Odyssey’s story be­gins in pre­dictable fash­ion, as the princess is again kid­napped by Bowser, this time so the two can be mar­ried. It’s a dis­ap­point­ingly con­ven­tional setup, though even here there are a few twists. For starters, this is eas­ily the most com­pe­tent Bowser has ever been. First, he de­ploys the Broodals, a quar­tet of rab­bit wed­ding plan­ners, to hold Mario up, be­fore thwart­ing him again dur­ing a mid-game en­counter. Then he ups the ante still fur­ther, re­sult­ing in a bat­tle quite un­like any­thing we’ve seen in a Mario game be­fore. Peach, for her part, is no help­less damsel, ei­ther. Her role ex­pands in the postgame, though not in the way you might ex­pect, while a sin­gle late-game re­ac­tion shot is likely to go down in his­tory for its po­ten­tial ram­i­fi­ca­tions for the se­ries’ lore.

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