (no real trading, no new ships, no real sense of discovery) and it wasn’t a great Assassin’s Creed game, simply because the Assassin parts were poorly executed (so much following people!) and didn’t really mesh with the pirate stuff. I think I’m one of the very few people who enjoyed Syndicate way more than Black Flag.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Sea shanties.The reason black flag is so amazing are the sea shanties.

        1. Redrock says:

          Can’t argue with that. The way they drill into your skull, I’d think they are another Abstergo mind-control experiment.

      2. Shoeboxjeddy says:

        Black Flag is great imo for several reasons.
        1) A money sink that PROFOUNDLY influences gameplay for the first time in the series (your ship). Generally, you need to raise a lot of money to buy every sword, building, and art piece. These objects generally just… get you more money, with the exception of the weapons, but in most games, the ideal thing to do is buy the best weapon in the stores ASAP and then never change off of it again (until perhaps you get the secret, game breaking weapon). Meanwhile, your ship actually affects gameplay and you get to decide how to pace the upgrades. If you go after a challenging fleet with a weak ship, you might get killed, but success will grant you a much better ship, faster. Or you can take easy prey and have a weaker ship for more of the game.
        2) A plot that actually interrogates Assassins vs Templars from the outside for the first time. And from multiple angles, with both sides being questioned for their virtues and if they are necessary by the pirates, unaffiliated do gooders, and eventually by the Oracle.
        3) A wide tool set absent the worst fluff the series had come up with (the bombs from AC Rev) but with some silly equipment to play with as you like (I’m partial to berserker darts). Also, the best gunplay in the series thus far (firing four guns in a row is fantastic).

  14. stratigo says:

    Most people love it. One well spoken and thoughtful guy doesn’t. A dozen people who have not and will never play it pipe in to agree how over rated SMO is.

    1. TakatoGuil says:

      Yeah pretty much this. I played Odyssey and collected hundreds of moons without complaint. Yes, plenty were easy, but others were difficult – especially because with a bunch of them I had no real clue *where* they even were! Odyssey was a great playground and the idea of a two hour long video dissecting it moon-by-moon reeks of “angry man tries to tell everyone why their opinions are wrong”.

      1. MichaelGC says:

        No, the video is much more nuanced than that, and he's focused on giving his own opinion. He'll highlight that this opinion seems to conflict with many other people's, but I don't think he'd see the value in trying to tell people they're wrong.

        He's also fixated on finding & providing evidence which he thinks backs up his opinion – to a fault, sometimes. So, I'd say it's unfair to judge him on the basis of the apparent scent of a mere idea.

      2. Nope says:

        “Angry man”.

        You didn’t watch the video.

        Bit hypocritical.

        1. TakatoGuil says:

          Eh, if Seamus wants to make a “Haha guys Mario sure sucks huh, glad I don’t waste time with *those* games, let’s have a group of people I’m pretty sure all hate Mario too talk about it now that someone who agrees with me has made a two hour long video saying it’s shallow and uninspired” post for a critically adored video game he has not ever and will not ever play, I feel entirely justified in doing the same thing for the two hour video he links to.

          1. TakatoGuil says:

            Fricking phone. Shamus. Like the fricking URL of the website.

          2. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Shamus never made that post you are accusing him of.In fact,back when Campster made a similar criticism about half life 2,a game Shamus(and a bunch of his audience) likes,he spread awareness of that video as well in a similar fashion to this post.

            1. Redrock says:

              And, by the way, Campster is good at doing titles. That’s on the subject of what we were discussing below. He wouldn’t put “Half-Life sucks” in the title. Even if he has some weird and controversial opinions, like in his Deus Ex video. Which, argh. But he doesn’t do intentionally controversial titiles. Which is why he doesn’t get as many views as he could, I think, but that’s a very impressive and respectable approach nonetheless.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      And hundreds of people jump in to say that because he doesnt adore the game as the next coming of chirst,he must hate it*,games like this simply arent for him**,its just not a game for someone who wants a hard game like dark souls***,is an elitist who doesnt understand fun,etc,etc,etc.I have massive “how dare you give breath of the wild just a 7” flashbacks.

