E3 2018 was packed with quality games from publishers small and large alike, spanning nearly every conceivable genre. We recently compiled some of our favorites together for Gamnesia’s Best of E3 2018 awards, and we’re not the only ones! The Game Critics Awards consists of 51 global media and influencer outlets, and they’ve just released their full list of winners for the convention.
The big winner, taking home best of show, was Capcom’s remake of Resident Evil 2. This isn’t surprising to anyone who was on the show floor, as the game’s demo had a roughly four hour wait at all times. Anthem was another favorite of the show, taking home Best PC Game and Best Action Game. Meanwhile, Marvel’s Spider-Man won Best Console Game and Best Action/Adventure Game.
You can check out the full list of winners below.
Best of Show Resident Evil 2
(Capcom for PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Best Original Game Dreams
(Media Molecule/SIE for PlayStation 4)
Best Console Game Marvel’s Spider-Man
(Insomniac Games/SIE for PlayStation 4)
Best VR/AR Game Tetris Effect
(Resonair/Enhance Inc for PSVR)
Best PC Game Anthem
(BioWare/EA for PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Xbox Adaptive Controller
Best Action Game Anthem
(BioWare/EA for PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Best Action/Adventure Game Marvel’s Spider-Man
(Insomniac Games/SIE for PlayStation 4)
Best RPG Kingdom Hearts III
(Square Enix for PS4, Xbox One)
Best Fighting Game
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
(Bandai Namco Studios/Sorta Ltd./Nintendo for Switch)
Best Racing Game
Forza Horizon 4
(Playground Games/Turn 10/Microsoft Studios for PC, Xbox One)
Best Sports Game
(EA Vancouver/EA for PS4, Xbox One)
Best Strategy Game
Total War: Three Kingdoms
(Creative Assembly/Sega for PC)
Best Family/Social Game
(Ghost Town Games/Team 17 for PS4, Switch, Xbox One)
Another exciting E3 has come and gone, and four members of the Gamnesia staff had the opportunity to head to Los Angeles for the convention. Over the course of the week we got to go hands-on with many of the fantastic games shown off during the press conferences, and we nominated some of our favorites for the Best of E3 award. We couldn’t choose just one winner, so we narrowed it down to three total winners, each with their own category. So without further ado, read on for Gamnesia’s Best of E3 winners, as well as the runners-up and honorable mentions.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Best Fighting Game)
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is visually similar to the Wii U Smash (or Smash 4), and it also feels familiar in terms of gameplay. However, it’s much more than just a port, despite what some fans may think. Smash 4 is a good base to use for comparison, but there are some notable differences worth highlighting.
Everything is smoother, slightly quicker, and also has more of a punch added to it. Even weaker attacks have more of a knock-back than before and the speed that opponents are sent flying has been increased. This does make for some strange scenes where you can be sent flying in one direction quite fast, only to stop suddenly and start going in the direction you’re holding once the knock-back distance has been reached. In Smash Bros., players who are knocked back usually start pressing buttons quickly after they’ve been launched as they want to regain control, and it’s not unlikely that Sakurai made this change simply to help players differentiate between when knock-back is in effect, as opposed to player-controlled movement.
Many moves have seen a reduction in lag, Ganondorf’s Down-B being a notable example. All Final Smashes have also been sped up. Everything in this game is quick and to the point. There are satisfying slow-motion moments when you connect a big hit that result in KOs where the camera zooms in on the action for just a split second. This is similar to what happens with Little Mac’s KO Punch or the Dragoon item, and it’s a welcome addition for those who’d like to gloat a little bit extra when getting a good KO.
Likewise, Assist Trophies are more straight-forward in the sense that most of them can now be defeated. Killing an Assist Trophy will now award you with a point or lose your opponent a stock, which can be pretty harsh if you get a poor Assist Trophy (hi, Starfy). However, it adds a layer of depth as you have to make sure you keep on fighting alongside your trophy—you can’t just unleash it, sit back, and relax like you could in the past. Top it all up with the return of directional air dodges, and you have a game that is a bit more tactical than in the past. This is a game where your choices matters and button mashing will only get you so far.
New characters include the Inklings and Ridley, both of which were available at E3. The Inkling is a bit of an odd one as many of his/her attacks consume ink. This is reminiscent of Olimar and his Pikmin, so if Olimar wasn’t your boy, you might similarly be a bit annoyed with the Inkling—especially since replenishing is done by pressing B while shielding, which isn’t very intuitive. Ridley is more straight-forward. He’s got decent range and his special attacks help him in the long-range game. Despite the wings, his recovery isn’t the best, but he makes up for it in the damage he deals. His Down-B can be absolutely brutal if you sweet-spot it, dealing some 60% in a single hit.
With Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, you can look forward to is a game that is as fun as any Smash before it and packed with more content than ever. With its massive roster of characters and polished, well thought-out mechanics, it has a chance of really being something that brings together Smash fans from all generations. Whether you’ve been a fan since the N64 or just picked it up with Smash 4, you should be excited for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate! (Impressions by Hombre de Mundo)
Runner-up:My Hero: One’s Justice
Another game to earn a Best of E3 nomination from Gamnesia on the show floor was My Hero: One’s Justice from Bandai Namco. Based on the popular manga and anime series My Hero Academia, One’s Justice is a 3D fighting game with destructible environments and beautiful, comic book-inspired graphics.
