It’s the last day of E3 2016, so it’s only fair we let Nintendo get a look-in before we wrap things up. The big N didn’t hold a conference or a Nintendo Direct this year, instead choosing to focus on the upcoming Zelda and Pokémon games during its Nintendo Treehouse Live stream.
Although I don’t consider myself a Nintendo fan, their propensity for accessible, pick-up-and-play experiences (vs. Xbox and PlayStation games, which actively punish you if you’re a shitty gamer) means there’s usually something for me in the company’s E3 offerings. And with Pokémon, Ace Attorney, and Rhythm Paradise all making an appearance — this year’s show has been no exception.
Not that Nintendo’s new Zelda game, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, doesn’t look great too. Because it does. Visually and in terms of gameplay.
The new Wii U game has a focus on breaking Zelda conventions, and it kind of plays like a weird Zelda–Skyrim hybrid as a result (The Zelda Scrolls, anyone?). The franchise is shedding its mostly linear design in favour of a huge open world; even with the ability to climb pretty much goddamn everything, it looked like it’d take days to fully explore the ~small~ area Nintendo showed off in its five-hour demo. So the fact it was just half a square mile out of a whopping 140 estimated square miles is pretty amazing. (Skyrim’s map, in comparison, occupies about six square miles.)
The game also puts a lot of emphasis on survival, in a fun, non-punishing, Nintendian way. Gone are the days of smashing pots and cutting grass in pursuit of hearts — the Zelda series’ equivalent of “health” — instead, you’ll have to collect various food items from around the world and cook them up into a variety of effect-giving recipes. Link can also collect gear — clothing, weapons, and the like — from vanquished enemies, which may give him the edge he needs to take on some of the world’s tougher monsters (or even the warmth to survive on a snowy mountaintop).
Throw in a beautiful, cel-shaded art style that combines the best of The Wind Waker’s cartoonish visuals and Skyward Sword’s watercolour appearance with the gritty realism of Twilight Princess, and next year’s Zelda adventure is looking very promising indeed. I’ll certainly be picking up Breath of the Wild at some point… I’m just waiting to see how it looks on Nintendo’s upcoming NX console before I decide which version to save up for.
Meanwhile, Game Freak and The Pokémon Company were hard at work revealing four new monsters for this November’s Pokémon Sun and Moon: early-route bird Pikipek, early-route bug Grubbin, mythical, mechanical Magearna, and, um, early-route Donald Trump lookalike/weasel Yungoos.
Battle Royals — four-person free-for-alls that allow weaker players to “gang up” on tougher ones — are also coming to the series, along with new battle options aimed at beginner Trainers. After your first encounter with a Pokémon, you’ll be able to see which moves will be weak or effective against your foe, and you can also get a neat visualisation of the active Pokémon’s stat changes.
Yeah, yeah, it’s not a Nintendo game, I know. But it is coming to the Nintendo 3DS later this year, in September, and I
couldn’t be bothered didn’t think it warranted its own post. Yes, Capcom’s Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice made an appearance on the show floor, with its first English demo.
The new game sees legendary defence attorney Phoenix Wright visiting the High Court of the Kingdom of Khura’in, a land without lawyers, where divination séances, not cross-examinations, determine a defendant’s guilt. Being able to revisit a victim’s last moments on Earth would make for pretty compelling evidence, after all.
In the demo, Phoenix comes to the aid of tour guide Ahlbi Ur’gaid, who’s accused of murdering Mr Paht Rol, a security guard, in Khura’in’s Tehm’pul Temple. No, really. The name puns are definitely getting lazier.
I’d been worrying the move to the Khura’inese courtroom was too much of a departure from the proven Ace Attorney formula, but luckily, the artwork, music, and writing are as dead-on as ever — and with increased difficulty compared to the laughably hand-holdy Dual Destinies and the option to completely turn off hints, I’d say most of my fears have been allayed at this point.
Look, I’m really excited about Rhythm Paradise Megamix (Rhythm Heaven Megamix in the States), so you’ll forgive me for being a bit pissy about its European release date.
The Nintendo 3DS rhythm game combines the best levels from the DS classic Rhythm Paradise, overlooked Wii title Beat the Beat: Rhythm Paradise, and the series’ unreleased-in-the-west Game Boy Advance offering, with a few shiny new bits and pieces. In 3D! It’s going to be great!
And America — smug, plump America with its eagles and flags and Olive Gardens — is getting it right bloody now. Literally, if you live in the US, you can open up your 3DS right now and just casually start downloading this out of the sky like it’s no big deal. Meanwhile, in embittered, maybe-about-to-not-have-the-UK-in-it-anymore Europe, Rhythm Paradise Megamix is coming out on October 21st. That is 127 days from now.
While it’s nice Nintendo is presumably taking the extra time to localise all the songs into Spanish, French, German, and Italian (something that didn’t happen with Beat the Beat) it’s disappointing to know there are people playing the game in English right now, while my 3DS will have to sit gathering dust for a few more months.
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