      *Despite him heaping praise to it for a big chunk of the beginning,and saying that he enjoyed it
      **Despite him constantly saying how another mario game was better than this one,and how he enjoyed all the other mario games before this one
      ***Despite him using dark souls only in comparison to a sequel to dark souls to highlight a parallel between two mario games

    3. Nope says:

      Course, a bunch of people also went out of their way to misunderstand the guy, make assumptions about his personality, his character, make fools of themselves with ridiculous criticism that shows that they haven’t watched the video in question (Ironic right?), just because they aren’t satisfied that he thinks the game “Isn’t a masterpiece”, despite giving it quite a bit of praise and dues.

      I mean, come on, you can see that there’s a lot of people getting equally ridiculous because they liked the game? I think Anderson made a good case for his opinion. Still doesn’t mean I don’t want to play the game myself.

      1. Redrock says:

        I think the title Anderson used is a bit problematic. He didn’t go with “My problem with Mario Odyssey” or something like that. For obvious, clickbaity reasons. So, of course. people get angry and, as always, unreasonably so. Anderson is a very, very niche player. He is extremely hardcore. He does make a good case of explaining why Odyssey doesn’t really work for him, sure. But the provocative title, I think, suits neither the message nor the intent of his video. Unless, of course, the intent is to get clicks.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Why is “not a masterpiece” problematic?It does not say that the game is bad.In fact,the whole first part of the video says that the game actually IS good.Its the 7/10 problem again.Games can no longer be just good,they must be TEH BEST EVAR,and if you dont think that then you must think its TEH WORST EVAR.

          1. Redrock says:

            It’s clickbait, as I said. And it’s provocative. And Anderson doesn’t really try to disprove the consensus, but rather explains why the game doesn’t suit him personally. So it’s also a bit misleading. Maybe I am looking for insight into Odyssey’s flaws. But instead I find out why a particular uber hardcore gaming demigod doesn’t find it challenging enough. With good analysis and some well-put arguments, no doubt. But still, a very niche take by a very niche type of gamer. Which he could reflect in the title. Again, I get why the video is called like it is. Everybody is doing this for a living. But let’s be honest and call clickbait clickbait.

            1. Blake says:

              I agree.
              I think it’s like someone saying the movie Frozen isn’t a masterpiece because it doesn’t challenge our notions of morality or something.

              Like yeah the movie might not be for you, but put it in front of a 5 year old and they very well may have found something they’ll love and remember for their entire lives, which kinda makes it a masterpiece. Same for SMO.

            2. Hector says:

              That is absurd nonsense. Joseph made a two hour long video, at considerable trouble, designed to present a contrary opinion to what he saw mainstream reviews saying. He backed with with loads of evidence as he makes carefully prepared points one after another, all directly backing his main idea – which he puts in the title itself.

              You don’t have to like it, but writing it off as clickbait is simply childish.

              1. Redrock says:

                I don’t think we mean the same things by clickbait. I don’t mean that it;s a clickbait video, as in an empty low-effort piece of content that exists solely to make people click the title. No, the video is solid. What I mean is that the title is intentionally clickbait-y, because a good creator still has to be savvy about attracting views. It’s fine. Good journalists use catchy headlines all the time. I don’t use the word to somehow deride Anderson’s content. I use it to try to explain the negativity expressed by many. It’s a provocative title which doesn’t represent the video, which is a fine and acceptable marketing technique. But such things always have backlash, which Anderson obviously understood full well. Because, again, the honest title for the video is “A Dark Souls masochist’s problem with Super Mario Odyssey”. Hell, I’m not even mad about his opinion of SMO, because I played that game for all of 10 minutes before going back to Tales of Berseria, of all things. I don’t really have a stake in this.

                1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  “A Dark Souls masochist's problem with Super Mario Odyssey”

                  How is that honest?The only time he mentioned dark souls s to compare ds with its sequel as a parallel to various mario games.He came at odyssey as a fan of other mario games,not as a dark souls fan who has never played a single mario game before.

                  The only reason there is so much backlash is that mario has plethora of fans who identify with the game so much that any criticism of the game is taken as a criticism of themselves.Do you think thered be so much backlash if the video was “Hellblade-its no masterpiece”?Or “Doki doki-its no masterpiece”?