It may not be as mechanically impressive as other games in the genre, but its visual style is a feast and its massive and diverse cast of playable heroes and villains should be endlessly entertaining. As someone who isn’t particularly skilled at the genre, I still found it pretty simple to jump into, and devastating my opponent with Todoroki’s combination of ice and fire attacks was a blast. This seems like one even casual fans should be able to enjoy. (Impressions by Ben Lamoreux)
3 Minutes to Midnight (Best Indie Game)
E3 is home to the biggest names in gaming, but sometimes the best experiences aren’t the ones with the most brand recognition. E3 is also home to indie games hoping to get a foot in the door and share some of that spotlight. The brightest of these newcomers at E3 2018 was 3 Minutes to Midnight, a point-and-click adventure in the style of classic LucasArts games. Set late in the 1940s, 3 Minutes to Midnight follows a plucky young girl named Betty Anderson on her quest to uncover a secret plot to extinguish humanity. Betty, along with everyone else in her once-quiet New Mexico town, has lost her memories.
As with most games in the genre, this means we’re off to explore. Thankfully, this is an absolute joy in 3 Minutes to Midnight thanks to its gorgeous art style. The stylized cartoon look is rich in color, and backgrounds have a surprising amount of depth and detail. You’ll want to click everywhere and on everything to soak it all in…which is good, because you’ll need to find as many collectibles as possible to solve the game’s puzzles. In addition to the standard “find out which item goes where” gameplay, 3 Minutes to Midnight spices things up with a crafting system that lets you combine items to create better ones.This might be something simple, like combining a candle with citronella oil to scare away some pesky mosquitoes blocking your path, but there are also more complex and creative uses for crafting. By combining a plunger, a rope, a fire extinguisher, and some pipe, I was able to craft a plunger gun that functions as a hookshot.
The game also features a robust dialogue system with plenty of fun options to choose. Is Betty feeling sassy? Sympathetic? Impatient? Chances are there’s a response that conveys whatever emotion you’re looking for. Interactions with NCPs can be silly and lighthearted (like haggling with a raccoon over an item he’s hoarding in his trash can) or a little more on the dark side. The demo featured a disturbing, knife-wielding girl named Pammy who switches between several distinct personalities, so choose your words carefully! The game’s writing is witty and surprisingly deep, and the voice acting is pretty solid as well!
My time with 3 Minutes to Midnight was short but sweet, and it left me craving more. This was Scarecrow Studios’ first public showing for the game, but it certainly won’t be the last. This is one to keep your eyes on, especially if you’re already a fan of the point-and-click adventure genre. (Impressions by Ben Lamoreux)
Another outstanding indie at this year’s E3 was Indivisible from Lab Zero Games. This action-platformer features a diverse cast of playable characters fighting their way through an enormous, beautiful world brought to life with hand-drawn graphics. The gameplay is “Metroidvania” in the loosest sense (based on the short demo it felt a little closer to a Shantae or Guacamelee title), but with an action-RPG twist.
Combat is a fast-paced visual feast involving up to four party members at once. Rather than battling enemies on the overworld or using turn-based combat, Indivisible‘s battle system is somewhat similar to Chrono Trigger. Each member of your party has a bar that fills up automatically, and when it’s full you can unleash an attack with a single button press. Alternatively, you can wait a little longer and allow it to fill up multiple times for a combo attack. Each of your four party members attacks with a single button press and fills up their gauge independently, so you can alternate buttons to keep a constant, rhythmic barrage of attacks headed towards your enemies. It’s a refreshing change of pace from other games in the genre, and it’s definitely got our attention. (Impressions by Ben Lamoreux)
Marvel’s Spider-Man (Best Open World Game)
While Sony’s new approach to their E3 press conference this year may have come off as less than spectacular, one of the few bright spots of their show was Marvel’s Spider-Man. Insomniac’s take on the wallcrawler had a major presence at Sony’s booth, with a large section of it composed of a huge New York set piece (complete with newspaper racks distributing copies of The Daily Bugle). Once I made it past the hustle and bustle of the showfloor and actually got to play Spider-Man, I was greeted with a sensational open-world action game inspired by one of my favorite heroes. The graphics were amazing, and the voice acting and writing seemed pretty good (I didn’t notice any stand-out performances, but I only had the chance to watch one or two cutscenes during my demo). The sprawling map of New York had a variety of different collectibles to obtain and missions to do, including a boss fight. The demo was also very well made in my opinion, with plenty of time to beat up bad guys; I also liked that the time limit was flexible, allowing me one more go at Shocker after dying long after the demo’s timer should have elapsed.
What really made Spider-Man shine, however, was the gameplay. Web-swinging through New York felt fluid and natural, and the combat was fun and engaging despite feeling a lot like past superhero games. The combat was heavily focused on attacking waves of enemies and countering when the appropriate indicator was shown, very much like the Arkham games. However, the inclusion of Spidey-specific powers—like a web pull that allows you to grab enemies, or a web shot that allows you to cover enemies in webbing—made it feel more like you were playing as Spider-Man and less like you were playing as Batman in red and blue tights. Much like the traditional combat, the game’s stealth combat also felt very Arkham-esque with unique Spidey tweaks. While past trailers had made me afraid that the game would be riddled with quick-time-events, I don’t recall seeing a single one in my time with the demo. That doesn’t mean that they don’t exist in the game, but it makes me believe that they won’t overpower the rest of the gameplay in the final release.
As I stated before, the demo culminated with a boss fight against Shocker, who had recently escaped custody and was obviously up to no good. The fight consisted of three distinct phases, each of which required me to utilize different abilities in Spidey’s arsenal to avoid Shocker’s attacks while waiting for the opportune moment to strike. In order to defeat the boss, I needed to use Spider-Man’s web pull ability from earlier in the demo to throw objects at Shocker at opportune times. I felt that the fight was challenging enough, and made good use of one of the Spidey-specific attacks introduced earlier in the game.
Overall, I thought that Marvel’s Spider-Man had fantastic gameplay and visuals, and the variety of things to do in the demo made the game superior to other open-world games I played at the show like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Skull & Bones. All in all, Spider-Man was the ultimate open-world game at the show, and it’s definitely a contender for one of the best games at the show. (Impressions by Elijah Holt)
Runner-up:Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion
Jake and Finn’s latest adventure is a 3D pirate quest in a flooded open world. The Ice Kingdom has melted, flooding the land of Ooo, and it’s up to Finn and friends to retrieve the Ice King’s crown and set things right. Pirates of the Enchiridion clearly draws inspiration from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, and that’s not a bad starting point for a fun adventure.
