Nintendo E3 Previews - Luigi's Mansion 3, Link's Awakening, and more...Platforms: Nintendo Switch
It’s always a joy to visit the Nintendo UK offices. The picturesque setting, the innocuous building is in, the gloriously kitsch office itself, the open gaming room plastered with artwork from the most current announcements, and what I went for - the games.
I had the privilege of being invited to the Nintendo UK Post-E3 Press Event, and so got to play some of the games from their showing this year. Needless to say, I have some thoughts on them, and wanted to give a little run down on what we can expect from Nintendo this year.
Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield
Although I claim that I’m not a fan of the Pokémon series, I think that my purchase of every generation speaks volumes. So, I was lowkey excited when the recent Nintendo UK Post-E3 Event last week kicked off with a demo of the next generation of Pokémon games. The idea of this demo was to show off as much new content as they could.
So the player party (all level 50, of course) were made up entirely of new Pokémon, including the starters and, yes, Wooloo. The demo comprised of only one area though, the Galar Water Gym. This meant a bunch of trainers to beat, a puzzle to solve, and a Dynamax-using Nessa to defeat.
My first thoughts about this game as it currently stands is just how much had been adopted from the Pokémon Let’s Go! games and Pokémon Sun/Moon. The anime-inspired character designs, the charm in their over-exaggerated animations, and the dynamic camera panning in battle all returns, so if you’ve played Pokémon in the last 5 years you’ll feel right at home.
The battle UI has been overhauled, looking far cleaner than previous titles. The predominant black and white palette of the menus interrupted, with wonderful efficacy by bright, bold colours. It’s a small change, granted, but it definitely makes all the difference in the battles, both being subtle enough to ignore but also striking enough to not get lost in the action. Also, I made Wooloo Dynamax, and it was awesome.
Luigi’s Mansion 3
Opening with possibly the most adorable segment I’ve witnessed in gaming, you get shown how to use the Poltergeist by Polterpup. There’s a fair amount of new techniques in this one, so this little tutorial was pretty welcome, especially given that it has been some time since the second game released for 3DS.
The demo showed off pretty much everything there was to see across a fairly large amount of rooms, ending in a boss fight. The best addition is easily the new ability to slam ghosts and objects into other ghosts and objects, to lower HP all round and cause carnage. Also, there was a lot hidden in such a short demo with a secret object in every room.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 is an absolutely beautiful game, with some of the most expressive animations in any game. Luigi is so bouncy and full of his typical charm, and still wanders around the place shivering with fright. He also changes his demeanour dramatically when a room is clear, and even has more confidence in his voice when calling for Mario when the lights are on.
Finally, was the joust-ready boss encounter, that may used quite honestly everything bar Gooigi to take down, first dismantling the armour before confronting the ghost itself. It was immensely satisfying to take him down and have to think how to do so. If the remainder of the bosses and the room design in the full game have the same level of creativity, we’re in for a treat.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
I was already sold on this a million times over, from the moment I saw it. But this demo was everything I wanted it to be and more. Especially as it has a remastered version of the original opening, which I’m very pleased that they have finally made the intro to the game as epic as I always thought it was on the Game Boy.
The demo was a fifteen minute gameplay segment in which we got to play however we wanted. So we washed up on the shores of Koholint Island, grabbed our sword and shield and trotted off on our journey. The great thing about this is that the spirit of exploration is still there, and I could have easily got to and finished the first dungeon in that time. But I got lost.
Visually, the game is looking incredible, with the bold cartoon style really suiting this game. All of the monsters, and Link himself, have so many more animations than before, reacting to their environment. It’s honestly just enough to have Link’s Awakening on a new console, but the amount of attention to detail here is simply astounding.
