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RTTP: Super Mario Odyssey - Ultimate Celebration of 3D Mario History (Post 3D All-Stars Playthrough)

#Phonepunk#

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So after tearing through the 3D All Stars collection and falling in love all over again with 3D Mario, I have started a new game on Super Mario Odyssey. I played this game obsessively when it came out, 100%ing it, and loved it to death, but I haven't played in a few years. Now, having the full experience of the 64/Sunshine/Galaxy trilogy in mind, I wanted more than ever to revisit this game, this time considering all the stuff that came before. My God, this game is an absolute treasure, and has a well deserved spot next to those masterpieces.

Right now I'm only halfway through the frozen desert, but it is just such a joy to play. The graphics and sound and music and gameplay are all top notch. It really feels like the ultimate realization of all the prior concepts. It is just a nonstop barrage of concepts and ideas from 2D and 3D Mario games lovingly put together with the best graphics and QOL fixes you could hope for. Just the fact that I don't have to exit a level after getting a moon is a joy!

I have heard many complaints about too many moons, but imo Sunshine is when they really went into Collectibles Creep territory, with all the bonus shines seemingly all over the place at random locations. Spraying a shine on the ground to make one appear? Ok. This game pays homage to that, but without having to exit a level. I see a glowy spot in the sand, I ground pound, instant moon, badah-bing badah-boom. Plus, it makes it so much easier to speed run levels when you know where moons are! You can just run and grab them quickly and be done with it. That leaves time for all the additional stuff.

The game is much easier than the earlier games but that is fine! To be honest, the difficulty in the past was often due to needing to extend game time. This was also the reason for the re-use of levels. That's fine! I certainly don't miss traversing half a level, dying a handful of times in a FLUDD-less warp pipe, then getting a game over screen and having to go through it all again. The QOL changes are just immense throughout, making the game, yeah, much easier, but much more approachable, much more of a seamless experience. If you want to retry a challenge over and over, don't worry about lives.

This is important because the game is not about challenges, it is about EXPLORATION. It is about experimenting with power ups, with new ways of playing. This is the root of the whole Cappy concept: you have power ups embedded into the level design, in enemies, in objects, ready for activation. 64 had cap powerups that effected your movement as well: metal would let you walk under water, wing would let you fly. Galaxy had transformative power ups, such as making you into a hovering bee, or an ice wizard who can skate across water and transform fountains into platforms by merely jumping. Odyssey takes that concept, of power ups that transform HOW you play, and plays it to the fullest level. And what's best, they are all seamlessly integrated into the level design! No reason to put sunglasses in a ! block when you can simply program Easter Island head statues with them to walk around in the area where you need to use it? Brilliant in it's simplicity.




Then there are the 2D segments. OMG these are the best of the 2D-3D hybrid areas Nintendo has ever done! And they have quite a bit of experience with trying this idea out. Galaxy was really the big demonstration of this idea, of seamlessly blending from 3D platforming into 2D platforming. That game also experiments with gravity and rotating play zones with a 2D control scheme. Odyssey takes that idea and fully incorporates it into the seamless HD world. I love the way it is a pixelized, faithful reproduction of the original Super Mario Bros., yet the container is a crumbly HD rock wall, complete with 3D textures and hidden caves, the 2D level design bending around the 3D geometry. When you see an enemy like a Bullet Bill exit 2D space and instantly become a 3D representation on the same continued trajectory, it is truly a wonder to behold!

I'm having a total blast. I kinda want to speed run this game today then spend the weekend playing around sinking my teeth into that bonus endgame content.

Anyways, to those of who you have revisited the older 3D titles, have you gone back to this? What did you think?
 
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UsualNoise

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Nice. I'm just finishing my 100% Galaxy run now (20 more stars with Luigi) but I was also planning on another Odyssey playthrough. However, I've been holding out hope they release Galaxy 2 as DLC. Then I can play through that, then 3D World in February, THEN Odyssey. I guess it all hinges on Galaxy 2 for me. If not I may skip right to Odyssey. I agree it is, so far, the pinnacle of Mario 3D gaming. It takes all the great things of previous games and somehow expands and improves on them.