One big difference between the two games is that Adventure Time mixes its action-adventure game with RPG elements, including turn-based combat when enemies are encountered. You’ll build up a team of four characters, each with their own special powers, as you explore the land of Ooo and progress the story. Most of my time with the game was spent watching a member of the development team sail around and show off the scenery, but I got to go hands-on for a few minutes at the end, and the game felt and looked great. If you’re a fan of Adventure Time, Zelda, or just exploring fun cartoon worlds, you’ll want to check this one out. (Impressions by Ben Lamoreux)
It’s hard narrowing down the best of E3 to just a few games, and there are plenty of fantastic titles that didn’t quite make the list. Two more than deserve some recognition are Mega Man 11 from Capcom and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Eevee from Nintendo and Game Freak.
The former felt like a return to form for the Blue Bomber, but with some fancy new mechanics and beautiful, modern visuals. The demo was challenging (as any good Mega Man game should be), but not unfair, and I felt like I learned and improved with each death. The new Double Gear mechanic (which allows you to slow down time or fire a more powerful shot) was a welcome addition and didn’t feel overused. I came away from my hands-on demo feeling like this is the experience that Mighty No. 9 promised and failed to deliver.
Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Eevee also deserve some love, and I’ve written more extensive impressions about them here. The short version of the story is that the Kanto remakes look, feel, and play wonderfully, and Let’s Go should be a fantastic treat for new and old fans of the series alike. (Impressions by Ben Lamoreux)
As one of the world’s largest gaming conventions, E3 is home to mega-hits from well-known franchises like Super Smash Bros., Resident Evil, and Kingdom Hearts. While these games have certainly earned their place in the spotlight, one of the greatest joys of E3 is discovering hidden gems that aren’t already household names. If you know where to look, E3 is also home to passion projects from small, independent teams hoping to share their digital babies with the world.
One of the best at this year’s show was Scarecrow Studios’ 3 Minutes to Midnight, a point-and-click adventure in the style of classic LucasArts adventure games. The game was playable on a laptop in a small booth at the edge of South Hall, far away from the long lines of West Hall games like Pokémon: Let’s Go and Marvel’s Spider-Man. It may have had a small presence, but it left a big impact.
3 Minutes to Midnight is set late in the 1940s. World War II is growing smaller in the rear view mirror, but that doesn’t mean the world’s a safe place. Somewhere in New Mexico, a secret plot to extinguish humanity has been set in motion. Our hero, Betty Anderson, wakes up to a deafening sound in the middle of the night and feels her house shake to the core. Even worse, she has no memory of who she is or what’s going on in her life. As it turns out, the entire town is just as lost as Betty. Time to investigate for clues!
The first thing you notice about 3 Minutes to Midnight is the gorgeous art style. The stylized cartoon look is rich in color, and backgrounds have a surprising amount of depth and detail. Like most games in the genre, exploration is a key element of 3 Minutes to Midnight. Thanks to these beautiful visuals, exploring every inch of this game world will be a joy.
At E3 the demo was restricted to the Crystaline Lake campground setting, which houses a rather disturbing and unstable little girl named Pammy. Little Pammy (whose surname turns out to be quite appropriate for the setting), is the entire staff at Crystaline Lake…or at least what’s left of it. Pammy has several distinct personalities, each with their own conflicting thoughts and feelings. As such, you’ll have to choose your words carefully to navigate through the minefield of conversation and get the info you need.
The game’s dialogue system is robust and engaging, often giving you a wide variety of responses. Is Betty feeling sassy? Sympathetic? Impatient? Chances are there’s a response that conveys whatever emotion you’re looking for. There were only three NPCs to interact with in the demo (or perhaps six or seven, if we’re counting everyone living inside Pammy’s head), but they were all interesting in their own ways. Even talking to a raccoon brought a smile to my face, as Betty can inexplicably understand its language perfectly, although the player only hears squeaking sounds. Betty attempts to negotiate with the critter over an item it’s hoarding in its trash can, but eventually diplomacy breaks down and you have to get the spray bottle.
Like most point-and-click adventure games, finding items is crucial for solving puzzles and progressing the story. You’ll want to click on just about everything to see if it’s a collectible or if your current arsenal of items can interact with it in some way. 3 Minutes to Midnight also prominently features a form of crafting that lets you create new items from existing parts. This might be something simple, like combining a candle with citronella oil to scare away some pesky mosquitoes blocking your path, but there are also more complex and creative uses for crafting. By combining a plunger, a rope, a fire extinguisher, and some pipe, I was able to craft a plunger gun that functions as a hookshot.
My time with 3 Minutes to Midnight was short but sweet, and it left me craving more. If you’re a fan of point-and-click adventures, you’ll definitely want to check this one out. Scarecrow Studios’ debut title is aiming to launch on PC (Steam), Mac, and Linux next April, and the developers are also working hard to bring it to Nintendo Switch as well as PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. You can keep up to date on the project by checking out Scarecrow’s official website, official Twitter account, and Steam page.
E3 has just wrapped up in Los Angeles, and several Gamnesia staff members got the opportunity to peruse the show floor over the past week, trying out upcoming games from numerous developers big and small. We’re all pretty exhausted and glad to be back in the comfort of our own homes, but we also had a great time and played a lot of exciting games.
Before ending our trip, we all met up in the hotel one last time to record our impressions from three days on the show floor, including our thoughts from our extensive hands-on time with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate at Nintendo’s press appointment area. In addition to the excitement of Smash, we share our thoughts on Marvel’s Spider-Man, Mega Man 11, Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Eevee, and lots more!
