For our last bit of E3 2017 insanity, we’re going to talk about Nintendo. They’ve got a new console you may have heard of. It’s called the Switch; a neat little hybrid console/handheld thing with detachable controllers that’s almost impossible to buy. You might have thought they’d announce new games for that thing, and…well, you were right. Good call. My job’s going to be in trouble if people keep making miraculous out-of-the-blue predictions like that.
Perhaps I can secure my employment for a bit longer if I talk about exactly which games were announced. Let’s take a closer look at what the Japanese giant had to offer, shall we?
I was about to say that the biggest announcement and trailers were Metroid-related, but then I was reminded that Super Mario Odyssey is a thing so that’s not necessarily true. Still, the fact that there’s going to be a Metroid Prime 4 is certainly cause for celebration, even if we now know that it’s not necessarily going to be a Retro Studios game like the previous titles. We’ve also got a new 2D Metroid on 3DS in Metroid: Samus Returns, a remake of the classic Gameboy adventure Metroid 2: Return of Samus. Given the incredibly questionable performance of Metroid Prime: Federation Force last year, I’m a little surprised that we’re seeing the franchise continue at all, but there you have it.
That’s cool and all, but Super Mario Odyssey! It’s on Switch, it’s coming later this year! We found out a little more about the game’s mechanics in the latest trailer, including Mario’s newfound ability to possess monsters, objects, dinosaurs (!), and even people by tossing his cap onto them. There seems to be a pretty wide variety of candidates for this ability; a personal favorite was the ability to possess an electric spark and travel rapidly around via power lines. Combined with an open world layout and what looked like some degree of cosmetic customization for Mario, Odyssey looks like it’s going to be a must-have.
Isn’t that how Nintendo works, though? They swagger in at the end of E3 and just toss out a bunch of new entries in their biggest franchises. We’ve got a new Yoshi which appears to be a cross between the recent Wooly World and Paper Mario games. We’ve got a new Kirby, this one with tons of co-op and what appears to be a partner and ability combination system. We’ve got Xenoblade Chronicles 2, astoundingly not delayed as many had thought it might be, which is looking to be the same flavor of JRPG deliciousness that Xenoblade Chronicles and its sequel X capitalized on in the previous few years.
They’re even remaking the fantastic Game Boy Advance RPG Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga. Nintendo’s first-party franchises are an unstoppable freight train of amazing.
That’s not to say that first-party Nintendo games were all that were on offer this year, but they were certainly the heaviest hitters. We’ve got ports of Rocket League and Skyrim coming to Switch, for instance, though it’s difficult to get too worked up about older games like that. Sonic Forces is also going to land on Switch; you might remember this one as the Sonic game where you create your DeviantArt original character (do not steal) in-game and play as them. These were minor notes compared to the symphony of first-party content Nintendo laid out, though.
So with all that said and done, how did this year’s E3 turn out? Well, if we’re going to rank the Big Three’s conferences this year, I think Microsoft came out on top with new hardware and some great-looking games, followed by Nintendo with their usual first-party gloriousness. We’ve got Sony in a distant third with more of the same and no significant surprises. It’s been a few years since we’ve seen Microsoft really knock a conference out of the park, so it’s nice to see them make a comeback.
As for the show as a whole, while it lacked the bombastic reveals of 2015 (Final Fantasy VII remake!) it’s also hard not to look back at 2016’s show with a little bit of bitterness. So many big games from that year turned out to be turds that the whole thing feels a little, well, stinky; Mafia 3, Mighty No. 9, No Man’s Sky, Battleborn, the list goes on and on. I’d put this one as a solid second in the list of E3s I’ve Actually Cared About Beyond Listening To Friends Go On About Them. Let’s hope the coming months avoid the droppings that characterized 2016 and that the games we saw end up being just as great as they looked.