My Thoughts on Nintendo’s E3 2015 Direct

This week is E3 week- the annual event where miraculous gaming announcements practically reign from the heavens for our viewing pleasure. Need I say more? Nope, I’d rather just start talking impressions on what was shown.

This time, we enter Day 2 with the last console manufacturer’s conference, Nintendo- who like always is being hipster by making a Nintendo Direct. There is no predictions post this time because of time constraints, so I’ll get right into things.

I wasn’t exactly sure what or how Nintendo was going to do this year. Nintendo is a peculiar company in a lot of ways and are therefore very difficult to predict. Sony and Microsoft are more corporate which allows you to deduce a lot before their conferences. Nintendo is very set in their ways, however.

They always do their own thing and will just deal with the fallout later. I remember them pulling a lot of anticipated games from their E3 line-up, the most jarring exclusion being Zelda Wii U. Only Nintendo would make that move; the question was whether that was a good or bad decision.

I knew what I was hoping to see at least. I wanted to see a new big Mario game, Metroid, at least one new IP and at least one obscure returning franchise. The rest of my hopes were givens. I felt both good and concerned as the conference was beginning. The show started and was so exciting… then it continued. By the end, I was scratching my head thinking “That’s it?”

There are two parties when it comes to this direct: those who were underwhelmed and those who were angry. I’m mostly in the first camp where I was disappointed that there wasn’t more, but I didn’t hate the conference enough to be angry. One thing is for sure. Nintendo had a pretty weak showing this year. This isn’t me having high standards from last year’s event either. I legitimately thought their event was pretty boring.

Some wondered what went wrong here. I believe their approach to E3 was so scattered as opposed to last year, and that was the issue. Imagine for a moment that the Smash Bros direct and the Earthbound Beginnings announcement was inserted into the main conference. While the difference would be minimal, it would’ve helped. I also feel that Nintendo is intentionally holding things back so that they aren’t announcing things too early. (Something the other companies don’t do).

But, I’ve rambled enough about the direct as a whole. Let’s get into each game individually. This time I feel I can cover each announcement.

I think Nintendo is the only E3 conference with actual tropes. The one I’m referring to is their skit-comedy approach. Every year there’s a new theme. Last year it was Robot Chicken, this year it’s Muppets. It was incredibly funny seeing Iwata, Reggie and Miyamoto as puppets throughout the show. They even addressed the many memes Nintendo has. It was good way to go about the show.

It was also a good way to introduce Star Fox Zero. Far and away, this was the standout game this year. As someone who has only played Star Fox 64, I like the more free-range approach they seem to be doing. The addition of alternate vehicles was also phenomenal touch. Basically, it looks like a lot of fun, and I’ll be picking this up for Christmas. And just so we;re clear, I think the graphics look great overall.

Skylanders Super Chargers is going to be on the Wii U with a little something extra. There will be Donkey Kong and Bowser figures that will double as both Skylander and Amiibo with a simple turn of the base. Not big on Skylanders, so I didn’t care about this announcement.

There was a Zelda game shown after all, and it’s called Triforce Heroes. I’m only just getting into Zelda, so this announcement goes above my head for now.

Hyrule Warriors Legends is the 3DS port of the Wii U game which I already own. This wasn’t even a surprise. So next.

Everyone wanted a new Metroid game, but no one expected Metroid Prime Federation Force. This ended up being the most controversial game shown, and I can understand how Metroid fans felt spat upon. I wouldn’t say I was angry at the announcement; I was certainly not angry enough to sign a freaking petition against it. I think that’s overreacting. It looks lame even without Metroid’s name, so I’m just not buying it.

We saw trailers for Fire Emblem Fates and Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem. They look pretty cool, but I don’t follow Fire Emblem. Again, next!

While I never played Xenoblade before, Xenoblade Chronicles X looks awesome! I’m very picky when it comes to RPGs, but I love a good action RPG such as this. Can’t wait to give it a whirl.

Then we have another two-for-one special- this time with Animal Crossing. I don’t follow Animal Crossing either. I guess Happy Home Designer looks okay. I’d give it a chance. Amiibo Festival is another story. I have very little interest in this game, especially considering its dependency on Amiibo. You’d have to be either a pro Amiibo hunter or decently wealthy to even get the full experience. Not sure who this is appealing to, but it’s certainly not me.

Yoshi’s Woolly World was then shown. They basically announced nothing new here, so it’s just padding. I don;t know what it is about this game. I’m so conflicted as to whether I love or hate this game. There’s so much to like here especially if you like the Yoshi games, but it also looks so generic. I hope I can pick up the game and change my mind. For now, I thought this part was boring.

Looks like I’m getting my Mario game after all… kinda. I was hoping for a 3D Mario game on Wii U (especially with the 30th anniversary), but what I got wasn’t that bad.

I thought Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam is a good idea. I like both series (though I prefer Paper Mario). The two blended in nicely, though it looks to play more like a M&L game with Paper Mario aspects. This was my third favorite announcement.

Next was Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash on Wii U. I think Mario Tennis is a fun game, but I found this game’s presence unnecessary. Even though it’s been three years since the last installment, MTO feels so recent. The only big difference is the ultra mushroom, and that doesn’t change matter much.

Finally, the show closed with Mario Maker. Once again, they showed nothing new (besides the booklet a la All-Stars on Wii). And, as I feared, this will be the game to celebrate Mario’s 30th anniversary. Listen, I have no real qualm with Mario Maker itself. It looks fine, but I think it screams downloadable eShop game. In a way it’s a fitting celebration of Mario’s roots, but I would’ve prefered at least an announcement of something bigger. Yes, I realize how spoiled I sound right now. That’s just how I feel. I’m not mad at all, just underwhelmed.

The last thing I’ll touch on is that 8-bit Mario amiibo. You know, the one that makes my Smash Bros version look cheap? I actually kinda liked that. I already realize how rare that thing is going to be, but I wouldn’t mind having one.

There you have my thoughts on Nintendo’s E3 direct. Let me know in the comments what you thought of Nintendo’s performance this year.

I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!

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