Sunday 19 June 2016

Post-E3 2016 [Events]

Having said last post that there would be a Nintendo related post, that isn't happening owing to only keeping the focus of conference specific blogs to just conferences. In past years I've always only covered Treehouse streams in this post discussion, the same will happen this year. And it is with Nintendo we will start.

The first day focused almost exclusively on The Legend of Zelda - now with it's new subtitle of Breath of the Wild - though Pokémon Sun and Moon did feature at the beginning. Pokémon is looking interesting, despite still not knowing all that much. The gameplay featured showed off the new battle menu through a few wild Pokémon battles. Move effectiveness is shown underneath each move, so it's easier to know whether a Pokémon will be good for the current battle. Pokéballs can now be selected without having to go into the bag. Stat changes for both sides can now easily be seen by selecting one on the menu. There also seems to be a focus on battles in the lore of the island, with the gameplay shown having the first rival battle be in one of the festivals relating to battles that happen. It'll be interesting to see where that lore goes. There are still a lot more secrets to be revealed before release.
Then The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild blew everyone away. The story is yours to discover, just as the world is. Bringing back the more freeform exploration of the old Zelda games, but now in a huge open world, there is also a lot that is different yet the same. The game has degradable weapons, a health meter instead of the heart system of previous games, cooking and combining items to help you survive, and a whole new way of taking on enemies you encounter. There really is too much to talk about in detail, but even to someone who isn't exactly invested in the series [if you really want to know my experience, it boils down to messing around on the first two games - not even getting anywhere - and a play through of Phantom Hourglass. I am almost finished with Link Between Worlds though], I really want to get into this game. Places have likened the game to The Witcher III: Wild Hunt, so that should give you a good idea of what to expect. The shrines in the game were shown off, which seem to be the equivalent of mini dungeons. Getting through them requires some puzzle solving and enemy beating. It is definitely one to watch, and while some may not agree, it is clear why Nintendo chose to focus so heavily on it.

For the second day of Nintendo streaming, we had a lot more to look at. It was the Pokémon GO! Q&A to begin with, which didn't seem to hold much information that those following the game already knew about. After that was new game Ever Oasis, a decent RPG offering that follows in the puzzle mechanics of The Legend of Zelda series. Here you are growing your own Oasis - literally, with seeds - and putting money in to get more out of each building. It sounds like Tiny Tower, but with added extras, though the focus seems to be more on the RPG side than the business side. BoxBoxBoy was next, with new Mario Party game Star Rush following this. While I can't really say much on BoxBoxBoy, it seems to offer more of the same with a few new quirks. Mario Party: Star Rush though, held my attention longer. The second Mario Party game on 3DS, this one definitely seems an improvement - over the previous handheld entry as well as some more recent console entries. All four players roll and move at the same time, with the idea being to both add to your group by running across Mario characters [all four players are Toads], and getting to the boss first in order to initiate a battle and hopefully win the competition between the other players for most hits on the boss. The winner will earn a star, and the person who gets the most stars wins the game. Items also play a part in earning an advantage, and these can also be found around the map. After this was Yo-Kai Watch 2, followed by Monster Hunter Generations, followed by Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past. I didn't see a whole lot of this part, though I know Yo-Kai Watch 2 expands on what the first gave, and Dragon Quest VII is looking to be a great remake of the original PS1 game. Monster Hunter Generations has a demo available, so you can get some hunting practise with the new mechanics before the full release. Not going to say much as it's better to experience for yourself. Next was Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, and since I have no interest at all in it, I tuned out after a minute or so, then returned to see a bit more gameplay checking in to see when the next game would be on. From what I saw, the combat is turn-based, taking place in arenas. The game releases next week, so there wasn't really much to show or tell. I'd tuned back in half way through Paper Mario: Colour Splash to see that the paint mechanic can be used for puzzles, that there are some wild special moves that can be used during combat, and the Koopalings are in the game. The last new game shown was Rhythm Heaven Megamix, a game for the more high score chasing gamers. Getting the button presses right is key, and there are numerous minigames to take on. A number of them were shown off, including one which had you translating for an alien. All the games on offer involve timing, and it is available right now in America, along with a demo. Us Europeans have to wait until October though. The second day finished with more Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, showing off some of what was shown on day one.

Elsewhere, Sonic Boom: Fire and Ice is getting positive previews from a lot of people, so it sounds as though the delay is paying off. Crash Bandicoot is in Skylanders. Wait... there's also a remaster of the first three games? Hopefully that pays off. The bandicoot has been waiting for a comeback, and if the remasters do well, it might very well happen. Sony also brought the big guns with a God of War reboot as well as an Insomniac Spiderman game. Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue gets a December release, and Square also said no Final Fantasy worlds for Kingdom Hearts 3. A number of teases also came for the number of HD releases for Xbox gamers. It's possible 1.5, 2.5, and 2.8 might come to Xbox One, and 1.5 and 2.5 coming to PS4 [both were PS3 releases].
I am big on Nintendo, and am starting to explore the wider Microsoft IP's, so that is where my focus lies. I will say again though, Steep looked absolutely beautiful. A fan of the extreme sports games, I am looking forward to getting on the slopes again. It's been so long since SSX On Tour on the PSP [the last one I played], and Steep is being described as a true successor of the SSX series. Outside of the conferences and Nintendo related material, I haven't seen a whole lot of E3 this year. I do know the games I am most wanting from it though, and Steep is one of them. Forza Horizon 3 is another, and of course Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

That's all for another E3, and we're waiting for Nintendo NX news coming soon. We don't know when, but it is sure to be coming within the next three or four months. And of course, the next mainline Sonic the Hedgehog game, which is all but confirmed for a July 22nd reveal. On the day of the anniversary party. There's also the fact that it is Sonic's actual anniversary this coming week. Might we get a tease then?