Maybe Nintendo Did Okay?

I was a little quick to judge Nintendo’s E3 portfolio, but their approach to E3 with the Nintendo Treehouse wasn’t the best approach either. As the day(s) went on, Nintendo showed several other games beyond just Zelda and Pokemon that really have me excited. There’s one in particular that I’ll kick things off with…

Ever Oasis

Ever Oasis is an action-adventure RPG for Nintendo 3DS family systems contains puzzle-filled dungeons, real-time battles, exploration and treasure hunting. Players use the oasis as their base, which they can expand as they play, and gain affinity with characters called Seedlings, who are themed after plant seeds, as well as a variety of other unique characters who live in the desert. Players can freely form strategic parties with any of their allied characters, using allies’ weapons to battle enemies and solve dungeon puzzles. Ever Oasis is scheduled to launch in 2017.

It’s like Zelda meets Animal Crossing meets Monster Hunter meets Pokemon Mystery dungeon; Some are even thinking Runefactory is in there somewhere. The video above really showcases a lot of that. This is exactly the type of game that I enjoy playing on a 3DS. I’m super excited, and would love to hear about the possibility of co-op.

Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past

This Nintendo 3DS remake of the classic turn-based game involves a young boy who sets off with his friends on a journey to restore the world to its former glory and save the present by mending lands that were sealed in the past. In addition to updated graphics and an entirely new localization, the game does away with random enemy encounters to bring the player deeper into the game world. Players can also collect and share Traveller’s Tablets via the StreetPass feature, granting access to special dungeons offering unique rewards.

I’ll freely admit here that i haven’t played a single Dragon Quest game. That’s like a gaming sin, I know. So I don’t know if this is a remake of a game that ever released in the US on another console, or just a remake of the Japanese version. I think it looks fun, though. Again, the perfect kind of game on the 3DS. Am I going to be able to jump right in and enjoy the series having never played previous installments in the series?

Monster Hunter Generations

I haven’t decided yet whether or not I will pick up Generations. I played Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and enjoyed it online with Graev, but I think the series is incredibly templated. They all play so much the same that the next one simply feels like the previous one. They’re great — really great — but is that enough to jump in and play another? Once again, a perfect game for the 3DS. Handheld really is where Nintendo shines.

Additional honorable mentions:

  • Mario Party Star Rush – Still no online multiplayer, but a new mode that removes turns and enables free movement. Biggest shock: It’s a 3DS title.
  • Paper Mario: Color Splash – Looks good. I like to watch these be played but haven’t actually played one myself. Graev loves them.

Ever Oasis all by itself is enough for me to boost Nintendo’s E3 score. That looks ridiculously fun.  Bringing updates to a few staples, and showcasing more of their titles already announced doesn’t hurt either.

Nintendo Treehouse: Live at E3

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild – Beautiful art style. I loved when Link had that full suit of armor on. All of the various interactive parts of the world like chopping trees, raising ice out of the water, etc. “Hyrule will be a resource,” hopefully means that we’ll be able to utilize more of the world for things like crafting [Pure speculation]. Supposedly the world is huge. I’m hyped.

Pokemon Sun & Moon – Looks like the usual Pokemon (which is great), and by usual I mean the new pseudo-3D world. Alola looks like a great region, Formes appear to be a nice way to upgrade Pokemon, and Battle Royals should ad a new fun element to the battles. Looks fun. Their presentation was pretty boring, though. I don’t think Pokemon warrants a sit-down dev discussion. The Pokemon chat lasted 45+ minutes and was absolutely dull. We could have had one nice video with these details in under 3 minutes.

Breath of the Wild

More of Breath of the Wild

[Presented in a live blogging style]

Really bizarre start to the game where Link has “technology” (looks like an iPad or a Wii U Gamepad). Extremely odd juxtaposition between the typical Fantasy setting to now introduce Scifi elements. It’s like Link has been reincarnated to save the world again or something.

Link can jump! There’s also Itemization — link can now collect gear!

Wow, that world is gorgeous. It looks so open and inviting to explore — so much character. I truly hope we have an Elder Scrolls style world at our disposal.

They’re showcasing Link chopping trees and collecting wood! Graev is like “This doesn’t feel like Zelda,” but I think this is exactly everything Zelda should become. Zelda needs to evolve into a deeper RPG experience because Nintendo NEEDS that deeper RPG experience for their IP.

Gear BREAKS! Holy smokes. Graev interjects, “Why is Link right handed?”

To refill health Link now has to EAT rather than find hearts in the grass. Link eats items that have the heart icons on them. That’s great. The creator (whose name escapes me) is saying it plays a lot like a survival game where you have to collect gear. Interesting.

I’m going to stop there as they’ve dragged this on a bit and will continue to showcase Zelda throughout the day. If Nintendo announces anything big, I’ll update this post with snippets of other games.

Zelda Breath of the Wild is probably my #2 most anticipated game out of E3. This looks like a great departure from the current Zelda formula. For Graev it seems weird and foreign, but for me it’s what I want and what I need to embrace the IP more fully.

Overall, Nintendo’s E3 presence was kinda sad. Compared to what the other big names brought to the show, Nintendo looks like they’re off in their own land where the conventional rules of having a strategy, direction, or plan (or even a clue), do not exist. They’re doing their own thing, but that’s starting to become their mantra.

As E3 wraps up this year, here’s now I’ll rank the big presentations:

Microsoft: A
Sony: B+
Nintendo: B-
Bethesda: C+
EA: D

The Legend of Zelda Main Theme Piano Cover (Arranged by My Wife!)

My wife arranged more video game music! I suggested she give Zelda a try and she decided to go with the original theme as it’s now the 30th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda. She put her own twist on it that I think has an interesting feel, both dark and then brighter like there’s the hope of a hero. She’s never played a Zelda game in her life, either. I think I’ll have her check out and watch me play Twilight Princess on the Wii U which arrives tomorrow.

