While I'm no fan of political correctness running rampant for the sake of it - too often the noble purpose of equality for all is damaged by those who take it too far - we nevertheless live in a different world now.
While I wouldn't ever advocate a Mario game in which Mario changed gender, or whatever, it feels wrong that Peach has been abducted - as she always seems to be - by Bowser, a literal and metaphorical dinosaur. This time he's forcing her to marry him, and travelling the universe, always one step ahead of Mario, collecting the items he needs for their wedding.
In a post-Weinstein/Trump climate, I'm struggling with the idea of offering a female character as the ultimate prize - for both antagonist and protagonist - regardless of whether it's part of Mario series tradition.
I don't for a second believe there was any malicious intent here; it's all done quite innocently, but it feels as if that aspect of the game was created in a bubble. Regardless, that's no defence in an era when it has been revealed that the innocent days of our youth were populated by sexual predators masquerading and entertainers and other powerful figures.
All of that has changed me. I feel betrayed by it, like I had something taken from me personally. That - without direct contact with any of them - Savile, Harris, Glitter, Stuart Hall, and the rest, robbed my childhood of its purity.
Furthermore, I'm seeing the world anew through the eyes of my kids and step-kids, and we're moving rapidly into a new era where gender and sexuality have more fluid definitions, and women need to be seen as more than trinkets.
It's scary, I know, for those of us who weren't born into this time, but I genuinely hope that this is the last Mario game to clutch onto that old trope.
Anyway. That's that out of the way. I'll slither off my soapbox. Onto the review.
It's hard to know where to begin with Super Mario Odyssey. It's a big game in every sense, but mostly in the weight of its ideas. It doesn't take long to realise why Nintendo doesn't churn out the tentpole Mario and Zelda games anymore. Frankly, with all the manpower in the world it'd be impossible to create a game of this scope any quicker.
What has taken me most by surprise with Odyssey is the structure. Give the pre-release hype, I thought it was going to be all about New Donk City - the sort-of-realistic recreation of New York that's as much sandbox as level - but in reality, New Donk - or the Metro Kingdom - is just one small part of the overall experience. Similarly, that dinosaur they showed us? It's one of the first things you encounter, and is a minor part of the game.
Rather than the sprawling open world I thought it was going to be, Odyssey is a series of large sandbox areas, where you're tasked with collecting moons that will power the airship that'll take you to the next stage. There are more moons in each area than you need to move on, meaning that there's always reason to return and continue exploring.
As you doubtless know by now, the new addition to the Mario moves canon is magic cap. It's genius, not least in how well it integrates with the traditional Mario gameplay. As well as being able to lob your hat to collect coins, you can - later on - use it as a temporary platform, or possess objects and certain enemies with it.
This allows you to take on the powers and properties of that enemy, giving you access to new areas, or solving puzzles. It's astonishing how these powers are used and discarded so swiftly, before you move onto the next idea. Any one of them would form the basis of the entirety of most other games.
In a lot of ways, Odyssey is a greatest hits of Mario. Throughout there are nods to the past. Some of them are blatant - the sections where Mario enters a section of a level where he becomes a 2D version of himself, a stunning musical sequence which pays tribute to the original Donkey Kong - and in other, more subtle ways (a dash of Super Mario Sunshine here, a big chunk of Super Mario 64 there).
In fact, the sheer variety of the gameplay - while never being jarring - is its biggest strength. It reminded me of Yoshi's Island, and the way that game would lob new ways of play at the player, before hurrying along to the next one. It's ADHD in game form.
What I've always love about Nintendo games is how they never penalise the player. it's about the joy of playing - not beating you over the head with your failure.
There's no real dying in Odyssey - you lose a few coins, and are sent back to a checkpoint, but that's okay. New ideas are introduced gently; there's no hitting you over the head with them. By the time you have a boss encounter, you should know all you need to defeat them.
It's classic Nintendo style, albeit wrapped up in the best looking Mario game ever. Yes, there are the usual lava, ice, and jungle levels, but there are more original visuals in there too - a food-based world, a frozen Mexican desert, a chilly land filled with deep snow drifts which culminates in a race as Mario assumes the identity of a rubber ball-esque polar bear.
Then there are the costumes; collecting coins allows you to fill out Mario's wardrobe with a variety of get-ups, typically themed to the various levels... or you can just enjoy him running around in his pants.
The new outfits generally don't impact on the gameplay (though - oddly - this is the second big Nintendo game this year in which a male protagonist can access new areas by dressing as a woman), but are just a further example of the bewildering array of stuff on offer.
And yet, at no point have I felt overwhelmed by any of it, even though there's always the sneaking suspicion - as I gather enough moons to move on - that I've missed something special.
So, here's the thing. This is a phenomenal game. It's polished, full of ingenuity, there's tons of stuff to do... and spending time with it is insanely satisfying.
But... in all honesty, I think I preferred the two Super Mario Galaxy games. Only just though.
In a way, those games felt more of a revolution of the Mario format than Odyssey does - which, for all its modern polish, feels more like a continuation of Super Mario 64 than anything else. The mind-bending geography in Galaxy was, somehow, cleverer than Odyssey.
Also, I have to call out the decision to make some of the moves only usable if you're playing Odyssey using the detached Joy Con controllers.
I tend to favour my Switch as a handheld system - frankly, that's its USP more than the controllers - which means that flicking the Joy Cons to the side or vertically to spin your hat in a certain way doesn't really work for me. It's a strange oversight on the part of the designers.
Still, Super Mario Odyssey remains as a superlative experience, a celebration of the potential of the video game-y-ness of video games, and another solid reason to own a Switch. It's the sort of game that most developers look upon with envy; oh to have the time, oh to have the imagination, to create something like this.
SCORE: 60 out of 64