What’s in Your Box: Wrasslin’ Possessions
Kalvin Martinez / Oct 28th, 2017 No Comments
Each week, we here at Gaming Illustrated are always playing a number of different video games. However, we may not be talking about them in reviews or editorials. That doesn’t mean they aren’t worth talking about, but for any number of reasons an avenue to speak on them doesn’t come up. To remedy the issue, we’re going to ask our staff (and you, honestly) what’s in your box?
What’s in Kalvin’s Box
October has seen a crazy amount of new video games worth playing recently, but this week I got my eyes only on two of them. For some reason I’ve gotten back into wrestling, so it was time to enter the squared ring and play WWE 2K18. Since I’m all in on the Nintendo Switch, Super Mario Odyssey was a day one pick up.
Be Like No One?
I haven’t played a wrestling game since the N64. Back then the games played like garbage with floaty mechanics, incomprehensible animations, and stiff movement. Aside from better graphics, kind of, it is nice to know not much has changed.
Every year the latest WWE game boasts improvements much like all iterative sports games. Better graphics, animations, mechanics, etc. Sadly, if we’re only comparing it to the previous year then these things are true. Even if we’re comparing it to the N64/PS1 era games then these games a leaps ahead, but still have the core issues.
What really compelled me to try out WWE 2K18 was its brand new story mode and emphases on making you feel like you’re in the WWE. Sadly, the majority of that is talking to a producer with a douchey haircut and a parking attendant for the first leg of your story.
There is some variety to what you can do early on in your NXT run like cut promos, do a run in, or straight wrestle. The build you get leading up to your first NXT Champion challenge is pretty exciting, but the momentum of it is killed by long loading times.
Where the wheels really fall of is the actual wrestling of it all. There is a lot going on to the mechanics with minigames for submissions, holds, and pins to keep you engage at every moment. The new reversal system feels mushy and there is a sweet spot to timing a reversal that is easy to miss. This leads to a lot of missed opportunities and one sided action.
While the controls give you a lot of options to perform holds, throws, and strikes, there never is fluidity to them. It all seems like mashing buttons hoping to get the upper hand is your best bet. Even though early on in the story mode you’re supposed to be learning, those beginning matches come off like botched spots the majority of the time.
It’s unfortunate that the actual wrestling isn’t that fun because the story mode is pretty engaging. Well, except for the fact that there is no voice acting, which makes it come like something fan made rather than sanctioned by a major sports entertainment conglomerate. The charisma of superstars is what makes the entire thing exciting and to have no voices even facsimiled voice actors feels cheap.
The writing is crazy too. It seems like the scripts handed to lesser superstars that they read word for word without connecting to the audience or the material. It is charming in a way when cutting a promo with the game’s new system and it comes across like a bad monologue for an audition at a dinner theater company.
I’m going to stick with it to see if it gets more bonkers or the wrestling feels more natural after a certain point, but I’m not super optimistic.
Perfect Day for a Forced Wedding
Super Mario Odyssey didn’t do a whole lot for me during its initial reveal. It just looked like more Mario, which I’ve gotten a bit tired of. Sure a full 3D sandbox Mario hadn’t been done in a while, but it was hard to know exactly how this would be novel outside of him meeting real people.
It took Nintendo showing off the possibilities of the capture ability and how that would change up gameplay for me to be all in. I’m happy to say after playing Super Mario Odyssey for a while; it definitely deserves all the hype and lives up to it.
The story this time around is nuts. Sure, Bowser kidnaps Princess Peach again, but this time it is an elaborate forced wedding. Bowser’s dope white suit sells it. When Mario tries to stop him at the beginning, Bowser trounces him and destroys his iconic red cap.
This forces Mario to make an alliance with Cappy, a citizen of Cap Kingdom, whom wants to stop Bowser to save his little sister, which Bowser kidnapped to make Peach a tiara. There are layers to this story outright, and it is hard not to jump on board.
Mario’s first goal is gain access to a ship that can allow him to travel to new kingdoms and chase down Bowser. Before he can get to the next kingdom where the ship is, he must exit Cap Kingdom. It isn’t long before you get to capture a creature and control it.
The first creature you get to control is a frog, and the scene where Mario first possesses it is crazy. In a weird vortex, Mario becomes one with the frog down to donning Cappy and his signature mustache on the amphibian. Frog Mario has a lot of uses in escaping Cap Kingdom as it can jump to great heights and move quickly.
It isn’t long before he is on his way to finding the dormant ship the Odyssey in the prehistoric kingdom. However, he needs Power Moons to get it going. So he must explore the prehistoric kingdom to do so. By looking into hidden places, possessing a T. Rex and a chain chomp, and defeating another one of Bowser’s wedding planners, Mario is able to get the ship restored and move to the next kingdom.
Mario’s new ability to capture creatures and objects makes the biggest difference in what would otherwise be a good if standard Mario game. The creativity and gameplay shifts that come with capturing and the puzzles you have to solve a result all make for undeniably fun gameplay.
I’ve only scratched the surface with Super Mario Odyssey. I can’t wait to see where this wild journey takes me next.
tags: opinion , Super Mario Odyssey , What's in Your Box , WWE 2K18