July 31, 2021

E3 2018: Nintendo – A Whole Lotta Smash.


I’m not going to say that the Nintendo E3 Direct was terrible. A little odd, but enjoyable.

It kicked off with a tantalising look at a brand new mech game, Daemon X Machina. From what we saw, I’d hazard a guess that it is heavily influenced by Zone of the Enders – which is certainly no bad thing, mind you. And then we quickly moved into a new Xenoblade Chronicles 2 expansion – Torna: The Golden Country, which seems to be adding in much of the back story on Torna and how things went so horribly wrong so long ago. Coming in September, it’s nice to see a date for it I can tell you that.

Then we swiftly moved into Pokémon: Let’s Go, which is starting to look like a proper Pokémon game, just with the Pokémon Go catching mechanics. In terms of graphics, this is a gigantic leap of a game already; where Sun and Moon were still a little rough around the edges, here Kanto is polished, slick, with light and shadow and depth and colour and scale. Is it the Pokémon game people wanted this year? Probably not, but this is still a gorgeous game.

And then a new Mario Party for the Switch. *crickets*

There was plenty to get excited for – the new Fire Emblem game has been dated for Early 2019, with the moniker of “Three Houses“. It looks gorgeous – the art style from Fire Emblem Warriors is back here, and it’s absolutely breathtaking on a newer, larger scale. Fortnite and Paladins are out today; as is Hollow Knight. We also got a bunch of indie game teasers like Overcooked 2.

That got us to about 20 minutes. Then it was time for Smash to roll in.

What followed then depends on your tolerance for Smash as a video game; some will say it was a massive letdown, others will be hyped out of their minds. Here’s the fundamentals though; It’s called Smash Bros. Ultimate, it has every character that’s appeared in the series to date – yes, ALL OF THEM, including Snake – and skins are now considered “echos”, alternate versions of a fighter with their own quirks. Daisy was confirmed as a Peach echo, but she plays very differently; same basic moveset, but tweaked and different. Stages now have Battlefield and Omega variations, there have been a lot of visual, technical and mechanical tweaks for the hardcore Smash fans to sink their teeth into, as well as numerous graphical overhauls on characters and stages of yesteryear. It’s an absolutely massive amount of content – and everyone is there as standard, though you will be unlocking as you play.

And Ridley has been added alongside The Inklings as a new character.

Personally, I thought it was alright – it wasn’t the strongest showing, although sadly that also has a lot to do with many titles having leaked weeks ago, and Fortnite and Paladins in particular being fairly obvious about their launch dates, leaving no real shock or surprise moment. Fire Emblem is my personal “I Want That”, but Daemon X Machina… yeah, I want the floaty mech combat game. That’ll be awesome! But it was alright. Nintendo made it clear Smash was going to be the highlight this year and it was, so it’s kind of hard to be angry at them for spelling out their intentions ahead of time.

For me, it was fine. It was no Microsoft conference, but it was no Sony or EA show either. It was okay. In the middle. Serviceable. Fine.

But I will say this; Nintendo probably has a few more things to come and I wouldn’t doubt Nintendo has another Direct in a few months with more stuff. Whilst E3 is important, I have to admit I don’t think E3 is -as- important for Nintendo, who’ve made a case for them having several showcases throughout the year. It was all about their big game; Smash Bros. If that wasn’t what you were into… it’s okay, you can be disappointed in that. I won’t hold it against you.

Could it have been more? Sure. But Nintendo want Smash U (I see the pun!) to be their focus. It’s their Holiday Game; their big Holiday Game even.

Still… I will take away that new Fire Emblem and be totally pumped for it!


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