There’s not long to wait for this title, and that can be seen even here at the demo stage. In fact, the only gripe I have with the game as this point is that the frame rate dips quite considerably on occasion, which I hope they work out by the release. Otherwise, Link’s Awakening is shaping up to be a great title, and the new additions really boost an already solid title.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order
The Marvel crossover that none of us knew we actually wanted more than Square Enix’s offering until we saw it, The Black Order is shaping up pretty well. The up-to-four-player brawler looks like more of the same from the Ultimate Alliance series but since when was that a bad thing?
Taking your team of heroes, you explore compact and mostly linear levels beating anything up that has even the slightest whiff of villainy using some of the most iconic heroes of all time - and Iron Fist. There’s also an upgrade system and Synergy Attacks to vary up the gameplay, but really most of it is just hammering buttons to hurt the things, and is immense fun.
In fact, probably the only area that the game falls down a little is in its visuals. The character models all look fantastic, but because of the viewpoints you just don’t see enough of them. Speaking of which, and as a problem that likely only occurs in multiplayer, the camera severely misbehaves, getting trapped on a lot of walls in the effort of keeping up with the players.
I had no idea that I would enjoy this game as much as I did, and its brand of mindless fun is definitely welcome on the Switch. The character roster is superb and that’s even without the upcoming DLC, the visual design looks ripped straight out of the pages of comics, and the plot already sounds straight from the source material too.
Mario & Sonic at the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020
There’s something comforting about the Mario & Sonic Olympic tie ins. They’re never world-ending, genre-shattering titles, but they make up for it in solid gameplay and more than a spoon of dumb fun. Needless to say, this hasn’t changed with the newest title in the series, which is making a return after a small hiatus.
In this demo, there were only a few events available; skateboarding, surfing, karate, 100m hurdles, and archery. This was only a segment of the game though as plenty of greyed out events were present on the menus, along with a couple of very intriguing possibly game modes, such as an icon picturing a 16bit Sonic and 8bit Mario … whatever that might mean.
The games were, as expected, really solid with easy to understand tutorials and very decent use of the Joy-Con motion controls. The archery especially took me back to playing Wii Sports Resort back in the day, and the Karate has a lot of depth so a set up so simple. There are options to play all the games with buttons too, should that be your choice.
It’s just a good party game, if truth be told. Mario & Sonic won’t be the breakout hit from Nintendo’s E3 showing this year, but it is a very solid offering that does everything it sets out to do, and looks gorgeous doing so. Also, it’s absolutely hilarious seeing Robotnik in pretty much any event, as his body proportions are all over the place.
Nindies - New Super Lucky’s Tale and Hollow Knight: Silksong
There were two surprise indies at the event in New Super Lucky’s Tale and Hollow Knight: Silksong, both revealed previously during a sizzle reel at E3. I didn’t expect it these to be there, but was happy to plunge immediately into them the moment that I was allowed to, being a fan of both titles either previously or having played earlier titles.
Lucky’s adventure, based on the demo, has changed quite a lot. From bigger changes, like the controls feeling much tighter than before, to smaller ones, such as the fact that Lucky now is a little bit dirty after burrowing. The level in the demo was a level from the full game previously, but the changes to the look and feel made it a different experience entirely.
Conversely, Silksong is more of the same gameplay established by the first Hollow Knight. Labyrinthine areas full of aggressive bugs resting at benches and taking down sizeable, threatening bosses in your path. The one change is that the healing mechanic is now faster. This enables you to jump back into the fray quicker and keeps the action up, especially during bosses.
These were possibly my favourite games at the event, and that is no short order considering the calibre of games on show. I’m severely biased, I know, but even here there’s so many improvements to a game that I already loved a lot. Both games are nailing their respective genres, and I can’t wait for the full games. In fact, the only downside for me is that there was only small segments to explore.
Also, I loved being called out by the Nintendo PR as being a “Lucky’s Tale fanboy”, that’s a strong contender for my new tagline.
That’s everything I played at the Nintendo Post E3 event, is there any of these that you’re particularly looking forward to? Or are there any burning questions you might have about them? Drop a comment, or hit me up on Twitter, and I’ll try to answer anything you might want to know.