Impressions

 

There’s really no other way to say this; Nintendo Direct this year was The Super Smash Bros. Show (feat. Some Other Stuff, Kind Of). There were a couple of nifty announcements for some fan-favorite properties like Fire Emblem and Mario Party, the completely unsurprising reveal of Fortnight for the Switch, a reminder that Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee exist, and a bevy of previously announced titles from both first and third-party devs.

It seems like the sheer volume of content on display this year is a direct response to fan concerns regarding the Switch’s library of games. Nobody wants a repeat of the Wii U, least of all Nintendo, so it’s only natural that they would want to reassure the community that their flagship system won’t be wanting for games in the upcoming years and months.

The issue here is that a great many of these titles are either remasters, re-releases, or new installments in Nintendo’s party game franchises, including Super Mario Party and Smash. While Mario Party does look to bring some innovation to the table by utilizing the Switch’s tablet mode and motion controls and Smash is sure to be a crowd-pleaser, it’s difficult not to be a little disappointed by how conventional everything appears to be.

The last two years have been unbelievable for Nintendo, and have seen some of the best games in their longest-running series, which also happen to be some of the best games of all time. The best thing about these games (which, in case it wasn’t clear, are Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey) is that they both took bold steps forward, abandoning many of the conventions that had defined their predecessors. Even more impressive is the fact that they both ran beautifully on what may be the least traditional console Nintendo has ever produced.

All of this paints a beautiful picture of a company that has learned from its mistakes and knows that good games can sell hardware, and inventive hardware can sell games. By comparison, this year’s E3 Showcase was incredibly reserved.

Updates for Xenoblade Chronicles and Splatoon, support for indie games, and new editions of Smash and Mario Party are all well and good, but they lack the thrilling, forward-thinking innovation that has given Nintendo such remarkable momentum since the announcement of the Switch. Of course, not every game can be BOTW and the community behind Smash Bros. is enormous and passionate, so a great many people were no doubt pleased by what they saw today.

Here’s hoping that Nintendo isn’t content to coast off of recent successes and let games like Smash define the future of the Switch, but rather continues pleasing fans with these titles while working on their next monumental, industry-shaking project.

 

Rundown

 

