Rick's Super E3 Roundup! Rick's Super E3 Roundup

Despite not actually having a live show at E3, Nintendo's Digital E3 conference was probably the most entertaining out of all of them. Yet not even a Muppet version of Shigeru Miyamoto could conceal the fact that the actual line-up was fairly weak.

Nintendo's headline act was Star Fox Zero, a new version of the space combat game coming to Wii U later this year. The emphasis seems to be on a much wider range of vehicles and stage types, with ground walkers squaring off against giant monsters, and deployable robots that can be lowered into secret areas like a sentient fishing hook. It looks typically Nintendo, with all the colour and joy you'd expect from the most fun gaming studio on the planet.

Aside from Star Fox, there were no massive announcements. Super Mario Maker - a game that enables you to create your own classic Mario levels - looks like an entertaining distraction, but I can't see it gaining the same traction as an actual Mario game. Nintendo also announced a new Metroid and a new Animal Crossing, but the former is a 3DS game sans-Samus, and the latter is a multiplayer boardgame thing for the Wii U.

Rick's Super E3 Roundup! Rick's Super E3 Roundup

What did get me excited, although I'm perfectly willing to accept it might just be me, was the announcement of a new Mario Tennis. I played loads of Mario Tennis with my brother when I was a teenager, so this set off all kinds of nostalgia bombs in my head. Other announcements included Yoshi's Wooly World, a bunch of Amiibo stuff, the critically acclaimed Hyrule Warriors for 3DS, and a new, co-op Zelda game also for 3DS.

But there was no further information on a 3D Zelda, a 3D Mario, or a traditional Metroid game. This is likely related to the enigmatic allusions to the Nintendo NX, a new gaming platform that the company are currently working on. The general consensus is that Nintendo are winding the Wii U down, which I'll be slightly annoyed by if so. Having seen games like Splatoon and Mario Kart 8 released in recent months, the Wii U is just starting to come into its own.

Square Enix

Rick's Super E3 Roundup! Rick's Super E3 Roundup

Square Enix easily had the weakest conference of the show, with long stretches of filler chat between the games that everyone actually wanted to see, punctuated by tiny flutters of painfully awkward applause. Still, it wasn't a complete disaster, with two or three big names strutting their stuff on the E3 stage.

First up was Just Cause 3, which sees the dictator-toppling series move to the Mediterranean. Location aside, it doesn't looked vastly different from JC2. Rico has slightly more aerial manoeuvrability thanks to a new wing-suit, and can apparently carry unlimited C4 now, just in case there weren't enough explosions for you in the first two games. But I reckon Avalanche is mainly focused on tightening up the slightly loose and floaty systems from the first game. If it succeeds, that will probably be enough.

After that, a man wearing a strange moon-skull mask turned up to talk about a new Nier, by which I mean he told us we'll hear more about it later this year. I don't know either. Then, Eidos Montreal stepped out to talk more about Rise of the Tomb Raider, after which it unveiled Lara Croft Go, a mobile game based on the same template as Hitman Go.

Rick's Super E3 Roundup! Rick's Super E3 Roundup

Various Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts spin-offs led to the announcement of Kingdom Hearts 3, the Disney-based JRPG. It certainly looks vibrant, but it didn't exactly arrest my attention. Something tells me I'm not the target audience though, so never mind.

The news regarding IO Interactive's upcoming Hitman sequel piqued my interest, albeit not in entirely positive ways. Simply titled Hitman, it seems IO has learned from some of the mistakes it made with Absolution. It promised much larger, open levels with multiple assassination approaches. But it's also pitching it as a semi-shared experience. Missions are played single-player, but performance can be compared online, and some missions will only give you one shot to kill the target. Furthermore, the various missions will be drip-fed out from the release of December 8th. Frankly, I think I'd rather play a complete game on my own, but thanks all the same.
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October 14 2021 | 15:04