Nintendo stepped up to E3 2017 with typically low expectations. They appeared to keep the expectations low right up until the Nintendo Spotlight, where they created their own version of mass hysteria with some surprising announcements. Of those surprises, Metroid Prime 4 and a Pokémon RPG game (probably generation eight) announced by the CEO of the Pokémon Company, Tsunekazu Ishihara, will not feature in this article as there wasn’t any gameplay shown for the games. Fortunately, there were other exciting announcements that have stunned the team at Goomba Stomp – so here are our top five Nintendo games announced at E3 2017.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2
There’s a distinct lack of narrative-focused games on the Switch right now. Discounting Disgaea 5 Complete—a game that focuses much more on its strong strategic gameplay than its overarching narrative—Switch owners really only have I Am Setsuna in the way of story-based games. This is precisely why Xenoblade Chronicles 2 will be such a welcome addition to the console’s library later this year. The original Xenoblade Chronicles was something of a hidden gem on the Wii, and is considered by many to be one of the greatest JRPGs ever made due to its masterful storytelling, persistent world and sheer scope. Meanwhile, the Wii U spinoff Xenoblade Chronicles X focused much more on exploration and combat than story. What we’ve seen of XC2 so far suggests a combination of the two.
I’m incredibly excited to learn the story Monolith has crafted this time. The Spotlight hints at a heartfelt story between Rex and Pyra as they travel and fight in search of Pyra’s home, a paradise known as Elysium. The cinematics look gorgeous and the story feels familiar yet intriguing. Yet, if there was one thing the original game lacked, it was a refined combat system. The developers revealed that XC2 has been built on the back of X’s engine, so I’m expecting it to benefit from some truly vast environments and even more refined combat. If I had one worry it’d be that the game still stutters along a bit, and there was noticeable pop-in during the Treehouse presentation. Hopefully the team has enough time to iron out some of the kinks before the game’s Holiday 2017 release. (Brent Middleton)
Metroid: Samus Returns
One of the biggest surprises to come from Nintendo this year at E3 was Metroid: Samus Returns. Unlike last year’s Metroid Prime Federation Force, this is a full-fledged, sidescrolling Metroid game – and the first proper Metroid game in seven years (not to mention the first side-scrolling installment since 2004). Described as a reimagining of the classic Game Boy installment Metroid II, Metroid: Samus Returns sees our favourite bounty hunter travel to planet SR-388 to exterminate the titular alien species.
This isn’t the first remake of a Metroid game: Metroid: Zero Mission revisited the original NES game, adding a similar set of moves, upgrades, boss battles, map features, and even new areas to explore. If you haven’t played Zero Mission, you really should because the game is one of the very best in the series and I would go so far as to say one of the very best games Nintendo has ever made. Metroid: Samus Returns looks just as good since all of the fundamental design is the same but this time around Samus will have new abilities which include a melee counter, and plenty of divergent paths and bosses to take on.
While the original Game Boy game is fondly remembered, it’s dated black and white graphics won’t appeal to this generation of gamers. And given that the story of Metroid II is integral to the series, I couldn’t think of a better title for Nintendo to remake, especially since fans have been clamoring for a remake for quite some time. (Ricky D)
Fire Emblem Warriors
Fire Emblem as a franchise has been gaining a lot of attention recently. The smartphone adaptation, Fire Emblem Heroes, has transitioned from console to mobile with relative ease, regardless of the simplification. After the release of Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, the momentum has been worth riding, so it’s little surprise that the Warrior franchise would take over the reins.
With a dramatic storyline from the beginning, Fire Emblem Warriors lives up to its name from the beginning. After Hyrule Warriors, which had a slight frame rate drop from multiple creatures on the screen at once, it seems the Nintendo Switch has the power to deal with the overload of enemies that the Warrior franchise delivers. It’s likely that Fire Emblem Warriors can do what Hyrule Warriors couldn’t due to the upgraded console, which boosts a much more dynamic gameplay. Staying as true to the Fire Emblem franchise as possible, the Fire Emblem Warriors will continue the weapon triangle to some degree of purpose. At least, the sword will still be strong against the axe, and so on and so forth.
Fire Emblem Warriors will allow the player to take control of some of their favorite characters, including Marth and Xander. This includes that likelihood of amiibo compatibility, with figurines revealed for Chrom and Tiki. How amiibo will enhance the game isn’t know yet, but for now, we know Fire Emblem Warriors stays true to the Warrior franchise, with intense battling, and some strategic nuance. In many ways, it never really had to leap too far away from the formula to excite fans of both Fire Emblem and Dynasty Warriors. (James Baker)
What is there not to love about Kirby? Our favourite pink blob that eats everything in his path, his ravenous ways have entertained us for over two decades. Without an official title, unless Kirby is its official title, the game still has a lot of secrets yet to reveal. However, with the beautifully colorful gameplay we’ve already seen, Kirby already looks set to be an amazing addition to the Nintendo Switch.
