This year's Electronic Entertainment Expo – E3 2017 to gamers of course – is now well underway. And by now the leading video game console developers have pretty much shown their hands at what they’ve got planned this year or the next. Microsoft has unveiled their “Project Scorpio”: the rather redundantly named Xbox One X with some backward compatibility with games from its predecessor. Sony had mostly game titles to show off when providing, for example, new information about the September-premiering “Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite” crossover fighter.

Nintendo has something of a similar setup with Sony, seeing as their new Switch debuted only months before. New first-party titles are the order of the day, such as a demonstration of their latest home-brand sequel, “Super Mario Odyssey”.

Real-looking world

E3 2017 was the first venue to feature a major playable demo of this long-awaited new installment to the decades-old “Super Mario” franchise of Nintendo. Said multi-game franchise has graced every single console and handheld that the Japanese game maker has brought out for public consumption, and while it failed to be on time as a launch title for the Switch, “Super Mario Odyssey” proves that good things can come from not being rushed. Initial looks have it to follow the formula set by one of the most popular and successful Mario titles, “Super Mario 64”.

Like the N64 installment, “Odyssey” has the most famous video game plumber of them all, Mario, exploring some wide sprawling areas while collecting items to power up and ferreting out secret locations and treasures. The first images seen of this game on the Nintendo Switch trailers features Mario making his way around a near-realistic looking urban city akin to the Big Apple.

The demo confirms the similarity by finally giving this “world” a name: New Donk City. The contrast in design from the realistically proportioned New Donkers and the cartoonish Mario is one of the highlights of the game.

New gameplay mechanics

If a gamer has played a Mario game (outside of “Mario Kart”, that is) then they should know the drill: explore the world, seek out collectibles, and try jumping on enemies to stomp them.

Fire flowers and stars et cetera are cool, but there are also new ways for Mario to take on foes in “Super Mario Odyssey”. For instance, Mario’s cap is now a gameplay feature. The heroic plumber can throw his cap at an enemy to control it for a time. This trick can have Mario navigating certain areas or obstacles by having the controlled enemy do it for him.

Yoshiaki Koizumi, Nintendo’s developer for “Odyssey” for the Switch, makes an interesting comparison to some of the new stuff in the game as seen at E3 compared to what has come before. Along with the realism of the New Donk City world, “Odyssey” gives the player the feeling of visiting a foreign country. "You can experience that kind of excitement of the journey when playing," he says. And for devoted Nintendo and Mario gamers, he isn’t kidding with “Super Mario Odyssey”.