These past two years have been monumental for Nintendo. By the end of March 2018, it has sold nearly 18 million units, completely crushing its predecessor, and has become the fastest-selling video game console ever in the United States. They still predict to sell over 20 million units in 2018 alone, something that their competitors could only dream of. In 2017, They rebuilt bridges and delivered masterpiece after masterpiece with Zelda and Mario, and filled the space in between with enjoyable games such as Splatoon 2 and Arms. However, now that we’re in 2018, fans seem lost and disappointed with Nintendo, especially after E3 2018.
“2018 was disappointing compared to 2017”
The first half of 2018 was undoubtedly a little soft. Before Mario Tennis Aces, the first half generally coasted on ports and third parties, but considering how much units these ports sell to a broad new market, why wouldn’t Nintendo push these. Sure, recycled content is boring to hardcore Wii U owners, but it’s recycled content like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe that sell over 9.22 million units. And hey, First Party games and exclusives aren’t the only games your’e allowed to play on the Switch. In the first half of the year alone, indies like Celeste, Hollow Knight, Ikaruga, and Lumines Remastered are all outstanding, and monumental third-parties like South Park: The Fractured But Whole and Wolfenstein 2 would’ve been absolutely unheard of on the Wii U.
And when we look back at the year as a whole, 2018 is going to come very close to rivaling 2017, and still creates a lineup other competitors could only hope to create, especially since we’re only in year two of it’s generation, a time where games are typically being made and not actually releasing. Both Mario Tennis Aces and Super Mario Party are correcting the mistakes made in their respective franchises during the Wii U era, Kirby’s Star Allies, Killer Queen Black, Xenoblade 2 and Splatoon 2 expansions, Octopath Traveler, Travis Strikes Again, Pokemon, and Smash. Two of which are two of the biggest franchises in Nintendo’s catalog that rival and usually sell better than Mario and Zelda. There’s not much missing here that wouldn’t bloat and over saturate an already saturated lineup of exclusives.
“Well, Smash is a port, and Pokemon isn’t a main series game”
First, there was absolutely no way Sakurai could completely start over from absolute ground zero on a new Smash bros game. The game would likely have a third of the roster, take another three years of development time, and Sakurai’s health could be in a very dangerous state. Sure, the general art styles are similar, but comparing the two presents a vast disparity. Every character looks and plays different with numerous new moves, physics, and design changes, especially impressive considering there’s over 66 with likely more to be announced.
That goes for stages too, almost every stage is being included, with the ability to change it to your liking in almost three unique variations. Smash at it’s premise is a casual fighting game, but it’s now faster than ever before with the inclusion of more damage dealt in 1v1’s, increased knock back, and the return of things like directional air dodging that make Super Smash Brothers Ultimate more appealing to hardcore fans and the e sports scene. Calling this game a port or Smash 4.5, is a disservice to all of the hard work and attention to detail Sakurai and his team have dedicated to making this game the best in the franchise.
From the outside, Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee look different from what we’re used to. However, down to its core, there’s really not too much different about it. You still battle trainers, level up and evolve Pokemon, challenge gyms, and still have the same goal of catching em all. *Gasps* But no wild battles, whatever will we do. We don’t get to grind for hours on end, walking aimlessly back in forth in hopes for a Pokemon, and use dozens of repels avoiding the grass at all costs, the series is coming to an end. In all seriousness, this is a change for the better.
Now, Pokemon fill and traverse the over world, where you can selectively choose which ones to catch and encounter, and making the world feel truly alive. Wild battles are typically only important in the first hour for mild training, completely forgotten and becoming a nuisance afterward. Why is this such a problem? Have trust in the Pokemon team, and if you really can’t stand the fact that your beloved encounters aren’t here wait for the core RPG release in 2019. The game announced at 2017’s E3 was that game after all, so this is really a bonus game, aimed at bringing more people onto the series. A bonus, main series game that doesn’t really stretch that far from what we’re already used to.
“Nintendo’s E3 direct was disappointing”
It’s obvious that there were certain games absent from Nintendo’s showcase this year at E3. Particularly, Metroid Prime 4, Bayonetta 3, Pikman 4, or an Animal Crossing Switch game. These are some of the most beloved Nintendo franchises, and I can understand the frustration. However, it’s important to note that we were never guaranteed these games in the first place. In fact, Nintendo even said prior to the showcase that it be focusing on primarily 2018 titles and heavily on Super Smash Bros., so to expect titles with only logos shown last year was a little much in my opinion. And specifically with Animal Crossing and Pikman, we’re only about two years into the generation; It’s unfair to be upset that a once in a generation game that wasn’t even announced yet.
These games are still actively being worked on, just simply not ready to be shown to the public. When they have more to show, they can put it in one of the several directs they have every single year. Even the Direct they had was pretty competent if a little reserved. In 20 minutes, they revealed Daemon X Machina, a gorgeous new mech action game emanating Code Geass and Gundam vibes, Xenoblade 2: Torna The Golden Country, essentially an entire new standalone game following different characters, Super Mario Party, a new entry bringing the series back to its roots while taking advantage of everything the Switch has to offer, and Fire Emblem Three Houses: a title looking to culminate everything the series has learned in the 3DS era. Then, they proceeded to announce outstanding third party games like Hollow Knight, Overcooked 2, Killer Queen Black, and of course, Fortnite.
All of that before the bombastic unveiling of Super Smash Bros Ultimate, which while did spend about 20 minutes on screen with a mildly unnecessary character changes section, cleared all rumors that this was a port, and rode off of the hype from the “Everyone is here” trailer. Either way, Nintendo crafted a 40 minute presentation swiftly revealing games not too far from our future, and not wasting any time on useless stage gags or bloated game demos. It excelled from a presentational stand point, and from it’s content. If you were disappointed, you’ll only have to wait about 3 months til their next Direct. Sure, E3 2017 may have had more sheer announcements, but I think everyone including Nintendo is sick of announcing games years in advance and teasing people for years on end.
With all of the success of the Switch, it’s important to not let the hype get ahead of ourselves. To have a holiday lineup of Super Mario Party, Pokemon, and Smash is something unheard of in the Wii U era. And whatever you’re clamoring for, it’s probably coming eventually. Games actually require time and attention to detail. Control expectations, and be patient.
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