E3 2017 Wrap Up: 5 Things I Loved From Nintendo

Though the Nintendo Spotlight for E3 was short, it was nothing short of sweet.  Here’s my top five “Most Excited For” out of Nintendo’s E3 2017 announcements!

#5 - Xenoblade Chronicles 2

JRPGs have to be one of my favorite genres.  Though this is the case, I have never dabbled in the realm of Xenoblade Chronicles.  That being said, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 looks like the perfect JRPG experience you would normally get from a 3DS game with home console power.  The art style is gorgeous and a complete turn from its Wii and Wii U counterparts.  The world is expansive, open, and gorgeous. The characters have their own quirky, and almost physically impossible clothing designs.  Everything that makes a JRPG a JRPG.  This is one I’ll be getting close to its release date if not on it.

#4 - The Return of Metroid!!! (Metroid Prime 4 & Metroid: Samus Returns)

I will admit, though I know the stories of all the Metroid games, I have NEVER actually played a Metroid game myself.  It’s an IP of Nintendo’s that I never really got into as a kid, and that has translated into adulthood.  But let me say that I am extremely excited for the announcement of not only Metroid Prime 4 but the reimagined 3DS version of Metroid II: Return of Samus (now called Metroid: Samus Returns).  Metroid fans have felt ignored and extremely depressed over no “true” entry in the series for over a console generation now.  Metroid Prime: Federation Force ended up being an absolute joke and left fans even more bitter about being neglected.  Nintendo has really listened to their fans on this one.  They wanted a proper Metroid game, and they’re going to deliver.  It almost seems like they felt bad about the flop of Federation Force and wanted to tide them over with the Metroid II remake as well. Looks like I’m going to finally have to join in on the Metroid scene! (No, I did not put Metroid at 4 because it's Metroid Prime 4!)

#3 - Fire Emblem Warriors

Hyrule Warriors got me into the hack and slash genre.  So it’s no surprise that I’m excited for Fire Emblem Warriors.  I love the footage we saw during Treehouse Live.  The cel-shaded look to the characters and models in general is very fitting for the anime-style that Fire Emblem has been known for in its latest 3DS installments.  I’m also excited that while the game is mostly another re-skinned version of the Dragon Warriors games, they’ve added new flair to it specific to Fire Emblem as they did for Hyrule Warriors with the Zelda franchise.  For instance, leveling up gives you the same stat screen for a character as you would have would you level up in a Fire Emblem game.  An Autumn 2017 release date is vague for the west, but Japan got a September 28th date in concrete.  Here's to not waiting longer than Japan!  Fingers crossed!

Fire Emblem Warriors

#2 - Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey is not my number one, but man does this game look jam-packed.  There’s an awesome buying system to clothe Mario and give him cool buffs.  And my personal favorite is the possession ability Mario (or his hat) has for all things around him.  Lava, Goomba, even a DINOSAUR!  I’m hoping this will be a multi-world stage game similar to Super Mario 64 to collect the stars.  Curious to see more about this and I’m sure we’ll have a centric Direct/Spotlight later on this summer before its release on October 27th.  Also, can you say MAYOR PAULINE?! I do believe she was the voice singing the song that played over the trailer, as evidenced by the back-shot of her and the band. Interested to see her role in the entire game!

 

#1 - NEW AMIIBO!

And at number one (which you all should learn to expect from me) – sorry to disappoint you guys, but AMIIBO! I’m a huge amiibo collector and a Zelda die-hard.  So when Nintendo announced that they’re making four new GORGEOUS figures of the Champions from Breath of the Wild, I literally suppressed a scream.  We’ve got those four plus five new awesome Super Mario amiibo (with the same base red base with checkerboard for consistency).  The opalescent white on the wedding amiibo look amazing and I’m so glad they’re experimenting with different paints.  Then we’ve got Metroid amiibo … a super detailed Samus, and a SQUISHY METROID!  Last but not least, they gave us Chrom and Tiki amiibo to coincide with Fire Emblem Warriors.  I wish these bases matched the Alm and Celica burgundy bases; however, I’m not going to nit-pick that when it comes to buying them—I’M BUYING THEM!  These are all undoubtedly going to be $15.99 as the original Breath of the Wild amiibo were, but I am down to buy all of them to expand my full collection.  Hands down, most exciting for me this E3!

Time to set aside that money in my wallet for a boatload of pretty figurines and games!  Happy E3, everyone!

Nintendo Releases Metroid Prime 4 Fact Sheet

Can't get enough Metroid Prime 4 news? Well you might want to comb through the official fact sheet provided to us via Nintendo PR. Of note, notice that Kensuke Tanabe is the leading the development team on the new Metroid game. You might remember some projects under his development - Smash Brothers Brawl, Metroid Prime 1-3, Metroid Prime Hunters, Paper Mario Sticker Star, Donkey Kong Country 3D and Tropical Freeze, and most recently Paper Mario: Color Splash.  

 

Metroid Prime: Federation Force - Review Round-Up

Rejoice or roll around in salt, Metroid Prime: Federation Force has released today in North America. The game has definitely had its share of controversy and has been met with mixed view from it's very first announcement.  Reviews have been unleashed from the usual suspects across the internet and those seem to be mixed as well.  Here's the current rundown:

So a little bit across the board here if we look at the numbers.  Personally, I feel that the game is going to fall somewhere around a "7", but really, if it's fun, that's all that matters!  Glancing through some of the reviews, I noticed the authors mention issue with single-player in this game.  Specifically in regards to balance and enjoyment.  I think to really get the full scope and experience with this game, you HAVE to be playing co-op.  I really appreciate the viewpoint of Gamexplain, and I have a pretty good feeling that my own experience will draw a parallel with theirs.  I'm really looking forward to playing a portable co-op shooter, what can i say!?

