Impressions from Nintendo’s E3 Extravaganza

I’m a little late to the party, since I was on vacation during the week of E3. However, I wanted to drop some of my thoughts on Nintendo’s E3 announcements last week, some of which are very major.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Man, we have come a long way since the first Xenoblade Chronicles. It’s hard to think now that there was a time when longing fans had to put up petitions to beg Nintendo to release the game in the west. As it turns out, Xenoblade Chronicles was one of the very best games on Nintendo’s Wii system, and Xenoblade Chronicles X on the Wii U was just mind blowing in scope.

In my opinion, I’m not too keen on the cartoony, chibi art style that Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is employing, but to be honest, the previous games were filled with their share of weird-looking characters too. In Xenoblade, gameplay is king, and in Xenoblade Chronicles 2, it is looking better than ever. The overworld and combat is looking more deep and complex than ever. The skeptic in me is still telling me to be wary of that tentative Holiday 2017 release date, but whenever this game comes out, it’s going to be a great boon for truly hardcore Switch gamers looking for a deep RPG.

Kirby Switch

Kirby was one of my defining gaming experiences in my youth, most particularly the Nintendo 64 title Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, and the Game Boy Advance titles Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land (A remake of Kirby’s Adventure on the NES) and Kirby and the Amazing Mirror. Since then, I haven’t really gotten around to checking out some of the newer titles in this series, such as the great-looking 3DS titles that are out.

Kirby on the Switch looks good. The visuals are good, and the gameplay looks like it has a nice twist in turning enemies into friendly companions. However, it still looks really similar to previous games in the series, so I’m not sure if I want to pick this up right away or wait until I’ve had a chance to catch up on my Kirby. We’ll see when more details come out about this game.

Pokkén Tournament DX & Pokémon Switch

Pokkén Tournament didn’t really interest me on the Wii U, and this enhanced Switch port isn’t really doing it for me either. The concept of this Pokémon fighting game is probably good, but I’m not that into fighting games to begin with, which makes it a tough proposition. This deluxe version of the game follows in the footsteps of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, adding new fighters and features. This is a way to tide over Pokémon fans until the next mainline game in the series is complete.

On that note, they also announced that work has begun for a Pokémon title on the Switch. Not another spinoff, but a true “explore, catch and train” entry that we can play on the TV or on the go. We don’t have any other details yet, but it’s apparent that Game Freak are very early in the development process for the game. Judging by past titles, I’d wager that the very earliest we will see this new game is Holiday 2018 if we’re being optimistic, but realistically we might be waiting until 2019.

Metroid Prime 4 & Metroid: Samus Returns

This is the big news of the week! Holy crap, talk about a bombshell. Deep inside, I think we all knew Metroid wasn’t going anywhere. The question was more along the lines of “What direction will the series take?” Many wanted a return to the series’ roots, since the last 2D side-scrolling Metroid game was Metroid: Zero Mission, released over a decade ago–and that game was in of itself a remake of the original Metroid game on the NES. That’s why I’m so pumped to see the announcement of Metroid: Samus Returns on the 3DS. Like the original MetroidMetroid II on the original Game Boy had not aged that gracefully, and if Zero Mission is any indication, this remake will feel like a brand new game.

Other fans wanted to see a new home console entry into the series. After Metroid: Other M in 2010, a game that left a sour taste in the mouths of many (I never got around to playing it myself due to the poor reviews), Nintendo seemed to have dropped the Metroid franchise entirely. The Metroid Prime sub-series was magnificent, and still stand as three of the greatest FPS games ever created. I’m not too worried about the fact that Retro Studios is not developing Metroid Prime 4. This is Nintendo after all, and I’m pretty sure this new studio–which is headed by the same guy that headed Retro during the development of the Prime games, Kensuke Tanabe–aren’t going to be a bunch of chumps. I’m sure that Nintendo knows that a lot is riding on this game, and they want it to be the best it can be. With that said, I’m waiting until we get more details about the game until I decide if I’m going to be hyped for it or not.

Yoshi Switch

Historically, the Yoshi games have been of mixed quality at best. While the original Yoshi’s Island on the SNES was a platforming masterpiece, its sequels have ranged from okay (Yoshi’s Island DS, Yoshi’s New Island) to kinda bad (Yoshi’s Story, Yoshi Touch & Go). However, the very last game, Yoshi’s Woolly World, was actually really good (Review for the 3DS version coming soon!), and the same developers, Good-Feel, are working on this new title.

With all of the above said, I’m looking forward to this game. The visuals are gorgeous, and are somehow more adorable than even Woolly World. With Good-Feel working on this, chances are that it will be a great game.

Fire Emblem Warriors

I’m pretty sure that I’ve mentioned that I’m not a huge fan of the Warriors series of games. Hell, I’m a pretty huge Zelda fan, and I skipped Hyrule Warriors, even. So with that said, I’m not really looking forward to this game. I think I’ll save my money for the proper Fire Emblem release that was previously announced for the Switch.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild DLC

To be honest, I’m kind of disappointed that Nintendo didn’t give more detail on the second DLC pack for Breath of the Wild. That said, I’m looking forward to the first pack, which comes out later this month. The new hard mode is the reason I’ve been looking for to replay this magnificent game, and I’ll probably be getting it once it releases. However, we all know that DLC pack 2 is what’s going to have all of the best goodies, like new story content and a new dungeon.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

When this game initially leaked, it was surreal. I mean, what could a Mario and Rabbids crossover be like? I still can’t really make up my mind about it. It looks like it’s more heavily focused on the tactical battle elements than the RPG elements. However, the battles still look like they can be a good bit of fun.

The game is coming out this August, much sooner than I thought it would. I’m not sure how much depth this idea will have, but I might pick it up if I need something to play.

 

Super Mario Odyssey

Man, Nintendo, you really know how to get me. I got butterflies in my stomach watching the trailer for the new Mario game. This trailer revealed a ton of things. First of all, there is going to be a unique spin on the Mario formula, making this the most unique game in the series since Super Mario Sunshine. Mario can now throw his cap out and possess enemies and objects in the world.

On top of this, while 3D Land and 3D World were both the most linear 3D Mario titles, offering levels where you are tasked with traversing from A to B, Odyssey is a return to the open level design of Super Mario 64Super Mario Sunshine and to a smaller extent, Super Mario Galaxy. In fact, Odyssey seems to be way more open than even those games. Instead, it seems to borrow a bit from Rare’s best games, such as Banjo-KazooieDonkey Kong 64 and Conker’s Bad Fur Day. Mario is no longer sent on quests to find specific stars or shines–instead, you are left to explore these open playgrounds and simply dig up as many power moons as you can find. It looks absolutely magnificent.

The most incredible news to me was the fact that this game is coming out in October. October! That’s so soon! I think everyone expected late November at the latest, but in a matter of months, we will be playing this fantastic-looking game. I am so ready.

Other Assorted News

  • Rocket League is coming to the Switch! I’ve always been meaning to get this title, and the cross-platform play will make this a must-buy for me, since I have a bunch of friends that play it on other systems.
  • Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga is one of my favorite games of all time. You can bet yourself I am going to be playing the recently announced remake the minute it comes out!
  • Is it ridiculous to say that I’m disappointed at no new Animal Crossing? Can’t win them all, I suppose.
  • Where the actual hell is the Virtual Console? This is getting ridiculous.
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