However, Kirby on the Switch has introduced a new mechanic where Kirby can befriend enemies, in which they become either an AI controlled ally, or a multiplayer ally. Each enemy type seems to have their own move once Kirby has befriended them, with the ability to join up with Kirby to create powerful team attacks. With Nintendo’s continued push for local multiplayer on the Switch, Kirby seems designed to exploit the functions of the Joy-Con controller. It’s a creative new way to adapt a franchise that still stays true to its roots.
Always beautiful, and a full palette of colors, the artwork remains as adorable as ever. The animation is always cute, and with the Whispy Woods already shown, we’re going on a familiar journey that has been enhanced for the Switch. It’s impossible to hate Kirby, and without a doubt, this game is going to be one cherubic adventure. (James Baker)
Super Mario Odyssey
Where do I begin with Super Mario Odyssey? Nintendo ended their spectacular E3 2017 Spotlight with an incredible trailer for Mario’s next mainline adventure, and it was met with overwhelming praise. The trailer showed off one of the game’s main mechanics, as Mario was seen throwing his hat onto enemies and taking control of them. Players will be able to manipulate everything from Goombas to a giant T-Rex, which sounds just as cool as it looks. While this new mechanic looks fun, it was the incredible landscapes, platforming, and general creativity that stole the show during the trailer.
Each of the environments shown off during the three-minute clip looked like it could have been from another video game. There was a gorgeous prehistoric landscape, a sprawling city filled with skyscrapers, a scorched desert with towns and an oasis, and a black and white 1930’s cartoon scene. It’s almost too much to take in at once, especially when the trailer was accompanied by an extremely catchy, fully voiced jazz track.
It’s hard not to be excited about another iteration in the most critically acclaimed series in gaming history. There were so many new and creative ideas on display in this trailer that it’s hard to believe Nintendo EAD Tokyo hasn’t run out of ideas by now. Odyssey is shaping up to be the perfect successor to the Galaxy games, and will hopefully bring in new players as well as cater to longtime fans of the plumber. This could easily be one of the best games on the Switch, and we’re not planning on missing out on this incredible adventure. (Zack Rezac)
E3 2017 has graced audiences with a plethora of memorable announcements and gameplay reveals. If a game you wanted to see included on this list didn’t make the cut, be sure to check out our other articles on the most anticipated Sony, Nintendo and XBox games as well. Check back here at Goomba Stomp for more E3 coverage throughout the week.
‘New Super Lucky’s Tale’ is Polished, Pleasing Platforming
Streamlined, focused, and tons of fun, New Super Lucky’s Tale is a fantastic reworking for the Switch that absolutely nails the lighter side of Nintendo-style 3D platforming. Tight controls and a nearly flawless camera support running and jumping challenges which more often than not emphasize creativity over complexity, and it’s all set against a colorful, pun-filled, charming world full of quirky characters and light satire. Though the experience is not as epic or razzle-dazzle as something like Super Mario Odyssey, developer Playful has wisely trimmed the collect-a-thon fat that so many others in the genre employ in order to pad play time. The result lasts long enough to satisfy, yet also instills a fervent desire to see more adventures from its fearless, furry hero.
In the fine tradition of its gaming ancestors dating back to the N64 days, the basics of New Super Lucky’s Tale revolve around acquiring arbitrary objects sprinkled through various stages in order to unlock doors and move on to the next area. This time it’s pages from the mystical Book of Ages, which contains the power to travel between worlds, and is the endgame of an nefarious cat sorcerer named Jinx and his gang of cartoonish thugs, the Kitty Litter. As part of a secret organization sworn to defending this kiddie-friendly Necronomicon knockoff, it’s up to Lucky to track down as many of these clover-embossed pages as he possibly can, and hopefully complete the book before his nemesis can get his claws on it.
It’s doubtful that the story will be what compels most players to keep going, and to that end, New Super Lucky’s Tale‘s simple setup also fits right in with its genre brethren. Still, Lucky is an amiable and upbeat fox to follow around, and Playful does an excellent job of surrounding him with a cast of gibberish-spouting weirdo goofballs that includes hayseed grub worms, supremely zen Yetis, loyal rock golems, and slick carny ghosts. Though their dialogue does little to drive any sort of narrative, it is endlessly amusing and often witty in its cheesy wordplay. In other words, the writing has a very Nintendo-like feel in its eccentricities that adds to the overall fun.
