Wow, this one sure is coming in later than the others, isn’t it? There’s a very good reason for that, and I’ll get to it in a bit.

This year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo has been something so far, hasn’t it? First we had Microsoft’s conference, which — to me — delivered a nice, consistent spread of games which may not have been the kind of thing to blow the roof off the joint, but will keep me interested in seeing how many of them pan out over the coming months.

Then there was Sony, who took a different tact. While Microsoft was delivering a string of punches designed to wear an opponent down, Sony was throwing out bigger blows which didn’t always connect, but when they did, could take the wind out of your sails.

And here we have Nintendo. Oh, Nintendo, you make this so easy, yet so difficult. Rather than a press conference, they once again delivered a prerecorded video which was shorter than the rest, but kept the game news coming at a rapid clip. Did it work? Well… I find that really hard to say. I’ll come back to that in a bit, but for now, let’s look at what they decided to show us.

The Top 5

Mario + Rabbids

This feels like a cheat, since it was revealed officially at Ubisoft’s conference (and we knew about it from leaks beforehand), but it was a part of Nintendo’s show as well, so here we are at #5 as a compromise.

Despite how odd the premise sounded, I’ve been kind of into this idea from the start, and that has only grown as I’ve seen more. Plus, Mario and turn-based strategy? I’m eager to try this one out.

Metroid Prime 4

This makes the list because I was honestly just happy to know that Nintendo is doing Metroid again. That’s since deflated since we only got to see a logo and nothing more, coupled with a more exciting reveal later. Still, glad to see that my prediction was right!

Yoshi

Wow, it feels like just yesterday when we got Yoshi’s Woolly World. Then again, a Nintendo 3DS port with added content (that I admittedly never really got to try, sadly) will probably lend itself well to that feeling.

Rather than Yarn Yoshi, though, this Yoshi seems to have more of a felt-like plush appearance. Anyway, with my declaration that Yoshi’s Woolly World was finally a truly worthy successor to Yoshi’s Island on the Super NES, it’s hard to be anything but optimistic about this one. Let’s just hope that Nintendo doesn’t hold the Poochy content back exclusively for a second release this time.

Kirby

Another correct prediction, but this title has a steep climb ahead of it in attempting to surpass the phenomenal Kirby: Planet Robobot, which stands as perhaps my favorite Kirby game of all time. Here’s hoping that the developers are up to such a challenge!

Super Mario Odyssey

Anyone who knows me probably figured this would take the top spot. I guess I’m just easy like that.

Fortunately for me, I actually had the opportunity to play the game yesterday as well! After traveling a few towns over for a chance to get about ten to fifteen minutes with it at a Nintendo Kiosk in Mississauga, I stuck around to observe as well. It’s wild: Two worlds — New Donk City and a portion of the Sand Kingdom — were available for play, though you really only had time to dabble in one of them. After I’d had my turn, I observed someone else playing and doing all sorts of stuff I didn’t even see/know about when I was on it.

The best way I can describe it is to take what you know of playing Super Mario 64, and throw in the new elements we’ve seen from these trailers and Treehouse previews. Once you have that picture in your head of what it’s like, now imagine that it feels even better. The thumbnail on the video above is incredibly apt that way.

Playing it reminds me of trying out The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the first time. Though the world isn’t as wide-open and interconnected in the same way, the sheer density of it and the feeling that there’s always something to see or do or try pervades. It’s amazing, and helped along by one noteworthy innovation over previous 3D Mario collectathons, that being the fact that you’re not ejected from the level upon acquiring one of the game’s Macguffins (Moons this time, rather than Stars).

Also, the whole thing with Mayor Pauline in New Donk City (the level I played) just tickles me with its sense of continuity-yet-not from previous games. Either way, having Pauline in a mainline Mario game is a huge plus for me, and I hope that this elevates her stock in the franchise further. Hey Nintendo, how about we see her race next? I don’t think anyone would argue against having her as a new character in either Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (via downloadable content) or whatever comes next.

The only thing that bugs me is the whole return to “Bowser kidnaps Peach lulz” story. But if they’ve got Bowser, Peach, and Mario all in wedding garb (as amiibo, too, no less!), maybe we’ll finally see Mario and Peach tie the knot and put an end to that whole ridiculous thing so they can move on? I’d completely forgive them for going back to it if they did that, because I can’t think of a better way to end it.

I could go on and on, but I have to save it for the preview I’m writing for Nintendo Force‘s E3 issue. Suffice to say, I am extremely hyped for October 27th, when this game comes out, though it does leave me wondering what Nintendo’s big November release will be this year — or if they’re just going to forego it.