We apologize for the audio quality, as the hotel wasn’t exactly the ideal recording space. Although Gamnesia’s long-running Nintendo Week podcast no longer records regularly, we are hoping to record some more special episodes in the future. Additionally, Gamnesia will be starting a new podcast later this year, so we’d love your feedback. Should we stick to Nintendo like before, or expand our horizons? Do you prefer more news or opinion-based topics? Let us know what kind of content you’d like to see, and we’ll do our best to take it all into consideration for our future podcasting efforts!
Bethesda had everyone laughing during their press conference Sunday night when they debuted a new trailer for “Skyrim: Very Special Edition,” an obvious joke that advertised a new version of the game coming to Amazon Alexa. It was great to see them poking fun at themselves, taking an old internet joke and running with it, but then everything turned on its head when people discovered that the app was, in fact, a real thing.
Now Bethesda’s senior vice president Pete Hines has spoken up about how they came up with the joke, as well as what led them to making it an actual thing that you can download and play. Just like most everyone else when it comes to new versions of Skyrim, he says it’s all because of Todd Howard.
“We know we get a lot of flak [like] ‘What else are you gonna put Skyrim on,’ so we’re like, ‘Well, we’re just gonna own it and have fun with that and make fun of ourselves and make fun of everybody else.
“This, by the way, was entirely Todd [Howard]’s idea from the beginning, but it just started off as a joke and then it evolved into, ‘Actually, we could make the game that we’re joking about and then just troll [you] one layer deeper where [you] think [it’s] really funny…and then you find out that it’s a real thing, and we got you twice.” — Pete Hines
The trolling definitely succeeded for most everyone, with the humor of that trailer seemingly making it obvious that this was in no way real. Everyone got a good laugh out of it, and then they got to be caught by surprise when they realized it was actually happening. There is no word yet on when we should expect the other versions announced by the trailer—such as Skyrim for Etch-a-Sketch, Motorola pagers, or Samsung smart refrigerators—but knowing Todd, I’m sure they can’t be too far off.
“It started out simple. But like a lot of Todd things, it turned out to be way crazier and more complicated and awesome as a result.” — Pete Hines
What do you think of Skyrim: Very Special Edition for Amazon Alexa? Have you gotten to try out the real deal yet? Let us know your thoughts on it in the comments!
Having DLC become available for games post-launch has become a common sight in the industry in recent years, but the Kingdom Hearts franchise has yet to embrace such practices. That may be changing for Kingdom Hearts III, as a new interview from IGN with series creator and director Tetsuya Nomura has revealed that he would like to include post-launch content in the game. At the moment, however, he doesn’t know what that content might be.
“In this day and age, most major titles do have some kind of content releases after their release. So since I considered Kingdom Hearts 3 to be one of those major titles, I do want to have something to add to your enjoyment of Kingdom Hearts 3, so maybe you could continue to play a little longer than release, but we haven’t really thought of anything in detail yet.” — Tetsuya Nomura (via translator)
Even though Nomura hasn’t had much time to think about what the DLC could include, he does have some ideas. I’m sure there’s a strong possibility of new worlds and characters and storylines being thrown in (as if Kingdom Hearts needs more of that last one), but there are also certain features from past games that Kingdom Hearts III will be lacking. Specifically, Nomura brought up the idea of bringing back the character customization options seen for Aqua in Kingdom Hearts 2.8‘s 0.2: A Fragmentary Passage.
“We don’t have any customizability that you did have in 0.2 in Kingdom Hearts 3. The development team does need some kind of extra time on their hands to be able to do something like that. Because we are so busy trying to complete Kingdom Hearts 3, we just don’t have any time to do that right now. But I think there is potential to maybe do something like that after release.” — Tetsuya Nomura (via translator)
Aside from this DLC discussion, Nomura also commented on the possibility of bringing Kingdom Hearts’ major collection of past games, Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix, to Xbox One. It sounds like that isn’t in the cards right now, as they would need to talk to Microsoft about it, and “we haven’t even started the conversation yet.” Sorry, Xbox fans.
So, what would you think of bringing extra content to Kingdom Hearts III via DLC? Is this a good idea, or would you prefer the game to be a complete package just like previous entries in the franchise? And what sort of content would you like to see the team add in post-launch? Give us your thoughts on all this in the comments!
Nintendo’s E3 show floor has been packed with thousands of attendees over the past week, and unsurprisingly Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! are some of the most popular games around. With hundreds of eager fans lining up to play, wait times were as long as three hours.
So are these remakes worth the wait? Is the hype real? The demo was only about ten minutes long and restricted to the Viridian Forest, but that’s all I needed to be sold on the experience.
A new adventure in an HD re-imagined Kanto is something I’ve been asking for, and Game Freak has delivered. Within seconds of my demo kicking off, it became clear that my expectations were exceeded in this regard. The visuals stay true to the style established in recent 3DS Pokémon games, but everything feels so much more alive.
One of the first things I noticed is just how expressive both the NPCs and the Pokémon themselves are. I found myself continually amused by the sassy expressions displayed by the Lass trainers and the determination in the eyes of the Bug Catchers, unaware of just how badly they’re about to get trounced. The animations are more detailed and fluid than ever, and they truly shine in HD. Seeing Eevee’s tail waving gently in the wind while his ears cutely twitch brought a smile to my face every time.
But what about the gameplay? Is it equally as impressive as the updated visuals? Well, of course that will partially depend on how you feel about the mechanics that these games borrow from Niantic’s mobile hit, Pokémon GO.
Seeing Pokémon roaming freely on the overworld (as opposed to spawning randomly in tall grass) is a wonderful addition, and it’s one I definitely hope stays for future “core” entries in the franchise. Catching Pokémon may be a little more divisive, as not everyone likes forced motion controls. That said, the Poké Ball Plus peripheral (which an be used to play the whole game) felt good in my hand, and throwing a ball is as simple as a flick of the wrist. The rumble features make the thrill of catching a Pokémon more tangible than ever.