Look for our full review and/or impressions from the PSVG crew sometime next week.  Let us know if you pick it up, let's play!

First Impressions: Metroid Prime Blast Ball

For those that venture into the PSVG forum from time to time, you already know why I'm interested and excited for Metroid Prime: Federation Force.  If you haven't clicked into our forum in a while - AHEM... Shameless Plug Today Nintendo released Metroid Prime: Blast Ball, a sub-game that comes with the Federation Force, as an extended demo on the 3DS eShop. If you haven't kept up with Metroid Prime: Federation Force, this is the same game that drove many Metroid fans to set YouTube down-vote records at E3 in 2015. Driven mostly by the game carrying the superb "Metroid Prime" name, the backlash was unlike anyone at Nintendo could have predicted at the time. While I can understand why longtime fans of the series might be upset, I can't say that I'm a member of the club. I've never honestly been a huge Metroid fan, even having played Metroid, Super Metroid, and all of the Metroid Prime games on Gamecube and Wii. What I can report is that Metroid Prime: Blast Ball, as a game, is delivering a game experience that is one of a kind on 3DS and I'm in love with it already after one day of play.

In Metroid Prime: Blast Ball, the player takes control of a mech in an arena on either the gold or indigo (purple) team with two other mates. A ball lowers from the ceiling and drops into play and your team frantically use your Samus arm cannons to blast the ball into the other goal. Its a very rocket-league experience at first glance, but considering this game is on a 3DS there's more to it than simple comparisons. The 3DS, as great a system as I think it is, really lacks good games in two genres - Sports and Shooters. Granted we have Mario Golf and Moon Chronicles / Ironfall, but those aren't the highlights any gamer comes to expect on any platform. Where are the Madden, NBA, and Call of Duty games? Before you say portable, these franchises were represented on the DS. Yes, even down ported games can still be worthy additions to libraries. With Metroid Prime: Blast Ball, Nintendo has effectively hit two birds with one stone. On one hand, the game's first person shooter controls are respectable and easy for any 3DS owner (New 3DS, 3DS, and 2DS players) to implement and enjoy. On the other hand, Blast Ball features a great Splatoon-esque short match experience with all the tension and strategy of a close soccer or hockey game. Even with the demo only being out for one day, it was apparent that teams with strategic focus would have an advantage over drop in and drop out players.

The reason I said I was excited for Metroid Prime: Federation Force was my hope for decent, hopefully good, 3DS shooter. What I found with Blast Ball was so much more impressive.  I played 14 matches today and finished with a 987 rating, 4 goals, 5 assists, and 9 blocks. I played with my kids via local play, online players with online matchmaking, solo play with bots and a very fun target-practice training mode. More importantly, I can honestly say I had gaming experience that made me shake my controller as well as fist pump and scream GOOOOAAALLLL!! The matches have much more than shoot the ball mechanics. First off, the ball will actually damage your mech, a lesson not so easily learned if your the aggressive, striker type chasing the ball towards the goal. It took me maybe 4 or 5 matches to realize the damage that can be done chasing after the ball when the other team reverses the momentum and ball comes screaming back at me. Second to learning how to play off the ball is learning how the power ups work. As with any Nintendo sports games, the power ups can become a key in turning the match one way or the other. In Blast Ball you can make power ups drop by repeatedly blasting the ball. Either a shield, a speed bonus (lighting icon) or an eject power up (arrow icon) will drop on the playing field making it a race to the bonus for all players. The gameplay overall is very much a Mario Strikers experience from a first person perspective.

Some minor notes that should be mentioned before closing - Metroid Prime: Federation Force looks nice in the visuals department. The chibi style that many have attached to the games previews and artwork isn't as bad as I believed. In fact, the game actually looks really good with the 3DS enabled on my New 3DS and I really love the honeycomb-Matrix style effects found on the edge of the arena and on the player view inside the mech. In fact, I would describe the game visually like an early Halo game which is to be appreciated considering this game can run on hardware that fits in your pocket. Also, Blast Ball features amiibo compatibility with Mario, Luigi, Rosalina, Peach, and Bowser. Each of these amiibo will grant you access to different mech custom designs. All other amiibo, at least for my experience, will just grant you access to a generic "skull" design.

Now I'm not here to tell you that Metroid Prime is the best 3DS game ever made, but I am telling you that it deserves your attention even if you were upset with it being associated with the Metroid Prime brand. Blast Ball brings something new to your Nintendo handheld in a way that I'm positive won't be repeated in the near future. I can honestly tell you that as a family game (local co-op), there has not been a game that provided as much excitement, laughs, triumph, and defeat as Blast Ball did my house this evening. I wanted to get Metroid Prime: Federation Force for the shooter based missions, but in Blast Ball I discovered a game that hits that sports itch like very few on 3DS can. Like Nintendo discovered with Hyrule Warriors, this gamer hopes Nintendo takes notice of how their brands can be used it different ways and pushes the idea forward. More arenas, more mechs, different modes and we very well could have a successful Metroid based spin off to play for years to come.