Nintendo didn’t waste any time jumping right into the thick of things with their E3 2019 Nintendo Direct, showcasing a multitude of games coming both this year and early 2020. After a brief comedy mixup involving Bowser and a certain new Nintendo of America President, this Direct basically got down to business and launched right into a nonstop barrage of trailers. While there maybe wasn’t much that knocked anyone’s socks off (outside that ending), and there were a few noticeable absences (we’re still in the dark about whatever Bayonetta’s new haircut is), the no-frills presentation had something for everyone — and one or two big surprises.
You can watch (or rewatch) the whole thing here, but these are some of the highlights:
Smash DLC Gives the People (Some of) What They Want
I’m not sure how many Super Smash Bros. Ultimate players were excited to kick things off with the announcement of a bunch of Dragon Quest characters coming as DLC this summer, but their good faith was rewarded later on, when Nintendo again showed that sometimes they do listen. After another clever troll by that rascally Duck Hunt dog (that surely everyone picked up on this time), fan-favorite Banjo and his pal Kazooie officially joined the fray, showing off a goofy blend of bear-punching, bird-slamming combat that is set to hit the Switch sometime this fall. This was a move so many had wanted for so long, and it was nice to see it finally happen.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 Gameplay Looks Fantastic
One of the best trailers during the E3 2019 Nintendo Direct, simply because it was one of the most in-depth. Not only did the new Luigi’s Mansion 3 trailer give viewers a mini-tour of the presumably enormous mansion that the tall, timid plumber will be shivering his way through, but it demonstrated a (g)host of new mechanics. Sure, the visuals look appropriately spooky and the story looks appropriately goofy, but Luigi’s new moves with his Poltergust G-00 are what have me most excited for this sequel. The Slam looks especially cathartic — especially when used to beat up on other ghosts! — but what really grabbed my attention was the Suction Shot. By allowing Luigi to essentially shoot out a plunger with rope attached, this move sets up so many possibilities for interacting with and exploring the environment, which to me has always been the most fun aspect of the Luigi’s Mansion games, and it also plays into ghost fights. Love it.
A nifty Burst of air that can provide some breathing room in crowded rooms or serve as a jump rounded out the Poltergust’s updated model, and the return of Gooigi looks to make things even more interesting, being able to access places that only he or the T-1000 could get to. With these new moves, couch co-op, and the Scarescraper, Luigi’s Mansion 3 is looking better and better for when it releases sometime in 2019 (man, I wanted a date on this one).
Animal Crossing: New Horizons Delayed to March 2020
It was hard not to be a bit disappointed that we won’t start paying off our mortgages until next year, but at least we got to see some gameplay! The simple visuals look pleasantly soothing, while the crafting system looks to inject a bit more complexity into everyday activities. In fact, the trailer seems to give off more of a town-building vibe than previous entries, having players start on a deserted island, create dirt paths/roads, and watch their isolation slowly become populated with everyone’s favorite annoying animals — and other players? I’m curious as to the online interactivity for this one, but it certainly seems like it will play a major role.
Okay, there had been hints of a No More Heroes game on Suda 51’s Twitter account, so we knew something was coming, but after the disappointment of Travis Strikes Again, any ol’ weird thing was possible. Thankfully, it was a reveal trailer for No More Heroes III. Sure, what was shown was just cinematic, but it was also nice to imagine the laser-sworded assassin seemingly back on more familiar gameplay ground, sassing off and swinging away as the last ‘hero’ on the planet. Go big or go home this time, Suda.
Oh, and as Detective Columbo would say, “just one more thing…”
Yeah. So that happened. It’s clearly a long way off, but just knowing that there will be a direct sequel to one of the greatest games of all time is enough to warm the heart. Hopefully, it will be one of those strange offshoots like Link’s Awakening or Majora’s Mask that goes out on a limb with weirdness, or subtly alters familiar terrain like Link Between Worlds…
Oh, who am I kidding — I’ll take anything.
Astral Chain is Shaping Up Nicely
When it was first announced, Astral Chain certainly looked cool, but it was kind of hard to tell how everything with its tethered Legion companions and chain-swinging combat would work. The latest trailer didn’t exactly clear things up, but it certainly made this new IP from platinum Games look even cooler, and slickness almost made me forget that we saw nothing on Bayonetta 3. Giant monsters, crumbling platforms, overly emotional backstories, crazy-haired guys in glasses who will probably shout “Nooooo!” at some point — this one might have it all. That it’s coming out August 30 should help with that hole in the Switch’s ‘insane action’ lineup even further.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses and Link’s Awakening are Things Too!
With it releasing all the way on September 20, it wasn’t really much of a surprise that we didn’t see too much of the Link’s Awakening remake, but it was nice to see some more of that buttery smooth gameplay, and the adorable plastic-toy visuals. There are hints of the same kind of tactile appeal of Yoshi’s Crafted World with the look of this game, and I know I’m going to soak it up. Also, the dungeon editor has potential to be interesting — if they can be shared. Otherwise, I’m not sure what the point is.
With a much more looming release date of July 26, it was interesting that we didn’t see much of Fire Emblem: Three Houses outside of some more cinematics. Let’s just say that it seems like there will be a lot of story to this thing. The trailer references a class reunion going south (when you gather a bunch of under-achievers and supply them with copious amounts of alcohol, these things have a tendency to happen), and shows off some superb animation that will no doubt be found throughout. Still, there is gameplay to this game, right?
The Switch continues to receive a bunch of games already released on other consoles, as well as a few new remasters/remakes, but what’s so bad about that? Some of what was shown are stone-cold classics, and if you never played them before, then they’re new to you. The Witcher 3, Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition (I had to include the full title), Resident Evil 5 and 6, Collection of Mana (my beloved Final Fantasy Adventure!) Trials of Mana remake, a Panzer Dragoon remake, Spyro Reignited Trilogy, Ni No Kuni, Alien: Isolation — the list goes on. Personally, I’m good with all of these, and there were plenty of new titles to offset some of that familiarity. Such as…
Mario Maker 2, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 3, Daemon X Machina, Cadence of Hyrule, Empire of Sin, another Mario/Sonic Olympics thing, new entries in the Doom and Wolfenstein franchises, Hollow Knight: Silksong…there’s quite a bit in the pipeline, and Nintendo included a sizzle reel of sorts to give some of these guys some screen time. Here’s a taste of what’s to come:
Conclusion: Lean, if Not Mean
It’s hard not to see Nintendo’s E3 2019 Direct as a success at showing all the different ways players will be able to engage with their Switches in the coming six months and beyond. Though the presentation wasn’t exactly replete with breathtaking, buzzworthy moments (that BOTW sequel though), Nintendo wasted nary a moment in jam-packing this thing with enough games for anyone to look forward to. I appreciated the barebones approach, and I’m already tallying up the potential cost to my wallet in 2019.
So what did you think of Nintendo’s 2019 E3 Direct? Really hoping for that glimpse of Bayonetta or Samus? Or was the lineup so loaded with titles that you didn’t have time to notice?