The last Paper Mario game I played was Thousand Year Door on Gamecube. I remember liking it, but that was a long time ago. So when I decided to grab The Origami King, I wasn't really sure what to expect, as the series has changed a bit over the time since that Gamecube game.
I mean it looks fantastic. The HD visuals of the paper and stickers and everything is gorgeous. Nintendo has definitely perfected that aesthetic. And honestly the writing is really good. Like genuinely funny, which is a rarity in video games.
But as an "RPG"...? Ugh. And I'm being fair here, I think. I went into the game knowing that Paper Mario games are RPG-lite at best. But still. This feels so shallow to me. There's no XP, which means that quickly random battles felt pointless to me. Things just feel really limited, which is not what I'd really like to see in a Mario RPG.
The battle system is fairly crappy. It's turn-based, which is good. There's a sort of rhythm thing going on that adds some extra oomph, I guess. But the whole spatial puzzle of moving enemies around? I'm not into it at all. I find it tedious and annoying.
The bigger issue I'm having is the flow of the game. Like, it's super hand-holdy most of the time. And extremely linear. I'm constantly being told I can't go somewhere I want to because "hey, don't you think we should be sticking to our objective?" Yet, other times the game is bad about telling you where to go.
I just finished finding four stones to open up the Earth... something. Now, in this area where the four stones were, is a giant stone tower on top of a mountain. I assumed that was what was going to open up. But every time I tried my travel mate would say "shouldn't we go find the Earth (thingy)?" and I'm like, I thought that's what I was doing. It turns out I needed to backtrack to a different area to open it. So it's just frustrating because momentum is constantly being stopped to tell me things I don't need to know, yet when I do need a hint, it's vague.
So far this is turning out to be a rather charming game that I just don't really enjoy.
I've now played through the first dungeon and beaten the first major boss of Origami King, and I'm still pretty underwhelmed. Again, the art and writing is top notch. But the gameplay? Kind of boring to me. I'm just not sure how long I can really stick with a "just okay" game like this.
As a fan of RPG's, I found it disheartening to only see my HP go up after playing the game for several hours. And the battle system? Not for me! I feel like the entirety of the battle system is like being forced to do Rubik's Cube puzzles while a stopwatch ticks down. Just not my kind of RPG. Y'know?
So I'm in a weird spot. I don't hate this game, but I don't really like it either - at least I don't actually like playing it all that much, even if I can see what they did successfully.
I guess my take on this one is pretty lukewarm.