Those jokes would be less endearing without fantastic gameplay, but New Super Lucky’s Tale delivers some of the best running and jumping this side of Mario. Though this fabulous fox can’t quite match the plumber’s precision, Lucky does feel extremely responsive, and has a nice sense of weight and momentum that never feels out of control. He also comes out of the den with a well-rounded moveset, including a nifty double jump, a swishy tail (a la Mario’s spin punch), and the ability to burrow under ground. These moves can be chained together to create a satisfying flow both when exploring 3D stages and side-scrolling ones alike, and will surely inspire players to use them in creative ways in order to access seemingly out-of-reach spots.
And they’ll have to if they want to find all four pages hidden in each stage. New Super Lucky’s Tale requires a bare minimum of these leaflets to be found (and simply beating the stage merits one as a reward), but it’s in rooting around those nooks and crannies where much of the fun lies, and it gives the developer a chance to squeeze every ounce out of the unique mixture of environments they’ve created. From the assorted carnival games of a haunted amusement park to a beach party dance-off, there are a surprising amount of different things for Lucky (and players) to do here, with hardly any two stages ever feeling alike. One 3D level might task Lucky with casually exploring a farm as he gathers up the members of country jug band, while a side-scrolling obstacle course sees him dodging canon fire from an airship piloted by a feline Napolean. Some stages have a platforming bent, while others emphasize searching out secrets tucked away in mini puzzles.
It’s an absolutely delightful mix, and that sheer variety keeps New Super Lucky’s Tale fresh all the way through to the epic battle with fat cat Jinx himself. And though platforming veterans might find the overall challenge a bit too much on the friendly side, a few of the later bosses and and bonus stages may make that 100% goal a little tougher than it at first seems. And yet, it’s hard not to want to go back to incomplete stages or that block-pushing puzzle that stumped the first time around; the brisk pace and clever design will likely compel many players to find every scrap of paper out there.
No, Lucky isn’t the second coming of Mario, but there are few 3D platformers that offer such a polished, concise, joyful experience as New Super Lucky’s Tale. It may have taken a couple of efforts to get there (and for those who have played the original Super Lucky’s Tale, levels and bosses have been reworked here), but Playful has nailed a balance between creativity and efficiency that begs for more.
How Do ‘Pokemon Sword and Shield’s’ Max Raid Battles Measure Up?
Max Raid Battles are one of Pokemon Sword and Shield’s premier new features. Do they live up to their full potential? Let’s find out.
One of the most heavily promoted new features of Pokémon Sword and Shield have been their Max Raid Battles. These gargantuan fights are both a key part of the online experience and likely the first taste most players will get of Dynamaxed Pokémon in-game. So, how’d this take on Pokémon Go’s raid system pan out in the series’ first mainline entry on console?
Well, on the plus side, getting into the thick of a raid is super straightforward. After the opening hour or two, players are introduced to the Wild Area and can access Max Raid Battles straight away by walking up to a pillar of red light on the field. From there you can invite others, challenge the raid with NPCs, and choose which Pokémon you want to use.
Real Friends Raid Together
Playing with friends online, though, is a bit more convoluted. There’s no “Invite Friends” option to be seen. Instead, all social features are handled through the Y-comm (literally accessed by pressing the Y button). It’s here that players can Link Trade, Link Battle, exchange player cards, and more.
After actively connecting to the internet–which has to be done each play session and each time the Switch is put into sleep mode–it’s up to the host of the match to find a portal and send an invitation to everyone. A notification will pop for friends on the side of the screen, and then it’s up to everyone to join the match directly through the Y-comm interface.
If players want real people to fill in any remaining slots (all raids are four-person affairs), they’ll need to join before the room fills up. Setting a Link Code avoids this hassle by creating a room but, unlike Salmon Run in Splatoon 2, only computer players can fill remaining spots after friends finish joining this way.
After some experimenting and fudding about, my buddy and I were able to hop into matches fairly quickly without much issue. Nonetheless, it’s hard to shake the feeling that creating friend lobbies is only such a headache because it had to be tied to the Y-comm. Pair this with the fact that battling while waiting for a friend to create a room can cause the notification not to pop, and getting a group together is a bit more painful than it should be.
Max Raid Battle Rundown
The raids themselves are a surprisingly engaging twist on the classic Pokémon battle formula. Groups of four challengers work together to take on a Dynamaxed raid boss. Each raid boss has a different star rating, and even the 1-star battles are no joke the first few times around. These boss Pokémon are merciless, and regularly one-shot lower leveled ‘mons with ease.
