5) Metroid: Federation Force
Just having this here may read like a spoiler to some with regards to the question above.
To be honest, it may be the result of a Splatoon hangover, but I’m actually kind of looking forward to this one just as a game on its own merits. Having it developed by Canada’s Next Level Games doesn’t hurt matters any, either.
As for it being Metroid-related? It doesn’t bother me that much, and I actually hope this might add some additional lore and world-building for the franchise. However, the way they specify “the Metroid Prime universe” does worry me slightly in that regard, as it implies a bit of a divide between those games and the “real” Metroid games.
The art style is a point of contention for some as well, but this is not the first time (with thanks to Metroid Database) the series has taken on a more playful, cartoony style, so it bothers me little.
4) Skylanders SuperChargers
I’ve barely played Skylanders outside of demos at press events, but it’s always been a fun and interesting time. I was even supposed to review one game for Nintendo Force magazine, but fate conspired against me to lose the package in the mail, and so the assignment went to someone else. It’s just one of those things that never happened for me simply on account of other things happening instead.
That said, this has renewed my interest and taken things up several notches beyond whatever fascination I had with the series before. Not only are Bowser and Donkey Kong getting involved, but they have multiple vehicles to use as well? Sold! And the designs are pretty slick, besides.
My only trepidation is with how the Nintendo-exclusive characters are supposed to be distributed. The box art shows Bowser for the Wii Starter Pack and DK for the Wii U’s. I really hope that they’re sold separately, because requiring you to buy two console Starter Packs to get both characters would be asinine. A console and a handheld? Sure, that would make a little sense, but if I have the Wii U version, the Wii version would be next to useless for me.
3) Super Mario Maker
Okay, so we saw this before when it was debuted last year, but the newly-rechristened Super Mario Maker has been something of a show stealer throughout Nintendo’s E3 events this year. Most of that would be disregarded for not being a part of the Digital Event itself, but then they had a whole portion with Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka digging out 30-year old documents showing how they designed the game. That alone made for a cool moment, and as Bob Mackey points out, it really has me wishing they’d release a book with these documents shared for posterity.
2) Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam
This one blew my mind. It was a small explosion, but an explosion all the same.
Intelligent Systems’ Paper Mario used to be my favorite Mario role playing game series, and Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door remains one of my favorite games, RPG or otherwise, of all time. The series overall has been usurped in my mind by AlphaDream’s Mario & Luigi series, which seemed to plateau after reaching its height in Bowser’s Inside Story, rather than decline as Paper Mario has. Suffice to say, seeing the two come together like this was something I never expected.
Incidentally, it’s no small secret that I’m a big fan of the Mario franchise. That said, I never imagined that Paper Mario was some sort of alternate world, as this game clearly presents it — I figured it was simply an aesthetic choice. Now I’m wondering how far this rabbit hole goes: Are the Mario & Luigi games a separate world from the core games?
In truth, I’m a little disappointed, if only because I always wanted the likes of Koops and Goombella to take on roles in the “regular” Mario world, like in the Mario Party or sports games where a generic Koopa Troopa or Goomba would be used. It could still happen, but this sort of divide makes it seem less likely than ever.
Just the same, I’m really looking forward to this one. If AlphaDream can keep up the same quality as they’ve achieved since Bowser’s Inside Story, I’ll be happy, but if they can do even better? Then we’re in for a treat.
That said, this also has me a little worried about the future of Paper Mario. After Super Paper Mario met with a lukewarm response, the formerly console-exclusive series got moved to the Nintendo 3DS, where Miyamoto took the worst parts of the feedback from the previous game and saw to it that everything which made the first two games great was completely stripped out in Paper Mario: Sticker Star. The response to that, from what I’ve seen, seems to be even worse, and with it being sent over into AlphaDream’s world… maybe Intelligent Systems has simply been too busy with Fire Emblem and Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. to have anything for a new installment yet, but I hope this isn’t some sort of swan song or something.
1) Star Fox Zero
What else could be #1? It was so good that Nintendo even kicked off with it by way of Muppet-style executives introducing the show.
A couple of years ago, I wrote an article for 1UP looking at different ways the series could go from its seeming conclusion in Star Fox Command, and “reboot” seems to be the course chosen. Curiously, Nintendo seems to almost be avoiding referring to it as a reboot; how very strange.
It looks great in any case, and though it seems to skew more towards Star Fox 64 than the Super NES original than I’d hoped for, there are still elements of that classic peeking their way in. The furry puppet look of the models from the promo art of the original game, for instance, or bringing back the abandoned walker mode for the Arwings from the cancelled Star Fox 2. Some new stuff as well, including an alternate mode for the Landmaster tank and the new Gyrowing copter, complete with the cute R.O.B.-esque Direct-i robot.
All I want from this now are two things: Some sort of Combiner/Megazord mode (“Project: Giant Robot” was rumored to be a part of this game, right?), and the ability to play as Falco.
Xenoblade Chronicles X
This one had a whole Nintendo Direct to itself not that long ago, and we didn’t see much (if anything) new here.
Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival
A Mario Party-style game with Animal Crossing characters? Sign me up! The amiibo aspect has me wary, though.
Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash
This looks like a return to tennis with more of a Mario twist, like jumping high for the ball and using Mega Mushrooms to grow larger. Mario Tennis Open for Nintendo 3DS fell a little flat in this regard, so hopefully this will kick things up a notch — and make the characters more distinct.
The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes
One would think I’d be more excited for this one, and while I am… I don’t know. This looks cool, but it didn’t knock my socks off enough to rank in the Top 5. Online multiplayer is a plus, though!
Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer
This is another previously-revealed game, and it does intrigue me. When I have my own place in Animal Crossing, I’m more concerned with how I want it to look, rather than any feng shui or scores or whatever. I realize I’m missing out on an aspect of the game as a result, but I generally don’t care.
But here? Now maybe I can finally enjoy that aspect without compromising my own home.
Hyrule Warriors Legends
This was spoiled before the show, so nothing really new to see here. Looking forward to it, but the Digital Event offered little to nothing we didn’t already know in the week leading up to it.
This was a pretty cool way to end the show, with fans celebrating 30 years of Super Mario Bros. I hope I can be a part of what they’re doing with it here — I just wonder how they’ll respond to my costume.
That’s the last of the Big Three’s press events for the 2015 Electronic Entertainment Expo. It should come as little surprise that Nintendo’s did the most for me, though to be honest, very little really wowed me, even from that. Part of that comes from Nintendo themselves having semi-frequent Nintendo Directs throughout the year to go over games in more detail; it hasn’t really been a problem until now, but between those and The Legend of Zelda for Wii U being a complete no-show, they left little for the big event to really blow anyone away.
Of course, their entire E3 week as a whole is pretty awesome, complete with the ongoing Treehouse coverage, the return of the Nintendo World Championships, new Super Smash Bros. content, and even a release of Earthbound Beginnings for the Virtual Console. But none of that was in the main event itself, and so sadly does not count for this article. Come to think of it, the other two seem to be doing more extended streaming coverage throughout the show… maybe I should reconsider how I do this next year?
Anyway, that’s really been par for the course this year. Very little blew me away personally, but that isn’t to say I didn’t like anything. Rather, I have a sort of feeling of contentedness, looking forward to upcoming releases, but without any extreme hype but for a few that are coming later this year. Last year was a bit of a jump for how much I wanted a PlayStation 4 and especially an Xbox One, and this year hasn’t provided a similar jump — I still want them, of course, but for the most part, it’s for all the same reasons I did at this time last year.
I already own a Wii U and a Nintendo 3DS, of course, and I feel like I’m going to be pretty well taken care of on those fronts.