                  1. Redrock says:

                    Well, no, because fewer people played those and those aren’t generally considered as good or as big. But if he made a video criticising Hellblade for not being Ninja Gaiden, it would still tick off a part of the fanbase and my argument would stay exactly the same.

                    And I was joking a bit about the Dark Souls thing, but not the masochist thing. Look, I once opened Anderson’s review of Prey, because I love this game, and found him describing how he made a Nightmare no-neuromods run. And how tedious that was. That’s a very particular approach to gaming and not one that represents what most people look for in a video game.

                    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      He isnt comparing odyssey to a completely different game made by someone completely different,he is comparing it to previous mario games,all released by nintendo.

                      As for prey,doesnt that whole game revolve around the question of whether you are willing to compromise yourself with neuromods in order to make life easier for you?Was he playing it wrong by choosing the “less fun” option?An option specifically presented and acknowledged by the game.

                    2. Redrock says:

                      Well, sure, there is even an achievement for that, so it’s not a wrong way to play. But it is a way that restrcits you from reading e-mails, exploring, etc. It’s just not something that interests me or, I would think, most people playing Prey. All of that, I stress again and again, is not to say that Anderson is a bad critic or creator. Just to point out that he has a fairly specific approach and taste in games that doesn’t connect with that many people. And when you tastes are so obviously special, it doesn’t pay to make sweeping statements like “it’s no masterpiece”. Not illegal, not immoral, but ultimately self-defeating, if nothing else.

                    3. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      But why do you think that having a preference when playing one genre immediately translates to a preference when playing a different genre?For example,I enjoy I wanna be the guy,a tough and unforgiving twitch platformer that keeps you on your toes every second you play it.But you know what else I enjoy?Booting up my old copy of civ 4 and playing against a chieftain AI and no barbarians just to see how long it takes me to research everything without building any unit.Wouldnt you say those two play styles are diametric opposites?

                      And the most prominent thing that Joseph talks about in this video is variety,with challenge coming only after that.Also,the challenge he is talking about most of the time is not god tier level challenge,but rather ANY chalenge at all,since the sections he raves on most about are just walks through the same empty areas youve been through already,without a single obstacle in your way.

                    4. Hector says:

                      He does these kinds of things because (A) He’s doing what game journalists won’t, and actually digs into the real meat and mechanics of the game, and (B), because people complain if he doesn’t. He tries to experience everything a game can be and distills his reaction.

                      This is particularly important because certain kinds of people whine that others need to git gud if they didn’t do a no-damage-no-item run on mega-difficulty while playing with their toes. It gives Joseph the freedom to publicly judge certain aspects of the game are good or bad because he’s earned that right. More to the point, it allows him to analyze the basic gameplay without extrinsic rewards.

                      But you’ve basically left your original complaint behind and are now claiming that he was comparing Mario to something entirely different. This claim is directly, provably false. He compares Odyssey to past Mario games, and asks why the many many aspects actually got worse.

          2. Ivellius says:

            Using such a strong “is” statement implies an objective truth, rather than a more subjective title that identifies the content as being his subjective perspective.

            Now we obviously know that the video is going to be his subjective opinion, but if he’s representing it as otherwise, it’s easy to be annoyed about that.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              So what,every title now needs to be a comprehensive thesis on its own?Being annoyed by the title is the very definition of judging a book by its cover.

              1. Redrock says:

                No, being annoyed by the mismatch between the title and the content is the exact opposite of judging a book by its cover. Because the latter suggests not opening the frickin book. And the former is the emotion you feel after spending some of your precious time on the book only to realize that it’s not at all about what it says on the cover.

                Look at it this way. Imagine a video titled “Wall-E is not a masterpiece”. Fine, you think, there may well be solid arguments to that, no studio is perfect. But then the reviewer proceeds to explain, for two hours, that he is really into the philosophy of Walter Benjamin and hardcore bdsm porn, and the movie makes no references to either, which is why it didn’t really work for him. Which is fine, man, you do you, and all that, and props for reading the ramblings of Benjamin. But that title would be a problem for many people, and rightly so.

                1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Wheres the disconnect?In the video he outlines exactly why he thinks that,while its still good,odyssey is not a masterpiece.And I dont have to imagine anything,because a while back Chris made a rather similar video about half life 2.I never accused him of “not playing it through”,”mocking a popular title just for views”,”being an angry man yelling at kids to get off his lawn”,and other things that Ive seen here and in the comments for this video.

