E3 2017: Super Mario Odyssey Hands-on Impressions: What if This is Simulation?

Shacknews has hands-on impressions of Super Mario Odyssey from the show floor at E3 2017.

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E3 2017 attendees have the pleasure of getting their hands on the next great Mario 3D platformer for Nintendo Switch, Super Mario Odyssey. I sprinted from the Shacknews E3 booth as the show began and was able to experience a 10-minute demo of what can only be described as the most innovative Mario game I have ever played.

I was second in line at my demo station so I proceeded to watch someone play through the Desert level. This level was definitely showing some Super Mario 64 influences. Having watched the Desert level, I decided to try out New Donk City when I finally got my hands on the Joycons. I played the game with the wrist straps and Joycons separated. Players can throw their hat, Cappy, by waggling or by pressing a button. Cappy truly is the ultimate power-up. Players can take over control of all sorts of things from lightbulbs, to Goombas, and even a dinosaur. Players can even throw Cappy and use him as a temporary platform. Truly a fantastic hat. Quite possibly the cap of the show.

The demo begins with a nice view of New Donk City. I jumped into action and began talking to several NPCs around town. I was alerted that the mayor wanted to speak with me. At this point a waypoint appeared and I hightailed it to the mayor. Apparently Mayor Pauline (isn't that an interesting name) was putting on a concert and she needed four musicians to fill up her stage in New Donk City Hall. Being the affable plumber that he is, Mario sprang into action. 

I tracked down my first musician rather easily. He was a drummer playing around the corner from where I met Mayor Pauline. I was rewarded a moon, seemingly one of the game's collectibles, for finding the drummer and sent back out to find the rest of the band. I was able to track down a guitarist in the park on the other side of town, and was rewarded one more time with a moon. These definitely feel similar to the shine sprites in Super Mario Sunshine. There were also purple coins that players could collect. 

Knowing that my demo time was running out, I wanted to explore the city more before I had to leave this wonderful world. I saw a couple of buildings that were perfect for wall jumping and noticed a series of platforms on top of the buildings. After running and jumping across several breakaway platforms, I had navigated my way to a few purple coins and another moon. These tangential ad hoc missions are what has made The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild one of my favorite games in recent years and it is great to see a Mario spin on that gameplay element.

There was something else I noticed in the game that really made me wonder. A lot of gamers complained about how Breath of the Wild handles draw distance issues and Super Mario Odyssey handles the pop in and out of characters and objects a bit differently. I saw several NPCs spawn out of what seemed to be some kind of pixelated distortion field. Then it hit me: what if Super Mario Odyssey is a simulation? Everything about this game is so off the wall, from the levels to Cappy. Something is up, but I will need to get more time with this wonderful game to truly test my hypothesis. 

Asif Khan is the CEO and majority shareholder of Shacknews. He began his career in video game journalism as a freelancer in 2001 for Tendobox.com. Asif is a CPA and was formerly an investment adviser representative. After much success in his own personal investments, he retired from his day job in financial services and is currently focused on new private investments. His favorite PC game of all time is Duke Nukem 3D, and he is an unapologetic fan of most things Nintendo. Asif first frequented the Shack when it was sCary's Shugashack to find all things Quake. When he is not immersed in investments or gaming he is a purveyor of fine electronic music. Asif also has an irrational love of Cleveland sports.

From The Chatty

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      June 14, 2017 9:13 AM

      Game of the show for sure. Nintendo possibly releasing two all time classics in one year?

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        June 14, 2017 11:22 AM

        And from two headline franchises on the same console. Crazy times we live in.

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      June 14, 2017 11:27 AM

      NEW DONK CITY

      I still can't get over how ridiculous that name is. I love it!

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      June 14, 2017 11:30 AM

      The Nintendo stream showed a guy playing with separated joycons. One in each hand. Do you think that's going to be required? I really find that way of playing to be incredibly uncomfortable.

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        June 14, 2017 11:39 AM

        I was watching some of that stream yesterday, they stated certain things were going to be easier (like the hat spinning around Mario move) but that it would be possible with traditional controls instead of motion.

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        June 14, 2017 11:46 AM

        Yeah -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8cyFpns0IE this is my question as well, I personally want to play with a Pro controller.

        Please tell me you can play with a Pro controller?

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          June 14, 2017 1:01 PM

          If not, Nintendo really needs to fix their shit. They shouldn't be selling controllers that don't work with their major titles.

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          June 14, 2017 1:26 PM

          Giant Bomb stream last night, Dan Ryckert was talking about playing with a pro controller and the motion stuff still worked. So I'm pretty sure it's fully playable with it.

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          June 14, 2017 2:26 PM

          A) Pro Controller has gyro's
          B) They've stated it's possible to do stuff that uses motion controls on via standard controls in Odyssy but it's "easier to do" with motion controls.

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        June 14, 2017 12:18 PM

        Treehouse likely using split joycons because it's novel and another way to differentiate the system from it's competitors.

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        June 14, 2017 12:54 PM

        I'm willing to be we can play Odyssey in any switch config. ha we better at least. I'm with you. I'd probably go a step further, I dont want anything "novel" from the controls for any games.

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        June 14, 2017 6:22 PM

        Interesting. I find that to be the most comfortable, just sprawl however you want. The control config I don't care for is the joycon grip.

      • Zek
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        June 14, 2017 7:21 PM

        No way, they wouldn't gimp the handheld mode without very good reason.

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      June 14, 2017 4:27 PM

      Simulation, you mean like the plot is going to be all meta and YOUR PRINCESS IS ON ANOTHER SERVER? Yeah, I could see that. If so I hope there's Metal Gear Wario: Sudstitialants trippy VR missions.

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      June 14, 2017 5:49 PM

      Thanks for this

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      June 14, 2017 6:38 PM

      The biggest thing for me is that high skill cap from movement is back in a way it hasn't been since Sunshine. Its challenging in the right way and I can't wait to see speed runners get their hands on it

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      June 14, 2017 6:52 PM

      Sounds cool. Love the pic!

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      June 14, 2017 7:01 PM

      eat drugs and play mario.

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      June 14, 2017 7:14 PM

      Damn, I'm hyped.

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      June 14, 2017 7:28 PM

      I want this.