When it’s all said and done, Pokémon: Let’s Go is about what you’d expect from the trailers in terms of its core mechanics. Where it really shines is all the small details that collectively add up to a more immersive Pokémon experience than ever before.
Plenty of games were shown off at E3 this week, but for Nintendo there was one primary game that, understandably, received the most focus of all: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Described as the biggest crossover in gaming history, it will have at least 66 fighters battling on over 80 stages when it launches this December. Nintendo Treehouse gave the game a lot of love during their livestream, and we’ve gathered all of them together in one place for your viewing pleasure.
Not only did the Super Smash Bros. Invitational 2018 provide us with several hours of Smash entertainment, but the Treehouse itself went on to host an additional ten segments devoted entirely to this game. They focused on a variety of things, from new fighters Inkling and Ridley to how Kirby’s copy abilities of each of those newcomers will work.
All in all, the amount of time Nintendo streamed Super Smash Bros. Ultimate totals over six hours and twenty minutes, and you can watch all of it using the playlist of videos embedded above. A big shoutout to Nintendo Everything for being so on the ball with uploading all of the Treehouse segments!
What are you most excited to see in Ultimate? Let us know in the comments!
During the E3 Direct, Nintendo announced a new piece of content for Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Titled Torna ~ The Golden Country, it takes players back in time to 500 years before the events of the main game, allowing us to experience a war only discussed in 2’s campaign. During Nintendo Treehouse Live, we got our first look at how this will play out, with the team playing through the first twenty-five minutes of the new expansion. We also get a few hints of story beats, as well as some new and returning mechanics.
Torna ~ The Golden Country gives us a look at the journey taken long ago by the Blade Jin and his Driver of that age, Lora, a human whom he is said to have grown close to after she managed to take him on when she was younger. One of the new features seen almost immediately is that, as both of these characters are strong fighters, you can actually play as both of them. Yes, Blades will be playable characters this time around, each holding their own abilities and arts, and there are even special abilities that can activate when you switch your current combatant from Driver to their equipped Blade. Jin’s, for instance, immediately causes Topple when switched in against an enemy with the Break status.
As seen in the DLC’s E3 trailer, Mythra also makes a return quite early on in this story, and she’ll be accompanied by a Driver who was mentioned in the original game but never appeared: Adam. Both of these will join your party after you defeat them in combat, and you can again control both Driver and Blade in battle.
One of the coolest features for longtime Xenoblade fans will be the return of Talent Arts in the game. Like Shulk’s Monado Arts in the original Xenoblade Chronicles, these are unique powers that each character has, which can either provide special effects or super powerful attacks. A few of these were revealed in the demo, such as Lora’s ability to sacrifice a bit of HP to instantly charge up her Arts, or Adam’s ability to extend the time of a Driver Combo, allowing him to unleash even more damage on foes.
There will be at least one major new region in this game, and that is the titular Kingdom of Torna. You can explore it in its entirety, and it’s said to be quite a large area. Additionally, you’ll be able to return to other titans from Rex’s storyline and see what they were like 500 years before that journey took place, though not even the Treehouse reps were sure if all the titans will be returning.
Plenty of other information and combat was shown off in the demo, and you can watch it all in the video above! The Torna DLC will be sold both as add-on content for Xenoblade Chronicles 2 as well as a standalone product this September, and the Treehouse indicated that you could play it either before or after the main game with little issue. Will you be tackling this new quest in the world of Alrest?
Tuesday’s E3 Nintendo Direct gave countless viewers a shock when Sakurai, having caved to fan demand, announced Ridley as a fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Personally, though, I got nearly as much of a jolt (and even more excitement) from another surprise reveal earlier in the Direct: a reveal trailer for Killer Queen Black, an adaptation of BumbleBear Games’ hit arcade game Killer Queen for home platforms. For the final segment of today’s Nintendo Treehouse stream, we got a closer look at Killer Queen Black‘s gameplay and its changes from the arcade version.
For those unfamiliar, here’s an overview of the arcade version’s gameplay. One player per team controls the Queen, armed with a sword, while the other players control Drones, who perform various tasks around the map—they can also evolve into Warriors and join the Queen in taking down the other team’s players. What makes the gameplay so deep and intricate is that there are three ways to win a round; a match is decided by best of five. A Military Victory is achieved when the Queen, who has three lives, is defeated. Drones can also claim an Economic Victory by bringing enough berries to their team’s base, or a Snail Victory by slowly riding the snail at the bottom of the screen to the corresponding goal—all while avoiding an assault by the opposing teams Queen and Warriors.
The original Killer Queen began as a single arcade cabinet of a 5-on-5 team strategy platformer, with one huge screen per team. Through popular demand and various crowdfunding efforts, cabinets have slowly spread across the United States. Now, BumbleBear has partnered with developer Liquid Bit to bring the game to Nintendo Switch and PC as Killer Queen Black. The folks at Nintendo Treehouse spoke to staff from BumbleBear and Liquid Bit, who showed hands-on gameplay and described some of the changes to the home version; this includes cutting teams to four player each, presumably to make the game more console-friendly, as well as online and local play between Switches. You can check out the reveal trailer and full Treehouse coverage below!
Killer Queen Black is currently expected to launch this winter in the first quarter of 2019. Having played the game with friends at Up-Down in Kansas City, I could not be more excited to see Killer Queen reach a wider install base.
