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I'll be clear from the get-go: until the story finishes, the game is excellent. The capture mechanic is surprisingly nice and well-used (albeit at the cost of some vanilla platforming) and it has a lot of tricks under its sleeve - tricks that are helped by the amount of traps and enemies you encounter through the worlds. Also, the game's pacing is really good and even rewards exploration by letting you unlock further areas faster the more Power Moons you have. It gives you a free world and, most importantly, it encourages you to explore it - something that I find incredibly uncommon in the open-world genre (which often throws content around its world and gives you no reason to go through it, assuming you are playing blind). The final area is really cool, as well, and the Balloon minigame that was eventually added was a nice skill test.
But then we get to the post-game.
The Dark Side of the Moon is fairly easy to unlock. Depending on how much you've done before beating the Moon, it's likely to be around 50 moons worth of effort, or less. But then there's the Darker Side of the Moon, which requires you to double the amount of Power Moons you currently have. And then there's the harder bosses, that require 880 Power Moons at most. That means "grinding", and that means slowing the game's pace to a crawl, quickly making you lose motivation as you realize you are getting Power Moons for the sake of getting them (either that, or it's spamming the Balloons minigame or an exploit just for the sake of doing them, as well). And that's a horrible thing to happen in a game. It makes you think "So why was I doing this?" and you give up the game (which I did before even reaching 300 Power Moons).
And it's unfortunate, because up to the point the main story ends, it was easily one of the best Mario games ever... but the post-game makes it lose a lot of its worth.
I agree heartily with this review. The main game can stand on its own just fine, and Luigi\'s Balloon World is great (even if I wanted Luigi playable dangit), but by the postgame, you\'re collecting stuff just to collect stuff, which really highlights how uninspired and simplified a significant portion of the content is. The only things that I think make the postgame good are the Mushroom Kingdom, which references a lot of older content (but only one room from SM 64, surprisingly), and the Sunshine outfit, which will never cease to be the best outfit in the game.
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