It’s become a tradition for Nintendo to help out all of those unlucky souls who didn’t make it to Los Angeles that year in the form of their post E3 events. During these events, Nintendo shows off all the wonderful stuff they showed in LA but in a location that is a little closer to home.
The venue for this year’s Benelux edition was a movie theater and like I’d hoped Nintendo used the available screen real-estate to show off their upcoming games. The event kicked off with a presentation on the big screen showing off the games they had announced during E3. Not all of these were playable at the event though, but they were being played during the presentation.
Metroid: Samus Returns
They kicked off with the upcoming Metroid: Samus Returns, a reimaging of the Gameboy game from 1991. Like with Zero Mission the game sticks to the original’s plot but injects all kinds of modern mechanics into the game. Metroid II is probably the only Metroid game I haven’t played yet so I was quite happily surprised when it was announced.
During the presentation, Nintendo showed off some of the new mechanics in the game. The game features a free aiming mode that can be used to shoot at difficult to reach places aside from shooting monsters. A nice touch here is that while aiming the beam wil turn red when you’ll hit something useful. The biggest new feature, however, is the Melee Counter. A timing-driven mechanic that allows you to repel baddies that are charging at you, stunning them in the process. Also, new are the Aeion powers that allow Samus to scan areas to reveal objects to interact with. A helpful, and fully optional, feature to be sure.
The goal of the game is to finish off the last remaining Metroid, there should be 40 in total. The game has an in-game Metroid radar that should help you pinpoint the location of each of those Metroids. Unlocking new areas is done by injecting Metroid DNA into these special machines. While the big screen was nice it wasn’t in 3D so we couldn’t see any of the 3D effects. The game looked good and the game’s updated graphics should make recognizing areas a lot easier from the original. But the map on the touch screen is probably more useful there.
The game looked good and for me, this is a chance to play the one Metroid game I had missed. The game comes out August 19th.
Nintendo then moved on to the upcoming untitled Yoshi game. It’s immediately apparent that this game is made in the same vein as Yoshi’s Wooly World, which isn’t a bad thing. Gone is the overly cute yarn aesthetic, in is a cardboard style very reminiscent of Paper Mario.
What really surprised me is that the game uses Epic’s Unreal engine. While Nintendo have commented they knew the engine well it is still a surprise to see Nintendo not using one of their own engines, let alone for such a big property. What’s even more surprising is that I couldn’t tell that it wasn’t a custom Nintendo engine. Granted, my only other reference to a platformer using the Unreal engine is the abysmal Mighty No. 9, it’s still good to see the engine being put to good use on the Switch.
That said, it was obvious we were looking at an early build. Things like to animation of the eggs that follow Yoshi was nowhere near the level you’d expect from Nintendo. What was nice however were the impressive depth of field effects already on display. Things in the fore- and background were constantly coming in and out of focus. These effects weren’t just for show though as they were incorporated into the gameplay. First by Yoshi’s new ability to shoot eggs into the background. But more importantly when you play the so-called ‘flip side’ of a level. The flip side is the same level but with the camera pointing the other way. So instead of walking left to right and you now walk right to left. This features typical Nintendo details like seeing the back of some of the paper props in a level, revealing they aren’t painting on that side. These little touches are also used as hints ro reveal the many secrets throughout the levels. What the opposite camera also revealed is the level on display appeared to be in a room somewhere. The presenter made sure to point it out so this may be relevant to the gameplay somehow.
This new Yoshi title looks to be building on the mechanics laid out by Wooly World. This also means we probably won’t be seeing a Switch port of that WiiU game. No title nor launch details were given but we’ll probably see a lot more of this game in 2018.
Super Mario Odyssey
Like last year Nintendo have opted to give one game center stage for E3 and this year that game was, unsurprisingly, Super Mario Odyssey. To be honest I was surprised when I learned that the game was coming out this year and in October even! Nintendo has a reputation for letting the release dates for their big games slip but for Odyssey things seemingly went according to plan.
The result didn’t give the impression that this game was rushed or unfinished in any way. Odyssey is a continuation of the gameplay from Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine. While a hub world wasn’t shown the presentation (and the playable demo) had two Kingdoms on display. These kingdoms are open world sandbox type areas where you can explore to your heart’s content. The main collectible this time around are power moons which can be found scattered throughout the kingdoms. Collecting a power moon doesn’t ‘complete’ a level though so you can find as many as you please.
The biggest gameplay addition comes in the form of Patty, Mario’s sentient hat that you can use to possess objects and people (as long as they aren’t wearing a hat). This is used in a lot of different ways, from traversing big pitfalls as a bullet bill to ‘possessing’ a spark of electricity to move across a power line.
The game looked great with enough detail in all of the objects. The desert world did look a bit barren but I guess that is kind of the point for a desert wasteland. The Metro Kingdom – the city world showed off in the trailer – did not suffer from this lack of activity at all. What surprised me is that apparently, the main type of control are the disconnected Joy-Con. This is because the game also has some motion controls tucked away. Things like throwing Cappy are handled by motion (as well as the Y button). Also rolling around required moving both Joy-Con in tandem. The Nintendo rep assured me that the game is fully playable without motion controls (and with a Pro controller) but apparently Nintendo still believes in motion controls. Further use of the controller included using (HD) rumble to hint at the location of hidden power moons.
What’s also new in Odyssey are outfits, these can be used to enter areas that require a specific dress code (because you know). Other than getting you into the happening places, it wasn’t clear to me what other effects outfits have.
Playing Super Mario Odyssey has me definitely excited for October 27th. The game looked good, ran smooth and seemed to offer heaps of secrets. Definitely one to look out for!
Splatoon 2: Salmon Run
Splatoon 2 is around the corner so I didn’t spend too much time with this game. However, I did manage to play a couple of rounds of the new Salmon Run mode. In this mode, you need to collect golden eggs while fighting off waves of salmon. What really hit me here was how tough this mode was. It really requires you to think as a team in order to defeat the onslaught of salmon. During the waves, boss salmon also appear each with their own specific weakness you need to find and exploit. These bosses require immediate attention as they drop the golden eggs but more importantly because they will kill you.
Salmon surprised me in a positive sense, much like the original Splatoon did. It’s another fresh take (pun intended) on the game and should be good for LAN play.
I managed to try out a few other games too. FIFA 18 was one of those. Much has been written about the Switch version of this game. Yes, it lacks the single-player campaign mode, but other than that it seems to offer all the football goodness you might expect from a FIFA title. And with FIFA the Switch’ portability should be a real boon! I played it in tabletop mode and this worked surprisingly well. The Joy-Con offer slightly limited controls but that may help novice players (like me). To brag a little, I was able to defeat the Nintendo rep 2-1 on my first time playing. FIFA 18 left a good impression and it’s an important title for the Switch to have.
The last game I played was Flip Wars. A game where you need to flip the squares on the board to your color. You can flip your opponent too and get various upgrades. The game seemed like a cross between Bomberman and Splatoon’s Turf War mode. I only played it briefly but I wasn’t overly impressed. Not like the way I was after playing Snipperclips for instance. But as an eShop title this might be one to surprise me when it’s out.
It was great seeing all the upcoming games up close and personal and 2017 promises to keep being a good year for Nintendo fans. Personally, I really enjoyed playing ARMS on a movie theater screen even though I lost in the final round. Let’s hope Nintendo will host another post E3 event so I might get my revenge!