E3 2015: Nintendo Direct: Reaction – A family of gamers

Nintendo E3

E3 2015: Nintendo Direct

The kids and I were eagerly anticipating Nintendo’s E3 show. We all raced into the living room at 1 minute of, kicked on AppleTV, went to E3.nintendo.com on my iPhone, and grabbed a seat on a sofa for the about-to-start livestream.

So many games! What a jam packed hour! Muppets. StarFox, Mario, amiibo, Zelda, Metroid, Fire Emblem, and more!

Here’s a recap, and our reactions.

StarFox Zero (WiiU)

First up is StarFox Zero. Which looks exactly like StarFox 64… So close!

Kids were wondering where the new game fit into the story line. Based on most recent lore, General Pepper is dead. But, he’s alive in StarFox Zero  We were hoping there would be more story released with StarFox Zero, but apparently it’s an alternate universe, and not really related to StarFox 64 or StarFox: Assault (the most recent StarFox release, a third person shooter). Both games we love.

Shigeru Miyamoto explained how StarFox Zero utilizes the GamePad – on the main TV screen you get the “from behind” traditional view (3rd person); on the GamePad you get the “cockpit” view (1st person). Personally, we prefer the traditional view, as you have more visibility of enemies/ objects to the side and/ or approaching from behind. Miyamoto also explained how they take advantage of the gyro in the GamePad — you move the GamePad to move your ship. It’s a realistic feeling, tilting the GamePad toward you, to pull your plane up. Also, you can play single or multiplayer.

My kids were excited about how you can fire super-fast now – son#2 guesses you can fire by pressing A, rapid fire by holding down A, and charge by holding R. Or so it appeared…

Miyamoto talks about feeling immersed in the game, how you aim by moving the GamePad, how you maneuver the ship using the 2 sticks,  and how you fire all weapons using a single button which left 4 buttons for transformations.

The arwing transforms into a Walker! We loved the new Walker / ostrich / bird mechanic. You can land your arwing ship and it transforms to a walking, firing arwing critter. Which is very cool. But, my kids wished – wouldn’t it be awesome if you could change the arwing into a Landmaster?!  They also hoped that the arwing transformation would be necessary to complete some levels. But – what’s this?! Miyamoto also says the arwing can transform into a Landmaster and a Gyrowing. Yay! Barrel roll, baby.

Release Holiday 2015.

Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes (3DS)

A big surprise! Director Hiromasa Shikata and designer Aonuma showed off the new Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes, a multiplayer cooperative action adventure game for 3DS.

Director Hiromasa Shikata said he “wants players to cooperatively enjoy more serious Zelda gameplay elements, like solving puzzles and going through dungeons.”

It has 3D visuals, like “A Link Between Worlds” and incorporates an impressive new totem / tower mechanic, where you can carry friends and stand together to reach high places. It’s multiplayer up to 3 players, as they felt 4 player was too tall.

You can also collect items to obtain new outfits which give you new abilities: such as Spin Attack attire, Lucky Loungewear, Big Bomb outfit, Zelda dress.

With Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes you can cooperatively play with people in the same room, or choose online multiplayer.  You can play as single or multiplayer — for single player there are supporting doll-like characters that you can switch between.

We loved the new tower mechanic, and the creative concept of changing outfits = changing abilities. And the Link cheering with pom poms, and doing a thumbs up seems fun and quirky. The visual style reminds us of one of our favorite GameCube games – Legend of Zelda: Four Sword Adventures.

Gah, it’s only 3 player, and we have 4 kids.

We wish it could be played on the WiiU, on a big screen, using 3DS’s as controllers.

Of all the many games Nintendo showed, this was the one we were most excited about. Definitely a must buy on our list.

Release Fall 2015.

Hyrule Warriors Legends (3DS)

WiiU Hyrule Warriors has been “re-imagined” for 3DS.

Just like the game Dynasty Warriors (both are by Koei Techmo). Hyrule Warriors Legends is a hack and slash, slice and dice kind of game. It’s fast paced and fun. (Personally, we prefer puzzle and dungeon RPGs, though.)

Includes all the DLC characters from the WiiU version plus Windwaker characters and stages.

Release Q1 2016.

Metroid Prime: Federation Force (3DS)

We were trying to figure out what this is. So many robots! Looks like multiplayer co-op?

Yup, it’s Metroid Prime: Federation Force, with 4-player co-op missions in the Metroid Prime universe.

Includes Metroid Prime: Blastball – 3 vs. 3 sci-fi sports battles. Yay! Co-op and PVP! #win

We are very excited about this new Metroid game. Love the mech suits, love the multiplayer co-op, love the robots! Don’t really like the graphics; don’t like how it looks like a Blockland mod…

Coming 2016.

Fire Emblem: Fates (3DS)

Fire Emblem: Fates looks amazing and interesting. Visually lush and beautiful graphics. Intriguing.

We are big Fire Emblem fans, and are looking forward to this game.

Coming 2016.

