Super Mario Odyssey and Other E3 Nintendo Switch Games That Arent Zelda

first_img For weeks I’ve been letting you know about the plethora of cool, smaller, indie games on the Nintendo Switch. But let’s be real. For many, the next true game of note to hit Nintendo’s handheld/console hybrid that isn’t Zelda is the beautiful and incomprehensibly strange Super Mario Odyssey. At E3 (and more recently, at an extended hands-on event here in New York) we finally took a brief trip to New Donk City, and even tried out some other big games Nintendo has on the horizon.Super Mario Odyssey is a Switch Game That Isn’t Zelda, but it’s closer than you’d think. Nintendo likes to say this is a 3D platformer more in the vein of Super Mario 64 than the acclaimed but more linear Super Mario Galaxy. But even in our limited sandbox Odyssey’s openness feels closer to an open-world game like Grand Theft Auto or the latest Zelda than what the N64 was capable of delivering.Mario climbs skyscrapers and bounces off taxi cabs. He pulls up a map to fast travel. He uses different regional currency to buy mafioso outfits and lunar fuel like some kind of moon man. He takes on quests from Mayor Pauline (who also sings the jazzy vocal theme song that’s classic and timeless in a way Mario himself might enjoy) to track down musicians. He enters pipes into 2D sidescrolling levels projected against the wall like graffiti, still wearing whatever new outfit he has like a dusty zoot suit. And he throws his hat to create a new platform to bounce off of for more elaborate platforming.While I welcomed the return to free exploration, I feared the open hub-like levels might lack the tight, directed, obstacle course challenges that make Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario 3D World so great. It’s a catch-22. Fortunately, in both New Donk City and the Mexico-inspired Tostarena Town, veering off in any direction in these dense Japanese gardens of environments would most likely result in me finding some new platforming challenge, like hopping on girders to find Captain Toad or making my way up an inverted desert pyramid. Plus, the sheer joy and immediacy of Mario’s movement applied to an open world makes simple exploration more fun and worthwhile than even Zelda.Oh, and Mario’s hat can now possess the living. That’s the casual gameplay bombshell Nintendo revealed during their E3 spotlight. In a Mexican-themed desert kingdom, we took control of Bullet Bills to reach faraway trinkets. But the more existential horror came when we “cap-tured” a realistic human man in New Donk City to drive an RC car. Taking on new forms provides new gameplay mechanics with unreal creativity that could power entire indie games on their own, and Super Mario Odyssey constantly throws them at you like no biggie. We are dying to see more. Super Mario Odyssey launches October 27.Surprisingly, the one game that rivaled Odyssey in terms of beauty and sheer Mario strangeness was the long-rumored Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. The Nintendo reps straight-up admitted this is an X-COM-style turn-based strategy game just with Mario and Ubisoft’s furry, better Minions. Sorry, Rayman.Whatever you think of the Rabbids, the version of the Mushroom Kingdom Ubisoft has crafted with them is undeniably eye-catching. Colorful cartoony natural landscapes bounce and breathe alongside the comedic Looney Tunes animations of the characters. It almost looks like a pre-rendered Donkey Kong game. And the landscapes hold puzzles to solve outside of the combat. But soon the visual splendor faded into the background as I became engrossed in the tactics. The strategy mechanics, from half vs. full cover to likelihood of hits to weapon load outs to passive skills, feel very familiar an as X-COM fan. But seeing them in a Mario context made by a non-Nintendo developer is just so great in a weird, bootleg way. Mario can equip a Bowser-themed gun called Hell in a Shell.The trademark technique, at least in this demo, is jumping one unit off of another unit to expand its movement options. So you could do something like have Mario dash attack through an enemy, jump off of Rabbid Peach, land behind cover, and fire at another enemy. Add in wrinkles like pipe shortcuts across the map and foes like Chain-Chomps that attack anyone, and there’s real potential for complex strategies. The boss fight against a Piranha Rabbid had me activating special moves like elemental barriers and causing status effects by blasting burning blocks. I hope the rest of the game is tough enough to demand thinking that clever. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle launches August 29.Splatoon 2 is only a month away, and we already got to check it out its revamped competitive multiplayer during the March test fires. However, at E3 we played the cooperative Salmon Run mode. Four players team up to blast hordes of nasty fish and collect their valuable eggs. Like any good millennials, the squid kids are freelancers completing quotas. It’s a great bit of Splatoon lore.Horde modes have been great fits in third-person shooters for years now. Splatoon 2 is no different. Learning the attack patterns of boss fish, usually by dying, was good and chaotic fun. Even at five percent difficulty, our team had trouble, and the max is 100 percent. Salmon Run goes a long way toward making Splatoon 2 feel like a real sequel. My only worries are the less-than-ideal voice chat solutions for team communication and the fact that online play for the mode is limited to certain times. That’s lame and seems unnecessary. The only way to play whenever you want is locally with friends. Splatoon 2 launches July 21.Speaking of teammates, I also got to play a little FIFA 18 on the Switch. I’m no soccer fan, and I can’t meaningfully analyze a soccer sim. But the EA reps insist that the Switch version’s lack of the recent Frostbite engine only impacts it on a visual level. The custom engine should make it play like other versions of the game on other consoles, except now it’s also portable. And while the game is also missing the single-player story mode, the popular Ultimate Team feature (where players assemble their own dream teams with or without micro-transactions) is intact. People who know more about FIFA than I do will tell you how the Switch version stacks up when FIFA 18 launches September 29.The last game we saw was Fire Emblem Warriors coming this fall. It sure is a Dynasty Warriors game all right. You slash a bunch of mooks with increasingly large and ridiculous anime attacks to take over outposts. The pleasing visuals reminded me of the cutscenes from 3DS Fire Emblem games, and it certainly looked better than the other Switch Warriors game I played on the show floor, Fate/Extella. I’m curious to see if any of Fire Emblem‘s strategy roots will mitigate the infamous brainlessness of the Musou genre. And while characters can pair up on the battlefield, if they can’t romance each other like in more recent Fire Emblem games that’s a huge missed opportunity. You see? The Nintendo Switch has Games That Aren’t Zelda. And we’re going to keep telling you about them.Buy it now!The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the WindNintendo SwitchEssential Nintendo Switch AccessoriesView as: One Page Slides1/51. Mario can capture the souls of the living in fake New York and fake Mexico in Super Mario Odyssey.2. FIFA 18 on Switch is a soccer sim for the home and on the go.3. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is an X-COM-style strategy game featuring two franchises you’d never think would cross over.4. Salmon Run is the new co-op mode in Nintendo’s paintball team shooter Splatoon 2.5. Fire Emblem Warriors is Dynasty Warriors but with all of your favorite anime husbands and wives.Let us know how we’re doing The Xbox One X Looks Nice, But Twice as Nice as the Xbox One?Hands-On: Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 is a Blast of Pure Nostalgia Stay on targetlast_img

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