Introducing: Nintendo Treehouse Live
OK, Wow… As far as this E3 goes, Nintendo stole the show as far as I’m concerned! Even without big guns like Metroid Prime 4 or more details on BOTW2, when your competitors are bringing fast food, even an average to good offering can feel like top quality Waygu.
Following on from the Direct, we were treated to a veritable smorgasbord of gameplay footage as Nintendo laid bare the fruits of their labours! Let me take you on a journey through newly announced titles such as Warioware, Advance Wars & Mario Party. Plus more detail on titles like Shin Megami Tensei V and Mario Golf. But of course, we couldn’t ignore the first new metroid title in 19 years…
No Need to “DREAD” this Metroid Game…
This was, almost, my personal favourite announcement from the Direct. Unfortunately Atlus finally managed to announce more than a title. But this game needs no added hype from me, but I intend to hype it up regardless!
We are quickly given a gorgeous documentary entitled “Development History” whereby we learn the thing I had been hoping for since 2017. Mercury Steam, the Spanish developers behind the amazing remake of Metroid: Samus Returns are once again working on this title. We quickly learn of Sakamoto Yoshio’s desire to make the gameplay the core of the game. Building the story around it so that everyone can enjoy being the most powerful Bounty Hunter in the Galaxy. Putting gameplay first is a popular strategy of the old guard at Nintendo, and looking at Dread, it seems to be working.
So why is this not DREADful?
The gameplay itself takes us through a number of different locales. Showing off a number of core features, many of which have come across from “Samus Returns,” such as the Melee counter. Indeed, a lot of functionality that was built in to improve Samus Returns is used to great effect in the footage. We are also introduced a little more to E.M.M.I.
Finally someone answered the question, “what would GLaDOS look like if she could move but not speak?” Frankly, it’s frightening! E.M.M.I tracks motion, mostly based on sounds, in order to locate when Samus is in the room and relentlessly tracks her through a level, and portals don’t protect you! Getting caught results in insta-death and lets face it, this is where the sense of dread is being built into the game. We quickly see how a practiced player will be able to seamlessly flow through levels to make it difficult for E.M.M.I to follow. It was a joy to see!
Is now a bad time to point out that I’m not the biggest Metroid fan? I’ve owned a few titles, completed even less. I say this not to shock, but to emphasise that even someone who is not a hardcore fan of the franchise is excited to see this title! One thing I love about the more recent 2D games is the sheer attention to the world Samus finds herself in. The backgrounds are gorgeous, water is flowing, steam billowing and none of it is interacting with the foreground! This game is massively atmospheric to the point you can almost feel like it is a 3D title!
OK, so it’s Time to Party Then?
Super Mario Party was not a great title at launch, let’s be honest. An update helped address one of the bigger issues and that was online play. With the announcement of Mario Party Superstars we probably get a lot closer to the game that fans wanted at the start. More boards, more online, less reliance on Joy-Cons.
We got to see a huge variety of the mini games on offer in Superstars. Which, admittedly, is a much better offering than the top 100. Firstly we were given a tour of the beautifully remastered Peach’s cake level. This N64 delight has been lovingly crafted from digital icing to give players that perfect sweet treat as they steal each others stars! In fact, one thing that’s obvious is the visual polish behind these.
A couple of features shown off were the curtain, great for games where players can “copy” responses to get a better score. A save feature is installed, enabling you to pause mid game and pick up games to finish off later! With that we were moved onto the Space Land board. But essentially there’s a much better all round Mario Party experience here.
Honestly, Do you just go Hunting for puns?
We move straight on to Monster Hunter Stories 2. This is releasing a demo fairly soon, so there is a big push for new players to try it out.
What strikes first when watching the treehouse is how gorgeous the almost “Windwaker” like aesthetic that “Stories” employs. As Sam traverses the world with her character, Amber, she talks through the quest board and how missions can be collected there and from NPCs as you hunt down monsters. However, as you are told early on, the premise of “Stories” is that you are part of a symbiotic community with a variety of monsters and they can infact join your party.
So How does Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin Shape Up?
Riding through the world on the back of a gorgeous blue monster looked amazing and quite relaxing actually, but the biggest question on most JRPG fans lips is probably how is the combat different? So most of the team controls are limited early on. With increasing your bond with your monster generating more control over their actions, it’s a case of what am I doing as opposed to what do I want them to do.
Combat works along the “Rock, Paper, Scissors” mechanic similar to other games whereby one ability is stronger than another and weaker than the third. But as the combat demonstration continues it is clear that there’s a lot of strategy, and button mashers may want to look elsewhere for their fix.
I have to admit, Monster Hunter games are often a little intimidating to me. Even as a fan of JRPG’s and story driven games, I have to sometimes pick and choose which franchises I want to dive into. But there is so much here for new fans to pick up and with the turn based and strategy elements I have seriously considered picking this up.
Are you Ready Fore this?
