Nintendo have avoided doing a press conference at E3 for the last 3 years now, instead opting to do a Nintendo Direct, which up until this year – hasn’t really paid off for them. The reason behind this is simple; they spend too much time on one game and neglect to have a strong support of smaller titles to keep us interested. While they didn’t stray too far from this template; what they did show was incredibly strong and exciting for Switch owners and those hoping to buy one in the near future.
Super Mario Odyssey was the main focus of the direct and it looks suitably fantastic! The new gimmick here is that Mario can now use his hat to take over the body of every enemy and human character in the game – the trailer alone shows some real humour and Nintendo will use the gimmick to create puzzles and levels that are as memorable as they are genius. There are several big nods to previous Mario games as well as other Nintendo franchises including Zelda: A Link Between Worlds; on top of this it looks to be following the Mario 64 template for the first time since Sunshine! This game looks bright, bold, brilliant and above all else fun – I am very excited to see how this Mario game turns out – who knows, maybe this is the one to turn me into a Mario fan!
A Metroid 2 reimagining for 3DS was also shown and while I’m not big fan of the series (well I did really enjoy Super Metroid when I played it earlier in the year) this looks very, very strong indeed. My only worry with this is that it is being made by MercurySteam whose track record includes Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 and Clive Barker’s Jericho; both of which are atrocious and doesn’t bode well for the quality of Metroid 2: Samus’ Returns. My only hope is that Nintendo are keeping them on a very tight reign and ensuring that this game is of a significantly higher quality; if not then this game will make the perfect excuse for Nintendo never making another Metroid game…
Nintendo also confirmed that work has begun on Metroid Prime 4 – which is exceptionally cool indeed, here we have a franchise that has laid dormant for nearly 10 years suddenly getting two games and one of which is the title many have been calling for! Nintendo landed themselves a winner with this announcement and while it was only a splash screen – excitement is high on the internet and shows that the Switch will have its very own Metroid.
Less exciting than these announcements were the trailers for Kirby, Yoshi, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and Rocket League. These all look exactly as you would imagine them too and while none look bad at all 3 are not my cup of tea and Rocket League is a 3-year-old game and one that I moved on from a long time ago. Kirby does have 4 player co-op play and Yoshi does allow you to travel into the background of levels offering some form of open-ness – but the core gameplay is what it was on the WiiU. Really nothing to lose your mind too, unless you are a hardcore fan – although they aren’t to my taste, these games literally have millions of fans worldwide and they are sure to be very excited for these new releases.
Pokemon Ultra Sun/Moon also got announced for the 3DS which was met with the usual internet outrage which was made up of people port-begging and complaining. Nintendo retaliated by confirming that they are working on a mainline Pokemon title for the Switch which calmed those waters a little – but ultimately you can’t please everyone.
My Closing Thoughts
Basically Nintendo killed it! This was their strongest showing at an E3 in years (since before the WiiU) – they did nearly everything right; they brought back a franchise that people love with Metroid but blew us all out of the water with their commitment to two separate entries into the franchise. They gave us an in-depth look at their biggest exclusive title of the year with Mario Odyssey which (looks exceptionally good), the announced a Pokemon title (well kinda) and they also showed off some of their B-Tier mascots which will gain an audience.
The only thing that worries me about Nintendo is the lack of third-party support – sure EA showed off FIFA for the Switch and there was a brief look at Rocket League but that was really it; obviously these publishers are adopting a “wait and see” approach but I hope they don’t wait too long because the Switch could be something very special with the right backing.
Overall this was an incredibly short but incredibly strong Direct from Nintendo and one which showed their intent on making the Switch a console with excellent software with regular releases. It is because of this that they have successfully made the Switch console a far more attractive proposition with E3; and for that they need to be applauded.