E3 2017: Day 1

Day one of my ventures to E3 2017 have come and gone. The bad news is that the first day of the event always has the most unholy of long lines, but at least this means the next two days (hopefully) will be more manageable.

So how was my first day at E3 2017? Well, if I could describe it with a single image…

With a brand-new 3D Mario playable at the show floor, of course that was going to be the first place I went. And the above image pretty much explains what was in store for me. I waited in line for over two and a half hours just to play ten minutes of the newest Mario title.

Thankfully, though the wait was painful, it was ultimately worth it, because those ten minutes were a whole lot of fun. Super Mario Odyssey is shaping up to be something special. It controls beautifully (as is the case with most games starring the famed plumber), looks wonderful, and sounds great. But perhaps the best thing about Mario Odyssey is just how utterly insane it is: Mario can now take control of enemies and some NPCs by throwing his hat on them, with each possessed form bringing their own abilities to the table (a stone maui head could reveal invisible platforms, for example). Plus, Mario can actually buy stuff with the coins he collects, primarily more hats, as well as additional costumes, with each one having their own benefits as well.

Another thing I noticed in my brief time with Super Mario Odyssey is that it seemed to address one of my biggest wishes for the 3D Mario games, and allows Mario to stay within a level after nabbing one of its prizes (this time being Moons, replacing Stars). Hopefully this feature makes it into the final game, because while I loved all of the previous 3D Mario titles to some degree, I felt that the “episodic” setup for the stages – with the selected objective dictating the direction the stage took – was better suited for the Galaxy titles, which were more linear. Super Mario 64 and Sunshine are still touted for being more “open-world” platformers that were built on exploration, so it kind of felt counterproductive to have a fixed objective for you as you picked which “episode” of a level to tackle. If Odyssey sticks with the direction it’s going, then being able to grab whatever Moon on a stage in whatever order is a step in the right direction for this style of 3D Mario.

That’s right, folks. I played Super Mario Odyssey. I even got the hat to prove it.

Obviously, I felt very highly about what Super Mario Odyssey has in store. In a gaming year that has been exceptionally generous in quality titles, and one that has seemingly changed Nintendo’s fortunes for the better, Super Mario Odyssey has a good chance to end up being one of the 2017’s best titles. It already feels like one of the freshest games Nintendo has made in a very long time, and any game where you can possess a T-Rex with a magic hat should be a great time.

On the downside of things, I didn’t get to do a whole lot else on my first day at this E3 (though I did walk by Danny Trejo before entering the building, so that was cool). I saw a number of games that I can’t wait to play, but the lines were all either really long, or just all over the place. I’m hoping that tomorrow and the day thereafter will be a little more calmed down, so that I can check off the games on my “to-play” list.

Ni no Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom certainly caught my eye, as did Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle (apparently I like games with the word “kingdom” in the title). I also hope to check out the indie games, and even though it comes out pretty soon, I’m really tempted to have a go at Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane trilogy. Sonic Mania, Sonic Forces, Splatoon 2, and Arms are also on my radar. If I can somehow manage to get through the Sea of Thieves line, I definitely will do that as well. Finally, if that remake of Superstar Saga is playable (it was hard to tell with the mass of humanity at Nintendo’s booth for Mario Odyssey), I’ll definitely spend some time on that if I can. With how far the Mario & Luigi series has fallen with its last two entries, going back to its glorious beginning may be just what Nintendo needs to get the Mario RPGs back on track.

So perhaps not too eventful of a day for me when it came to playing a variety of games. But I got to play the game I’m most excited for, so that definitely counts for something. Plus, for someone like me who’s not there to write news reports and interview people, going to E3 is as much about the experience of it as anything. And despite the lines, I had a fun time. There are certainly a lot of great games to look forward to, and I may have already played the best of the bunch.

I’m Going to E3!

Don’t worry, I have some more reviews coming soon (though I really should hop to them… my backlog is growing by the day). But I’ve been busy preparing for my trip to E3 2017!

This actually won’t be the first time I’ve attended the event, as I ventured to E3 on six past occasions from 2009 to 2014. Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep up with the increasing ticket prices as the years went on. Thankfully for me, this was the year that E3 opened their doors to a more public audience. Though the tickets still came with a bit of a price tag, it was nothing compared to the past.

