E3 Post-Show Analysis: Nintendo

by Sage Ashford

The Tuesday of the official E3 show Nintendo always sends out one of their patented Nintendo Directs early in the morning, ending the series of pre-show press conferences. Though they go last, they have the advantage of having the day to themselves before the conference proper begins, and their pre-recorded format allows them to perfect their show before it airs. So, how’d they do?

We opened with a new title from developer MARVELOUS and mecha designer Shoji Kawamori (Macross) known as Daemon x Machina. Though this trailer is short, they showed off a ton of gameplay later on–you play a pilot who wrecks corrupted AI with the help of his robot. During the game players can pick up equipment from wrecked AI in order to take back to base and improve their own suits, which sounds like the Armored Core-esque game people have been looking for all this time.

Fire Emblem: The Three Houses was easily the game I was most excited to see for E3. After years of seeing Fire Emblem confined to portable consoles only, it was nice to see the graphical upgrade the Switch was capable of offering. Unfortunately, the title wound up being delayed into next Spring, which feels like the only thing that could’ve happened given they’ve been radio silent on the game since it was first announced back in February of 2017.   Still, Nintendo’s schedule will survive without it, and this only makes their 2019 look even stronger.

Can I just say how much I love the idea of massive expansions to single player titles have caught on? Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna The Golden Country gets a lengthy trailer here for content that’s supposedly going to be about thirty hours long, with the game adding an entire new continent complete with it’s own city, set several hundred years before the main game even begins. Hopefully this catches on, as Monolith Software is a great studio and they deserve as much success as possible.

Pokemon Let’s Go feels like exactly what’s needed in terms of a meaningful break from the franchise as we’ve known it up to now that’s approachable to new players. It breaks away enough that it’s deemed a spin-off, but not so much it would cause someone who wanted to jump into the main line generation 8 games next year to be completely alienated. They talk about the PokeBall accessory here, priced at a “completely reasonable” $49.99. It’s great you’re not required to buy this in order to play Pokemon Let’s Go, but I can’t help thinking it’s a bit of a rip-off the only way to get Mew is to buy one of these things. Still, the nostalgia runs strong here, and despite the changes Pokemon LG was one of my favorite games of E3.

Lastly, they had the reveal of Super Mario Party, a game I’m absolutely certain will be the death of many friendships in the future. After releasing Mario Party: The Top 100 for the 3DS last year, it’s good that they’ve finally brought the series over to the Switch–it’ll serve as the perfect party game to take the torch from 1,2 Switch.
Afterwards we got a reel of indie and third party titles coming to the system over the next few months, including Fortnite, Killer Queen, and Octopath Traveler. The Switch has quickly become a popular home for indie titles, and gamers can continue to look forward to that.

At only seventeen minutes in to a 42 minute conference, you’d think there would be more than one title featured in the remaining twenty five minutes.  And yet, somehow Masahiro Sakurai talked about the next iteration of Smash Bros, Super Smash Bros, Ultimate, for nearly a half hour. Of course Smash is a huge game so I’m not surprised, though I do wonder if they’ll even bother doing a Smash-only direct later in the year for promotion, and if so what they would even talk about.
Nintendo’s show can’t even be said to have edged out Sony’s show, to be honest. The show started out with excellent pacing before it started talking about Smash. I’m not sure who decided reading patch notes for the latest iteration of Nintendo’s platform fighter was a good idea, but yikes. It got to a point where they were talking about how Bayonetta’s guns sound differently based on whether you’d chosen her costume from 1 or 2 and it’s like…who is this for? Only the most hardcore Smash fans could have possibly found that interesting.
Still, their aim is understandable. Unlike the Wii U era, Nintendo already has a ton of people rolling in to buy their console; they no longer need to convince you that good games are on the way if you just wait. The console is already selling well, so they can unveil games at their leisure rather than feel forced to talk about upcoming games too soon.  So you got a small smattering of titles, an indie showcase reel, then twenty five minutes of discussing the game that everyone wanted to hear about the most. Not terribly exciting, but it’d be surprising if we didn’t see a Direct within the next two months, nevermind before the year’s out. Their unique way of bringing games to fans means they can drop new titles whenever.
Grade: C+

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