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E3 2018 recap and reflections: Nintendo

Nintendo’s abandonment of the traditional E3 press conference has been a huge boon for the company. No longer tied down by audio issues and strange gameplay demos, the company can focus on neatly produced game showcases, and give proper time and attention to bigger titles. With some showstoppers like a new Smash Bros, Metroid Prime 4, and the next mainline Pokemon games coming soon, Nintendo had a ticket for the best show in town. If only they actually showed those showstopping titles, aside from Super Smash Bros.

The summary

  • A strange giant robot action game from the developers of the Senran Kagura series, titled DaemonXMachina, was announced and given a very flashy trailer.
    • The game is set to release in 2019 for Nintendo Switch.
  • The first of the Xenoblade Chronicles 2 story DLCs, titled “Torna ~ The Golden Country” was shown.
    • It will be available for expansion pass owners on September 14th on the Nintendo eShop, with a physical version available September 21st.
  • Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee were briefly shown. The game will be released November 16th, 2018 for Nintendo Switch.
    • The PokeBall Plus will include the legendary Pokemon, Mew.
  • A new Mario Party game, titled Super Mario Party, was announced. The game will be released on October 5th for the Nintendo Switch.
    • This game returns to the roots of the series, with each player moving individually around the board.
    • It also has some additional game modes that allow players connect multiple Switch consoles together wirelessly.
  • The next instalment in the Fire Emblem series, titled Fire Emblem Three Houses, was officially announced. The game is set to release in Spring 2019.
    • The game will feature gameplay and tone similar to previous console Fire Emblems, namely Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn.
    • The game also features large armies that follow the controlled units during combat encounters, though it seems to be visual flair.
    • The game seems to include a fully explorable 3D castle environment that serves as the hub area.
  • The multiplayer phenomenon Fortnite: Battle Royale will be joining the Nintendo Switch library.
    • The game is available today.
  • Overcooked 2, the sequel to the chaotic multiplayer cooking experience Overcooked, was given a new trailer.
    • It will feature new maps, hazards, and mechanics.
    • The game will be released August 7th.
  • Killer Queen Black, an arcade-style multiplayer game, was shown.
    • It can feature two teams of up to four players each.
    • The game will release this winter.
  • The Switch release of Hollow Knight was given a trailer and a release date.
    • The game will feature all of the DLC content included with the purchase.
    • The game is available today.
  • Octopath Traveler was briefly mentioned, with a new demo announced.
    • The demo will be available on June 14th, and save data will transfer over to the full game.
    • The full game will be release July 13th.
  • A video showcase showed off a number of games coming soon to Nintendo Switch. Some notable titles are:
    • Starlink: Battle for Atlas, the toys-to-life space game from Ubisoft, will release October 16th.
    • Arena of Valor, a MOBA from Tencent Games, will release in Fall 2018.
    • Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido, a cutesy action-puzzle game, is available now. Having been playing it for a few days now, it’s very good.
    • Donkey Kong Adventure expansion for Mario+Rabbids Kingdom Battle will release on June 26th
    • Pixark, a Minecraftian version of ARK: Survival Evolved, will release in Fall 2018.
    • The Octo Expansion for Splatoon 2, featuring a new story campaign and playable Octolings, will be available Summer 2018.
    • The Switch port of Captain Toad Treasure Tracker will release on July 13th.
    • Some strange multiplayer game called Ninjala was shown, and will release Spring 2019.
    • A digital version of the board game Carcassonne will be released on Nintendo Switch in Holiday 2018.
    • The real ARK: Survival Evolved will also release on Nintendo Switch in Fall of 2018.
    • Wasteland 2 Director’s Cut will release for Nintendo Switch in Fall 2018
    • Paladins: Champions of the Realm, the free-to-play hero shooter from Hi-Rez, is available to play right now.
    • SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy, a crossover fighting game featuring, well, heroines from SNK titles, will release on September 7th.
    • Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate for Nintendo Switch will release August 28th
    • The World Ends With You Final Remix for Nintendo Switch is set to release in Fall 2018
    • Megaman 11, the return of the legendary Blue Bomber, will release October 2nd.
  • A near 30 minute showcase was given for the next Super Smash Bros. game, titled Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Here are some highlights:
    • Every character that was every playable in the history of Smash Bros will be playable. This includes Pichu, Ice Climbers, Wolf, Young Link, Snake, and even Pokemon Trainer.
    • The starting roster will be small, containing the original eight fighters, but new fighters will be unlocked frequently to give a sense of pride and accomplishment.
    • 8-player battles will return
    • A number of fighters have had adjustments to how they play or look, based on recent titles or popular demand.
    • Final Smashes have been streamlined to be much faster than previous games.
    • Meters are added to certain characters to give clarity to mechanics, like Cloud’s limit gauges or Robin’s weapon durability.
    • Clone characters like Lucina and Dark Pit are now refered to as “Echo Characters,” and serves as reskins of existing characters with minor variations on how they play.
    • Along with this, the sassiest, buffest, and statistically best Princess, Daisy, was added to the roster as an Echo character for Peach.
    • The Inkling, a new character shown during the previous Nintendo Direct, had their full moveset shown. The use ink make enemies weaker to their attacks, and can duck into ink on the ground like in the Splatoon games.
    • Assist trophies were changed as well. Some assist trophies, like Waluigi, can now be damaged and knocked off the stage like the actual players. Others, like Nintendogs, can’t be knocked out. Assist trophies that were absent in Smash 4 also seem to have returned.
    • A large variety of Pokemon have also been added. Considering the theme of the game, it’s likely that all previous Pokemon will be returning in this one.
    • Other new items have been added to make battles more interesting.
    • A massive list of returning stages are in the game, along with some new ones. Again, considering the theme, it’s likely that almost all stages will be back.
    • Dodging and shielding mechanics have been altered to make them more skill based, along with some other mechanical changes.
    • Gamecube controllers can be used with the new Super Smash Bros.
    • Another new character, Ridley, was announced to be joining the fight after all these years. He may not be as big as anticipated, but he’s finally here.
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is set to release December 7th, 2018.