ATLUS, or Genei Ibun Roku #FE (name not final), (crossover of Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem) (WiiU)

Omg. What is this? Anime? RPG? Fighting? Vocaloid singing? Dressup? Music? Songs? Honestly, the graphics looked great, but, as we don’t speak/read Japanese, we couldn’t really tell what was going on. Still, it was interesting. Curious, and yet enticing!

“Visitors from a parallel universe”, “Mirage”

“Chosen ones against humanity’s archenemy”, “Mirage Master”

“A tale of youth and heroes guided by destiny”

Chrom… ?

Seems like some sort of Fire Emblem?

Turns out it’s a new Fire Emblem crossover —  Genei Ibun Roku: FE, which means something like “Revelation of Illusion x Fire Emblem”.

According to NDTV:

“For now, a single Wii U game has been announced for 2016, and that’s the much vaunted cross-over title, Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem that has characters from both series sharing the stage in an RPG extravaganza.”

English subtitles would have been helpful…

People who watch a lot of anime will recognize many of the Japanese voices. Also, it’s going to be rated M.

Definitely will be keeping an eye on this one.

Coming 2016.

Xenoblade Chronicles X (WiiU)

What an exciting, incredible trailer. Holy cow, the visuals!

A strange new world, filled with alien life-forms and environments and vehicles. And monsters and weapons. And giant robots. And you can fly! Such a dark and dystopian world though…

We were thinking – maybe it’s a new Monster Hunter, but when we saw the fight interface / mechanics we knew it wasn’t. Turns out it’s Xenoblade Chronicles X, by Monolithsoft, who did Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii.

“Earth has been destroyed. Marooned on a distant planet. Mankind faces a new challenge.”

“To survive.”

“It’s time to suit up.”

Looks like an impressive and interesting RPG; wondering if it’s multiplayer?

Release December 12, 2015.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5E_aJ0PxahM

Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer (3DS)

Looks fun and adorable. Great for creative types, and people who love to decorate rooms.

You basically are a home designer – you start with a plot of land and choose the house / building structure, decorate the interior, and landscape and outfit the land. Seems to have a wide variety of decorating options to choose from.

So kawaii!!!

Release Holiday 2015.

Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival (WiiU)

A Mario Party like game, with Animal Crossing characters. Uses amiibos.

Release Holiday 2015.

Yoshi’s Woolly World (WiiU)

Dying of cuteness overload. #Poochie. Reminded us of Yoshi’s World 64, which we love. Yarn is a natural fit for Yoshi, with yarn balls replacing eggs.

In Yoshi’s Woolly World, the environment / game stages, and enemies are all made of yarn. Yoshi’s body can transform into different shapes, and the game mechanics include different ways to use yarn to get through the level.

Presented by designer Emi Watanabe – how lucky we are that she can knit! The yarn Yoshi plushies she made were adorable!

Watanabe says Yoshi’s Woolly World is versatile — easy and fun to play, yet challenging to collect all the items and play to 100% completion.

There is a co-op mode – where you can help each other, or compete with each other.

Also, if you use an amiibo, you can change Yoshi’s look (or skin). For example, if you use a Mario amiibo, Yoshi turns into a Mario Yoshi. Some are cute, some look a little bizarre…

And then there’s the adorable helper, yarn Poochie!! So cute…

Release June 26, 2016.

Yo-Kai Watch (3DS)

Hey it’s Ash, with a net! No… wait…

It’s Yo-kai Watch!

This seemed interesting. Reminded us of Pokemon, except instead of a Pokeball, you have a Yo-kai Watch. Travel the world collecting yo-kai (demons), store them in your watch, and battle. See, just like Pokemon. Gotta catch ‘em all!

The kids didn’t really care for the visual design of the main yo-kai demon sidekick, Whisper. Yo-kai characters are each unique looking, but not going for cuteness points there.

“Explore the world of Yo-kai Watch!”

“Use the Yo-Iai lens to find hidden Yo-Kai…

…and add them to your Pokedex, I mean Yo-Kai Watch!”

“Battle evil Yo-kai…

…and unleash your power!”

“Trace, spin, tap – support your yo-kai during battle”

“Use your Yo-kai watch to help the town of Springdale!”

So it’s like Pokemon, but you get to help out during battles. Pokemon is big, so this could be big…

Coming 2016.

Mario Luigi: Paper Jam Bros. (3DS)

Looked like a cross between an Mario and Luigi RPG and Paper Mario. But, does that even work? The kids were kind of unsure.

“Two Mario worlds collide!”

We loved the previous Paper Mario games. And we love the Super Mario games. Could be fun. This one we’ll have to try and see.

Release Spring 2016.

Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash (WiiU)

Mario characters playing tennis.

Multiplayer sports fun, with supersize bonus buff.

If you like sports….

Release holiday 2015.

Super Mario Maker (WiiU)

A new game that gives you the ability to create 8-bit side-scrolling Mario game levels, and share them.

We found this mildly exciting. For creative types, and for those interested in game design, there is appeal. It reminded us of the fan-made Portal Mario game, where you could create your own levels.