Of course, the public pass means that I’ll just be attending the show floor, so I’ll just have to watch the presentations form my computer. But I honestly don’t mind. The show floor is where you get to play the games. That’s the good stuff!

But I’m not writing this post to brag, but just to inform people that the majority of my upcoming blogs for the upcoming week+ will probably be focused on E3 happenings, though I’ll still squeeze in some reviews and such, of course.

Obviously, if you want the big news from E3, there are plenty of major gaming sites to go for that. I’m mostly going to write on my perspective of the event, what games I’m most excited for, which ones I have the most fun playing at the show, things of that nature. Think of it like a personal journal of my E3 adventures, as opposed to news reports (again, why would you go to me for news?). I’ll be posting some of my thoughts and opinions on the games at the event both here and at Miketendo64.

I hope you enjoy whatever I end up writing on the event, and hopefully I’ll get to play a lot of cool games while I’m at the show. And yes, Super Mario Odyssey will be the first game I go to.

Kind of/Sort of Hyped for E3 2016

E3 2016

It’s hard to believe it’s almost time for E3 already. Where the heck has 2016 gone? As the year continues to speed by, we are fast approaching 2016’s E3 event, where we’ll surely get some huge news in the world of video games and such. And I’m… kind of excited.

Look, E3 always gives gamers something to talk about when all is said and done. But usually I feel incredibly hyped to see what the event has in store. This year though, I’m looking forward to the event, but I’m also not exactly counting down the days.

Perhaps I’m a bit biased, since I once again will be unable to attend E3 this year. After having attended E3 from 2009 to 2014, not going can only end up feeling like a sting. But even if I were going, there’s not exactly a whole lot that’s been announced for the event that has me jumping (fingers crossed for some meaningful surprises).

For one, Nintendo basically relegating their presence at the show to Zelda hype alone is a huge bummer. I know some Zelda diehards think Zelda is enough to sustain Nintendo’s presence, but I’m not one of those people. Even if they don’t have them at the show floor, I want to hear what’s in store with Mario’s platforming and karting ventures, or what long-dormant Nintendo franchises are making a comeback, or even the reveal of a new IP a la Splatoon (I’m also apparently the only person who wants Retro Studios to make a third Donkey Kong title). Not to mention with Nintendo’s next console on the horizon, the fact that Nintendo has already announced that they won’t even talk about it at the event is more than a little confusing.

I suppose my selfish side is snickering a little bit, since I won’t be attending E3 I also won’t experience the lack of Nintendo-ness first-hand. But from a more objective point of view it’s still a bummer.

"You're useless, Tails!"
“You’re useless, Tails!”

Outside of Nintendo, I also just don’t see myself jumping with excitement for any other announced games aside from Yooka-Laylee (not that I ever really jump with excitement, but you know what I mean). I suppose if they end up talking a bit more about The Last Guardian, that’s another bonus.

Maybe they’ll reveal the inevitable Frozen level in Kingdom Hearts 3, which would be awesome for how big of a Frozen fan I am, but would also inevitably lead to me pointing out all the things the game gets wrong. Plus, it’s kind of hard to get too interested in a series like Kingdom Hearts, seeing as its small army of “spinoffs” that were released on various different platforms are all part of the main story, only further confusing the already convoluted plot, and that none of them have improved on the gameplay established in the 2002 original.

A lot of the announced games sound good, but I just don’t feel the same sense of excitement as I usually do for E3.I’m hoping the show can deliver a host of worthwhile surprises, and kick some life into the event. As it is, I see myself as being more excited for whatever info comes from Yooka-Laylee out of the event than for the event itself.

Hopefully, all my reservations are proven wrong by the time E3 rolls around, and the show will provide gamers with a ton of titles to look forward to. But as things go for me personally, I almost feel like I’ll be viewing the event out of obligation more so than interest. Here’s hoping all my skepticisms are for naught.

Zelda Wii U. All Alone at E3.

