I'm not one to immediately jump to conclusions as to which big company "wins" E3 every year, so that's probably why you're reading this three days after the Digital Event, but now I've had time to come to a consensus and from what I've seen this year, Nintendo really knocked it out of the park. While Microsoft and Sony were catering to the teenage angst of fan services, glorifying 60 fps and exclusive DLC like they were the raining holy mana bread of gaming, Nintendo took the Digital Event and Treehouse after party as a means to showcase what games are truly meant for: fun. Here are the main highlights from this week's Nintendo @ E3:
Of course, Nintendo kicked off the show with Smash Bros, because we were all pretty much thinking that it would make more sense to reveal the new Zelda at the end of the show and have Smash as the appetizer for this year (more on Zelda a little later). The trailer showed Reggie in the flesh battling Iwata, but thankfully the Mii Fighter was revealed to be the new playable character(s) and not Reggie as a standalone (sorry petition signers). That wasn't the last of the character announcements though, for Palutena was revealed just before the Digital Event ended, and at night the same day during a roundtable presentation Pac-Man joined the roster as the third 3rd (sorry)-Party character; sporting his 80's retro look and thankfully not his "character with 'tude" modern design. After all that hype it's a bummer the 3DS version's release date has been set for October 3rd...which Sakurai claims is summer - "Summer" as in a time when everyone is in the middle of school and have no time for games whatsoever. Sigh, at least we got some amazing gameplay footage from the Invitational and daily Miiverse pics to tide us over a little.
But new smash characters wasn't the only new announcement they had up their sleeve. Yoshi's Woolly World, and Kirby and the Rainbow Curse showed off their yarn and claymation art styles respectively, being ever so adorable while showcasing what the Wii U is capable of. Captain Toad's Treasure Tracker was another big surprise, and it's about time Toad finally got his main adventure, puzzle game or not. Monolith's Wii U project formerly called "X" has finally got a decent story trailer it deserved and an official name: Xenoblade Chronicles X. Though the trailer had shown some strangely ugly character designs for a game that's supposed to look hyper-realistic, the Treehouse appeased those worries by playing a demo of the game where the characters actually looked decent, so the trailer shown at the Digital Event was probably from a different development stage in the game. Nevertheless, I have this to say: Xenoblade is getting a spiritual sequel ahhhhhh exclamation point asterisk semi-colon dollar sign eeeeeek!!!! It's a shame its release date got pushed to 2015, but at least it gives me more time to focus on Smash Bros 3DS and Pokemon ORAS.
Another big surprise is the inclusion of the original Bayonetta in Bayonetta 2, which should make every Wii U gamer who didn't play the original very happy. I know it makes me happy, I mean someone FINALLY did an exclusive console sequel right this time. I'm not even going to mention the xbots who are still sadsacks after this, because they choose to have Forza Motorsports and Conker's Bad Disney Project Spark or whatever, so it's their lose when they're watching Bayonetta blasting away demons in a Samus suit.
Xboxone game of the year conf- ZING!
Zelda didn't come first nor did appear last in the digital Event, but boy howdy did it make a lasting impression. If those real-time game images are to believed, this game is going to look freaking gorgeous. The most exciting part? It's the first full 3D Open-World Zelda game on a home console. It's the Zelda game I've praying for ever since I hit a brick wall in Skyward Sword (that brick wall being the game's tutorial monger, Fi), and now it appears I'm getting my wish. Dumb teases over Link's gender aside, there's nothing bad going for this game and I absolutely can't wait for more information.
Xboxone game of the year conf- ZING!
From the crazy opening Robot Chicken skit in which Reggie ingested a fire flower and sets an annoying fan on fire for asking for Mother 3, we can pretty much tell what theme Nintendo was aiming for this year: "Shut the f*** up, our game's are awesome and we're edgy and hip!" It's not everyday that Nintendo strikes back at it's whiny fanbase and/or uses a cartoon from Adult Swim to demonstrate it, so it was pretty damn hilarious.