“If I am mad, it is mercy! May the gods pity the man who in his callousness can remain sane to the hideous end!” ― H.P. Lovecraft, The Temple
Last year’s E3 gave us a trailer that would stun audiences, with a story that will dive into the depths of HP Lovecraft’s beloved story The Call of C’thuhlu. Staying true to the investigative spirit of the story, the title brings us face-to-face with the cosmic beings outside our human understanding and plunges us into the mystical horrors of the Lovecraftian universe. A new trailer released on YouTube provides a surprising treat for Lovecraft fans of this day and age, while also giving us a look at the powers that be.
Our first glimpse of the The Call of C’thuhlu in this newest trailer shows Investigator Edward Pierce slowly slipping into madness. It also introduces us to the town/island of Darkwater, the manison of the deceased Hawkins Family, an old looking hospital, and the cult that lurks over the town. Throughout the trailer we are shown the color of green, which is known to represent the The Great One. Pictures throughout the Hawkins mansion shows that they are harmful to the inspector’s sanity, and the trailer ends with Pierce looking at a photo of himself.
The trailer also takes a deeper step into the lore of Lovecraft, as The Call of C’thuhlu now borrows from other works. Quotes are pulled from Nemesis, the dying words of Karl Heinrich that Graf von Altberg-Ehrenstein found in the manuscript off the coast of Yucatan in The Temple, and the terrifying speech of the mad scientist Crawford Tilinghast in From Beyond. Not only are the quotes a bonus, we get to see a creature come from within the one of the paintings in the trailer, and a quick peek at the cult, with what looks to be a Priest of the Great One.
Call of C’thuhlu‘s awaited released date is set for later 2018.
Recently, Nintendo announced that their new Pokémon titles Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu! and Let’s Go Eevee! would support a cool new “Poké Ball Plus” Joy-Con that allows the player to simulate catching wild Pokémon in real life. This Poké Ball accessory also unlocks a special legendary Pokémon in the new titles, something Nintendo revealed during this year’s E3. There is, however, a catch for those who want to catch ’em all: players cannot catch Mew through any other means.
In the new titles, Pokémon can be unlocked by either capturing them in the wild or transferring them from Pokémon GO. While almost any Pokémon can be transferred to the new games, according to the Official Pokémon Website, Mew cannot.
“Please note that you will not be able to bring a Mew caught in Pokémon GO into Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! The ability to claim your gift of Mew may be discontinued at some point after the initial sales period of the Poké Ball Plus.” — Pokémon.com
This means that the only way players can obtain Mew in the new games is to buy the Poké Ball Plus accessory, which is an interesting and likely disappointing development. This mythical Pokémon has been distributed in the mainline Pokémon series through various promotions throughout the years, but this time it has been put behind the purchase of an accessory. Additionally, the description implies that the accessory may stop coming with Mew after a certain amount of time post-release.
Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu! and Let’s Go Eevee! will be released along with the Poké Ball Plus accessory on November 16th, 2018. How do you feel about this news? Are you planning on getting a Poké Ball Plus? Tell us about it in the comments!
Super Mario Party was given a spotlight on Nintendo Treehouse Live yesterday, and it returned today for the final day of E3 streaming to reveal some new modes, including one with the franchise-first ability to play minigames with both friends and strangers online! We had to wait for the very end of the segment for this detail to be dropped, but in the meantime the team treated us to looks at the game’s other modes, focusing heavily on “Partner Party” mode as well as a better look at the Tank minigame shown off during the Direct.
The Partner Party mode is a twist on the beloved board games of Mario Party. Instead of being a four-person free-for-all, players will be split into teams of two and join forces to roll dice, gather coins, obtain stars, and win minigames. Both teammates roll their individual dice, then add up their scores and each move the resulting number of spaces—and because these boards allow for free movement, rather than constricting you to specific pathways, there looks to be a large amount of strategy that teams could use to maximize the efficiency of their movement.
The tank minigame seen in the Nintendo Direct was also given the spotlight for a few minutes. Utilizing two Nintendo Switch consoles, players will have a few different stage layouts to choose from, each holding a different setup of breakable blocks, unbreakable warp pipes, and character spawn points. They can then push their consoles together and draw a line between screens to connect both sides together. In the game itself, you drive around tanks and blast each other to pieces, as tank minigames like this are wont to do.
Finally, the Treehouse took a minute to talk about the new “Mariothon” mode. This is described as something for those who want something in-between regular board game modes and just playing minigames. Mariothon will give players a varying roster of five minigames to play back-to-back, in order to see who can get the highest overall score. While you can play this mode with friends, there is also an online variant of this mode, which will include leaderboards and online rankings. It’s the first time you’ll be able to play Mario Party minigames against online opponents, and while it may not have the boards of the main modes, this is sure to get a ton of use out of fans!
You can watch the full segment for yourself in the video below. What do you think of these new modes? Which are you most excited to try out? Let us know in the comments!
E3 2018 is wrapping up today, but not before Nintendo has announced a great big sale for the eShop to properly commemorate this year’s expo and the formal reveal of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. A ridiculous number of games, both in-house and third party for the 3DS and the Switch, are now available for up to 50% off, and we have the complete North American listing available for you after the jump!
Read on below to see sales for yourself, categorized between systems, “Games with Super Smash Bros. characters,” and “More great games.” The prices listed will be in USD, and you can check out the CAD pricing on the actual site.