                  1. Redrock says:

                    No, he outlines how SMO doesn’t suit his very particular tastes. That’s different. There are some games that are legitimately and objectively overrated. You can do a video called “BoTW is no masterpiece” and as long as you focus on the fiddly controls, the repeptitive shrines and the time-consuming cooking mechanic or some other glaring laws, it would be fine. But if the crux of your argument is that it doesn’t have Bioware-style romance and Nioh-level combat complexity, which you prefer, it would just be annoying.

                    And anyway, it’s not about you. I have the impression that you wouldn’t go harassing a creator in any case. But it pays to try to understand why others might and why sometimes it’s just the assholes and sometimes even reasonable people get a bit annoyed.

                    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      There are some games that are legitimately and objectively overrated.

                      No,there arent.Its all subjective opinions,and the only metric is how many people share it.

                      You can do a video called “BoTW is no masterpiece” and as long as you focus on the fiddly controls, the repeptitive shrines and the time-consuming cooking mechanic or some other glaring laws, it would be fine.

                      Which is exactly the focus of this video.

                      But if the crux of your argument is that it doesn't have Bioware-style romance and Nioh-level combat complexity, which you prefer, it would just be annoying.

                      The only games Joseph compares odyssey to are other mario games,and only to show how much more variety they offer.Which is perfectly reasonable,since this game does draw a lot from those previous games,which is also stated in this video.

                    2. Redrock says:

                      Given the length of the video, we can go back and forth on what he said and didn’t say all day. My point stands – I don’t think that saying “X is no masterpiece” and then proceeding to explain that X just doesn’t fit your own very specific tastes is a good position to take if you want people to be constructive about it. That’s it. I’m not saying that SMO is good or bad, I probably like it way less than Anderson actually does.

          3. Rack says:

            Are you trying to be deliberately misleading with the 7/`10 question? Because 7/10 is below average in games reviews, the average score for most sites is around an 8.

            As for “not a masterpiece” he’s technically correct but spends most of the time explaining why it wasn’t for him. It’s a misleading title for the video.

            1. Rack says:

              Just revisitng the video the title is “Mario Odyssey is no masterpiece” which is a VERY different statement to “Mario Odyssey is not a masterpiece”. The implication is that Odyssey is a far cry from being a masterpiece, which, especially since he states at one point it is a masterpiece if judged from a specific viewpoint is not a little disingenuous.

            2. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Because 7/10 is below average in games reviews, the average score for most sites is around an 8.

              Not for Jim.Which he stated multiple times.

              Just revisitng the video the title is “Mario Odyssey is no masterpiece” which is a VERY different statement to “Mario Odyssey is not a masterpiece”.

              Not really.Especially not as just the title of a video.

              1. Rack says:

                That’s his excuse for being click-baity with reviews, I don’t believe for a second it’s actually true.

  15. MadTinkerer says:

    It's always a little scary when you stick your neck out and argue with a consensus. I know this because next week I'm going to be starting a series where I do exactly that and I won't rest easy until I've made my case.

    So you actually like Mass Effect Andromeda and are willing to write about it here? You’re a braver man than I, Shamus.

  16. Humanoid says:

    I really dislike collectibles (and their meta-equivalent, achievements) and what they represent: a sort of “fake content” that cynically rides on people’s OCD tendencies. Now obviously the solution is just to ignore them, and for the most part I do, but they nevertheless colour my opinion of the rest of the game. It seems irrational but I will rate a game with collectibles/achievements lower than I would an otherwise identical game without them.

    Now a game where the system is mandatory to progress? Without having watched the video, that doesn’t sound great on the surface, but to be fair, if you can get the required amount by beelining the bosses and playing the game like you would a “normal” game, then I suppose that’s palatable. But then why have them required for completion at all?

    For what it’s worth, Dishonored 2’s collectibles turned me off so much that I quit after the first real level. There’s some extreme ludonarrative dissonance there if you put any thought into it at all.

    P.S. Why are coins even still a thing in Mario games? They stopped being relevant when permanent game overs stopped being a thing.