There wasn't much Mario this time around, save for one game Mario Maker where you can make your own 2-D Mario games. Yep, it's almost like Nintendo is saying: "Hell, if you don't like our New Super Mario Bros games THEN MAKE YOUR OWN!!!" The Mario Maker was shown in a humorous trailer in which Mario was unable to pass through a wall to get to the castle...which is a good indication that you can totally make broken levels, which probably means that the game is more of an evil trolling tool to make everyone you know hate your guts for putting a pipe right over an unpassable gap. And hey, you even share your levels around the world, so why stop with just people you know?
But who cares about that when there's a new Star Fox game in the making! Too bad they weren't any pics to show at this point in development, but Miyamoto had two other new Wii U IPs to show to make up for it. One was called Project Giant Robo and had you use the Wii U pad to walk through a populated city and tip over other giant robots, and the other Project Guard, which is a strategic shooter where you place camera turrets in key points on top of a maze and blast at robots (who look strangely like R.O.B) before they can reach your core reactor. The latter looks to be a really deep game, the former project, however looks more like a silly concept at this point and I can't really judge too much on it until I see more gameplay, but so far it looks a 3rd-Party title you would easily forget existed a year later after its release - hopefully that's not the case with the final product.
If nothing else, the robot editor allows anyone to create robot head penises.
Probably the most exciting new IP is Codename S.T.E.A.M, a turn based strategy game being developed by Intelligent Systems for the 3DS. The game is in a steampunk setting with main heroes inspired by American comic books and enemies modeled from H.P. Lovecraft novels, and it's gameplay is a cross between Advance Wars and Valkyria Chronicles. You can also play as Abraham Lincoln, because holy crap, after that description this game can't get more over the top than it already is. Definitely will be be looking closely at this title in the months to come.
And then there's Splatoon...as if anyone doesn't know what that is at this point...
Look, I'm not going to say Splatoon looks bad in the least, because it looks pretty darn fun, but it was honestly this year's Nintendo Land, in which Nintendo gave a freaking 10 minute slot for a virtually unknown game at the end of the show and would not stop talking about it. I think I can vouch for everyone that we all thought "Thank goddess!" at once when we saw the Smash insigna at the end of the event, because let's face it, this is like a circus performance where the last act is a sad clown who juggles three balls, falls on his butt, and then gets up and leaves, I mean you got to end the show with a bang (shoot the clown if you have to if that's the "bang" you're looking for). Granted, the rest of the show was brilliant to complain about one game, but why would you give Zelda less time than this game, come on.
That aside, the secrecy surrounding amiibo and what the figures actually do in other titles besides Smash Bros. was a little disappointing. Though we did get a good list of titles the amiibo will cover in the future, they're mostly if not all Mario games, and though it's exciting Mario Kart 8 is compatible with the figurines, it's disappointing that nothing was shown for it. But that's just me, since I'll buy them all anyway, though I just think it's strange that Nintendo would be so secret about something they believe would save Wii U sales.
"It's a-mii, maribo! Get it? Because his name is...yeah, forget it."
And speaking of secrecy, what was up with those disclosed roundtables? What was the point of that if they allowed us to see them an hour later???? Reading that Pac-Man was a newcomer on a liveblog is so much less exciting than watching a reveal trailer that it makes less sense the more you try to come up with a conclusion as to why the roundtable wasn't streamed. Same thing with the reveal of Codename S.T.E.A.M - a game we had no idea about and cannot even begin to picture what the heck it even is without pictures. Needless to say, both announcements were great, but please don't try to pull this off again next year, Nintendo, because it's completely arbitrary and no one likes it.
Call me a fanboy, but when I'm playing a Nintendo system, I'm home, and every year E3 enforces that psychology for me. I love this Digital Event because it finally proved that Nintendo does care about making new IPs, and sure as heck would never stoop to the greys and browns of military shooters and their exclusive DLC that Microsoft and Sony keep fighting over like a bunch of rabid hounds. We might not have gotten everything we wanted this year, namely SMTxFE, "Pokken Fighters", or a new Metroid, but there's always monthly Directs for those games anyway. To conclude, this year was great, with minor shortcomings, and I wish Nintendo good luck in getting more Wii U sales once Smash Bros Wii U enter the scene.