Legend of Zelda Wii U

I love The Legend of Zelda. I really do. It’s one of gaming’s best franchises, and certainly one of the most consistent. But Nintendo’s decision to dedicate the entirety of their E3 presence this year to the new Zelda for Wii U and the upcoming NX is a bit baffling, to say the least.

When I first read the news that Zelda Wii U/NX would be the sole playable game on the show floor, I was a little disappointed, but I was under the impression that they would still have a video presentation showcasing other future games, so I wasn’t too bummed. But then I heard that Nintendo wasn’t even going to have a special edition of Nintendo Direct, as they’ve done the past three years, and instead just have a live stream solely dedicated to the new Zelda title, I was really disappointed, and more than a little confused.

Look, I understand that Zelda is one of the most beloved series of all time, and holds a special place in the hearts of many gamers. But for one new entry to be the entire focus of Nintendo’s presence at one of the biggest gaming events of the year just isn’t enough.

I can respect the delay for the release of the NX. Although missing out on the holiday season may be yet another bummer, but you can’t rush a product before its finished, and the delay means it won’t be launching in direct competition with PSVR and the newer edition PS4s and Xbox Ones that are supposed to hit by year’s end. But to not even make the NX a subject at E3 in any capacity is ridiculous. This is Nintendo’s new home console and, if rumors are true, their new handheld as well. Even if they don’t have it on the show floor, shouldn’t they want to use E3 as a means to get some early buzz for the platform?

At the very least, couldn’t we at least get word on some games to expect on NX? They wouldn’t even have to go into great detail with them. They could just list off “a new 3D Mario,” “Pikmin 4,” and “Super Mario RPG 2″ (let me dream!) will be hitting NX in the future” and that would be enough to get some extra interest and investment going. I mean, sure, Mario coming to NX is an inevitability, but early confirmation would help nonetheless.

Of course, the most disappointing aspect of this news isn’t even in regards to NX, but Wii U. The Wii U was Nintendo’s least financially successful home console, so I kind of get why it won’t be a focal point for E3 now that it’s entering its twilight (it was still a great system, damn it!). But to not give the people who own the console a last wave of release dates and reveals at E3 is more than a little bit of a sting. I’m not even saying they need to be major announcements, but surely there’s enough time left between now and the NX launch to give Wii U owners a game or two to look forward to.

Frankly, I feel like Nintendo is putting all of their eggs in one basket in regards to their near future and Zelda Wii U/NX. The game definitely looks great, and its promise sounds quite interesting. It could wind up being the best Zelda ever by the time it’s released. But as it stands, Zelda Wii U/NX just enough for an E3 showing. Not when they’re leaving Wii U owners high and dry and keeping those who are excited for NX guessing. Even if Zelda’s showing at E3 is phenomenal, Nintendo’s won’t be.

In Defense of Nintendo’s E3 Presentation

Star Fox Muppets

Before I divulge more into the games of E3 themselves, I thought I’d write a little something in regards to Nintendo’s E3 “Digital Event.” Unlike most people on the internet, I’ll write something a little more in-depth than “Dear Nintendo, u suk!”  In fact, I am really wondering where all this Nintendo hatred is coming from regarding their E3 showing (aside from typical gamer entitlement, that is).

Was it a great E3 for Nintendo? No. Their presentation was lacking big surprises, and things were generally predictable. But there’s a fine difference between uneventful and bad. I found that there was little “bad” about Nintendo’s presence at E3, but it could fall under the “uneventful” category.

Overall, if I were to give the presentations a letter grade, I’d say Nintendo’s probably fit into the B+ range. The fact that things went pretty much as expected prevents it from reaching into the A categories, but I don’t see anything wrong with most of the games that were present.

What I want to know is what exactly were gamers expecting? We all know Nintendo is working on their next home console (which they had already announced some time ago wouldn’t be at the event), and that they already had a pretty big lineup of games announced. Hoping for a slew of big reveals was just unrealistic. I know people will say that E3 is the time to make big surprise announcements, but Nintendo (or anyone else) can’t just whip up a brand new game for the sake of an E3 reveal. I repeat, what exactly were people expecting?

