Sooooo, about Nintendo’s E3 Event
I honestly don’t think I’ve heard anyone actually say they enjoyed Nintendo’s E3 digital event. At most, I’ve heard people decry the severe backlash that has been launched toward Nintendo via Twitter and the like. And I mostly feel disenchanted with Nintendo as well right now. There wasn’t anything that I can honestly say that I’m unqualified excited. There were definitely a few games that piqued my interest, but even those I have a heavy amount of hesitation toward.
I was at work when the show hit YouTube, so I couldn’t tune in during the initial viewing, but I did keep an eye on the reactions through my phone. Man, was that an unpleasant experience. That said, I think I was able to enjoy the show when I got to watch it, because I already knew what was going to be announced. The power of lowered expectations is a merciful thing sometimes. While the games announced and presented were….unfortunate, let’s say, I did enjoy the puppet show and the developers’ stories. These Nintendo presentations have become rather theatric, and I thought the skits with the puppets were quite cute and funny. I really feel sorry for whoever had to go through all the effort to get that thing together, since an otherwise fun presentation will forever be overshadowed by the harsh reaction to the games shown.
The thing is, there’s a lot of anxiety in Nintendo fans right now, and this showing didn’t do anything to assuage that. The company is quite clear that it is in the process of changing the way it does business. And with new hardware hitting possibly as soon as next year (which might be a successor to the 3DS or Wii U or potentially both), I think a lot of people are questioning if their Wii U was a good investment if it’s going to swept under the rug so soon. Personally, I’m worried about that as well. If NX hits next year as a replacement to the Wii U, I don’t think it would be too bad, as I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of the system with games like Splatoon, Mario Kart 8, Mario 3D World and quite a few others. But I’m not inclined to buy consoles at launch (I wait until I think they have a substantial library that is worthwhile), and my fear is that there’s going to be another Twilight Princess situation with Zelda U becoming a timed exclusive for the new machine. I think that would really hurt. I hope Nintendo stays true to its promise.
Well, with all that said, I’m going to get straight into it with my thoughts on some of the games:
Star Fox Zero
Seems like this is meant to be their big game for the final months of the year, filling the hole that Zelda U left. I’m a huge fan of Star Fox 64, and I really want to be excited for this game, but….. well, it just looks very low budget. It weirdly reminds me of a late-90’s PC game. Back then poly-counts were still low, but since PC’s had relatively enormous amounts of RAM compared to consoles, you got simple 3D models and environments that were plastered with these really elaborate textures. This game just feels very sparsely filled and empty, like the only thing that’s evolved since the N64 is resolution.
Graphics aren’t everything, of course, but, man, there’s a limit to how much I’m willing to pay $60 for. I can only hope that the action turns out good enough that it overshadows the bland visuals.
Mario and Luigi/Paper Mario Crossover
I’m a huge fan of Mario RPGs, even though they’ve waivered a little bit lately. It’s a series where the highs are incredibly high (i.e., Paper Mario, TTYD, Superstar Saga), so when you have an entry in the series that is merely “good,” it ends up being a being a big disappointed. I think that could be reasonably said about Super Paper Mario and Dream Team. Sticker Star Story, on the other hand, was just flat out boring. This game is being done by Alpha Dream, the M&L developer, so I have reasonable hopes for it.
I have to say though, the last thing I was expecting for the series was a crossover. On the other hand, Nintendo seems to be on a weird, crossover kick lately with SMT x FE, Hyrule Warriors, Puzzle & Dragons x Mario, and Mario Kart 8, so I guess it wasn’t unthinkable. Seems to me that it will have an M&L style battle system, but now with Paper Mario supporting the duo. I guess this is the game I’m most excited for from the conference, as it was the only announcement that wasn’t met with immediate bewilderment.
3DS Co-op Games: Metroid Prime Federation Force & The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Guardians
These were probably the two most controversial announcements during the event, co-op focused games in both the Metroid Prime and Zelda series. The Metroid Prime game has become particularly controversial, presumably since Metroid has been put to rest for a long while now, and this was really not how the fans wanted the series to return. There’s even an acrimonious petition out there to try to get the game cancelled. Which is insane. Even if Nintendo does cancel the game, it’s not suddenly going to make a real Metroid Prime entry materialize out of nothing for release in the near future. Federation Force is being made by Next Level Games, who actually released Luigi’s Mansion 2/Dark Moon, which I really liked quite well. The developer is really the only reason I’m interested in this game at all, otherwise I would have dismissed it out of hand.
The other game, Triforce Guardians, is being made internally by Nintendo. I think this one was swallowed a little easier by fans since there was already a co-op focused Zelda game(s) (Four Sword Adventures), and it wasn’t too long ago that the excellent Link Between Worlds was released (not to mention the remake of Majora’s Mask). Honestly, I don’t know where this sudden co-op push for 3DS is coming from, though.
Ultimately, I’m glad 3DS is getting some attention by Nintendo again. 2014 was not such a good year for 3DS, and games for the system were barely talked about at last year’s E3. 2014 was especially bad considering that 2013 had been such an amazing year for the system with a ton of great games like Zelda, Luigi’s Mansion, Fire Emblem, Animal Crossing, etc. seeing release. I’m glad the system apparently still has some life left for it, even if the new games are oddball spin-offs that seem to indicate that it’s starting to die down.
Super Mario Maker
Mario Maker looks cool, but I don’t think they showed anything new for it here. I did enjoy the short developer’s story they had with Miyamoto and Tezuka to go along with it. Also, I’m a bit surprised at the $60 price tag. Is this justifiable considering the game will heavily depend on an unknown quantity, the community, to make it a great experience? I’m not sure. However, they are packaging the game with a book detailing Mario level design philosophies, so that makes the price a little easier to swallow.
I’m not a hardcore Animal Crossing fan. I’ve only played the 3DS game, but I liked it well enough. I think a lot of Animal Crossing fans were hoping for a Wii U entry, but, of course, they didn’t get what they want. Two Animal Crossing games were shown, one focuses on home decoration and the other is a board game. I mention these only because it strikes me that, odd as they are, they might be the type of games that transition well to mobile platforms. Are we actually seeing some of the soon to be Nintendo mobile games here?
This game was not shown in either the pre-recorded event or on the E3 show floor, but it recently got a release date for Japan and Europe. No word yet on an NA release. I wonder why this could be? NoA has a long history of showing indifference toward anything that isn’t a part of the core Nintendo properties, and I hope we’re not going to get shafted on this one.