As you said, it's simply a joy to play. So many times I just started smiling seeing what they did in a certain area. It is absolutely my favorite Mario game (the Galaxy duo would be next).
 

AJUMP23

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Odyssey is brilliant. I loved the levels and the 2d areas. Jump up superstar is a treat and I will play it sometimes randomly just because.
It is really Koizumis magnum opus to me. Taking everything that he had done previously and applying it so skillfully in various ways.
A beautiful fun game. What makes gaming amazing.
 
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hariseldon

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Odyssey is brilliant. I loved the levels and the 2d areas. Jump up superstar is a treat and I will play it sometimes randomly just because.
It is really Koizumis magnum opus to me. Taking everything that he had done previously and applying it so skillfully in various ways.
A beautiful fun game. What makes gaming amazing.
Oh god the songs, they are amazing. New Donk City running that one bit, you know the one, it’s honestly one of the most uplifting moments in gaming. I had a grin 50 miles wide.
 

whitesugar

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i think it's a bit overrated, but overall a very good game. the Cap power was one of the better ideas they've had since the very original
 

JimiNutz

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I've had a lot of fun with this but still think I prefer the isometric style of 3D Land/World.

I still have a lot of moons to collect (at least 200 still to go) but I spend a fair bit of my play time playing the balloon game and hiding/finding baloons for/with my friends.

One of my closest friends lives in Seattle now (we are both originally from London UK) so it's been a lot of fun playing that balloon game with him as the time difference means that we rarely get to game together these days.

I do intend to 100% the game eventually. If they announce a squeal then I'll def make sure that I 100% it before Odyssey 2.
 
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#Phonepunk#

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Sand Kingdom city feels a lot like Delfino Plaza but in the desert! i like how it is the second level after the first real level, keeping in line with the desert world 2 Mario tradition.

also the soundtrack to the Wooded Kingdom is super dope! i don't think it sounds very much like typical Mario music, but it totally rules and is definitely something a Japanese-Italian globetrotter would listen to. its like surf exotica, or some 90s Shubuya-Kei. so good!
 
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Brumfieldhm

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After playing thru 3D stars, I cannot tell you how surprised I was to learn once I returned to odyssey, just how far it’s come. The interactivity of the world , the speed , it feels like a true playground while all the others feel like very confined. I do hope they take what they learned with BOTW and continue the kind of experimental play.
 

#Phonepunk#

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After playing thru 3D stars, I cannot tell you how surprised I was to learn once I returned to odyssey, just how far it’s come. The interactivity of the world , the speed , it feels like a true playground while all the others feel like very confined. I do hope they take what they learned with BOTW and continue the kind of experimental play.
they had to do all those other games to get this one. it is like each one was an experiment, and with this, they looked back on everything, their entire career, and incorporated it all together.

i am constantly noticing references to Sunshine. Wooded Kingdom has a bunch of toxic puddles laying around that you can clean up with cappy. reminded me of using FLUDD. then you can capture a tank and go into fps mode, also like FLUDD. then there is the rocket ship that blasts you off to the secret zone of abstract platforms floating in space. like a lot of Sunshine FLUDD-less levels, this was a bunch of blocks in space, but what made it great was the mix of level design and art design. heavy fog filled the air, making the finding of 5 moon pieces a mini mystery to puzzle out. flying goombas hinted that i should capture one and fly around, and following a trail of descending coins led me to discover a moon piece hidden under the block i started on. seamless, expert level design like this is all over Odyssey's moon side areas.

been thinking a lot about bottomless pits across the 3D Mario games, how it really is the ultimate in upping the difficulty. falling down a pit is an instant death in these areas, so this ramps up difficulty. 64 started off with levels that were enclosed areas with no pits at all and slowly added and worked its way up until penultimate Tik Tok Clock and Rainbow Ride, both of which have lots of places to fall and instantly die. Sunshine took place in the water and in natural more realistic looking areas like beaches and amusement parks, so it relegated the pits to the FLUDD-less stages. Galaxy could use the trick more, and it had to, since the level area was much smaller, and the spherical nature of it left little room for instant deaths, outside of black holes. Odyssey is more like the first two: bottomless pits are there, but mostly in later levels, or in the experimental platform-heavy side areas.
 