    1. Matt Downie says:

      In Mario 64, you could get a star (the means by which you unlocked new areas) by collecting a hundred coins on any level. It rewarded being able to traverse the whole map without dying.

    2. Decius says:

      Coins are a part of the core Mario theme. It was never about the 1/100th of an extra live that they gave you, it was about the reward trigger for getting one at all.

      Coinships in SMB3 gave you a lot of coins, not a couple of 1-ups, while some secret rooms gave 1-ups. They are different experiences to collect.

    3. tzeneth says:

      Don’t know about Odyssey but coins also served a purpose in breathing and health mechanics where grabbing one could regain lost health or underwater air (in Mario 64 at least).

  17. Darren says:

    I’m not watching a multi-hour analysis of Mario Odyssey, but my quick-take is that it’s fun and well made, but the amount of enjoyment you get out of it is closely tied to how much you like old-school collectathon platformers.

    If you like wandering large levels filled with secrets and performing many small, often easy tasks for the sole purpose of acquiring doo-dads, then you’ll enjoy it immensely. If you’d prefer a more structured game in which challenges almost always take the form of lengthy, rigidly designed levels, you’ll like it less.

    This isn’t as much a mark against the game as it could be, as the last three 3D Mario titles–Galaxy, Galaxy 2, and 3D World–took the “structured challenge” route and Odyssey is an exemplary entry in the collectathon genre, but it’s definitely a preference thing.

    1. Blake says:

      Yeah, it’s a great example of the 3d platform collectathon genre.

  18. Drew says:

    I think part of what spoils the controls for this guy is that Nintendo chose to have a two player option. This meant that there couldn’t be the kind of control complexity he craves (“Use more buttons!”) because when you hand half of the controls to another player, you lose a whole lot of buttons.

    And while I’d never ever ever want to play as Cappy, my wife really enjoys it and it’s great to have games where a second player can participate without needing to be able to handle any kind of real platforming themselves.

    1. Redrock says:

      But there is complexity in the motion controls, isn’t there? In fact, the only control setup that provides full control is when you hold a joy-con in each hand. Handheld mode, pro controller all lack some movements. So it’s not like the controls are limited to four face buttons and two shoulder buttons.

      1. Drew says:

        Sure. And that’s used. But the reviewer specifically says he thinks motion controls are awful and that more face buttons should be used in the game to increase the control options.

        That’s what I’m responding to here.

  19. jumbalia says:

    The only thing in his review that would really stop me buying Odyssey (apart from not owning a Switch!:D) is the amount of your play time wasted watching animations of collecting moons. That sort of disrespect of a players time shouldn’t be in a game.

  20. Alrenous says:

    I think his mostly throwaway comment about it being a masterpiece for kids deserved much, much more attention.
    Yes, I would likely get thoroughly bored Mario Odyssey in under an hour. However, he brings up the sun in that one Mario 3 desert level and the phantoms which chase the key-carrier in Mario 2 (US). As a tiny kid, I and my friends hated those things.
    By contrast, the fact you can go anywhere, just playing around, and probably find the moons you need to open up somewhere new to go when you get bored of this place, sounds perfect. Of course I’d have to age-regress and try it myself to be sure, but lacking that…

    Even spending several minutes ‘getting moons for getting moons’ is exactly the kind of thing that would delight tiny kid me. At first I would go back for every moon. Then, I would ‘save up’ success and binge on it in one large satisfying bolus. Is it unlikely that I would be able to defer gratification enough to save up a whole eight minutes worth, thus my own foibles would have prevented a totally degenerate situation.

    There’s no depth there, but a kid isn’t going to appreciate depth anyway. No point in wasting developer resources creating it. Similarly the ‘talk to fool, get a moon’ things are a nice break from having to put forth any effort, as a kid. Most of your life is getting free stuff for no work anyway, it doesn’t seem in the least out of place.

    On the other hand, the long animation seems highly unnecessary. Not ‘even’ as a kid but ‘especially’ as a kid I would be mashing the skip button after maybe a dozen of them. Only no skip button exists. I would mash anyway in frustration.
    As a kid I had, ironically, too much tolerance for boredom. I would have planted those seeds, and hated every second if it. (Then turned around and done it again on a subsequent playthrough.) Except when I was so young I hadn’t the chance to be into games yet, I would also have kicked every rock looking for moons, and resented the necessity.

