This week, sad news about Lego Dimensions, and at Paris Games Week, PlayStation had lots to say about what's coming from them. But first, Super Mario Odyssey is a delightful game that brings some new features and fun to the franchise.
Explore and adventure through an epic quest with Super Mario Odyssey
Super Mario Odyssey is aptly titled, as the iconic video-game character is truly on an epic adventure here—one in which players get more opportunity to roam and explore open environments than ever before.
This is Mario in 3-D, in worlds that are varied and vibrant. This is also Mario with all-new moves beyond running and jumping. The most significant of these is the ability to embody other characters and objects. In the game's early moments, you need to take possession of a frog in order to reach the heights required to progress. Mario can also become a spark inside a wire in order to travel long distances.
This ability to "capture" things is bestowed upon Mario by Cappy, which comes from a world of hatlike creatures that has been terroized by Bowser, starring again as the villain. Cappy and Mario partner up to put the nasty Koopa in his place.
Mario wields Cappy by throwing it, assured that the red hat will return to him, boomerang-style. Using the Joycon controllers, you can control Cappy's flight, using it to carve arcs through the air to take out multiple enemies that surround Mario, for example, or to quickly collect coins.
Collecting those gold coins is, as always, integral to the game, but they are more critical here, as when Mario succumbs—there's no "death" here—his restoration costs only a few coins. You'll also use those coins as currency in the game. Be secure in the knowledge that they are plentiful.
Another item you'll be seeking out are Power Moons, which provide energy to the Odyssey, the ship that Mario and Cappy use to chase Bowser through the different worlds.
And while Odyssey, the game, isn't a true open-world game, the environments are sandboxlike enough that you can freely explore and enjoy the quirky, colourful world design.
If there's anything to nitpick about here, it's that we have to play through another recycling of the "save Princess Peach" narrative that is, frankly, tired and (forgive the pun) played out. In fact, Odyssey actually doubles down with this trope, as Mario's companion, Cappy, is also trying to rescue a female, Tiara (it matters not at all that in Cappy's case, Tiara is a sister and not a romantic interest).
But if you're willing to look past that aspect of the game, Super Mario Odyssey provides an entertaining progression for Mario platforming games. It's a different, delightful game that will leave you smiling.
Lego Dimensions cancelled
Lego Dimensions, the toys-to-life game featuring an array of creative worlds rendered by virtual plastic bricks, is ending.
Warner Bros. Interactive confirmed rumours with a tweet.
The game and all its components will continue to work and will be supported, for the time being. But no new expansion packs are being developed.
Speculation is that the expansion packs, which required custom moulds to create, were simply too expensive and not selling well enough for Warner Bros. to continue development.
PlayStation reveals new game Ghost of Tsushima and more details about upcoming games
At Paris Games Week last week, PlayStation revealed a few new games, the most exciting of which is Ghost of Tsushima (pictured above). New from Sucker Punch, this is an open-world game set in Japan during the feudal samurai epoch.
Next year will be a busy one for PlayStation, as the company confirmed that the new God of War—which is set in the lands of the Norse—will be released early in the new year, and the PS4 remaster of Shadow of the Colossus arrives on February 6.
We do not have a release date for The Last of Us, Part II, though. A new trailer for the game has been criticized for portraying troublesome violence against female characters. A strange choice for a trailer being revealed as voices around the world are becoming a chorus against real-world violence against women.
What we learned from the trailer, though, is that Ellie and Joel, the protagonists from the first game, return in the sequel, which takes place five years after the events of the first game.
Games released or releasing
- Call of Duty: WW II, the latest in the first-person shooter franchise from Activision, is now available for PS4, Windows, and Xbox One.
- Super Lucky's Tale is a family-friendly platformer starring a cute cartoon fox, available for Windows and Xbox One.
- Need for Speed Payback, a racing game set in a fully open world, with a single-player story featuring three protagonists, available for PS4, Windows, and Xbox One.
- Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds is an expansion to my game of the year; this introduces new characters, a new area to explore, and new creatures to fight, like the Scorcher. Horizon is a PlayStation 4 exclusive.