To combat these monstrous foes, one random trainer in every group is granted the ability to Dynamax their chosen Pokémon and lead the charge. The Dynamaxed Pokémon gets the benefit of having extra-powerful moves and increased HP, though it’s rather disappointing that there only seems to be one Max Move per move type (one Grass move, one Dark move, and so on). Each of these has a secondary effect on the battlefield; some trigger sandstorms, others trigger a health regeneration field that heals everyone a bit each turn. Regular moves with type advantages deal a significant chunk of damage, but it’s Max Moves that can truly turn the tide of battle.
If one of the group’s Pokémon faints, that trainer has to sit out for a turn before it automatically gets revived (a smart design choice to keep all trainers actively involved). However, the fainting of each Pokémon triggers the storm above to become more and more vicious. After four faints or ten turns, everyone is booted out of the raid sans rewards.
The Fruits of Victory
Two of the easiest ways to better your odds are 1) Choose a Pokémon with a type advantage going into battle, and 2) Manage who Dynamaxes when. Each trainer’s Dynamax meter grows periodically and, though only one trainer can use it at a time, multiple players can activate it over the course of a raid. It also seems like each raid’s star rating is tied directly to the raid boss’ level, so bringing a generally powerful Pokémon to a lower-level raid is another viable strategy for success.
Aside from the chance to capture the raid boss itself (and some Pokémon are Max Raid Battle-exclusive), winning a raid nets players some very worthwhile rewards. These include everything from EXP candies and berries to nuggets and TMs. It’s not so much of a haul that it hurts the overall balance of the game, but there’s enough to make getting a few friends together and grinding raids for a couple of hours worth it.
Though Max Raid Battles are just a small part of the overall Sword and Shield package, they’ve ended up being a rather fun take on Pokémon’s traditional multiplayer offerings. For as unnecessarily complicated as playing with friends is, there are also a few cool ideas here, like being able to join a raid from anywhere on the map as long as the host is at the raid pillar. There’s some good fun to be had here if you prefer to battle alongside your friends instead of against them.
15 Years Later: ‘Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater’ Is Kojima’s Espionage Love Letter
On November 17th, 2004, ‘Metal Gear Solid 3’ was released, marking the first entry in what would become a major part of the Metal Gear Saga.
“After the end of World War II, the world was split into two — East and West. This marked the beginning of the era called the Cold War.”
On November 17th, 2004, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater released in North America and Japan marking the first entry in what would later become a line of prequel games within the Metal Gear Saga. Big Boss’s story would finally be expanded upon in the Hollywood action game that forever changed the course of video game storytelling.
The legendary mercenary’s journey began in Kojima’s espionage love letter to the ’60s that broke the primordial gaming standards of both interactive design and visual storytelling through immeasurable gameplay depth piled onto a mind-boggling top-notch origin story. Snake Eater was only the beginning of a tale of how one of gaming’s greatest heroes descended into a villain through what is not only arguably the most compact and well-executed Metal Gear story, but Kojima Productions story ever conjured up to date.
Taking the Narrative Back
Snake Eater ditched Solid Snake and Raiden’s current predicaments in a postmodern world to provide audiences with background knowledge and explanations for the previous chapters that came before it in what was intended to be Hideo Kojima’s final Metal Gear game at the time. Cold War political fiction and espionage thrillers from the game’s time period such as the Sean Connery and Roger Moore James Bond 007 films became the foundation for this entry’s story and tone; a balance of both goofiness and seriousness that is simply unmatched when compared to the rest of the series.
Metal Gear Solid 3 marked the beginning of a prequel series of games that would later proceed to continue after Solid Snake’s story had concluded in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Snake Eater threw players back in time to tackle the story of Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake villain Big Boss, who was formerly referred to as three different names being John, Jack, and of course the iconic codename Naked Snake — the first character to take on the reptilian infiltration name.
Whereas Metal Gear Solid and Sons of Liberty questioned the fantasy aspects of the story, Snake Eater fully embraced the campiness that it provided. A gun-slinging, cat-growling GRU Major or a man who is able to manipulate bees are never questioned by the game’s characters. Nothing feels out of place due to how accepting everyone is of what is going on in their interpretation of history. The first fantasy aspect that players encounter is during the opening 5 minutes of the game when Naked Snake makes the HALO jump. The location the game takes place, Tselinoyarsk, is not the actual name of the location and isn’t an area of the world that has jungles.
