Super Mario Odyssey is at its core, pure fun. The main series Mario titles have always had a large amount of polish to them that make each and every single one of them a blissful experience, and this one is no different. Odyssey borrows much of what has come before; Mario 64, Mario Sunshine, and both Mario Galaxy entries all lend themselves to the very foundation of what Super Mario Odyssey truly is.
While the title doesn't revolutionize the 3D platformer as Mario 64 did back in the day, Odyssey continues to show that Nintendo can and usually does, produce games worth talking about, and worth purchasing a whole console for.
Super Mario Odyssey is a gimmick based Mario title much in the way that where Mario Sunshine had a water pack, Mario has a magical hat creature that forms into his iconic hat in an effort for the duo to take down Bowser. What I really enjoyed about the story here is just how cinematic the game feels and how good the mostly dialogue-free story actually is. With Cappy on his head, Mario has the ability to possess and control all sorts of characters, creatures, and objects, and apart from a few missed opportunities, this gimmick works well.
The main task in Odyssey is to collect Power Moons to power your ship, not-so-coincidently named, the Odyssey. While there are well over 900 Moons, you only need collect a bit shy over 100 to complete the main game, with many Moons unlocked after the main story has been completed. This creates something that sounds absurd in a Mario title; an actual endgame. Unlike Breath of the Wild, you can actually run around a completed game world and discover new things along the way that were not there previous, packing in even more gameplay.
While I could sit here and discuss the game at length, you can find more of this praise in my review here on the site, so feel free to check it out for more information as to why this game is as good as it is and why it deserves a place in my top ten of 2017.
Super Mario Odyssey is a remarkable and charming platformer that is a must own for Switch owners and one of the best reasons to pick up Nintendo's handheld hybrid.
While Resident Evil was not the first up to bat to the Survival Horror genre, it certainly was the first to hit a record-breaking home run. The series has spawned dozens of spin-offs, main series entries, and 6 major motion pictures. To say Resident Evil isn't a series still worth talking about is insanity, as Resident Evil 7 is hands down the best entry in the series and the best VR experience I've had so far.
Resident Evil 6 was a wake-up call to Capcom, while the game sold fairly well, it was perceived as the worst of the entire franchise and was critically a massive failure. This led Capcom to take a whole new approach with its follow-up, a game first showed off at conventions as "Kitchen VR". This was a short VR experience where you were tied to a chair as a crazy zombie girl would torment you and a fellow survivor in front of you. It was later revealed that this was, in fact, a taste of what was to come for the future of Resident Evil. This demo was also the first VR experience I had and the main reason I chose to purchase a PlayStation VR in the first place.
I'll point out that I completed Resident Evil 7 entirely in VR and frankly, I find it to be the only way to play it. I attempted a playthrough via the standard way of playing the game on a tv but wasn't enjoying myself nearly as much, for reasons I'll dive into shortly. Every design element to Resident Evil 7 was built around VR and it shows. The interactions you have with various characters, the in your face moments and even the level design is built around the fact that VR was, and is its intended focus. There have been moments playing some VR titles where I've felt dizzy or light-headed, but rarely during my time with the game did I ever need to take a break. The comfort settings for the game really enhance the experience and is something I look for in each VR title I purchase in the future.
Resident Evil 7 in VR is incredibly immersive and this is largely the result of VR games placing you within the game world where rooms have depth and the characters you interact with have height; which is something you don't notice as much when playing on the tv. When you first encounter Mia, you can see exactly how short she is when compared to you and how petite she actually is. While these traits are noticeable when playing on the tv, they are far more apparent when she's standing right in front of you. This is a very cool trick that makes VR an interesting platform and one worth investing into.
The aiming is another part of the game that is damn near flawless in VR and a pain in the ass when not. I tried for the life of me to get the aiming figured out when playing on the tv, but in VR, I was hitting headshots like there was no tomorrow. I could headshot a leaping monster or hit bosses in their weak spots without even trying. In VR you aim when you move your head to align the cursor and it soon becomes second nature as you look around the room at numerous foes and take them out with ease.
The characters, the story, and the world of Resident Evil 7 is well put together and several horror elements give off a Texas Chainsaw Massacre vibe, mostly with the Baker family you face off against during your time here. Certain Resident Evil staples are present; themed keys, herbs and crafting, these are all here and makes the series feel right at home, despite the change to a first-person viewpoint.
While Resident Evil 7 can be a fun experience when not played in VR, it is a vastly superior one when immersed fully in this world with PlayStation VR. It is hands down the best VR game I've played so far and one that I also recommend when I'm showing off what VR can truly do.
While The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the Game of the Year for hundreds, if not thousands of publications, it sits as my number 5 Game of the Year, and that is mostly due to the fact that once I was done with the game, I had no real desire to revisit it. That being said, my time with the game was incredibly fun and Nintendo took some bold chances and in many ways flipped the Zelda formula on its head and gave us a fresh and original take on the franchise while still making it feel like a true Legend of Zelda experience.
Breath of the Wild is the most ambitious Nintendo game to date and it will take some time for another title to even attempt the scale of what Nintendo has crafted here. While I still believe the world is a bit too barren for how large it is, you can still find a fair amount to do or discover should you seek out to create your own fun.
The core narrative to Breath of the Wild is pretty impressive and well told. I loved the lore surrounding Zelda and her battle with Ganon, and even the fellow heroes that join Link in his attempt to vanquish Ganon, are some of the series best. The story here starts off slow and somewhat mysterious as Link wakes up in a chamber unaware of what is going on in the world. Eventually, you start to learn what has gone on since you've been asleep and that Zelda is still locked in conflict with Ganon and has been waiting all these years for you to return.
What is the most impressive feat to Breath of the Wild is the unscripted nature of how to solve certain puzzles or how you can do things like bake apples by shooting them with a flame-arrow or holding a torch under an apple tree. The fact I could connect two electrical pods together with a metal weapon was another accident I stumbled into and one that remains as one of the best examples I still talk about.
The game also features a crafting system of cooking meals and potions and even the noises and music related to these experiments feel thought out and enjoyable. I've sometimes played for hours simply collecting ingredients just so I could cook meals to keep Link alive when the challenge was great, and every minute of it was satisfying.
The open nature of Breath of the Wild is another of its strengths, as you can tackle many areas in the game in any order. You'll encounter settlements, characters and challenges almost anywhere you go and the game encourages this by allowing you to climb nearly any surface, even if the amount of stamina you start with is a bit too low. As you explore the massive world, you'll encounter Shrines and these are either combat challenges or puzzles that require you to use motion controls or various abilities that you'll unlock like freezing water, slowing down time, or magnetically moving metal objects around to form a path. The abilities come at you pretty fast and this allows you to get the most out of the game very early on, something I wish more games allowed its players to do as well.
The game also features breakable weapons and this has been a feature that has divided the community as several weapons can break after just a few short battles. Sure, there are several chances to replenish your arsenal, but I do believe that yes, these weapons do break a bit too quickly. I wish there had been items you could have used to repair these weapons as several of them work so well that you'd spend dozens of hours attempting to find more like them.
The Nintendo Switch is easily the best platform to enjoy this game on as not only does it look remarkable when played on a large tv, the fact the game still looks so good and runs so good when playing handheld, makes this a very interesting experience getting a full Zelda game on a handheld platform.
Breath of the Wild is a truly remarkable experience and one of the best Legend of Zelda games ever made. I do still wish we had the typical themed dungeons that the series has had before as the Divine Beasts were not terribly impressive and lacked the charm of these previous locations. Regardless, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a must own for the Nintendo Switch and one of the best games of the year.