Sure, Zelda wasn’t there (and again, Nintendo previously announced that it wouldn’t be, so it’s not like they got anyone’s hopes up), but despite what the internet likes to think, Nintendo is more than just Zelda. Super Mario Maker went from being a promising curiosity into a must-have AAA Nintendo exclusive during the event, Star Fox made its long-awaited return with Star Fox Zero, Xenoblade Chronicles X is still on the horizon (though unfortunately delayed), and Yoshi’s Woolly World looks to bring an added flair of creativity to the Wii U. Zelda is still coming to the Wii U, but these four games more than fill the gap of Zelda’s no-show this year.Super Mario Maker

Then there were the 3DS games, of which there were many: The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes aims to revive multiplayer Zeldas. Animal Crossing will be getting a spinoff with Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer. Metroid Prime: Federation Force may not be the Metroid people have been asking for, but after Other M I welcome the change of style. Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam (a personal highlight for me) will see Mario’s two ongoing RPG series come to a head. And Fire Emblem Fates looks to continue the series’ steam after the critically acclaimed Fire Emblem Awakening. That’s just naming a few of the titles Nintendo showed off.

I admit there were some disappointments. The sheer insistence on Amiibo stands out. They’re a fun idea, but Nintendo is starting to force them a bit too much onto their games. This was especially prominent with the reveal of Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival. This is a different Animal Crossing spinoff for the Wii U, and works like a Mario Party-style board game with a focus on Amiibo. Being a fan of Animal Crossing, I’d prefer a more traditional Wii U entry over something that seems to require Amiibo to get the full enjoyment out of it.

The abundance of Amiibo coupled with the aforementioned lack of surprises were Nintendo’s biggest follies of E3. But honestly, everything else was solid. The Wii U looks to have a strong lineup of first-party titles throughout the remainder of 2015, and the 3DS is still a handheld to be reckoned with. I can understand some disappointment on the part of some gamers, but the sheer hatred and childish backlash Nintendo is receiving is downright ridiculous. I feel gamers have just become entitled, and if things don’t go exactly the way they want, they throw a hissy fit about it like spoiled children. This seems doubly true for Nintendo fans.

Star Fox ZeroSome may call me a fanboy for defending Nintendo, but I’d say the real fanboys are the ones acting like Nintendo has betrayed them just because Zelda and Samus didn’t show up (well, they kind of did, but not in the exact way gamers wanted). Was Nintendo’s E3 presentation great? No. But it was also far from the abomination gamers on the internet are making it out to be.

We’ve been asking for a new Star Fox for years, and we’re finally getting one. We rallied for Mother to see a US release for decades, and it finally happened. We’ll see a host of other worthwhile games on Nintendo’s horizon like Xenoblade Chronicles X and Super Mario Maker, among others. But things didn’t pander to our every gaming need, so naturally this means Nintendo is an evil organization of super villains who seek to destroy our happiness. Gamer logic.

It’s alright to be letdown if you didn’t see the big new announcement you wanted. But the way gamers go about this stuff is absurd. Nintendo’s E3 was solid, if unremarkable. But there’s no need to cry about it.

"Shiggy Muppet. All arguments are invalid."
“Shiggy Muppet. All arguments are invalid.”

Getting Hyped for E3 2015

E3
“This is from last year…Obviously.”

E3 2015 will be bittersweet for me, since this is the first E3 I won’t be able to attend since I first started going in 2009. I’ve had many fond memories of the past few years, and hope to make a triumphant return to E3 in 2016. Although I’m not able to physically attend this year, I’m looking forward to the show nonetheless.

Bethesda will have their first ever presentation at the show, no doubt to show off more of Fallout 4. Square-Enix will be showcasing the increasingly uninteresting Final Fantasy XV and maybe Kingdom Hearts 3. Who knows, maybe The Last Guardian will finally show up.

Wayne's World

I must be honest though, I always look forward to Nintendo’s presence at the big dance the most. I know, according to the internet, that makes me a fanboy (heaven forbid someone enjoys Nintendo games and isn’t one). But oh well, what can I say, it’s always fun to see what the Big N has in store.

