E3 2014: Nintendo Recap

E3 has come and gone, and so it’s time to break it all down and discuss what we saw, what our expectations for the coming year are, and how we think the big three are positioned to perform.

Nintendo consistently amazes me. Yes, I’m a gigantic Nintendo fanboy, but that doesn’t keep me from being honest with myself: the rate at which the House of N drip-drip-drips out content is horrendous; yet, somehow, they always have a plethora of new properties, new entries in beloved series, and new ways to play jammed into the most respectful and exciting presentations, year after year. I don’t know how they can generate so much good will every year at E3 and TGS, and then completely flub their delivery.

One of the things about Nintendo, though, is that even if you do get a slow trickle of content, it’s still some of the best, most genre-busting, genre-defining content you’ll see come out of any development house. Period. The wiat might be excruciating, but that’s only because your expectations are so high… and rightly so.

This year has been no different, with Nintendo announcing, or coyly teasing, the biggest and best we have to look forward to in the year(s) to come. Here’s a list of the things that aren’t Super Smash Bros. that have me the most excited.

6.) Zelda U
This one makes the list by default, and it’s so low because, come on, like you didn’t expect this? The vision is gorgeous, and the scope is staggering. It looks like Twilight Princess character/world design meets the Wind Waker aesthetic, and it really works well. You’re a fool if you still don’t own a Wii U after this announcement, even if the actual trailer is only 45 seconds long.

5.) Code Name: STEAM
It, unfortunately, isn’t a new Advance Wars or Fire Emblem game, but it’s from the same team, and it’s exciting all the same. This is a brand new strategy title from Nintendo (for the 3DS), and it incorporates active unit management in a unique (not really… I’m sick of what passes for “Steampunk” these days) setting. It’s new, and it’s interesting.

4.) Bayonetta 2
This one’s for Anthony. The more we see of Bayonetta 2, the more excited we get, and adding the original game to the package, along with Nintendo character costumes is a stroke of genius. It gives those among us who haven’t played the original (shame on you) to have that experience, and to those of us who have played it a semi-new experience with collecting and donning classic Nintendo character duds.

3.) Xenoblade Chronicles X
Spiritual successor to Xenoblade Chronicles on the Wii, this series carries with it the philosophical weight of the Xenoears/Xenosaga games, but puts the HD power of this current generation behind it, allowing for large, sweeping vistas, humongous creatures, and beautiful city sprawls; all while promising an excellent story. Xenoblade Chronicles was the best RPG of its generation. Hopefully, X will follow suit.

2.) Splatoon
Of all the games I was able to play on the show floor, this one brought me back for round 2. It’s death match in the style of de Blob, and I couldn’t have been happier with the result. This is a new, online shooter crafted directly by Nintendo, and believe me when I say it’ll grab you by the tentacles and keep you coming back for more.

1.) amiibo
Nintendo’s RFID initiative, amiibo, blows the toys to life category doors off its hinges. Skylanders work with one game series, as do the Disney Infinity figures, but the amiibo? If what we’ve been told is to be believed, these figures will interact with a whole host of Nintendo software, Smash Bros. merely being the beginning (not to mentioned the Mario Kart 8 integration, coming later this year, as well). There is no way for Skylanders and DI to compete. Oh, and did I mention amiibo aren’t limited to Wii U play? They’ll be 3DS compatible with a special adapter. Take that, everybody else!

There was a whole lot more at the show, like Mario Party 8, Professor Layton, and others, but this list is comprised of the things that really stood out. What caught your eye?