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

  • Release Date: Dec 7, 2018.
  • Ultimate will feature every single Smash Bros fighter ever. They are comprised of the characters on this absurdly long list.
    • Mario
    • Dr. Mario
    • Luigi
    • Yoshi
    • Samus
    • Zero Suit Samus
    • Kirby
    • Bowser
    • Bowser Jr.
    • BOTW Link
    • Toon Link
    • Young Link
    • Princess Zelda
    • Ganondorf
    • Sheik
    • Donkey Kong
    • Diddy Kong
    • Fox
    • Falco
    • Wolf
    • Marth
    • Villager
    • Meta Knight
    • Mewtwo
    • Sonic
    • Peach
    • Daisy
    • Pikachu
    • Pichu
    • Jigglypuff
    • Lucario
    • Greninja
    • Ice Climbers
    • Inkling Girl and Boy
    • Captain Falcon
    • Wii Fit Trainer
    • Pokemon Trainer, accompanied by Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard
    • Ness
    • Lucas
    • Ryu
    • Ike
    • Cloud
    • Roy
    • Snake
    • Olimar
    • Lucina
    • Robin
    • Bayonetta
    • Mr. Game & Watch
    • R.O.B.
    • Duck Hunt
    • Pit
    • Dark Pit
    • Palutena
    • Corrin
    • King Dedede
    • Rosalina and Luma
    • Mii Brawler
    • Mii Swordfighter
    • Mii Gunner
    • Wario
    • Little Mac
    • PAC-MAN
    • Shulk
    • Megaman
    • Ridley
  • If that weren’t enough, prepare for another insanely lengthy list of changes and tweaks introduced to many of the above characters.
    • Mario
      • Can now wield Cappy from Odyssey.
      • Can get all duded-up in his wedding and builder outfits.
    • Link
      • Comes wearing the Champion’s Tunic from BOTW, but his original tunic is also available.
      • Can now use remote bombs.
      • His Final Smash is now the Ancient Bow and Arrow.
    • Ice Climbers
      • Players will need to manage both characters; when one is gone, you’re in trouble.
    • Ike
      • Comes with outfits from both Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn, with different voiceovers for each.
    • Pikachu
      • Male and female characters are both playable, with females being denoted by their heart-shaped tails.
    • Fox
      • Comes decked out in his suit from Star Fox Zero.
      • Features a much faster, aerial Final Smash.
    • Falco
      • His Final Smash is much like Fox’s, but far more chaotic.
    • Ryu
      • In one-on-one fights, Ryu will always face towards his opponent, as in a classic fighting game.
    • Samus
      • Charged attacks can now be primed in midair. They can be canceled, but doing so will leave you open to attacks.
    • Marth
      • Dancing Blade is now considerably faster.
      • Marth is fully voiced in English.
    • Snake
      • Back in the franchise for the first time in over a decade, he will be accompanied by the Shadow Moses Island stage.
    • King Dedede
      • His new Final Smash is essentially a cage match where he unleashes a barrage of missiles and a jet hammer.
    • Princess Zelda
      • Will feature the style she bore in A Link Between Worlds to account for the fact that her character in BOTW was more interested in her studies than fisticuffs.
      • Her Final Smash will be The Triforce of Wisdom
    • Sonic
      • His Final Smash is Super Sonic and is, appropriately, rather fast.
    • PAC-MAN
      • Movement speed has been increased.
    • Pokemon Trainer
      • Players can now freely switch between pokemon.
      • There is no penalty for sticking with one creature for an entire match.
      • There will be both female and male trainers.
    • Captain Falcon
      • Particularly strong attacks will be accompanied by slo-mo effects.
      • Falcon’s Big Blue Races stage will also be returning.
    • Cloud
      • Will feature both FFVII and FFVII: Advent Children outfits.
      • A limit gauge will now be displayed near his damage percentage.
    • Robin
      • Remaining uses for Levin Sword and Tomes abilities will be visible on-screen.
    • Villager
      • Pocketed items will now be displayed.
      • Between male and female versions, there are eight total designs for the Villager.
    • Bowser
      • His Final Smash now sees him becoming the size of his final form in Yoshi’s Island.
    • Mr. Game & Watch
      • Has been redesigned to more closely resemble his appearance in his original games.
    • Wolf
      • Is seen sporting his Star Fox Zero style.
      • His move set has reportedly been updated since his last appearance.
    • Kirby
      • Has a copy ability for each and every character, allowing him to mimic elements of their appearance.
    • Shulk
      • Monado Arts can now be selected directly rather than requiring repeated button presses.
      • Fiora now appears in his Final Smash.
    • Ganondorf
      • Styled after his appearance in Ocarina of Time.
      • His Final Smash transforms him into Demon King Ganon.
    • Mii Fighter
      • Physical proportions have been tweaked.
      • There are twelve selectable voice options.
      • Their move set has been enhanced from the previous version.
      • Nintendo hopes to have the Mii Fighters ready for online play in the future.
    • Pit
      • His new Final Smash is the Lightning Chariot.
    • Zero Suit Samus
      • For her Final Smash, she will now don her power suit and fire off a powerful laser.
    • Olimar
      • His helmet will show cracks as he takes damage.
    • Bayonetta
      • Will feature costumes from her first two games, with specific gunshot sound effects for each.
      • Rodin appears as an Assist Trophy.
    • Wario
      • His Final Smash, Wario-Man, is very different from previous iterations and will no longer feature regular moves.
    • Donkey Kong
      • His new Final Smash is a flurry of rapid-fire punches.
      • His beautiful, beautiful monkey face will now feature improved, expressive animations.
    • Little Mac
      • His Final Smash is now a series of blows called Giga Mac Rush.
    • Ness
      • For his Final Smash, Ness can call on Paula and Poo.
      • Jeff also appears an Assist Trophy.
    • Lucas
      • His Final Smash will now feature Kumatora and Boney.
    • Wii Fit Trainer
      • Her face has been modified to give her a new look.
    • Mega Man
      • Wily’s Castle comes with every hazard from both the Wii U and 3DS versions.
      • His final smash also welcomes Proto Man and Bass to the gang.
    • Palutena
      • She now comes equipped with a special attack for each of her moves.
      • Her Down Special now serves as both a Counter and a Deflector.
    • R.O.B.
      • His chassis now sports a hover-fuel gauge.
    • Lucina, Dark Pit, and Daisy
      • Alternate characters based on other fighters, known as Echo Fighters.
    • Inkling girl and boy
      • Inked opponents take more damage.
      • You can run out of ink, so players must take time to refill by shielding with B.
      • There are eight total outfits for the Inkling, each with its own unique ink color.
      • The Squid Sisters appear as an Assist Trophy, zooming the camera in close to their platform and thereby making it far easier to be knocked off-screen
  • Assist Trophies
    • Items and characters that can be called upon for help.
    • With enough damage, some can be KO’d, but others are undefeatable.
    • The roster of support characters is well over fifty strong, and features, among others:
      • Bomberman
      • Starfy
      • Burrowing Snagret
      • Midna
      • Sukapon
      • Bewear
      • Solgaleo
  • Stages
    • There are many returning fan favorites, as well as newcomers. Known stages include:
      • Prism Tower
      • Green Greens
      • Spear Pillar
      • Mario Galaxy
      • Midgar
      • Kongo Falls
      • Lylat Cruise
      • Princess Peach’s Castle
      • Spirit Train
      • Frigate Orpheon
      • Green Hill Zone
      • New Pork City
      • Wrecking Crew
      • Tortimer Island
      • Moray Towers
      • Big Blue Races
      • Shadow Moses Island
      • Great Plateau Tower
    • All stages will also feature Battlefield and Omega forms, too.
  • New Techniques
    • Press and hold for rapid strikes.
    • You can now use a Smash Attack to cancel a Dash.
    • Directional Air Dodges are now swifter and more mobile.
      • Excessive dodging will, however, leave you vulnerable to attacks.
    • You can execute a Short Hop Attack at any time.
    • Perfect Sheild moves must now be timed more precisely.
    • In one-on-one fights, the amount of damage dealt is increased.
    • In a timed battle, the fighter in the lead will sometimes flash with light.
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will feature support for all Smash Bros. Amiibo and will allow players to transfer their Figure Player data from previous titles.
  • Ultimate will have full support for Gamecube controllers.