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RoadHazard

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I might do this too, haven't played it since a few months after it came out. Really didn't like the short "main path" and the neverending filler moons, but maybe I'll like the game better now.
 

#Phonepunk#

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Really didn't like the short "main path" and the neverending filler moons, but maybe I'll like the game better now.
yeah these were issues i had when the game came out. they aren't really a problem for me now.

as far as length, the game isn't that short, it still takes about the same length of other games. each level hub has a main path but the way it is done integrates a half dozen challenges into that main path. 64 would have a half dozen challenges but they each require you to play through most of the level over again, in Odyssey, they are all strung together in one go. that's nice for convenience sake; if you want to just blast through the game you can, grabbing only the necessary moons. once you figure out that there are 2 moons in the side areas, it is easy to grab the extra ones you need to proceed to the next level after finishing the main path.

also the main paths are pretty fun! they really mix up gameplay, just throwing a ton of variety at you. if you wrote out everything you do in one segment of one path, it typically includes a bunch of platforming, using some kind of unique enemy type control scheme, a 2D level or two, etc. the game is constantly switching things up, and it rules.

the filler moons are not really an issue tbh. yeah i guess you get moons on a pretty consistent basis, but that is just the way the levels are laid out, the moon rewards you from unlocking the next segment in the main path. again, it is like Mario 64, where you would play a level 5-6 times getting a different star each time. except back then, it would kick you out after each star, making you redo the level all over again. i'll gladly swap that for a 3 second single and splash screen and be on my merry way.

as for the extra moons laying around, you can ignore them entirely. its easy to blast through the main path and get almost all the moons you will need. maybe you will have to find 3-4 after defeating a boss. in that case just grab a filler moon you see laying around. they are there to help make it easier to get through the game. yes if you try to 100% it, then you start to get filler. but at that point you pretty much are playing with a completionist mindset anyways.
 
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#Phonepunk#

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how good is the art design in this? i love it. the worlds all have a unique look to them. the Lakeside Kingdom seemed very impressive this time through, with the aurora boreallis style cavern walls. also The Lost Kingdom is so dope! I love this level immensely. it feels like the poison forest theme that they tried to use ever since Super Mario World. the way they did the trees here, the colors, all of it is just gorgeous.

 

DunDunDunpachi

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When it comes to 3D Mario, I put 3D World and Odyssey as my #1 and #2. I've played and loved the earlier 3D Marios to one degree or another, but Nintendo continues to tune and improve the formula.

Excellent write up as usual #Phonepunk# #Phonepunk#

i agree the thrill is the exploration, not only in terms of exploring the map but also seeing how the Cappy powers can exploit the map. There are so many ways to navigate the map. The only downside is there are no cross-map powerups. Would've been neat to fly the ice-cloud through Donk City, or to use the Pokios (wall-climbing birds from Samurai world) to explore the forests of the Steam gardens.
 

#Phonepunk#

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going back and playing Mario 64 and realizing that 25 years has passed between the making of that game and now. thats a TON of change, not just in game technology, but in games themselves. this was before the rise of retro titles, something like the 2D 8-bit cave paintings here wouldn't have made since. this was before the concept of infinite lives, when games still had to lock their limited content behind difficulty, itself a design tradition inherited from the arcades. Meat Boy and Guacamelee and all the games with instant respawns have changed that standard, so no need for a lives count at all. so we have a great mix of modern and old design elements, living seamlessly beside one another. Odyssey is a game as much about the heritage and the history of video games themselves as it is about Mario.

right now i'm in Luncheon Kingdom. love how surreal and colorful this place is. traditionally there would be a lava level somewhere, but this takes it's place (similar to how the Burton-esque Cap Island is the closest thing to a Ghost House). the boss fight in this is so crazy.

the boss fights overall are a lot of fun! one minute you are chain chomp on a leash held by a killer rabbit, the next minute, swimming up a stream of vomit spewed by a psychedelic bird. so, so creative. Nintendo really lets their freak flag fly with this game, and I love it.
 