    On the third hand, I would likely be kicking every rock anyway because stuff I was allowed to interact with was painfully rare in the real world and I enjoyed the opportunity to do stuff to the game world. I also tended to cut down all the bushes and grass in LttP just because I was allowed to.

    I’m hoping I will be able to verify or deny Anderson’s idea that kids will not return to this game because it’s too shallow. It may be complicated by the fact kids will age very rapidly out of the right zone to appreciate it. I wonder what the minimum age is for the necessary dexterity?

  21. Blake says:

    “However, he brings up the sun in that one Mario 3 desert level and the phantoms which chase the key-carrier in Mario 2 (US). As a tiny kid, I and my friends hated those things.”

    SMO has one big area where you’re trying to do multiple objectives while also avoiding a large {spoilers} trying to eat you. It’s spooky scary tense stuff, and I probably would have hated it as much a kid as I did those things you mentioned.

  22. Geebs says:

    Mario Odyssey is a pretty darn good example of a 3D platform game and well worth the money. I didn't like it as much as Mario Galaxy, because it doesn't quite manage the same trick of constantly switching up the monent-to-moment gameplay that Galaxy completely nailed. Odyssey does have the posession mechanic, which changes up the move set, but in the end I find using the same move set to deal with a constantly changing environment more interesting than, basically, parkour.

    It's not a masterpiece, but it's surprisingly good for a rather conventional entry in a very long-lived franchise and mostly a joy to play. As for the issue with challenge: Mario, like Dark Souls, really isn't at its best when it tries too hard to be too hard.

  23. tzeneth says:

    I find it funny I watched this before you posted it. I can’t even remember why I subscribed to his channel but it was an interesting review. My problem is that I find his opinion similar to mine in a lot of aspects. I’d probably still give Mario Odyssey a rent because of the good points of the game that he specifically points out but I wouldn’t buy it…if I didn’t follow Shamus’s typical audience and mainly play PC with a very rare break out of my old 360 (Viva Pinata is more addicting than it should be…and there’s nothing like it). I’d like to claim I’d wait for it to go on sale but Nintendo almost never does sales. I’ve been waiting for Majora’s Mask for the 3DS to go down in price and that STILL hasn’t happened the last time I checked (which was quite a while ago, tbh. I should go do that now).

    I would also like to point out I was lying all those times I said I was not a robot. Mwahahaha, may me, as part of the oncoming robot overlords, admit to ruling the world and when you look up to discover our nefarious way of taking over, remember to say, “That’s no moon!” (Pun completely intended because of the topic)

  24. Shamus says:

    Wow. Sunday is when I typically put low-key content. Stuff like, “I’m playing this game and I don’t have a lot to say about it yet.” Or maybe, “Here’s a cool video I found.” I honestly expected this post to get maybe a dozen comments.

    Instead this turned out to be the most controversial post in weeks. Go figure.

    Next week I promise to post something really boring on Sunday.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Next week:
      The last jedi is better than empire strikes back

      1. Redrock says:

        And that would be the day when Shamus joins Jim Sterling and a number of others in the category of game and nerd stuff journalists to be ddosed by angry fanboys. Or has that happened before?

  25. Guile says:

    I liked it quite a bit. A few fun, inventive abilities (controlling X creature – like a freaking T-rex – to complete a puzzle), some colorful and cheery levels, I’m perfectly content with that. That’s Mario in its element; although I loved the hell out of Paper Mario and Legend of the Seven Stars, I feel like turning Mario into an RPG just feels kind of wrong somehow.

    I feel like a few of the levels kind of dragged, and wore out their welcome (that desert level) but overall it was an enjoyable experience for me.

    BotW was pretty cool, but I hate weapon degradation systems so that dragged it down for me a bit.

  26. Ian says:

    I seem to be the opposite to most Switch owners. I despised Zelda: Breath of the Wild and if it hadn’t sold so many copies that everyone already had it I would have traded it in which is something I typically never do.

    Mario Odyssey I loved. I played it through in a long weekend barely stopping to do anything which is something I haven’t done in gaming in a long time. It might not be revolutionary but it is entertaining in a way most gaming fails to be.

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