Political fiction often comes into play during the story by incorporating real figures and the game’s characters into events that actually happened during the height of the Cold War. For example, Eva and Ocelot are depicted as the two NSA codebreakers, Martin and Mitchell, who defected to the Soviet Union. Weapons and designs featured in the game such as the hybrid screw-propelled metal gear, the Shagohod, are based on real blueprints for military weapons of the time period. While the story incorporates science fiction and fantasy aspects, the story still remains grounded and has its own limits even in gameplay.
A Whole New Meaning to Survival
When Hideo Kojima and Yoji Shinkawa saw the 1987 movie Predator, one concept from the film that stuck with them was how the technologically advanced alien Predator used camouflage within the jungle setting to stealthily take out a military rescue team lead by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Camouflage became part of the foundation for Snake Eater‘s gameplay that delved into the realism and campy side of the series. Players could swap outfits and face paints at any given moment to adapt to their current surroundings. The top right-hand corner has a camouflage index that constantly keeps track of how well-hidden you are in the environment.
Just as gadgets are a critical part of James Bond’s arsenal of weapons, Snake Eater saw the Metal Gear Solid series expand on the variety and utilization of items. The number of different ways to tackle standard environmental obstacles and boss battles was exponentially increased due to how many ways one could actually use their equipment. Grenades, lethal firearms, night-vision goggles, cigarettes, and even cardboard boxes all inherited a multi-functional philosophy that most players would never even discover unless they had experimented during their playthrough or were told to do a specific action. Even food became a weapon of war that could be used to poison and distract guards if it had gone spoiled.
On the topic of food, alongside the standard health bar, Snake has a stamina meter that must be ministered to constantly by eating foods found on-site and administering proper medical treatment. Animals, fruit, medicinal items, and various packaged resources must be collected and watched over throughout the game. All food items ran on a real-time clock leaving food to go unsanitary and rotten after a matter of real-time days.
The Beginning of Product Placement
The Metal Gear Solid series kickstarted Hideo Kojima’s constant usage of product placements within his games that are still ongoing today. These products include but are certainly not limited to clothing, accessories, toys, household items, and of course, food. Snake Eater began a trend of future Kojima Production games featuring real-life items that are purchasable in many small scale and large retail stores throughout Japan through the brand of nutritional energy bars and gels, CalorieMate.
The chocolate-flavored CalorieMate Block appeared in the original version of Snake Eater, while the maple-flavored kind replaced it in the HD Collection due to it being the latest flavor release at the time. Advertisements for CalorieMate during the game’s release showed Naked Snake holding a chocolate-flavored Block saying “If you wanna survive in the jungle, your going to need one of these.”
When initiating a Codec call with Paramedic after eating a CalorieMate Block, the character will question the legitimacy of the food. In reality, CalorieMate first released in 1983, contradicting the 1960’s setting of the story, therefore, making its placement in the game an anachronism; an object or person that is displaced in time.
A Legacy Worthy of The Big Boss Rank
At the time of Snake Eater’s release, although the game garnered a completely positive reception from critics with a 91 Metacritic score, it was highly debated whether the sequel-prequel was superior to the entries that came before it. Critics commonly praised the graphics and cinematics the game had to offer but questioned whether the gameplay was too complex for its own good. Snake Eater also had to ride the coattails of unsatisfied audiences originating from the previous entry’s lack of Solid Snake being the protagonist which ultimately lead to sales of the game being significantly lower than the previous Solid entries.
Over time, Snake Eater became the fan-favorite entry of the series and would go on to receive the most re-releases out of all the Metal Gear games to date. Most notably, in 2006 Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence expanded upon the online mode in the game and added a completely new third-person controlled camera system that enhanced the overall experience and became the right analog stick standard for future entries. Buyers of this version were also treated with the original two MSX Metal Gear games found on the main menu- the first time the original Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake had ever been localized outside of Japan.
2011 saw the release of the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, a compilation title that included an updated version of Subsistence — arguably the best way to play Snake Eater today. In 2012 the game also saw a release on the Nintendo 3DS dubbed Metal Gear Solid 3D: Snake Eater which included a new real-life camera camouflage system and multiple gameplay changes inherited from Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker to accommodate the 3DS’s lack of dual analog sticks.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is a true patriot that definitively holds its ground against the rest of the series today due to its creative liberties that the series never quite revisited in complete depth. Hideo Kojima and his team of masterminds behind Kojima Productions are well deserved of a salute for the tremendous efforts they put into creating a groundbreaking title that forever changed what it meant to be a cinematic video game. From its action-packed plot to its cinematic orchestra inspired-score, even after 15 years the pure indigenous nature of creativity from the studio never ceases to amaze audiences.
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