Next up: The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind theme.

 

Catching up after a long week

I’m back from my 4 day business trip to Seattle — forgot to mention I would be gone. I missed SoCal quite a bit. All that wet stuff falling from the sky and people smoking everywhere took a bit of getting used to for me. Living in the suburbs in the Inland Empire (greater Los Angeles area) we see very little of either of those things these days. I caught some kind of cold from the trip which either came from all the people hacking up a lung on the plane or the rain.

miitomoI had my first experience with Uber while in Seattle, and proceeded to use it a dozen times. That was pretty cool. I was marveling at how incredible it is that I walk out of my hotel, tap a button on my phone, and a car pulls up. I get in the car, it drives me where I told my phone I wanted to go, and when I get there I just get out of the car and go along my way never having to exchange money or interact with anyone (if that’s my desire). Technology is getting pretty darn cool — especially where our handheld devices are concerned. Now if only gaming could catch up a bit. Seems to me we’ve stagnated a bit on these dumb time waster games and haven’t seen much for mobile devices.

Nintendo’s first official first-party app Miitomo launches next month. I’m once again a little confused by their direction with new products. Miitomo is going to be an app about dressing up your Mii, talking with friends, and taking photos with your Mii. I was hoping for more from them when Tatsumi Kimishima took over. Just not seeing any of that yet. Where’s the true first party GAMES rather than these awkward Japanese inspired social mechanics?

Interestingly enough, Nintendo continues to push forward with updating games they released in the past for use on the 3DS family of systems. FOr example, Pokemon Yellow Special Edition Pikachu Edition launches on February 27, 2016 ($9.99). Pokemon Yellow was released 18 years ago! I love that they are bringing back these titles, but I’d also love that Zelda open-world RPG we’ve been waiting on for a few years now. I’ll be a tad bitter if the Nintendo NX launches and all these Wii U games we could have had are pushed out a generation.

Settling back into my routine is nice. I’m going to pick Final Fantasy Explorers back up and continue pushing forward. I’m loving the Machinist and looking forward to the Red Mage. Also playing LEGO Dimensions, Just Cause 3, and way too many games — write ups coming soon. Several of you have joined us in Albion Online. If you need a guild invite let me know! Our island is awesome for free crafting on high-tier stations.

The Legend of Zelda: TriForce Heroes Review

TriForce Heroes Review triforce-heroes-3dsThe Legend of Zelda: TriForce Heroes just came out on Friday, but Graev and I have logged numerous hours in what I think is one of my favorite 3DS games yet. TriForce Heroes is a multiplayer experience designed for three players to work together to complete levels comprised of various platformer puzzles and challenges. While the game does allow people with absolutely no friends internet connection to play by themselves, the heart of TriForce Heroes can only be found in its multiplayer experience.

You take on the role of Link. And your friends (or random online people) take on the roles of… Links. That’s sort of where the story in TriForce Heroes begins to break down. You’re all heroes, but at the same time you’re not. Apparently Nintendo has said (these?) are the same Link from A Link Between Worlds, but you’ve come to Hytopia and decide to hide your heroic origins by dressing up in what can only be considered fantabulous outfits. Oh yes, the story gets better… or worse… or better?

triforce-heroes-totemThe gist of the story here is that Hytopia, a kingdom passionate about fashion, has been plagued by this awful witch (known only as “The Lady”) who has cursed the beautiful fashionista princess with the most unimaginably horrible curse of all: To forever have to wear this ugly brownish bodysuit thing. It is up to you (or the three of you) to save Hytopia from this awful curse by entering the Drablands (eye roll) and fulfill the prophesy to stop “The Lady.” So yeah.. the story sucks. It’s worse than any story in any Zelda game ever–and has matching dialog too. But if you completely ignore the story, the gameplay is phenomenal. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention that your goal throughout this entire experience is to also acquire crafting materials to make yourself some chic outfits with bonuses.

Gameplay is similar to just about every handheld Zelda game thus far. I personally think it handles like a dream. You’ll queue up with any combination of 3 whether it be people you know or randoms or any mixture. Your goal in every level is simply to get to the end, and to do so requires utilizing unparalleled amounts of teamwork combining different items and strategies. You’ll be coordinating attacks, movements, and abilities that rival the coordination of a WoW raid boss–not kidding. Sharing the same hearts for health and being able to hurt each other with bombs makes the whole thing

triforce heroes carrying teammates

Graev (in green) carrying this guy (red) who was so bad. He flailed wildly with what could only have been the maddest of attempts to free himself.

Solving levels can be quite a challenge, and doing so with absolutely no voice communication is the best part of TriForce Heroes. Some reviews I’ve read consider the lack of communication a negative, but I think it might be this game’s biggest strength. Spamming the emojis of “Throw!” “Over Here!” and “Item!” etc., have brought on tears streaming down my face. I was laughing so hard last night that I got a massive headache. I haven’t laughed so hard in months! Graev and I were playing once level and the guy we teamed with was so unbearably bad that Graev finally said screw it and picked him up, unwilling to put him down, and forcefully carried him over his head like a bomb through half the level.

The intricate puzzles you’ll be solving, and the hilarity of doing it while having to rely on two other people to often be completely in-sync make for a chaotic yet addicting experience. Even when you come across someone who is so bad it makes you want to cry, you’ll be jumping right back in to see how much better you can do on that level the next time around. TriForce Heroes is just that kind of game. The attention to detail is so finely crafted around this multiplayer experience that it’s simply a masterpiece in that regard. You’ll easily put in 20+ hours before feeling anywhere near like you’ve played the same level twice. That’s the beauty of that multiplayer interaction.