Well, that was certainly… interesting. As far as my predictions were concerned, there were some things I got so astoundingly right I’m considering opening a fortune-telling business, and some things I got so astonishingly wrong I’m considering wearing a paper bag over my head for the rest of my life. I think the general consensus is that this year was somewhat underwhelming – in the same way swimming in the North Pole is somewhat cold – but let’s not waste any time (like Nintendo did, ahem) and get straight into the Direct, game by game. This may not be a very long article.
Daemon X Machina: Or “Demon Machine” for the non-Latin speakers among us (Centurions and Tories need not apply), this certainly made for a strong opener. Looking like some weird abomination lovechild of Kid Icarus: Uprising and Transformers: Devastation with a striking red and black aesthetic like Shadow the Hedgehog’s bedroom, this weird Gundam fighter showcased a lot of beating on giant mechs and a surprising amount of strange trippy imagery – even for Nintendo, who’ve supported themselves on a mushroom-guzzling plumber for 35 years. It proudly showed off a bunch of names that mean absolutely nothing to me, and is coming “2019.” Good stuff.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 DLC: Having played all 3 Xenoblades, and speaking as a fan of RPGs, I can honestly say they’ve never grabbed me, and I don’t think they’re very good. I know, slander (or I guess libel, technically). There’s just far too much going on system-wise, with tutorials still popping up 20+ hours in, and also an irritating JRPG obsession with “waifu” culture that hamstrings the game for anyone who enjoys being outside. Anyway, this expansion features a big evil robot being evil for big evil reasons, and lots of bright-eyed pretty-boys standing around trying to look intimidating at each other. Sure it’ll be lovely for people who like that. Nya~ <3
Reggie’s House Featuring Pokemon: I’m beginning to suspect Reggie’s House has been delayed – this is the second year it’s been shown, and the graphics are looking amazing, but there’s still no release date, not even a vague “2019” like E3 has loved this year. Ha ha. Anyway, after a brief little “thank you for giving us all your money, we missed your money” speech, Reggie talked us through Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu & Eevee – not really showing us anything new, apart from trying to entice us into the vastly expensive Pokeball Plus by selling it with a virtual cat-dude we’ve been given several times before. Swell.
Super Mario Party: Now THIS, interests me. Unique tabletop uses, including combining Switches into an extended play area which looks, I believe the technical term is “neat”, a return to the classic gameplay formula after Mario Party 9 & 10 packed everyone into a car for a miserable time, and Goomba as a playable character, and look at his little face, trying his gosh darn best bless him. Launching October 5, mark your calendars.
Fire Emblem – Three Houses: I’ve decided to rename this year’s Nintendo event “weEb 3.” I was beginning to suspect that Fire Emblem Switch had been cancelled, given that we got a logo in January 2017 and have heard nothing since, but here it is, looking as niche as ever. Featuring some free-roaming thing so you can go over your mate’s house (hence the title, I presume) and some army mechanic where you kind of run at each other and hope for the best? It’s not for me, and I think that may be the issue with this year – it’s all very, specialised.
Fortnite for Switch: I have nothing to say other than I called this from a mile away, so you can all bask in my radiance.
Everything else: Weird how they slipped some unannounced games into this sizzle reel, including some fairly big ones like Dragonball Fighters Z – it’s hype, for sure, but it feels like Nintendo didn’t really know what to do with it, like finding an anchovy in your pocket. Reggie was a big tease thinking we’re all very excited for Octopath Traveller (which still sounds like the name of some unpleasant Japanese pornographic material) because I think they’re bigging up their relationship with Square Enix. Hollow Knight dropping that night was an unexpected surprise; I’m currently playing through it now, and maaay write up a review of it at a later date. It’s also worth noting that a new Starfox game was announced, technically, just Nintendo’s not actually making it at all, but instead he’s in Starlink by Ubisoft, so it might actually be good.
Smash Bros Ultimate: This is the big one – as evidenced by the fact that it took up over half of the Nintendo Direct, which even I as an enormous smash fan think is a little much. Every single character returning was something I wasn’t expecting – mainly because wrestling the rights to Snake from Konami’s clutches is like trying to wrestle a freshly-caught salmon from a very hungry bear – but it gives us (essentially) 7 new characters right off the bat. Echo fighters have potential too, if just because I can Falcon Punch Daisy over and over and over, and the newcomers have some nice flair too – Ridley is so metal he makes Doom look like Animal Crossing.
Overall, this year’s E3 was fine, but I think we’ve been spoiled slightly by how good last year’s presentation was. Not a huge amount of variety on show, and not the blockbuster presentation it could’ve been by any means, but certainly not bad. I sure know I’ve watched enough Smash Bros. Ultimate that I think I legally have a pHD in it now, so they must be doing something right.