In celebrating the video game industry’s biggest showcase, the Casual Geekery has a special series of reviews for all three consoles’ E3 presentations, highlighting the hits and misses of 2017. Earlier, we took a look at Bethesda Studios’ and PlayStation’s presentations; now, it’s time to take a look at Nintendo, one of the titans of the industry. Between Xbox’s new console and PlayStation’s new titles, Nintendo had its work cut out for it to try and capture the excitement of gamers and compete with its challengers.
Compared to PlayStation and Xbox, Nintendo is playing catch-up in a big way. Their sales lag far behind their current generation competitors, and many people have been frustrated over the scarcity of consoles available in stores, whether it be the NES Classic or their current main platform, the Switch. Of course, Nintendo is far from dead, and has plenty of trump cards left to play to help boost Switch sales. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe helped get 2017 off to a great start for the former industry-leader, but many had an eye on Nintendo’s E3 presentation to see whether or not the company had any answers to PlayStation and Xbox.
Spoiler Alert: It did.
Aside from the problem of finding one, the Switch’s major issue — its library of major titles — is being addressed in a big way. The larger Mario franchise is going big with three major titles coming up for the Switch, including a new Yoshi-based platform and the much-talked about partnership with Ubisoft in the crossover RPG Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. Though many people had pegged Odyssey as the big showcase for Nintendo, Shigeru Miyamoto’s surprise visit during the Ubisoft presentation became one of the biggest news stories out of E3 – impressive considering the formal debut of the Xbox One X on Sunday.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is getting some DLC expansions in the form of The Champion’s Ballad and The Master Trials. The former lands this holiday season, while the latter will be released first at the end of June, but both got significant coverage during the Nintendo presentation. Included are new game modes, new items, and one particular catch: in order to buy one of the DLC expansions, you have to buy both through the purchase of the Expansion Pass (price tag: $19.99 USD). Even so, Breath of the Wild is definitely one of the premiere titles for the Switch, so this will be a must-have for Zelda enthusiasts.
While the story through much of E3 has been of the various ports crossing over to new platforms, Nintendo in particular has several new additions that certainly fall into this category. Bethesda continues to find new ways to milk Skyrim by bringing a new port of the game to the Switch, and the popular Rocket League will also be making its Nintendo Switch debut later this year. Pokkén Tournament DX received ample coverage during the press conference, featuring an enhanced port of the 2015 Wii U title. That’s not to say that ports dominated the show: one of the first titles revealed was a much-anticipated return of one of Nintendo’s signature franchises. Kirby will be making its debut on the Switch in 2018.
Most Exciting Presentation – Super Mario Odyssey
This is Nintendo’s crown jewel, and was essentially the “make-or-break” title for their E3 presentation. Thankfully, Super Mario Odyssey more than lived up to the hype with some colorful gameplay, beautiful renderings and the expansive open-world environment that we have come to know and expect in our Mario titles. As it turns out, Super Mario Odyssey wasn’t the only surprise up Nintendo’s sleeves at E3 this year, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that it was both one of the most anticipated titles at the conference, and one of the most well-received across all console and developer presentations. If you want to come at the King, you better come hard. With E3 2017’s presentations winding down, Mario is still atop his throne. It drops October 27, just in time for the holiday season.
Biggest Disappointment – Metroid Prime 4 Teaser
This one is admittedly a bit facetious, as the brief teaser for Metroid Prime 4 was by far one of the biggest shockers in Nintendo’s presentation. The announcement marks the first main-entry installment of the series since 2010, after the franchise basically sat out the disaster that was the Wii U. Little more than a title card was seen during the presentation, which leaves fans salivating over more information. It may be several years before the game sees an official release, but hopefully Nintendo will have some actual game play footage for us at some point in the next year. Fans of the series have been waiting long enough.
What to Watch For – More Pokémon Content
Fire Emblem Warriors and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 are two exciting new titles on the way for the Switch, but one of the more surprising announcements came at the conclusion of the Pokkén Tournament DX port announcement, with an as-yet untitled Pokémon RPG in the works. In terms of money-making franchises for Nintendo, Pokémon ranks right up near the top with Mario and Zelda, and is by far one of Nintendo’s biggest crossover successes in terms of marketing and multimedia. A new RPG will have fans eagerly awaiting news in the coming months.
Nintendo needed a big showcase at E3 to help put some fire into its brand, and for the most part, it delivered big. As the shortest presentation (a new tradition for Nintendo at the conference) of the three consoles, there was less material to sift through than at the PlayStation and Xbox presentations, but that doesn’t necessarily indicate an inferior showcase. Between the arrival of some popular Nintendo franchises to the Switch, some major new ports, and an explosion of new Mario content this fall, the company seems poised to finally be able to compete with PlayStation and Xbox in terms of the quality of its game library. At the very least, Nintendo’s E3 2017 showcase proves that the company has no plans of slinking away any time soon.
Nintendo Full Title Listing:
– Fire Emblem Warriors
– The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – The Champion’s Ballad / The Master Trials (DLC)
– Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
– Metroid Prime 4
– Pokkén Tournament DX
– Rocket League
– Super Mario Odyssey
– Untitled Pokémon RPG
– Xenoblade Chronicles 2