Friday 19 June 2015

Nintendo @ E3 2015

After E3 2012 Nintendo stopped doing live press conferences, instead opting for pre-recorded presentations airing on Nintendo Direct. I understand the reason for this as pulling off an E3 press conference is extremely costly, but without a live Nintendo presence there every year, E3 has never quite felt the same. Last years E3 ended on Nintendo's presentation, and with a pre-recorded and cut together video essentially signing off E3 as a whole, it felt a little hollow. With Wii U sales starting to pick up and 3DS sales still dominating the globe, there were high hopes for Nintendo this year, live press conference or not. 

Star Fox Zero

One of Nintendo's most beloved games back on the SNES was Star Fox. Boasting 3D graphics that were incredibly impressive for its time, Star Fox quickly became an iconic title associated with all things Nintendo. Star Fox 2, which by the way was completely finished for the SNES, was cancelled as the Nintendo 64 was quickly approaching release at the time. However after the release of Star Fox 64 the series hasn't really been given the attention it deserves. Sure there have been other entries in the series released, but nothing has gotten back to what made Star Fox and Star Fox 64 so special. Nintendo just announced a new Star Fox game though, are they're clearly hoping that Star Fox Zero brings the series back in style.

Planned to release on the Wii U near the end of this year, Star Fox Zero looks like classic Star Fox. The gameplay shown is quite nice, and played heavily on the capabilities of the additional screen on the Wii U Gamepad. In Star Fox Zero you can look around with the Gamepad and even aim with it. This means that while your controlling your ship on your primary TV screen as per usual, you'll be able to use the Gamepad to aim and shoot at enemies on the fly. This looks pretty fun, and with the added ability for your ship to transform into a land based walking vehicle, it looks like the Star Fox we all know and love but with a twist.

The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes

It wouldn't be E3 without news of a new upcoming The Legend of Zelda, and with the lack of updates regarding the Wii U title The Legend of Zelda (that's the great looking open-world Zelda game!), in its place came a different Zelda title instead. This isn't a game for the Wii U though, as Tri Force Heroes is a game for there far more successful piece of kit.

What was instantly noticeable about Tri Force Heroes was the fact that the game stars three different Links. Though they're wearing different coloured clothes, these three characters are different versions of Link himself. However, the game isn't a single-player experience, but rather is a three-player cooperative game. Sporting visuals akin to A Link Between Worlds, you'll be able to play the game online with two other players. Each Link has their own unique abilities and weapons, and with the fun looking totem game mechanic being a large part of the games design, this is definitely a game to watch out for.

Metroid Prime: Federation Force

Growing up I was never a Metroid fan. But hey, it wasn't because I was a complete tool, no, it was because I never owned a NES or SNES. Sure I could have picked up a Metroid title on my Gameboy, but back then I didn't know what Metroid even was. Playing Metroid Prime on the Gamecube back in 2002 got me into the world of Metroid, and while there hasn't been a Metroid game as good as Metroid Prime since it was released, Nintendo are hoping this new game in the series taps into Metroid Primes magic. There's one catch though; the new game looks shit.

Literally looking like a bargain bin iPhone game, Metroid Prime: Federation Force is not the Metroid game we've been waiting for. Nope. Though Nintendo responded to the criticism in saying that Samus Aran does make an appearance and that it does have a single-player mode, what we were shown here is a dodgy as f*ck co-op shooter. Sporting visuals that look worse than what you'd expect from the PSP era, with an online petition by Nintendo fans asking for its cancellation almost hitting 17,000 signatures, a lot of gamers are upset about this lazy looking Metroid game.

Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer

Though other websites have put more attention on the other Animal Crossing title announced, Amiibo Festival, I think this one looks far more interesting. Unknown to many, the original Animal Crossing game was originally out for the Nintendo 64 in Japan. It was later brought on the Gamecube and released worldwide, and its focus on living within a small quirky town won the hearts of many, including myself. From mailing your friends gifts online that will turn up in their postboxes, to constantly upgrading and adding to your virtual house, the game was bizarre, funny and incredibly imaginative. So while it's not exactly a typical Animal Crossing game, Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer is the next entry in the series.

As the name might suggest, the game places you in the role of a interior designer, and in Happy Home Designer it's your job to design the houses for the many weird inhabitants of your town. However, the various people of the town have certain ideas about what they want, so it's up to you to take on board their ideas and do your best to meet their needs. Though it doesn't exactly look as in-depth as previous Animal Crossing games, I'm pretty exited about Happy Home Designer. I always found the world of Animal Crossing to be a lot of fun to dick around in, and with the promise of another 3DS bound Animal Crossing game, regardless of its gameplay focus, I'm on board already.

Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam

When I played Paper Mario on the Nintendo 64 back in 2001 I loved it. Featuring a really cool visual style that merged 2D sprites with 3D levels, the game was a massively different take on the classic series.  The game spawned three sequels, The Thousand-Year Door, Super Paper Mario and Sticker Star, with each one continuing the pretty unusual visual style set up in the first game. During Nintendo's E3 broadcast they finally announced a new Paper Mario title. Yay!

Titled Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam and inbound for the 3DS, the upcoming game is a crossover of the worlds of Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi. As you can see in the trailer, 3D Bowser picks a fight with classic 2D Bowser, and it essentially sets up some pretty funny interactions between both of these vastly different Mario universes. The gameplay trailer looks bloody fantastic, and as soon as the huge Papercraft Mario turned up, I was basically frothing at the mouth. Nothing is as comfy as a Mario game, let alone a Mario game that's as inventive and a different as this.

Overall Nintendo did an OK job. Without a real presence at E3 everything felt a little soulless. Though Metroid Prime: Federation Force looks like an abomination, everything else Nintendo showcased was pretty good. It was typical E3 showing for Nintendo in terms of titles revealed, and though most titles were for the 3DS, Star Fox Zero just might convince gamers to take the Wii U plunge. If not I don't think we'll be seeing the console at many more E3's.

Denis Murphy

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