As much as I love all things gaming and root for the success of all the companies, Nintendo always will have a special place in my heart.
With the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) going this week, I always feel like a little kid on Christmas morning. I was excited to see what the day may bring, especially Tuesday, when Nintendo gives its presentation. The past couple years, Nintendo has changed its style by presenting a pre-made video show instead of having their execs come out on the stage for a live portion. They’ve had disasters in the past with technical difficulties and such, and they don’t show as well live because they (who are mostly Japanese) need translators.
The videos have become more and more fun, though, and this year did not disappoint.
Mostly because they showed awesome games!
Nintendo announced so many new games and showed in-depth footage of several other games we already knew about. Coming into the event, Super Mario: Odyssey was one of my two most anticipated games to get extended looks at (the other being a Star Wars game, of course. More on that later). Mario did not disappoint, but rather elevated, my excitement for this game. The worlds look so robust, varied, and different than anything we’ve seen before. And his hat. Oh boy, his hat is going to be fun to play around with. Nintendo always has been good at extrapolating an incredible amount of ideas, content and creative usages of a single, newly implemented idea, and this hat will be no exception to that. Already we know Mario has multiple attacks and collection moves at his disposal just by tossing or circling his hat around. That’s not to mention all the extra platforming tricks; Mario can toss his hat and suspend it in place, then jump on and off the hat to reach previously unattainable spots, climb higher or chain other platforming moves. On top of that, Mario can chuck his has at an enemy, like a flying Bullet Bill, then you take control of that character until Mario comes out and takes off the hat. It’s amazing; the amount of possibilities is nuts.
But that was a game we already knew about. Nintendo dropped what might have been just a 30-second teaser on a little game known as Metroid! The ’S’ logo and sounds effects from the franchise played ominously over this little logo as “Metroid Prime 4” became an official title! The first Metroid Prime game is still my favorite video game of all time, so getting to return to that franchise excites me beyond the norm.
After their actual press demonstration, Nintendo also revealed a title for the 3DS system called Metroid: Samus Returns! What?! We got two Metroid announcements after having such a long, dark period with nothing about the franchise. This 3DS title is a reimagination of the old Gameboy Metroid title (called Return of Samus). The old game did not age well. It was black and white. There was no map system. It wasn’t an easy game to play. But now it’s getting tricked out with 3-D foreground/background imagery, new abilities for Samus and an easier way to shoot while walking along the 2-D plane.
Between Metroid, tons of other new Switch titles, and new Amiibo, Nintendo easily won E3 in my book.
I just don’t feel like Star Wars ever will lose its hold on me.
E3 kicked off a little early this year as Electronic Arts blocked out Saturday ahead of everyone else’s conferences this week. EA’s biggest showing, of course, revolved around Star Wars: Battlefront II, the sequel to the multiplayer-only game released right before “The Force Awakens.”
As we knew coming into E3, Battlefront will have a huge single-player campaign this time around. Not only that, but the story will be evocative of what I have hunch will be the story that plays out in “The Last Jedi,” which hits theaters this December. Battlefront II will have a tie-in to the movie, same as last time, so getting to check out the new locales and characters will be fun.
The coolest aspect of this new game will be the sheer expanse this game covers. All three Star Wars eras — the prequel trilogy, the original trilogy and the newer movies — will be playable in this game. There will be multiplayer maps on Tatooine, Naboo, Jakku and the new planet from “Last Jedi,” and several others in between. Characters and vehicles from each movie will be available, too. Darth Maul will have a chance to fight against Chewbacca or Finn or Yoda. It’s going to be so glorious seeing all this stuff spanning all the movies come together in one awesome multiplayer scene.
The gameplay looks familiar, yet the mechanic look a bit changed up, but I think that will be for the better. There looks to be a more hashed-out space battle mode, and the ground combat kind of looks like it will lean toward more specific class-based gameplay instead of the run-and-gun-with-anything mode. Not sure how that will be fully implemented yet, if at all, so time will tell.
The graphics still look as smooth as before, and there seems to me more going on from screen to screen than before, so it’s nice to see extra little touches get put in every shot.
Yeah, this game will eat up a lot of my already precious-little free time.
Though leaks in the one or two weeks prior to the announcement took some of the thunder out of this game’s surprise sails, “Mario & Rabbids: Kingdom Battle” was totally out of left field with a weird hybrid of two big-time franchises. Remember those wacky, crazy, maniacal rabbits from mini-game collections back in the Wii era? Yeah, those rabbids are back. What’s better is they are taking on the look of famous Mario characters. It’s neat that Nintendo let Ubisoft create rabbid
Another blockbuster release from Ubisoft is a game called Skull and Bones. It’s a pirate-themed action game set in early 18th century. There is a single player mode and a 5-v-5 multiplayer mode where the two teams are trying to hunt down the most treasure (not the most kills, which is refreshing). It’s cool because there were different-looking ships, one of which may have far longer range than others while another has more firepower up close. You have to control the captain on the ship and steer it through the winds and natural elements, as well as barrages of fire coming against you. The camera work was seamless as you switch looks from different spots on your ship. Ubisoft recently made a Pirates themed Assassin’s Creed game, so they know how to make ocean travel look amazing.
Assassin’s Creed Origins is yet another typical Assassin’s Creed game, this time with the desert/pyramid motif. The game lends itself to pretty mature-rated content. During one boss battle, there were this twisting metal spiked jutting high out of the ground, and bodies got thrown into them and sliced into bits, with blood everywhere. Extended boss battles are a new thing in the franchise, and possibly maybe taking the series in a slightly different direction. Combat seemed normal for the series as far as dodging and waiting for openings, but there’s definitely a longer, more drawn-out feel to it.
Bethesda, another trusted game developer in the industry, doubled down on VR as Fallout 4 is coming to VR-capable systems. I thought it was highly overrated the first time around, so I doubt I’ll check it out in VR.
Bethesda also showed a new twist on one of the greatest games ever made. Skyrim, which is getting remade for Switch
One of the most fun-looking games was Quake: Champions, which looks like a return to form for the twitch arena-style shooter. Beautiful high-definition graphics and smooth motions make it easier to play fast-paced games like this. Wolfenstein II looked far more action oriented than the system may be known for, but there appeared to be secret doors, which is a huge plus.
They also revealed Evil Within 2, a long sought-after sequel that is being touted as a pyscho-horror thriller. Sounds interesting and looks different enough from most of what’s out there to be intriguing.