Zelda, Pokémon, and Luigi oh my!
Let’s start off with getting some of the main announcements out of the way right now, the Dragon Quest Hero led off the Nintendo Direct as getting into Super Smash Brothers Ultimate but that had people thinking about a certain bear and bird getting in. Well, the wait wasn’t long as Nintendo tried to fool the viewers with another King K Rool style trick but Banjo Kazooie finally got into Super Smash Brothers Ultimate to the praise of fans everywhere! There was one more piece of info at the end of the Direct as a Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild style video was shown at the tail end of the Direct that announced that the Breath of the Wild sequel is in development and that brought the house down as well as ended the direct.
Nintendo brought with them some great games to California but the three heavy hitters had their own special display areas. The Legend of Zelda: Links Awakening was a Switch remake of the Game Boy classic game but has some gorgeous graphics that look like Claymation. Pokémon Sword and Shield had trainers playing their demos in a Pokémon Stadium against Water trainer Nessa in a Pokémon-sports-like stadium complete with fans. Battles in a Galar region are the main form of entertainment for people so the sports arena demo area fit perfectly. Luigi’s Mansion 3 had players play their demo in a dark hotel setting as the game takes place in a hotel and Bellhops led you around the demo area!
Fans of the original Link’s Awakening will be right at home on Koholint Island trying to deal with the Wind Fish. As I mentioned before, graphically, it has a Claymation-like style that looks fantastic for the Switch. During the demo you had the ability to do whatever you wanted during the fifteen or so minute play session and in that time, you could explore the island. You could try to find the first dungeon; you could try the crane game and grab the Yoshi doll or get to know the townspeople. You could also go to the shop and try to steal from the shopkeeper, like old –school players used to do. When you get the sword and shield, you won’t have to equip and unequip them like in the Game Boy game but you will have to do that with the other items. One issue I had with the demo was that there was slow down in gameplay and there wasn’t that much activity going on. Some will say that’s the limitations of the Switch or it being a demo build so I won’t kill it too much.
Next up was one of my games of the show, Pokémon Sword and Shield, as I really wanted to get some playtime on this. Pokémon Sword and Shield will be the first step for the main Pokémon games on the Switch as Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee were basically remakes of the first generation. The demo had trainers take on one of the gyms in the Galar region and the water type gym leader, Nessa. Sword and Shield goes away from the Island Kahunas of Sun and Moon and goes back to the tried and true formula of Gym Leaders across the Galar region. However there are new features in gym battles, the main one being Dynamaxing. Dynamaxing is where your Pokémon grows giant for three turns in battle and gains different attacks that can turn the tide in battle!
There were new Pokémon revealed during the demo as well to get trainers excited for! Fans were all over Twitter for the electric type dog, Yamper and the Dark/Fairy Impidimp. I wasn’t expecting brand new Pokémon in the demo but that was a nice surprise. The Flying/Steel type Corviknight was playable and shown in the Direct to be used as a taxi! One of Nessa’s Pokémon, Drednaw, a Water/Rock type, was a tough Pokémon to fight in battle but it’s really cool looking. Inside the Gym, you fought Gym trainers as well as deciphering a water puzzle and it’s great to see the return of puzzles inside the Gym. Another neat feature was since Gym battles are the main form of entertainment in Galar; you walk out of the arena and into the main field through a tunnel which really makes you feel like a Pokémon athlete!
Another one of my games of the show was one of the other games Nintendo brought with them, Luigi’s Mansion 3. Luigi stars in his third ghost-hunting adventure and it plays like the original Game Cube game. Luigi and friends make their way to a fancy hotel but things take a scary turn when King Boo shows up and ruins the fun and tries to kidnap everyone. It’s up the Luigi to save the day with the help of Professor E. Gadd and an improved Poltergust G-00. The modified Poltergust has new abilities that allow Luigi to blow away as well as slam ghosts to kingdom come. You also have the ability to shoot a plunger shot or “suction” to pull shields away from ghosts. You also have the option to grab doors and switches to pull open with the plunger and nothing is more fun than Luigi using a plunger to open a door! Another invention from Professor E. Gadd is the gooey counterpart, Gooigi. Gooigi is a gooey body double for Luigi that can traverse spikes and other tight areas that our favorite green plumber can’t go through on his own. Gooigi is an interesting mechanic that will definitely add to the puzzles! During the demo you made your way to the boss fight which was a suit of armor that had a shield that you had to flash with your flashlight to stun and then get it with the plunger. It was tough to figure out what to do at the start of the boss fight but after you do, it was smooth sailing.
I would have to say Nintendo was the big winner during E3 with all their announcements. It was also great to get some amazing swag like the Link’s Awakening key chain, the Pokémon Sword/Shield starter pins and Luigi’s Mansion 3 flashlight. All in all, it was a great show for the big N!