Biggest Letdown

Despite no Super Smash Bros. for Switch, Kid Icarus, Excite Truck, or anything from Retro per my wishes/predictions, I still think I did pretty good, all things told. The only non-Nintendo thing I got right was a sequel to Ori and the Blind Forest, so I guess I did okay here.

The biggest letdown for me, though, is making this list. Following their presentation, Nintendo would go on to do their annual Treehouse live stream, and that’s where they pulled out the big guns which would have landed in the Top 5 easily. Unfortunately, rules are rules, and while I could bend them here, I don’t feel that would be at all fair to Microsoft or Sony, who had their own post-press conference news, trailers, etc.

So the end result is that of the Big Three, Nintendo’s showing is the one I actually came away feeling least impressed by, if you can believe it. I think their E3 as a whole has me the most pumped, but for all intents and purposes, their main presentation to me might as well have been Super Mario Odyssey in the way The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was the sole focus last year.

But, that’s probably just me.

Honourable Mentions

And here we have the stuff that didn’t make the Top 5.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Sorry, not-Shulk, but I’m not really feeling it. Not yet, anyway. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild kind of occupies the open-world real estate in my mind right now, but I did like watching my wife play the first and I did enjoy Xenoblade Chronicles X, but that also had a much different feel going on with its world and setting.

Pokémon Switch

I still haven’t played Pokémon Sun or Pokémon Moon yet, so I’m not even sure what to think of this. Plus, like Metroid Prime 4, there wasn’t really anything more to it other than “this is going to be a thing,” and yeah, I think we all figured that already. Confirmation is nice, though.

Fire Emblem Warriors

We already knew about this, and none of my favorite characters have shown up yet, so this is just kinda “cool.”

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Expansion Pass

This looks cool, but I’m still working on the main game, so I’m not sure if I’m ready for this yet. Heck, the regular game is enough for me, I don’t think Master Mode would bring anything but anguish and tears. Plus, it’s kind of ambiguous as to what it actually is… can you play as the Champions? Or is it just a quest relating to them? It’s a significant detail that makes all the difference to me.

Rocket League

I should try this sometime. Maybe this will be reason enough to.

Metroid: Samus Returns

My god, why wasn’t this on the main show?! Metroid Prime 4 was great just by virtue of knowing that Metroid is still a thing, but this — this — actually gave us something to see, to really look forward to besides a logo! Had this been on the Nintendo Spotlight, it would be my #2, elbowing Mario for #1, no question.

On the one hand, I guess it provided incentive to watch the Treehouse, which I’m sure is far more important to Nintendo than making my crummy little list here. Still, as the one making said crummy little list, this kills me.

Anyway, it looks like a fun and interesting remake of a pivotal chapter in Metroid history I never got to fully explore. Let’s just hope that if there’s any characterization going on, Yoshio Sakamoto remains a bit more hands-off this time.

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions

This is another game that would have been an instant Top 5. The original Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga is a game I have a love/hate relationship with: The graphics, sound, and writing are all superb, and I love the setting as well, as it explores more of Mario’s world and lets us see more of the people who inhabit it — and, in a unique twist, the heroes and villains of a separate conflict in a neighboring kingdom that existed before the Marios arrived.

On the other hand, I found the timing of some actions against enemies to be unintuitive, while just walking around can be a tedious hassle by way of all the different formations you have to arrange — both issues that were taken care of nicely in future installments. Plus, the final boss is kind of broken, in that they’re able to kill you at random without allowing you to defend yourself. The Mario & Luigi series is a favorite of mine, and hopefully seeing some things get tightened up will make this the definitive version.

Oh, and the thing with Bowser’s Minions looks neat, too.

The biggest shame is that this isn’t on the Nintendo Switch instead. I feel like this would have been a good opportunity to create an even better version of the game while at the same time establishing whatever framework they need to create future entries, but hey, that’s their prerogative — that’s just how I’d have run it.

On the other hand, being on the two-screen Nintendo 3DS might be just what’s needed to alleviate the aforementioned tedium in switching formations. Guess we’ll see!

—–

And that’s it! As I said, Nintendo had a really good E3 thing going, but I feel like the Nintendo Spotlight itself was the weakest part, at least for me. It’s kind of technical and maybe even nitpicking to a degree, so maybe I’ll reconsider how I evaluate things next year.

If you’d like to watch the whole thing for yourself and tell me what has you excited in the comments below, then you can check it out right here:

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.

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  • Fiona

    It was a very strong showing this year and really saved E3 for me after some very lackluster, samey offerings from the other two big names. Yoshi, Mario, Zelda DLC, Metroid, even Kirby all looked fantastic. I was milling around the idea of a Switch one day. Now it’s a sure bet. Mario Odyssey alone looks like a masterpiece.