Hats Off to Nintendo!
The annual gamer’s hype holiday week is finally here! The big gaming expo E3 is in full swing, and the major companies have all given their press conferences. In Nintendo’s case, as in previous years, the presentation came in the form of the web broadcast titled the “Nintendo Spotlight.” Although I still miss the live press conferences with cheering, the Spotlight was an exciting event. My wife and I did cheering of our own and recorded our impressions directly after the event, which you can see below.
Here is the Video Version, with fresh reactions directly after the show!
Nintendo had an important job ahead of itself. Having just released the Nintendo Switch, the company had to convince the public that there were great games on the horizon. Based on the showing, Nintendo went all out with the message that it was worth it to have the new console. Here are my impressions of each game trailer and reveal.
Here’s the Nintendo Spotlight: E3 2017, if you missed it.
Super Mario Odyssey – Mario’s New Ghost Trick!
I’ve put Super Mario Odyssey on the top of my Switch wish list before, so there’s no doubt I was hyped for this game. But with the possibility of brand new announcements, this game wasn’t on the top of my mind. I was initially disappointed when SMO ended up being the Spotlight’s final trailer.
But boy, am I glad that Nintendo ended with this. Somehow, SMO’s trailer exceeded my expectations, introducing a new mechanic where Mario can possess other creatures by throwing his googly-eyed hat at them. The first creature we saw him possess was a frog, and that instantly got me excited for the classic Super Mario Bros. 3 power-up, Frog Mario. But he didn’t stop there. Mario then possessed many more creatures and inanimate objects, including a Goomba, Bullet Bill, and even a T-rex! He even possesses a regular-sized human!
I was already excited about SMO’s Super Mario 64-style sandbox platforming and hat-throwing shenanigans, but Mario’s new possession ability blows my mind away. There’s so much that can now be done with the gameplay. We saw elements of it when Mario possessed an electric charge going through a wire to travel from building to building (similarly to how Inklings get around) and when he took control of a pole and propelled himself upwards like a catapult. I can imagine that Mario possessing a car would let him drive around New Donk City and becoming a Cheep-Cheep would help him swim.
It seems every possessable creature has its own controls and abilities, which means the gameplay will be ever-changing. It reminds me of several games: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask mask powers, Banjo-Kazooie/Tooie’s magical transformations (including a T-rex!), and Space Station Silicon Valley – an underrated N64 game in which you played as an electronic chip that inhabited and controlled robotic animals. I can’t believe how much this single mechanic elevates my excitement and curiosity about what wonders this game will hold. I now wait with more bated breath than ever before for Super Mario Odyssey to arrive, which will be sooner than expected, thanks to its October 27 release date!
Metroid Prime 4 Announced!
Nintendo finally did it. In one of the Spotlight’s biggest announcements, Nintendo revealed that Metroid Prime 4 was coming to the Switch, finally bringing bounty hunter Samus Aran back into the limelight. Fans have been clamoring for a new Prime game ever since the poorly received Metroid Other M. Metroid Prime Federation Force for the 3DS was met with backlash as the public demanded Samus. Hopefully, this announcement will quell and warm the hearts of many, showing us that Nintendo still respects one of its most well-known franchises. Although we don’t know much about this game, besides the fact that it seems Retro Studios is not behind it, I look forward to this legendary IP getting a Switch release.
As a bonus, Nintendo also revealed Metroid: Samus Returns for the Nintendo 3DS. It’s a remake of Metroid II, a Game Boy game that could really use an upgrade. The original was difficult to play due to a lack of color, meaning all pathways looked very similar. The 3DS revamp looks wonderful, with upgraded graphics and plenty of color, making the Metroids’ home planet of SR388 come to life. I’m actually more excited for this game, as I have been wishing for a 2D Metroid for a long time. Although it’s a remake, I have hope for this leading to future 2D titles.
And hey, somehow my predictions for both a 2D and 3D Metroid were fulfilled this year! How were your predictions for Nintendo’s event?
Core Pokémon Game Announced for Switch!
We actually had a Pokémon Direct the week prior to Nintendo’s Spotlight, and it was disappointing. Pokkén Tournament DX, an upgrade to the Wii U’s Tekken-esque Pokémon fighter was announced for Switch. While I’m excited for that, I was hoping for a mainline Pokémon game to come to Switch, whether a third version of Pokémon Sun and Moon or the next generation. During the Pokémon Direct, Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon was announced for 3DS. I didn’t find the news compelling, mostly because I just played Sun and Moon half a year ago, and also because it wasn’t coming to Switch. Don’t get me wrong. The 3DS can still use more games, but why did Sun and Moon need an upgrade so soon? I’m getting horrible Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 flashbacks.
Thankfully, the Spotlight revealed that Switch owners were also getting a piece of the Pokémon pie, with a new core entry in the series coming to Switch. We know absolutely nothing about it, though since we’re already getting Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon, I’m assuming this upcoming game will be the next generation. Regardless of what it ends up being, the Switch is going to be perfect for the series. We still have portability thanks to the Switch’s handheld mode, and we’ll finally get a mainline entry playable on the big screen!
Two New Switch Platformers: Kirby and Yoshi!