Nintendo Switch games with Super Smash Bros. characters:
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild — $59.99, now $44.99
Splatoon 2 — $59.99, now $39.99
Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle Gold Edition — $79.99, now $43.99
PAC-MAN Championship Edition 2 Plus — $19.99, now $9.99
Fire Emblem Warriors — $59.99, now $44.99
Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers — $39.99, now $19.99
More great Switch games:
Overcooked Special Edition — $19.99, now $11.99
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 — $49.99, now $24.99
Just Dance 2018 — $59.99, now $29.99
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 — $59.99, now $29.99
Rocket League — $19.99, now $14.99
L.A. Noire — $49.99, now $37.49
Golf Story — $14.99, now $9.89
Night in the Woods — $19.99, now $13.99
Fe — $19.99, now $9.99
Gorogoa — $14.99, now $10.49
Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King — $14.99, now $10.99
Aegis Defenders — $19.99, now $13.39
Puyo Puyo Tetris — $29.99, now $23.99
Farming Simulator: Nintendo Switch Edition — $49.99, now $29.99
Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon — $59.99, now $41.99
Darkest Dungeon — $24.99, now $18.74
South Park: The Fractured But Whole Gold Edition — $89.99, now $67.49
WWE 2K18 — $59.99, now $19.79
Nintendo 3DS games with Super Smash Bros. characters:
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D — $19.99, now $14.99
Kirby: Planet Robobot — $39.99, now $27.99
Mega Man Legacy Collection — $14.99, now $5.99
Mario Party: The Top 100 — $39.99, now $29.99
Metroid: Samus Returns — $39.99, now $27.99
THEATRHYTHM FINAL FANTASY CURTAIN CALL — $39.99, now $19.99
Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia — $39.99, now $26.79
SEGA 3D Classics Collection — $19.99, now $14.99
*Earthbound — $9.99, now $6.99
Animal Crossing: New Leaf – Welcome Amiibo — $19.99, now $14.99
Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D — $19.99, now $14.99
Miitopia — $39.99, now $19.99
Paper Mario: Sticker Star — $39.99, now $29.99
Wario Land 3 — $4.99, now $2.49
Star Fox 64 3D — $39.99, now $26.79
*Xenoblade Chronicles 3D — $39.99, now $26.79
*Mega Man X — $7.99, now $5.59
Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters — $3.99, now $2.99
*Super Punch-Out!! — $7.99, now $3.99
Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World — $39.99, now $26.79
*F-Zero — $7.99, now $3.99
Hey! Pikmin — $39.99, now $26.79
*Street Fighter Alpha 2 — $7.99, now $5.99
More great Nintendo 3DS games:
Dragon Ball Fusions — $29.99, now $14.99
Monster Hunter Generations — $39.99, now $15.99
Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology — $39.99, now $29.99
STORY OF SEASONS: Trio of Towns — $29.99, now $19.49
Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney — $19.99, now $9.99
Farming Simulator 18 — $29.99, now $14.99
Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth — $29.99, now $22.49
*Requires a New Nintendo 3DS, New 3DS XL, or New 2DS XL to play.
What is curious to me from the Smash Bros. characters in 3DS games listing are the inclusions of Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia and Paper Mario: Sticker Star. On the Fire Emblem side, the current Fire Emblem lineup in Ultimate does appear in Echoes but only as amiibo-bound guest characters, with Awakening and Fates curiously not being part of the E3 2018 sale. Meanwhile, either Nintendo considers the main Mario cast and their Paper iterations one and the same for the sake of the sale, or…
…probably best not to read too deep into this.
Nonetheless, see any games you might pick up in the near future? These offers end on June 21, at 8:59 a.m. PT / 11:59 a.m. ET!
Last September, Nintendo announced the “Arcade Archives” series of titles, which seeks to bring back classic, pre-console Nintendo titles for everyone to play on Nintendo Switch. Another game was revealed today to be joining these Archives, and there’s a slight chance that you might’ve heard of it. Just a tiny one. It’s some small arcade title called Donkey Kong, and for Switch owners in North America, it’s available today.
This revived version of Donkey Kong contains a number of options for how to play, including several different versions of the game. Many will be most familiar with the “International Version” of the game, but you can also play two Japanese-specific versions: “Early Version” and “Later Version.” These have different stage orders and even extra levels that weren’t in the International release, and the Early Version even includes bugs that were only available in the very first Japanese editions of the arcade game.
Perhaps most fascinating is “Hi Score Mode” and “Caravan Mode.” The former is exactly what it sounds like, a mode that tracks your highest scores, but it features an online leaderboard that will pit your times against the rest of the world’s. Donkey Kong has one of the most competitive and oldest speedrunning communities, so they’re sure to get a ton of mileage out of this mode. Caravan Mode is like Hi Score Mode, but it has a five minute time limit, which will likely require speedrunners to completely change their approach to the title.
Nintendo Treehouse started off their time this morning by showing off this game and its various modes. Be sure to check it out in the video below!
Arcade Archives: Donkey Kong launches today in North America, while a Nintendo Europe press release indicates that it will come to Europe tomorrow. Will you be delving into the world of Donkey Kong to rescue Pauline once again?
One of Nintendo’s surprise announcements during their E3 Direct this year was the reveal of Super Mario Party, a brand new entry in the multiplayer, friendship-ending franchise. Featuring new boards and minigames, along with a distinct lack of riding in cars, the next Party starts up in October. If you’re curious or worried about how this new title might play, the Nintendo Treehouse has you covered. They’ve been streaming their new games all E3, and one of their segments was all about Super Mario Party.
Several new items and minigames were shown off in the footage. Items include the Buddy Phone, which can call in another character to partner up with you, allowing you to add their extra dice roll to your own each turn; the Golden Drink, which turns your character golden and gives you a coin for every space you move that turn; the “Coinado”, which steals 5-10 coins from another player; and several more.
Meanwhile, some of the minigames on display were “Dust Buddies,” “Sign, Steal, and Deliver,” “Slaparazzi,” and “Smash and Crab.” Several of these featured interesting 3 vs. 1 mechanics. Additionally, plenty more minigames were seen via a special Minigame Mode that lets you just play whatever minigames you want; 56 of the 80 slots on this screen were visible, so if you look close you might be able to make out what some of these other games are all about. You can see a screenshot of that below.
You can check out the footage for this game in the video above! How are you liking the look of Super Mario Party so far?