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ReBurn

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Odyssey was the first Mario game I've enjoyed in a long while. It is very well done. I've been playing 3D Land on my 3DS and its definitely not the same.
 

#Phonepunk#

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Love that Dark Souls 3 level that comes out of nowhere! They even desaturated all the colors to make Mario fit in with the grim dark world.



Before the game came out and we saw New Donk City I remember people asking if a cartoon Mario would fit in an HD GTA style world. Nintendo showed they could make Mario fit even in a style world like Dark Souls.
 
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HotPocket69

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Nintendo Fairness cranked up to 100. Getting rid of lives. Obtaining Moons involving zero skill. Massive difficulty drop all around. But it’s gorgeous and feels good to play.

3D World and Galaxy beat the shit out of it.

Still fun though, and has the best original 3D Mario track ever.

 

JusticeForAll

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I started it up this weekend again to, after having not touched it in years to kill the time until my series X and ps5 arrive. I agree with. Everything you wrote OP. This might be my favourite Mario Game! Only thing it needs is a 4k resolution.
 

#Phonepunk#

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Love the last level! It was a total surprise to me. Really cool atmosphere and very creative! This game is not over rated!

when you get to the moon and the gravity changes that was such a cool moment to me!

 
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UsualNoise

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Massive difficulty drop all around.

I'm still surprised when I hear this. I assume you just mean to reach the credits? If so, then ... maybe? I found Galaxy easier to reach 60 stars and see the credits.

However, to COMPLETE the game it is probably the most difficult 3D game outside of Galaxy 2's "The Perfect Run" level or perhaps the tedious finish-with-all-4-characters challenge of 3D World.
 

HotPocket69

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I'm still surprised when I hear this. I assume you just mean to reach the credits? If so, then ... maybe? I found Galaxy easier to reach 60 stars and see the credits.

However, to COMPLETE the game it is probably the most difficult 3D game outside of Galaxy 2's "The Perfect Run" level or perhaps the tedious finish-with-all-4-characters challenge of 3D World.

I 100%’ed it. It was too easy for me personally.
 

BlackTron

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Odyssey did some things better than others. Most importantly it successfully carried on the pedigree of Mario at a time it was needed critically.

I think the Broodles are kind of lame, other than the first one (the lady with the chain chomp as a dog was funny and also reminded me of Link's Awakening). Beyond that, I would have preferred random enemies making up boss fights, like 64's King Bob-omb.

The graphics, environments, level design and controls are spot-on. It's definitely easy, but the game is out to do its own thing and fill its own role and it does so very well. Every Mario game doesn't have to meet the same set of qualifications. It seems equally fun and approachable for old men and little girls, meaning it's an extremely successful design that appeals to everyone. Well done Nintendo.
 

#Phonepunk#

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it definitely had a difficulty drop. but keep in mind you are comparing a game from 2017 to one from 1996! fuck yes games were harder in the 90s! for one thing, you had limited lives. for another, you got kicked out of the level if you failed a challenge. for another, no checkpoints when inside the level. Odyssey many modern gaming concepts, QOL concepts that are in just about every game nowadays. they didn't exist in 1996 when Nintendo was inventing the 3D platformer. they made it easier by just being there.

so really i have no issue with it. the "difficulty" was largely there to inflate game time, to pad out a list of levels which could only be a limited size due to technology limitations. back then, difficulty was there to gate content. now that they can include literally dozens of hours of content, it's not as needed.

first time i 100%ed the game i put around 60 hours into it. that's insane! that's open world RPG numbers!

at any rate i've died a number of times during my Odyssey playthrough. some of the bosses took one or two times. some of the bonus areas i had to attempt a few times. i definitely died in Luncheon Kingdom falling into the pink goop. sure it's not as hard as a game that came out 20 years prior. but a lot of that has to do with the QOL updates. when you die and you lose 10 coins and it only punishes you with a 5 second splash screen, you feel it far less than if you die and get a game over screen and then get kicked back to the start of the game outside the castle.

speaking of which.... that final bonus level? absolutely beautiful. imo had Nintendo not made this place look so nice, the demand for a HD 64 Remaster wouldn't be nearly as thirsty.
 
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