Paper Mario: Sticker Star
It is as terrible as the prophets foretold.
Sticker Star feels like it belongs to a completely different series than its predecessors. The gameplay and writing have both been gutted: There are no friendly NPCs except Toads, Bowser doesn’t get a single line of dialogue, and you can’t level up. Yes, that’s right, they removed the RPG from their RPG. I was willing to go into this with an open mind, because the idea of redefining RPG battles to specific set pieces rather than copy-and-paste encounters fueled only by extrinsic motivation is intriguing to me; it’s the guiding principle behind Wine & Roses, also known as the best game ever. But no, encounters are still just as samey as in the previous games, you just no longer get any XP from them.
And this feels minor next to everything else, but the set design is godawful. Everything is literally made out of cardboard. We are also repeatedly informed that all the characters are literally paper, unlike in the previous games where it was clearly just an art style. I don’t know why anyone involved thought this was a good idea. We experience art for the immersion, not to be reminded of the artifice.
Apparently this was all due to executive meddling, so make of that what you will. The more I hear about Shigeru Miyamoto, the more I feel like he is the Elon Musk of Nintendo.
Onto greener pastures.