The cutest Nintendo mascots are getting new entries on the Nintendo Switch, and from what little we’ve seen, they look fun! The currently untitled Kirby looks like the Wii game Kirby’s Return to Dreamland at first glance, offering up to 4-player cooperative play. Upon closer inspection, elements from other games also seem to return including the animal buddies from Kirby’s Dream Land 2 and 3, as well as the possibility of mixing two powers a la Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards. The latter is a favorite of mine, and I would be ecstatic if we could have all those unique power-ups back, particularly that dual light saber. Also, the broom power-up is back. Yay?
Yoshi’s new untitled game looks impressive too, taking a page from Yoshi’s Woolly World, and sticking the green dino into a cardboard world. As plain as cardboard may sound, it looks stunning in the trailer, like arts-and-crafts popping out of the screen. And speaking of popping out, there seems to be some kind of depth mechanic where Yoshi can shoot eggs at enemies in the background and foreground. It suspiciously sounds like a 3DS mechanic, as if this game were originally planned for that system. The game looks so beautiful though, and I appreciate the higher fidelity that the Switch will provide.
Fire Emblem Warriors – New Characters Revealed!
I loved Hyrule Warriors and Hyrule Warriors Legends, investing many hours into both. The Fire Emblem version of this Dynasty Warriors form of gameplay is coming to the Switch soon, and I’m thrilled thinking about what characters and places will be in the final game. We finally got some character reveals: Corrin (female), Ryoma, and Xander from Fire Emblem Fates will be joining the original hero Marth and Awakening’s Chrom. We’ll also be getting original characters – royal twins Rowan and Lianna. The gameplay Nintendo showed off during its Treehouse Live segment seemed pretty par for course, with FE aesthetics and level-up mechanics being primary differences. Additionally, there will be a Coliseum mode so you can pit Ryoma and Xander in a battle to the death, once and for all. The Fates characters look great, though I’m wondering 1) if we’ll see any more Fates characters and 2) what happened to male Corrin? I hope more characters are revealed in the weeks leading up to its release!
Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
The rumored crossover is happening! Mario is teaming up with the Raving Rabbids in an original tactical RPG developed by Ubisoft. At first, upon hearing the rumors, I wasn’t thrilled about the game, especially since I’m not a big fan of the silly Minions, I mean Rabbids. I quickly changed my mind once I saw the reveal trailer at Ubisoft’s conference. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle looks like nothing we’ve seen for Mario. I’ve heard it’s like X-COM, but having never played that, this would certainly a new experience for me. It looks more fun than Paper Mario has been recently, at least! I like the idea of hiding behind cover, and throwing allies in the air (which actually also happens in Disgaea 5). The idea of Mario and friends using customizable guns sounds awesome. While I still don’t like the Rabbids, I’d be willing to give this game a try. Plus, how can you not want a game, for which the series’ creators presented it like this?
Everything Else – Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Rocket League, Mario & Luigi
There were a handful of other games during both the Spotlight event and the subsequent Treehouse Live segments. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is shaping up to be a huge game, as its predecessors. I didn’t see much of its Treehouse Live presentation, but based on the trailer, the game definitely looks more anime than it ever has, and I like the style! Rocket League is another port coming to the Switch. I’ve never played this car-battling soccer game, but the Switch-exclusive bonus of hats on cars has me more enticed than it should.
During Bethesda’s press conference, the company revealed that Skyrim was coming to the Switch, and amiibo functionality would allow your character to have Link’s clothes from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. And while we’re on the topic of Zelda, the new DLC for BotW looks great, with the first set providing some great costumes and harder trials, and the second set sporting a juicy tease about the Champions. Will we be playing as the Champions? I’m now suddenly sold on getting the DLC. As for amiibo, we’re getting lots of them! We’re getting a Fire Emblem Warriors amiibo (another prediction come true!) of Chrom (which makes my wife happy) and Tiki. The Metroid series is getting more amiibo representation with a sweet Samus based on Metroid II, as well as a squishy Metroid figurine… YES! We’re also getting champion amiibo from Breath of the Wild and classy wedding outfit figurines for Mario, Peach, and Bowser. Koopa Troopa and Goomba finally get amiibo, specifically promoting the following final game.
A remake of Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, the very first game in the series was announced for 3DS. The latest game (and my first review here) Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, was only decent. So hopefully this game will remind developers how fun and inventive the original was. It also comes with a bonus game, Bowser’s Minions, in which you play as Mario enemies to gather troops for Bowser. It looks moderately interesting, but the main attraction is worth it for me already.
As a big Nintendo fan, I was very much anticipating Nintendo’s E3 Spotlight. And I’m happy to say the company delivered what its fans were hoping for: Metroid Prime 4’s reveal and Pokémon Switch’s announcement. Unfortunately, they were only mentioned in name, but at least we now know they’re coming. And of course, Super Mario Odyssey’s new possession mechanic trailer was absolute bliss. All I could think about after the spotlight was what I wanted to see Mario transform into, and I felt like a kid who had just seen the most amazing magic trick. I am extremely hyped for the mustachioed plumber’s next big game. Along with the other reveals, Nintendo had a great showing, that I am sure pleased many hardcore fans.