So now we move onto a title we already knew about. Gameplay of Mario Golf Super Rush was almost a certainty for this E3 on account of its imminent release. For those who have never played a Mario sport game, you really should. If golf is your thing, then maybe this could be the one to tempt you.
Mario Golf sets itself apart from other sports games by bringing the chaotic nature of the Mario universe to serious sports settings. Super Rush is no exception, and the outfits are the first real glimpse of this. A huge variety in wardrobes are on show, from the rather Dapper Waluigi to the blatant “golf dad” that is Bowser. There are also characters that are only really seen in more recent sports games, such as Pauline. Which is a nice adjustment to the “regular” roster.
We are shown a variety of level select maps and given a tutorial of how to use the Joy-Con to achieve our ultimate goal of finally getting to a hole under par (OK, personally, I’d be happy with Par…) But where my interest in Super Rush really peaked is the Golf Adventure mode. You begin as a rookie golfer and set off to achieve stardom. You can interact with NPCs who offer advice, or sass.
As you continue through the playthrough you are shown how the upgrade system and shopping mechanics work. You can complete a range of practice activities and then eventually progress through the story and even battle bosses! This is no ordinary Links tournament! There is so much detail here, from the graphics to help you achieve the perfect shot, to the water and stamina levels in Adventure mode. There’s something here for everyone.
Shin Megami Tensei Fiiiiiinally!
I Love Shin Megami Tensei, and Persona. Frankly I am a bigger fan of Atlus games than even I realise at times. But I am going to point out now, what sounds like criticism, is merely playful ribbing at a game that was announced at launch. And no, dear reader, I do not mean this is a addition to an already released title. Shin Megami Tensei V was announced for the Switch when the console released on day 1. Suffice to say this has been a long time coming.
Atlus finally showcases something that isn’t a remake, or Persona 5, or a remake of Persona 5…
We are quickly thrown into gameplay footage. Hair physics already being highlighted as questionable, but fabulous! The world of the alternate Tokyo is looking barren. This is a very different setting to what we saw in SMT4. One thing that hasnt changed are the various demons we encounter. In fact, some of the more popular ones, such as pixie, are on show for us.
Mechanics haven’t changed much from previous Persona / SMT games. You select attacks, can defend, use a demon’s ability or an item to support you in battle. You can also negotiate with demons to have them join your sides and presumable, offer items and coin. Although we now see which demons we are interacting with as we cross the wasteland. In similar fashion to pokemon games and Persona 5 Strikers, we are able to pick and choose who we barter, battle and elude.
A lot here is similar to the previous Atlus favourites, and that isn’t a bad thing. Graphically, the game looks great and takes a clear step from the 3DS titles of old. Hopefully this will be worth the anticipation that fans of the sometimes overlooked franchise have been waiting for.
Advance to this!
Next up is another classic Nintendo title getting the Switch upgrade experience. Originally a Game Boy Advance, and later on the DS, Advance Wars was another brainchild of Intelligent Systems. The developers behind the highly successful Fire Emblem series (as well as others). Now they are bringing back their classic games. Throw in a little extra polish and a little of that chibi aesthetic and we’re gold!
There is, again, a lot on offer here. But not much has changed from the original titles. Select units and move them into position before launching your attack. You have a variety of units from tanks, foot soldiers and air troops all of whom have different strengths and weaknesses. Cities can also be captured to help and indeed this can form a major part of players strategy.
Aesthetically the game has had a huge overhall, being built from the ground up for Nintendo Switch. But the cartoon characters have a wide range of emotes and their characters really shine through during a relatively short play through. This is combined with the slighty chibi aesthetic of the soldier units, which calls back to Link’s Awakening. Clearly there were a few common themes during the last few years of development at Nintendo.
WarioWare Inc. Possibly a HR directors nightmare?
Our last game on the block is WarioWare: Get it Together. This was a rumored release, especially as Nintendo literally tested the waters days before announcement. But people are super excited to delve into the micro gaming world of WarioWare. Suffice to say that the theme here was to keep details small.
So into story mode. There’s selectable characters, a world map and even some platforming mechanics! You can select teams to help you complete said microgames and those team members will have strengths and weaknesses. For example some characters can jump higher, some can throw discs. These skills give you different ways to interact with microgames, and some will be better than others.
Nothing Micro about the Fun you can Have Here
Another new feature is Co-op mode. Each player can grab a Joy-Con and play along. Choosing different teams to complete tasks allows for more variety. There’s even the option of splitting up paired characters that have identical functions but in opposite directions. This creates a huge wealth in how to complete levels and massively increases the scope of replay-ability.
This was a great Treehouse Live presentation. Personally I’m not sure why we looped back to metroid. But on the whole, each game looked incredibly fun! There are titles here that I have reconsidered simply by watching the presentations. My wallet is already hiding somewhere! If you are unsure as to any of the games, have another look at the play throughs! The team behind Treehouse Live do a great job of passing on their passion for games and gaming as a whole.