Treehouse. That is the buzzword becoming so synonymous with Nintendo lately. This year the juggernaut decided to opt for one of their "Nintendo Treehouse" presentations, rather than a live general conference. Having already squashed any expectation for details on their upcoming system; Codename NX -- Nintendo really needed an ace in the hole to impress at E3 2016. So what did they do? Talk about two of their most popular game franchises. That's what.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild / Wii U, NX / TBD
We have heard virtually no updates concerning the Legend of Zelda title announced back in 2014; until now. The wait is almost over. Nintendo made it clear that this is the new face of the franchise with their E3 presentation this year. A vast, open-world experience awaits all of the Hyrulian fans far and wide. It seems that the game plans to add a multitude of improvements, not only in landmass/exploration, but combat and overall gameplay. Link now has the ability to sneak, jump, scale just about everything in sight, cook, change clothing and so much more. There was also a huge focus on Link's mystical tome-looking item called the "Sheikah Slate", which allows him to use magic in ways we have yet to see in the series. As a Zelda fan myself, I can't wait to see just what this adventure into Hyrule will be like. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is due out sometime in 2017.
Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon / 3DS / November 18, 2016
Nintendo followed up their big Zelda spotlight with Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon. And well.. it's another Pokémon game. From what they showcased, it all seems the standard fare. New region (Alola), new starters, new legendaries and so on. Vanity customization options for the player character are making a return from Pokémon X and Pokémon Y. Another big feature they announced was the "Battle Royale" mode, a free-for-all, online battle for up to four players. Fans of the series will most likely not be disappointed with the addition. Hopefully the tried-and-true formula that Game Freak is known for can hold up to the ever-growing standards of today's audience. Trainers can start filling their Pokédex later this year.
Pokémon GO / Android, iOS / TBD 2016
The second day of Nintendo's Treehouse presentation brought us a little more news on Pokémon GO, a smartphone app that allows players to walk around in real life and capture Pokémon. Nintendo has teamed up with Google to make your dream of becoming a true Pokémon master a reality.. sort of. They discussed how you can catch certain Pokémon depending on your location (such as water types near water) and how they are working on mapping those types to areas that make sense, hinting at exploration of the real world being key to catching them all. A demonstration on how the app works was shown, displaying some of the catching mechanics involved. We were also clued in on the "Pokémon GO Plus" device, which allows users to catch Pokémon without having to peer at their smartphones. While the Pokémon GO app is free, the peripheral was given a price tag of $34.99 USD. Aspiring trainers and Pokéfans alike will be filling those Pokédex's this summer.
Ever Oasis / 3DS / TBD 2017
Big things definitely come in cute packages. Ever Oasis is a brand new IP with adorable characters and a beautiful art style. From gathering/creating items, dungeon crawling and puzzle solving, there seems to be something here for every light-hearted adventurer. Boasting charming visuals and an overall feel that is very similar to LEVEL-5's 'Fantasy Life', Ever Oasis aims to offer 3DS owners an enchanting action-adventure RPG next year.
BOXBOXBOY! / 3DS / June 30, 2016
Sequel to the 2015 release of similar name (BOXBOY!), this puzzle game shakes things up from the previous installment by adding additional boxes to your arsenal. Owners of the previous title will rejoice knowing they can transfer over their costumes from their save games, as well. Cute, difficult and full of heart -- you can purchase BOXBOXBOY! from the eShop at the end of this month!
Mario Party: Star Rush / 3DS / November 11, 2016
Nintendo let us have a peek at the new Mario Party, seeing the gameplay firsthand. A new mode, named "Toad Scramble", forces everyone to be a different color of Toad (Meh-heh!). In this mode, you can venture around the game board, while finding more familiar faces in the series, which you can use during your time in the game. Minigames are now random events and such, rather than after each die roll. Other notable alters to the formula that we're all used to: players can now all roll their dice at the same time (thank you, Nintendo) and forge their own paths on the more open game board. There is still much to be revealed about the new addition to the series, hopefully of which we will learn before it's slated release date of November 11th, 2016.
