On the verge of retiring it’s less than successful Wii U system, Nintendo opted to take a different approach to North America’s biggest video game showcase. Forgoing any kind of formal presentation, they focused instead on the newest entry in one of their biggest franchises, The Legend of Zelda, while sprinkling information on other current projects throughout the 2 day Treehouse Live event. But while Zelda was the biggest feature, let’s look at all the offerings in our Nintendo E3 2016 Recap.
Pokemon Sun & Moon:
Right out of the gate, the Treehouse crew spent quite a bit of time showing off the newest entries in the Pokemon franchise. At its core, Sun & Moon appear to keep the same tried and true formula that has worked for so many years, instead focusing on the presentation. Character models, attack animation, environments, and even camera angles all seem to have gotten a facelift compared to recent titles. The new games give you more control over what your trainer looks like from the outset, while battles present players with more options regarding pokemon and move types. The stand out feature is Battle Royale, allowing trainers to engage in 4 player battles, which will make for some hectic matches. For long-time Pokemon fans, it is nice to see the franchise continuing to evolve, but none of these improvements seem to do much to win over outsiders. Pokemon continues to stick with what has worked in the past, along with all the benefits and disadvantages that come with that.
Pokemon Go Plus:
That’s not to say that the good people over at The Pokemon Company aren’t experimenting. On day 2, Nintendo took some time out to showcase the Pokemon Go Plus peripheral. A GPS tag with Pokemon coloring, this small wrist strap will allow players to attempt to catch nearby pokemon in the real world, without looking at the phone screen. When it vibrates, players can press the button on the device, throwing the Pokeball and attempting to capture it, with the light on top changing to inform of success or failure. The most interesting part of the announcement was the revelations that the device would be released at the end of July 2016, signifying that the game will also release around this time. The Pokemon Go Plus device can be purchased for $35.99 and is available for preorder now.
Paper Mario Color Splash:
Other announcements tended to focus more on the 3DS rather than the Wii U, with the exception of Paper Mario Color Splash. Mario and his friends will venture around Prism Island, attempting to restore lost color to the Toads there. Koopalings will also appear in the game and the Wii U gamepad will be used to affect the environment and solve puzzles. paper Mario Color Splash will launch on Oct. 7, 2016 and is now available to preorder.
Mario Party Star Rush:
Mario Party returns to 3DS. The main mode allows players to control different Toads as they move freely around the board, trying to recruit other Mario characters. The game will release on Nov. 4, 2016 alongside new Amiibo figures in the Super Mario Bros. line. The figures will include Daisy, Waluigi, and a glow in the dark Boo, as well as new versions of Wario, Rosalina, Donkey Kong, and Diddy Kong.
A new IP, players will explore, solve puzzles, hunt for treasure and battle through this new world, while building their oasis base. Throughout the game, players will also befriend planet based creatures and recruit others to fight with them. Ever Oasis is scheduled for a 2017 launch on the Nintendo 3DS.
Not just content to show off first party software, Nintendo also showcased some big third party support for the handheld.
Yo-Kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits and Fleshy Souls takes the Pokemon approach, releasing 2 versions of the games and allowing players to team up and discover the origins of Yo-Kai. This sequel will release on Sept. 30, 2016. Meanwhile, Capcom is bringing Monster Hunter Generations to the Nintendo 3DS with a demo available on June 30th. This demo will include single and multiplayer gameplay, and include bonuses for players with Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate saves on their system. Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past was also shown. A remake of the classic DQ will launch on Sept. 16th, 2016.
The final couple announcement that Nintendo brought were BOXBOXBOY! a sequel to the popular indie title BOXBOY! launching June 30th and Rhythm Heaven Megamix, a sort of greatest hits of the popular rhythm games which will also offer new rhythm-based challenges.
The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild:
This was the big one. Nintendo had previously announced that the newest Zelda would be the only playable game they brought to the show, effectively making it their star of E3. With 2 days over coverage, they delivered. Outside of teaser trailers and early demos, this was the first real look at Zelda U, now officially titled Breath of the Wind and releasing on both the Wii U and the upcoming NX.
The team has taken to heart the lessons of the past, continuing the idea of a true open world Zelda title like what was teased in a Link Between Worlds. Here, Link will be thrown into a vast, open, and overgrown Hyrule with the ability to use nearly everything as a tool to solve puzzles and defeat enemies. Using mechanics that have been improved upon in many games across multiple genres over the 30 years since the original Legend of Zelda was released, players will truly get to determine where they go and how they get there.
In Breath of the Wild, Link will be able to use any weapon that the enemy drops, as well as the environment to distract and damage foes, and gather food and use materials to heal himself or boost his hearts. They have also introduced a climbing and jump ability, allowing Link to scale any tree, wall, or mountain that can be seen. You can as glide off of high places and slide down terrain on your shield.
Weather also has effects. Hot and cold climates must be combated with the proper attire or else Link will take damage and certain weather events can affect the environment. Nintendo has gone a long way to show Link as a true adventurer, alone in the wilderness.
While no dungeons were shown, although they are in the game, all across Hyrule the player will find Shrines. With more than 100 shrines to find, these shrines will grant items. special abilities and bonuses for completing them and will range from puzzles to combat challenges.
To complement this new game, Nintendo also unveiled new Amibo figures for Breath of the Wild as well as announcing that the Wolf Link Amiibo that came with Twilight Princess HD will also work with the new game, providing players with a companion.
Breath of the Wild looks to deliver on the promise of a truly open Zelda game, not seen since the original. With hours of video to pour over, it’s not hard to see why Nintendo dedicated so much of their time and effort at E3 2016 to this game. While what was shown at the convention is all from the Wii U version, it is confirmed that The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild will release on both the Wii U and NX in 2017.
While Nintendo promised on their focus to bring only games to the show, their offerings hinted at a company on the verge of changing things up once again. With many more announcements for the 3DS than the Wii U, it is easy to see the writing on the walls for their current home console. Given the popularity and anticipation for the newest Legend of Zelda entry, no fan could come away disappointed, except for the fact that we will need to wait nearly another year before we get to play it.