Super Mario Maker will be great for people who love to build things. Like people who build in Minecraft.

Legendary game designers Shigeru Miyamoto and Takachi Tezuka talked about how, back in the day, they created everything by hand – they designed levels / courses on graph paper and then handed them to developers. In the process of finding an easier way to make course changes, they developed a tool, which evolved and has now been released as Super Mario Maker.

We loved the explanation Miyamoto gave about how much thought goes into the first levels of a Mario game, and how it’s basically designed to be a tutorial for new players.  He says it’s “like game design training software.”

Have fun being a real video game designer! Share your creations! (You have to beat your own courses before you can share.)

Comes with a booklet of sample courses.

Honestly? My kids weren’t very excited about it. They said it seems more like instead of being it’s own game, it should be an addition to a Mario game. And then just share levels with Miiverse. Hmmm…

I liked how it showed a cat’s paw building a course…

Release September 11 2015.

***Best Buy is hosting In-store demos June 17 and 20. So, get in there and try it out!***

Skylanders: Superchargers

Nintendo also announced they have partnered with Activision to release Hammer Slam Bowser and Turbo Charged Donkey Kong and their vehicles. Cool, but we don’t do Skylanders. Yet. Interesting thing is these 2 characters are hybrids, and can be used with either Skylanders OR Nintendo games by rotating the base of the figure.

amiibo

Nintendo is releasing more amiibo figures, including a new set of Animal Crossing characters and a 30th anniversary 8-bit Mario.

Frankly my kids don’t get amiibo. I mean, they don’t get why they should buy them. We talked about how people often felt compelled to collect things (Pokemon – gotta catch ‘em all!), and amiibo provides an income stream for Nintendo, a fun toy to hold, and comes with some sort of DLC on its chip.

We don’t do Skylanders, or amiibo. Maybe we are missing out???

StarFox – Nintendo Treehouse – Let’s Play

Hosted by “Nintendo’s in-house game experts”, we were a little disappointed with this program. My kids were not impressed by the hosts’ playing abilities, or their choice of dialogue. They wondered why popular YouTubers weren’t chosen to present and play. We enjoyed watching the game visuals, but wondered why the presenters were making it sound like a podcast and describing what they were doing. Could have used more talk about game mechanics…  Good lord, people. You have Shigeru Miyamoto there. We want to hear what HE has to say. And seriously, the legendary Miyamoto is there and his is the only mic not functioning?! *facepalm*  We watched the entire StarFox one, but left after that.

What Nintendo didn’t talk about:

We kept waiting for something on Zelda for WiiU. They said they would not be showing Zelda, just info on near future releases. We want #ZeldaZELDAZelda!

And, what is this secret “dedicated game platform – NX” they are working on?!

And, what about the Nintendo partnership with DeNA and plans to release mobile games?

Overall…

Puppets

Muppets were a bit of a surprise, but they worked. The StarFox characters were cute, and we loved seeing Iawata, Miyamoto,  and Reggie as puppets. My favorite clips were Miyamoto’s room (wow, gamer heaven!) and the one where Iawata is pondering bananas, and then suddenly turns and looks directly at you. YOU! (Bananas were for Donkey Kong, I’m guessing?)

Multiplayer co-op

We LOVE the way Nintendo is emphasizing multiplayer cooperative games.

The kids even wondered if Nintendo had bugged their room, as they have had long discussions about how there needs to be more multiplayer cooperative games.

We are a family of 6 gamers, and we love family-friendly multiplayer games. The only problem is they are typically for 4 players, so we have to take turns, and there’s not a lot of multiplayer console family games out there.

One of our favorite multiplayer games is Legend of Zelda: Four Sword Adventures (for GameCube). It’s a crazy fun 4 player game, but it’s competitive, and often degrades into whacking each other to steal rupees. Or, when someone is being annoying (or lagging behind), you can pick them up and throw them. The other problem is in order to play, you have to have the GameCube, the game, 4 GameBoy Advance SP’s, and 4 link cables. We’ve got all the hardware, but often our GameBoy’s aren’t charged… #whatadrag

We are all looking forward to getting Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes for 3DS, but what we’d REALLY like is a cooperative multiplayer action adventure with lots of puzzles and dungeons for the Wii U. Even if we have to use a 3DS as a controller. Here’s hoping….

So. Many. Games.

Such a huge amount of games in development and slated for release in the next year, even without anything on the eagerly anticipated Zelda for WiiU!

So many 3DS games coming, which is great – we love our 3DS consoles.

Arigato, Nintendo!

Kudos to Nintendo for the full steam ahead push on releasing new games, their continual imaginative innovation, the risk-taking, and their emphasis on FUN and playing together. Their goal of making games attractive to old players and new players. Their priority on creating a satisfying experience for their fans. And does any other game company make as many family-friendly titles?!

Overall message? Nintendo = FUN! And Miyamoto-san has many cool tee shirts…

After watching E3 Nintendo Direct — now we remember, this is why we love Nintendo.

Oh, and Happy 30th, Mario!

 

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