In 2017, we pushed the boundaries of console gaming with sensational new next-gen VR technology, propelling us that much further toward that Sword Art Online reality we’ve all been wishing for, all the while releasing a handful of instantly classic new titles for the current generation of consoles. However, whether it be unfulfilled promises, oversaturation of micro-transactions, or glitchy gameplay, some titles were ultimately disappointing. After careful consideration and a big fat dis-honorable mention to Star Wars Battlefront II, the title for Most Disappointing Game of 2017 goes to….

Super Mario Odyssey

When Nintendo announced the ‘Switch’ installment to the Mario Bros franchise back in January, much of the gaming community, myself included, were squirmish with anticipation. The reveal was followed by some exciting clips of gameplay featuring our favorite plumber spelunking an unfamiliar metropolitan environment inhabited by realistic, humanoid figures we wouldn’t necessarily associate with the Mario Universe. Then, when they announced that the game would feature an open-world environment, instant comparisons to certain Rockstar and Bethesda franchises were made. I certainly pictured a sort of Super-Mario-meets-GTA type of experience. To further enforce my decision to purchase the game, the title was, immediately upon its release, deemed by some “The Best Mario Game Ever” and even “The Best Game of All Time,” while being showered in rave reviews by major publications, listed as follows:

10/10 IGN || 10/10 Gamespot || 97% Metacritic

Surely some thanks to the insurmountable level of hype associated with this game before its release, the game ended up being really good. Not perfect, but certainly great. Which, if a game is rated at 10/10, you expect technical perfection, because that is what 100% should honestly mean. Now, before I get canceled by Nintendo fanboys everywhere, let me explain why this game was a let down for me. While certainly offering vastness and engaging gameplay, the title fell short of some promises and expectations, as well as sporting some fundamental flaws and personal pet peeves.


First of all, while Nintendo promised an open world environment, the final product unfortunately missed the mark on some basic expectations of an open world next generation game. While the individual levels each boasted a sizable, walkable map, the actual progression could not be more linear… in both senses of the word when you consider that the stages are also literally connected by a series of broad straight lines on the map. While the game does include innumerable sidequests in the same vein as

by TheBigPotatoe

the Skyrim and GTA series, the overall experience isn’t as fluid thanks to the much more controlled progression. Retrospectively, I understand what the creators meant by open world, but don’t call it an open world game unless I can roll up to the Metro Kingdom Festival in my Magical Mario Top Hat Ship myself. In fact, why even call the game an “Odyssey” when players can’t even fly the ship themselves?



As someone who is a fan of complex, cleverly designed boss battles, I have always appreciated games like Dark Souls and Nintendo’s own Legend of Zelda for providing such engaging encounters. Unfortunately, this is one of the most disappointing aspects of the “Odyssey.” For a game with multiple bosses on every stage, the battle themselves proved to be not only easy, but incredibly repetitive. The game features very few unique bosses outside the four, core villains, each of whom you battle multiple times throughout the game, and with very little difference in difficulty and virtually no difference in strategy. In fact, once you spend the couple seconds it takes to figure out their abilities in the first few levels, you already know their weaknesses and how to swiftly defeat them in all future battles. Because of this, besting them hardly feels rewarding.


Consequently, because the levels themselves pose no substantial difficulty in progressing the story either, the game lends itself to being almost embarrassingly easy to beat. While I am not exactly a Dark Souls extremist when it comes to difficulty, I certainly have reservations about calling such an easily traversed game one of the best of all time.


Now, where the game shines, it does so brightly. Boasting stunning graphics, unique combat mechanics, and a silver bullet for anyone with a predisposition to nostalgia, this Super Mario installment is sure to dazzle millions. Functioning successfully as a Mario Franchise’s love letter to itself, Odyssey often nods to its former manifestations in the form of adorable easter eggs. Without spoiling the surprise, the Metro Kingdom world remains in being my personal favorite level of any Mario game out there thanks to an especially grandiose easter egg towards the apex of the stage.


Additionally, in terms of narrative, while Mario games are somewhat infamous for their predictable, recycled stories, Odyssey certainly stood out amongst the pack. Which is why I would consider it a contender as one the best Mario games, although considerably behind the classic such Super Mario 64, Or Super Mario Sunshine.


Please don’t leave this review with the wrong impression. I thoroughly enjoyed Super Mario Odyssey, would recommend it, and overall deem it a solid game. But, nonetheless, it’s not perfect, not 10/10, and undeserving of the title “Best Game of All Time.”  And it’s those same dramatically positive and inaccurate reviews that helped to taint my personal experience with it in the end.


Overall, I would rate the game a 7.9/10, due to the aforementioned flaws and personal standards of what I consider to make a truly great game, while still taking into account what the latest Super Mario installment was able to achieve. Though I wouldn’t say it has a 1-UP on the competition for Game of the Year this time, Nintendo certainly has another, more impressive horse in the race — “Breath of the Wild,” released earlier this year. And, despite a couple blemishes, 2017 was, thankfully, a great year for gaming.