After last year’s mess of rapid-fire announcements and JPEG logo reveals, Nintendo needed to knock their E3 2018 showing out of the park, and for the most part, they did. It was a short, sweet, and succinct 40 minute look into the future of the Nintendo Switch, and despite any punchy announcements, what was shown made an impact. The show wasn’t started with an introduction or prelude of Reggie rambling on about “the game.” Instead, he popped up between trailers and announcements to talk about what was just shown.
DAEMON X MACHINA
The show was headlined with an announcement for DAEMON X MACHINA, a third-person mech shooter with heavy metal playing in the background of the trailer. The action-packed trailer doesn’t show much besides stylish visuals and hectic action, but it’s enough to get a solid grasp on what the game will be about. DAEMON X MACHINA is being produced by Kenichiro Tsukuda, who also worked on the Armored Core titles. The game is planning to be released in 2019, for the Nintendo Switch.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna – The Golden Country
Monolith Soft showed off the new story expansion for Xenoblade Chronicles 2, revolving around the antagonists of the main story many years before the events took place. It looks like it’s going to dive deep into the lore of the Land of Torna, and the ulterior motivations behind the antagonists. There doesn’t seem to be any changes to the core mechanics of the game, but it does appear to show a few new areas, characters, and fully voice acted cutscenes. There’s no doubt that Xenoblade Chronicles fans will want to experience this additional piece of content. It’s expected to be released in September of this year.
Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee
Unsurprisingly, not much was shown for the next iteration of Pokémon games after they had a detailed showing a few weeks ago. Aside from playing footage we’ve already seen, Reggie detailed that all Pokéball Plus controllers will come with the Mythical Pokémon Mew. It gives players extra incentive to pick up the controller with the game, but nothing new was shown beside this.
Super Mario Party
The inevitable Mario Party title has been announced as Super Mario Party, and it teases some unique and intuitive ideas to do with the Switch tablet. The trailer shows off four players playing a tank minigame, with two Switch tablets next to each other. As one player shoots and destroys a block, he crosses from one tablet screen to the other. A montage of various minigames follows it, some looking better than others, but this title seems like the fresh entry that Mario Party needs. After a gratuitous showcasing of motion controls, a release date is announced, October 5th, 2018.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Nintendo finally pulled back the curtains on the mainline Fire Emblem title announced at the Switch reveal event. There wasn’t heaps shown here, but what was shown looks very similar to Radiant Dawn regarding its battle presentation. One fundamental change is the scale of the battles unfolding, unlike the recent 3DS titles, the battlefields are much bigger and covered with multiple units to command. It seems like a very different take on Fire Emblem, but I’m optimistic to see more of what the game is like, and how it evolves the formula compared to previous entries. There’s no solid release date, but we do know it will be out in Autumn 2019.
I think we all knew this was inevitable. Fortnite: Battle Royale came out on Nintendo Switch shortly after the conference finished. There isn’t much to talk about here; it was a short sizzle reel showing off the game, followed by Reggie expressing how excited he is to jump on the battlefield.
Next was a showing of indie games new and old coming to the Switch. First up was the announcement of Overcooked 2, with a couple of new mechanics and some insane environments to cook in, it releases on August 7th of this year. Killer Queen Black was the next to be shown, a recreation of the arcade game, Killer Queen. It sports the same head to head action as before, with improved graphics and mechanics, releasing in 2018. The Switch port of Hollow Knight finally had some light shed on it, announcing that it would be released on the Eshop later that day, alongside the previously published content patches.
Not much was said about Octopath Traveller also, but it was announced that there would be another demo that carries over your save data, available on June 14th. The game is still moving ahead with its July 13th release date, and it looks as gorgeous as ever.
Another sizzle reel is played showing off upcoming third-party games. Some of which we already know about such as Starlink: Battle for Atlas, Mario + Rabbids DLC and Minecraft, alongside some surprise announcements like Dragonball FighterZ. It was nothing to gawk at, but it’s certainly nice to see the Switch getting more love from third parties such as Bandai and Ubisoft.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
There was never any doubt that this would be the centre point of Nintendo’s conference, and what a centre point it was. A video showcasing some of the characters in the game reveals new and old fighters from across all the Smash titles, including the Inklings as new characters. After this extensive look at the roster, it’s quickly revealed that every fighter from every Smash Bros title will be returning for Smash Bros. Ultimate. Sakurai then details some changes between these newer versions of the characters, and while minor, they seem like just enough to keep the game fresh.
It seems like most of the stages from all the games have made it in too, alongside the Assist Trophies and Pokeballs. We know for sure that new ones are to be added, but not a significant amount due to the content-heavy nature of the game. The same goes for fighters too, there’ll be more, but Sakurai said not to expect heaps. After going through some new mechanics and critical changes to the gameplay, it’s announced that GameCube controllers can be used for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and that they will be re-released alongside the game on launch. Amiibo support is present, but instead of using a new range of Amiibo, any Amiibo of that fighter will work for the game.
Not long after the deep dive, a new fighter is revealed, Ridley, and he looks incredible. Aside from this, it’s announced that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will be released on the 7th of December 2018.
Nintendo improved upon last year’s conference in many ways, but at the sacrifice of others. We saw gameplay for every game that was announced and shown during the show, but at the same time, there were no shocker announcements present. The deep dive into Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was an excellent way to show us what the game is all about, what’s different, and why we should be excited. Confirmation of numerous third-party titles and new information on upcoming first-party titles gives Nintendo fans plenty to be excited about, but aside from Smash, there wasn’t much here to show that would blow anyone out of the water. Grade: B-