What’s interesting is that, despite having a new console in production, Nintendo won’t be showing it off this year. Instead they’ll be emphasizing new games on the Wii U and 3DS. Some think this is a bad move, since the Wii U hasn’t exactly been a runaway success. But I love Nintendo’s defiance here. It’s like they’re saying “If you have a Wii U, here’s our way of saying thanks. If you don’t have a Wii U, here’s all the more reason why you’re stupid for not yet having one.”

On the downside, Zelda won’t be there. On the upside, it gives other Nintendo franchises a chance to shine. We know Mario Maker will be there, and I have huge hopes for this title, since it’s basically a dream come true. Hopefully E3 will give us a glimpse of how deep the final game will be. The return of Star Fox is also confirmed to make an appearance. Let’s just hope it’s like Star Fox 64 for a new generation and not like…every Star Fox game that isn’t Star Fox 64.

Project Giant RobotLast year, Nintendo surprised the world with Splatoon, their first new IP since Pikmin (well, not really, but don’t tell the internet that). Can we expect a similar surprise from Nintendo this year? I don’t know, but it’d be pretty cool! Perhaps Shigeru Miyamoto’s “Project Giant Robot” from last year’s show will become a new game of its own.

Then there’s Nintendo’s other mainstays franchises, like Kirby and Metroid, who could show up once again. Personally, I would love to see another Donkey Kong Country game to turn the revived series into a trilogy to compliment the original SNES trilogy. But that’s just me.

Of course, we can never rule out another Mario game. The Wii U has already seen Super Mario 3D World, but Nintendo has since announced that another 3D Mario is in the works for the system. If Zelda isn’t going to show up, it’s not too hard to imagine that a new Mario different from Mario Maker could take its place as Nintendo’s centerpiece. A new Mario RPG of some sort would also be great… Just so long as it’s not another Sticker Star.

"Guh-huh!"
“Guh-huh!”

Nintendo isn’t all I’m excited about though. Playtonic Games has already announced that they’ll be at E3 with Yooka-Laylee in tow, and I’m looking forward to any new information on that one. There’s even a rumor that Rare might announce a new Banjo-Kazooie. Considering most of the original minds behind Banjo are now working on Yooka-Laylee, I’ll still probably see that more as the next Banjo follow-up, but I love the Banjo-Kazooie series enough that I could finally invest in an Xbox One just for a new entry… Just so long as it’s not another Nuts & Bolts (curse these disappointing sequels!).

"Remember when you actually knew what was going on in this series?"
“Remember when you actually knew what was going on in this series?”

I’m curious to find out more information on Kingdom Hearts 3, if only because it might have a Frozen level in it. I’m actually not much of a Kingdom Hearts fan. The first one was great. It had some fun gameplay, and seeing all the Disney characters as well as some familiar Final Fantasy faces all lumped together was really cool. But Kingdom Hearts 2 turned the gameplay into button-mashing, the classic Disney villains from our childhoods were replaced with generic anime bad guys, and the story is so convoluted it makes Metal Gear look straightforward by comparison. It also doesn’t help that the small army of handheld spinoff games are actually part of the main story, so if you’ve missed out on those games (like I have), then it makes it hard to care too much. But lord knows I love Frozen, and a level based on the modern Disney classic may actually persuade me to give this game my interest. Of course, I’ll also be the first to pinpoint everything they get wrong with the Frozen level, so it’s a double-edged sword I guess.

Whoa, way off subject there. Anyway, with Capcom recently revealing the Mega Man Legacy Collection (a compilation of the first six Mega Man titles with some modernized bonus content), I can’t help but wonder if Capcom is finally letting Mega Man out of whatever cage they’ve locked him away in these past five years. It would be great if we see a new Mega Man title at E3, but I won’t get my hopes up too much. At least we’ll probably see something from spiritual successor Mighty No. 9 either way.

Of course, there’s so much to look forward to at E3 every year that I can’t cover it all here. Some of the biggest treats will no doubt be the surprise announcements at the show. There are plenty of games we know will be at E3, and I’m hoping we’ll be pleasantly surprised with a host of new announcements at the show.

Whatever E3 2015 has in store, I’ll be counting down the days. Even if I’m viewing from the sidelines, I’m hoping for a great show.