The final day of E3 2018 has come, and so has Nintendo Treehouse’s third day at the Los Angeles show floor to highlight their upcoming games beyond the Direct. With extensive Smash Bros. coverage as well as an early look at this Friday’s new Xenoblade 2 DLC, Splatoon 2‘s Octo Expansion, an in-depth preview of Super Mario Party, and plenty more just yesterday, who knows what more surprises Nintendo has in store for today?
Join us for the day-long stream above, starting at 9:00 AM PT / 12:00 PM ET!
Fortnite finally launched for the Nintendo Switch this week and already eclipsed two million downloads, yet depending on who you ask, its release was not pretty. The match made in heaven between Nintendo’s hit hybrid system and the most popular battle royale game on the planet was seen coming a mile away, but the anticipated union came at a cost none were privy to before a rocky release.
It’s no secret that Sony was never fond of the idea of cross-platform play with Microsoft and Nintendo. They made that perfectly clear when Minecraft and Rocket League were among the first announced with the consumer-friendly multiplayer between Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch, among others, with PlayStation 4 firmly separating itself from the pack. It’s not a matter of impossibility as the technology is already ready and waiting, but rather one of Sony choosing not to lift its own cross-network barriers on multiplatform third-party games under the excuse of children’s safety, according to now-Deputy President of PlayStation Jim Ryan.
This week, however, is a new low altogether for the company, as PS4 and Switch owners were rightfully angry to discover they could not log in to their Epic Games accounts on the Switch if they had used that same account on their PS4s in the past. With Sony effectively taking Epic Games accounts hostage in a needlessly aggressive anti-consumer move, this means that Fortnite players who wish to access their saves on the Switch are completely barred from doing so, losing out on countless hours of progress and untold amounts of money spent for their personalized experience. This is on top of the unsurprising lack of cross-platform multiplayer with other consoles.
When the BBC approached Sony on the controversy, the company’s response simply amounted to a comment about the size of the PlayStation 4’s install base and how its existing cross-play compatibility with computers and mobile devices for Fortnite was good enough on its own:
“We’re always open to hearing what the PlayStation community is interested in to enhance their gaming experience. Fortnite is already a huge hit with PS4 fans, offering a true free-to-play experience so gamers can jump in and play online. With 79 million PS4s sold around the world and more than 80 million monthly active users on PlayStation Network, we’ve built a huge community of gamers who can play together on Fortnite and all online titles. We also offer Fortnite cross-play support with PC, Mac, iOS, and Android devices, expanding the opportunity for Fortnite fans on PS4 to play with even more gamers on other platforms.” — Sony Interactive Entertainment
Heads of Microsoft and Nintendo had already shared their own responses on the issue. Xbox’s Director Larry “MajorNelson” Hryb went on Twitter after word of the PS4-Switch Fortnite conundrum first broke, and advised Fortnite fans on how to link their Xbox One and Epic Games accounts to the Nintendo Switch version of the game to preserve their progress across both systems. Nintendo of America’s Reggie Fils-Aimé, on the other hand, took a more pointed jab at Sony when speaking with IGN: “What competitors do is their decision to make. We believe being both developer-forward and fan-forward is in the best interest of the game.”
E3 2018 has been jam packed with press conferences from many of the biggest names in gaming, including Nintendo. The latest Nintendo E3 Direct included extensive looks at the hotly-anticipated new Super Smash Bros. and Pokémon titles, DLC packs for Splatoon 2 and Xenoblade Chronicles 2, a new Mario Party, a handful of third-party titles, and even some surprises. Join us as we break down the exciting announcements!
We filmed this one in a hurry so it’s pretty fast-paced and laid back…so much so that we forgot introductions! For reference, from left to right we are Elijah Holt, Ben Lamoreux, and Hombre de Mundo. In our rush to get to the show floor we also forgot to talk about SuperMario Party, but for the record, we’re all pretty stoked about it! We’ll also be recording and posting some more impressions from the show floor later in the week.
Kingdom Hearts III was originally supposed to launch in 2018, until the reveal of a release date also revealed a delay to 2019. In a new interview, Tetsuya Nomura, director of the Kingdom Hearts series, commented on this delay. According to him, it actually didn’t happen because of development woes. Instead, it boiled down to finding a good launch window that worked for the simultaneous Japanese and American release.
“The timing of release that we were actually looking at, we were told by many people, including hardware manufacturers, marketing teams, sales teams that it just wasn’t a good timing in the year.” — Tetsuya Nomura
Nomura went on to explain that there was concern regarding the holidays and how they may affect the retail situation across both countries. This may seem odd, given that normally companies badly want to have their best products available for the holiday season. But multiple companies have been delaying their Fall games as of late, and many gamers assume this is actually to avoid competing with Rockstar’s upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2.
Of course, the development team could have possibly moved the launch forward to meet their goal of a 2018 release, but Nomura decided against that.
“We of course considered maybe speeding up development to release earlier than when we were told wasn’t good, but the development team said that ‘No, we just couldn’t do that. We could delay it, but we couldn’t make it any sooner.'” — Tetsuya Nomura
Rather than rush the development or give up a simultaneous worldwide release, Nomura decided that a delay to 2019 was best for the title.
On a related note, while we were treated to a plethora of reveals and announcements regarding the new title, something that was missing during this year’s E3 was a previously-announced world that many fans expected to get a first look at: Big Hero 6. So far, all we’ve seen from the Disney and Marvel crossover world was a piece of concept art way back in 2015. When asked about why we didn’t see it at E3, Nomura responded that while the gameplay for the world is complete, the cutscenes are not. Given how much Nomura loves using cutscenes during his trailers and reveals, it seems that’s been a deal-breaker so far.
The game is still a ways off, but at least we now have a concrete date, which, after over a decade since the last numbered game, is a big deal. Kingdom Hearts III launches on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on January 29, 2019. How do you feel about the delay to next year, though? Let us know in the comments below!