Paper Mario: The Origami King - First Impressions (Nintendo Switch)

In all honesty, I've never really played a Paper Mario game. The first title in the series I played was Sticker Star, which I bought solely for the art style. There's been a lot of talk about how bad the last two games have been, but I hardly remember playing Sticker Star. In a way, this feels like a fresh introduction to the series, so keep that in mind when reading a lot of these thoughts.

Going into a game blind like I did can go two ways; good, or bad. When release date was nearing, I honestly contemplated cancelling my pre-order since I was worried I wouldn't enjoy the game as much as I wanted. I watched the Treehouse, reviews, and the trailers again, but nothing really made me interested. I decided to keep my pre-order, and after playing the game for a few weeks, I can safely say I'm glad with my purchase!

The story had me hooked. It's the first game that I'm aware of where Peach acts as an antagonist, and Bowser a sort of protagonist. I did expect Bowser to be more present in the story. From what I've played, the story isn't bad by any means, but it sure felt like they were setting it up to be a little more out there than I originally thought. Keep in mind I'm only onto the third ribbon, so these things could change as I progress more.

The battle system is another thing I've seen a lot of complaints about, and I'll be honest, I really hated this - until I got the hang of it, that is. I'm not good under pressure, and the timer made things really hard for me. I finally unlocked the setting to show the best line ups on the battle ring, which really helped me out. This is a very good addition that helps out players a tonne, especially those similar to me. Once I started getting the hang of it, I started to really enjoy the battles. If I never unlocked this feature, I likely would have either stopped playing, or had it feel more like a chore, than a game.

Something else to keep in mind is not to be frugal with coins. The game literally throws them at you, and if you don't spend them (like I wasn't doing), you're going to hit a brick wall eventually. Buy recovery items, buy accessories, buy more weapons, just don't horde those coins, because the game is very generous. Trust me, you won't regret it, and it's going to make your life much easier.

There's also a heap of exploring to be had, including filling in holes in the environment with confetti, as well as saving the many lost Toads, and there's a tonne! Saving the Toad's unlock new services in Toad Town and other main areas in the game, and can also help you out in battle.

The best thing about the game is the Museum in Toad Town. I've always loved when games do these types of things, and give a peek into the development cycle. There's a tonne of concept art that you can unlock from saving Toad's, and it's something I wish a lot more games did.

My biggest gripe with the game would probably be Olivia. She's a nice companion, and had some really nice moments, but she was way more annoying than not, and often interrupted the gameplay to have a quick chat with Mario. In games, I just want to play and not be interrupted every few minutes. I would've appreciated her a lot more if she wasn't so in your face, but I can see her really appealing to children.

The start of the game is very hand holdy, and maybe that's why it took me such a long time to get into it. I really didn't start enjoying this until I beat the Pencil boss. The last and only Paper Mario game I played was Sticker Star, so I'm really not all that familiar with the games mechanics, which means I should welcome these tutorials, but they feel like they insult the player too much. Maybe that just comes down to my age, being much older and just wanting to play, rather than being a young child.
Even once the game started to pick up, partway through the second ribbon, things seemed to slow down and you go on a wild goose chase, and I started losing interest in the game, once again. It honestly wasn't until I'd completed the second ribbon that the game had me hooked. I'm thankful I decided to stick with the game, even though I wanted to stop playing on numerous occasions, but I also wish there was less of this at the start of the game.

Coming off someone who hasn't gone through the horrid Paper Mario journey, I'd say if you're a fan of RPG's and exploring, Paper Mario: The Origami King is certainly worth it. It did take me a little while to get into, but it kept me wanting more as I continued to playing. It's been a while since I've gotten into a new series, and that feeling you get when you get hooked on something new really made me enjoy this game. It's a real shame the series has a bad reputation as of late, because this game is filled with fun. If you're a fan of RPG's, or have been a Paper Mario fan and have gone off the series, The Origami King is probably worth a visit.

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