The good

While the Super Smash Bros. showcase was long and the most significant portion of the event, it was really cool getting such an in-depth look at the game, along with all the new and old things that were being added. It’s clear Nintendo is aiming to make this the, well, ultimate Smash Bros. experience, a finely tuned machine they add new parts onto with DLC throughout the Switch’s lifespan. It’s also great to see Daisy added to the game, fans and haters of the character got a real kick out of that one. Plus, Nintendo finally killed the “Ridley is too big” meme, making things much brighter.

While it wasn’t a huge look into it, getting to see footage of the next Fire Emblem was a treat for fans of the series. While the 3DS titles weren’t bad, the limitations of the system prevented the series from returning to the glory of titles like Radiant Dawn. The added visuals of the background armies is a nice addition as well, though the framerates looked a little sketchy. Hopefully those are improved before the release date.

The bad

Nintendo really dropped the ball with the titles shown that weren’t Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. While it’s understandable, since that game is one of the major system sellers, fans of a variety of the titles were left with very little to go on. A couple of really interesting titles, namely DaemonXMachinaand Ninjala, were given very little aside to show for them. The Smash showcase itself was longer than Square-Enix’s press conference, after all. It would have nice for fans to get a little more variety within the show.

The lack of Animal Crossing is also a disappointment. It turns out no number of Satanic summoning circles fans make will actually summon the Animal Crossing game of their dreams. It’s tragic, and hopefully Nintendo will give them some hope sometime soon.

The absent

The most noticeable flaw in their show was the lack of titles that were already known about before the event. Metroid Prime 4, which received a .jpeg last E3, was given no additional footage. The project that Retro Studios is working on wasn’t given any information. The new Pokemon games weren’t given any more details. Shin Megami Tensei V was given no additional information, but that could be attributed to Altus. Even the Yoshi game that was shown at the past two E3’s was absent from the event, which was the most shocking news of all. A lot of titles people were expecting didn’t make an appearance. Even with the lengthy and impressive Smash showcase, it’s hard not to feel a little disappointed that we couldn’t get more.

Overall, Nintendo put on a better show than most other conferences, but didn’t deliver on expectations. The games they showed were cool, and almost all of the major titles are exclusives, but it pales in comparison to the sheer bulk of titles shown at Microsoft’s conference. In terms of raw entertainment value, even Nintendo fans have to admit Microsoft had the better show, with more cool games (though many are still not exclusives nor system sellers). Nintendo will still likely announce more things during their Treehouse streams, as they’ve done in the past, so hopefully that will make up for the lack of games showcased in their E3 presentation.

Source: YouTube

Image: Nintendo Everything

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