Nintendo Switch Fall Preview
Kalvin Martinez / Sep 20th, 2017 No Comments
Since its launch, the Nintendo Switch has been steadily adding more games to its library. This summer saw the one-two punch of Arms and Splatoon 2, but the real excitement is coming this holiday season. With a ton of games coming out between now and the end of the year, Switch owner’s are in for a treat.
This year at PAX West, I was able to spend some time with Nintendo’s biggest upcoming games for the Switch. Getting hands-on time with Pokken Tournament DX, Fire Emblem Warriors and Super Mario Odyssey gave me a good look at the continued diversity of Nintendo’s Switch lineup.
While a demo for Pokken Tournament DX released recently on the eShop, it only gives players a small taste of what the game has to offer. It didn’t do enough to whet my appetite as an owner of the Wii U version of the game. However, at PAX West, a more complete build with new characters hooked me.
Playing as Scizor felt great. The metal Pokemon feels right at home in the game thanks to a good balance of speed and finesse.
The gameplay mechanics are still strong, with easy to understand principles and controls that hint at the depth awaiting you when you dug in further. Playing against another competent opponent reminds you of the need to block, counter and the importance of utilizing different planes of battle to your advantage.
Pokken Tournament DX may be a hard sell for Wii U owners to double dip on, but the improvements in visual quality alone may be enough to convince you to hop back into the ring. For anyone jumping back on the Nintendo train, it is a great title to tie you over until the big October releases.
Team Ups and Combos
Fire Emblem is an odd franchise. It holds high esteem among hardcore gamers, but it isn’t a mainstream hit. A lot of that probably has to do with its niche appeal as a strategy RPG. The methodical pace, grueling punishment for failure and steep learning curve can be daunting to a wider audience.
Fire Emblem Warriors should be a chance for the series to appeal to a larger group of gamers. It takes beloved characters from the series, brings them together, and forces them to fight each other in a brand new story, then it throws in more accessible action hack-n-slash gameplay.
Much like Hyrule Warriors, Fire Emblem Warriors is done in the Musou style. A set of iconic Fire Emblem characters face off on a battlefield with each side vying for control of the other side’s camp.
The particular demo scenario I played brought together Xander, Takumi, Camilla and Hinoka against Ryoma and other enemy generals. The mismatched team of Nohr and Hoshido royalty’s aim was to take over bases and defeat generals to lure out Corrin and take her out.
When in battle, you can easily switch between characters to maximize your effectiveness. If you want to maneuver two characters to one area for more fire power or team up for powerful companion attacks, you can do so with simple button presses.
The combat is smooth and fluid, with a lot of style and panache when executing long combo chains. It allows you to see these characters fight in a way we didn’t in their home games. As a Fire Emblem game, it houses plenty of elements the series is known for (like the weapon triangle and pairing characters up for team attacks).
Fire Emblem Warriors shows a lot of promise. Hopefully the more accessible gameplay lets the series gain the wider recognition it deserves.
Super Mario Odyssey has been a game I’ve been puzzled by. It’s hard to tell if the new cap mechanic is groundbreaking or if this game is just another 3D Mario title aiming to recapture the Super Mario 64 magic.
The Super Mario Odyssey demo I played gave me the option to check out New Donk City in the Metro Kingdom or Tostarena in the Sand Kingdom. Naturally, I chose Tostarena as I wanted to see if Nintendo did a Cinco de Mayo interpretation of a Mexican-inspired world.
Tostarena doesn’t feel like some cheap surface level interpretation of Mexican culture. There is a fun vibrancy to it that feels right to the people and culture it is drawing inspiration from.
The frozen desert world of Tostarena is full of shifting sands, ancient ruins, gigantic towers and plenty of enemies. It is a beautiful landscape to explore for the demo.
There is a lot to explore in any individual world of Super Mario Odyssey, but mainly you’re looking for Power Moons to fuel your ship. The latest Nintendo Direct showed the sheer magnitude of Power Moons in any given world, and the demo only hinted at the amount of Power Moons hiding in Tostarena.
One of the coolest aspects of the area is the towers that shift the game from 3D to a 2D side-scrolling perspective like Super Mario Bros. except done in a gorgeous painted style. The painted look feels like a tribute to The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.
During this short 2D level, I attempted to avoid Bullet Bills to reach the top of the tower from another pipe. It hit me with nostalgia while acting as a cool transitory mechanic within the world.
While the demo was super slick, it didn’t even hint at the level of craziness awaiting in the full game. Your instinct is to play Super Mario Odyssey as a straightforward 3D Mario game with a new melee move, but it is more than that. There is a level of creativity you can employ using the hat mechanics to do absolutely wondrous and wild things with, and I can’t wait to use it.
It is apparent Super Mario Odyssey will have a depth to it that is only as limited as your creativity.
Happy Holidays, Switch Owners
Pokken Tournament DX, Fire Emblem Warriors and Super Mario Odyssey make up a strong lineup for Switch owners this holiday. The biggest issue will be finding all the time to play these games in the next two months.
tags: Fire Emblem Warriors , nintendo , Nintendo Switch , Nintendo Switch Fall preview , Pokken Tournament DX , preview , Super Mario Odyssey