Yo-Kai Watch 2 / 3DS / September 30, 2016
Having already been released in the East a few years back, Western fans will finally get their hands on this awaited sequel. Yo-Kai Watch has swiftly gained popularity in the West since it's release outside of Japan, with this new title seeming to keep that hype alive. Two different versions of Yo-Kai Watch 2 will be released, copying the release format of the Pokéman games, with the titles being named "Fleshy Souls" and "Bony Spirits", respectively. Time travel, a four-player co-op mode and more RPG goodness are all reasons for fans to be excited about this game. Continue the Yo-Kai Watch story September 30th, 2016.
Monster Hunter: Generations / 3DS / July 15, 2016
New monsters, new gameplay tweaks and all the combat one can handle. Much of the core recipe is present in this new addition to the series, with the biggest changes being the introduction of "Hunter Arts" and "Hunter Styles" that will have a drastic impact on how you customize your hunter and how you tackle the multitude of enemies. Also, the inclusion of fan-favorites, the Felynes, to the playable roster will stir things up a bit. Monster Hunter: Generations battles it's way to your 3DS July 15th of this year! ((If that's too long of a wait for you, players can download the demo starting June 30th!))
Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past / 3DS / Sepmtember 16, 2016
2017 marks the 30th anniversary of the Dragon Quest franchise. What a better way to celebrate than to release a remake of the classic RPG, Dragon Quest VII for the PS1. With remastered visuals and mechanics, a re-imagined story and a cornucopia of in-game vocations, the title is packed with plenty for players to enjoy. Whether you're new to the Dragon Quest series or a long-time veteran, this titles promises enough content to keep your 3DS glued to your fingertips. Look for this one mid September, 2016!
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE / Wii U / June 24, 2016
ATLUS is bringing us an interesting crossover of Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem with this new turn-based RPG. Exploration seems somewhat open, with options of NPC dialogue interaction available to make the world feel alive. The game boasts advanced battle mechanics, side quests and lots of easter eggs for fans of the series' the game is based on. Looks like a solid edition to the JRPG line-up. Tokyo Mirage Sessions drops this month on the 24th.
Paper Mario: Color Splash / Wii U / October 7, 2016
Where Super Mario Sunshine was about cleaning up messes, Paper Mario: Color Splash is about making them. With hammer and "paint can" (who is also your new companion, Huey) in hand, Mario looks to tackle the mystery of the "folded Toad". The game world is bright, beautiful and stylized as one would imagine a Paper Mario would appear. Armed with a new battle card system and a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, Color Splash looks like a lot of fun for Mario fans and gamers of any age. Brush up on your origami and get your hands on this October 7th, 2016!
Rhythm Heaven: Megamix / 3DS / June 15, 2016
Fianlly, we were introduced to probably the most stereotypical "Japan" game of Nintendo's exhibition, The best word I can use to describe this title is "weird". It is just weird. Granted, it is the type of weird that I enjoy, but I digress. Loaded with silly noises, catchy, yet strange musical tracks and downright hilarious artwork, Rhythm Heaven: Megamix keeps up the tradition of the series. Gameplay consists of what we've come to expect from a rhythm-based, timing-centric video game. Already released at the time of this article, you can download it now from the Nintendo eShop.
Nintendo had something for everyone this E3, though I must admit, I was disappointed by no fresh NX news. I knew going into this week there wasn't going to be any developments, but I still had hopes. Definitely not the companies' strongest showcase to date, but I've certainly added a few of these titles to my 'must buy' list. If I could give one suggestion to Nintendo for next year, it would be to not do this Treehouse thing anymore. I feel like it is too staged and lacks in the excitement that E3 is known for. So, what was your favorite Nintendo game shown this year? Let us know in the comments below or any of our social media outlets. Cheers!
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