 

Everything Else

  • Nintendo discussed a number of games in little to no detail, presumably in order to free up time for its gargantuan Smash Bros. segment.
    • Super Mario Party
      • Release Date: Oct 5, 2018.
      • This seems to be the same Mario Party that we all know and love to hate, complete with silly motion-controlled minigames and cordial backstabbing.
      • It looks as if the car that grouped players together in the last iteration has been dropped.
      • The most interesting thing about this game is the idea that players will be able to align their Switch screens in different configurations, and the minigames will adapt to that layout.
    • Daemon X Machina
      • Release Window: TBA 2019.
    • Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna – The Golden Country
      • Release Window: Sept 2018.
    • Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu Eevee
      • Release Date: Nov 16, 2018.
    • Fire Emblem: Three Houses
      • Release Window: Spring 2018.
    • Fortnight
      • Release Date: Available right now, for free on the eShop.
    • Overcooked 2
      • Release Date: August 7, 2018.
    • Killer Queen Black
      • Release Window: “Later,” 2018.
    • Hollow Knight
      • Release Date: Available right now on the eShop.
    • Octopath Traveler
      • Release Date: July 13, 2018.
      • A demo will be available on June 14, 2018.
    • Starlink: Battle for Atlas
      • Release Date: Oct 16, 2018.
    • Arena of Valor
      • Release Window: Fall 2018.
    • Minecraft
      • Release Date: June 21, 2018.
    • Sushi Striker: Way of Sushido
      • Release Date: Available now on the eShop.
    • Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle – Donkey Kong Adventure
      • Release Dates:
        • Season Pass holders: June 25, 2018.
        • Everyone else: June 26, 2018.
    • PixARK
      • Release Window: Fall 2018.
    • Just Dance 2019
      • Release Date: Oct 23, 2018.
    • Dragon Ball Fighter Z
      • Release Window: TBA 2018.
    • Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion
      • Release Window: Summer 2018.
    • Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
      • Release Date: July 13, 2018.
    • Crash Bandicoot: N’Sane Trilogy
      • Release Date: June 29, 2018.
    • Ninjala
      • Release Window: Spring 2019.
    • Carcassonne
      • Release Window: Holiday 2018.
    • FIFA 18: World Cup Update
      • Release Date: Available now on the eShop.
    • FIFA 19
      • Release Date: Sept 28, 2018.
    • Ark: Survival Evolved
      • Release Window: Fall 2018.
    • Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut
      • Release Window: Fall 2018.
    • Paladins: Champions of the Realm
      • Release Date: Available now on the eShop.
    • Fallout Shelter
      • Release Date: Available right now, for free on the eShop.
    • Dark Souls Remastered
      • Release Window: Summer 2018.
    • SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy
      • Release Date: Sept 7, 2018.
    • Monster Hunter: Generations Ultimate
      • Release Date: Aug 28, 2018.
    • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
      • Release Date: June 29, 2018.
    • The World Ends With You: Final Remix
      • Release Window: Fall 2018.
    • Mega Man 11
      • Release Date: Oct 2, 2018.
    • Mario Tennis Aces
      • Release Date: June 22, 2018.

 

And that’s a wrap on E3, 2018. All we have to tide us over until next year’s conference are the 80,000 conventions between now and then. In the meantime, I’ll be watching that Ghost of Tsushima trailer on repeat and playing the hell out of Dark Souls for the Switch once it finally releases. Probably not at the same time, though. That might be difficult.

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