Every year, millions of gamers look forward to the Electronic Entertainment Expo, otherwise known as E3. Since I was not able to make it to E3 in person, I did the next best thing and attended the event virtually. June 14th and 15th I dedicated to watching the Nintendo Treehouse: Live at E3. This will be the recap of only day 1. I felt the need to give anyone out there who couldn’t attend in person or virtually an in-depth recap of the most anticipated upcoming video games. Us gamers have to stick together, right?
First on our recap list is Pokémon Sun and Moon. E3 and the creators of these games did warn viewers that the game is still in development so some things shown may not be final. Since the release of the cover art for both games, many have speculated and wondered about the legendary Pokémon in each game. I know I had my eyes on the very batty looking legendary that Pokémon Moon revealed. Speculate no more, because the two legendaries have been named and given types! For Pokémon Sun we have Solgaleo, who is a Psychic/Steel type. On the other hand, we have Lunala from Pokémon Moon, who is a Psychic/Ghost type. These games and legendaries are supposed to express the teaming up of life and how elemental forces are different and powerful but can still work together.
Gameplay is a HUGE part of E3 and one of the main reasons why gamers tune in. I had the honor, along with many other gamers, to watch the live gameplay of Pokémon Sun and Moon for the first time. The first thing that is apparent is that the hero and heroine reflect the environment of Alola. They have a cooler, summer like wardrobe (which you will be able to change throughout the game) to help express the weather in the new region we enter. The characters themselves are also a new, realistic proportion in these games. The player can choose their gender and look, like usual. Pokémon Sun and Moon seems to give players more realistic options for how their character will look as shown in the picture below.
Furthering our live gameplay journey we get a glimpse into the storyline. The player’s character has just moved to Alola and is focused on getting to the annual festival in the neighboring town. However, that is all the storyline we get to avoid giving too much away about the game and plot. The player will meet the other colorful and fun characters that they will have the chance to interact with throughout the game. First we have Professor Kukui, who lives near you and specializes in Pokémon moves. Maybe he will be able to give you some future advice as you advance through the story. Second, we meet Hala who gives you your first Pokémon and seems to take the role of the traditional professor you’ll interact with, except he’ll be wearing a more relaxed and tropical attire. Third, we encounter Lillie. She is a young girl who is the professor’s assistant. She isn’t a Pokémon trainer and will not battle you throughout the game, unlike your rival. Last, we have your friend Hau. Hau seems to be a long time resident of the Alola region and actually the first person you battle. I sense that he will be your rival and friend throughout the game. I guess you could say frenemy!
Nearing the end with the Pokémon Sun and Moon recap, there are still some exciting gameplay features that are a must know for every gamer. As a Pokémon trainer it’s about catching them all, and in the Alola region you can do just that. It has been revealed that you can run into other Pokémon from other regions, as well as new Pokémon that players have never seen before. For example, during the gameplay the player ran into a wild Ledyba! Now that’s a classic Pokémon first seen from the second generation of Pokémon (Gold, Silver, and Crystal). However, the live gameplay showed three new Pokémon special to the Alola region: Yungoos (normal-type), Pikapek (normal/flying-type), and Grubbin (bug-type). Here they are, shown below. In addition, new Pokémon means a new Pokédex! Pokémon Sun and Moon introduces the Rotom Pokédex, who will help you register Pokémon throughout your journey. This Pokédex is much more alive than past pokedex’s, and even carries its own personality!
Wrapping up the Pokémon Sun and Moon section, gamers discovered a reinvented way of battling opponents. New, dynamic camera angles during battle allow players to view not only the pokémon but both players as well! Players will feel as if they are actually battling the trainer and not just their pokémon, now that they are included in the battle scene. I found this extremely important, because players can understand the pokémon to trainer, and pokémon to pokémon proportion. The creators also mentioned that this time around they wanted to take what players normally have to keep in their heads and put it physically into the battle set up. This gives anyone the opportunity to now press a small “I” icon next to their pokémon moves to view a brief description of that move. In addition, if you encounter a Ledyba, for example, the next time you run into one during battle the game will let you know which of your pokémon’s moves are effective, super effective or not effective to Ledyba! Creators even made a brand new four player Battle Royal! However, I don’t want to give too much away. Pokémon Sun and Moon are available to pre-order through various retailers. I’ve pre-ordered mine; it’s time for you guys to go out and do the same!
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Next up on the Nintendo Treehouse: Live at E3 recap, we have the game I am not so secretly hyped for: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild! This by far has to be one of the most secretive Nintendo games. However, lucky for Zelda fans, E3 gave us TONS of information and gameplay footage for gamers to hold onto until the release day. E3 live began with the brand new and official trailer for Breath of the Wild, which starts off with the typical hero, Link, sleeping. He is woken up by a mysterious woman’s voice saying, “open your eyes…open your eyes…wake up Link.” The rest of the trailer shows breathtaking landscapes, animals, Link parasailing, new weapons, beautiful music, and just so much more! After viewing the official trailer (which I highly suggest you check out here), Mr. Aonuma sat down to answer some questions and reveal more secrets about this upcoming game. One main goal of this game was for players to feel freedom in every sense of the word. This game is less linear and does not have a specific order. Mr. Aonuma expresses his hope for players to explore whatever part of game they want to first, and discover the backstory that way. The game will lack a full out tutorial so players can explore and find themselves and their role within the game with their own pace. The land is in ruins and the kingdom is in a state of decay (shows time lapse) with Link beginning in the Great Plateau, the birthplace of Hyrule. This Zelda title is focused more on the world of Zelda rather than the character.
The alluring art style of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (I can’t get enough of this title!) is inspired by Japanese animation. The art style is meant to match the function of the game, and connect to players. The wide ranging plateau and areas throughout the game work in favor of their goal of seamless gameplay. The music as well is meant to match the art style and have a more environmental feel to it. As you play you can hear birds chirping, water running, and soft keys of the piano to accompany you throughout your journey.
Next we get to jump right into the gameplay with Mr. Aonuma! To begin E3 warned viewers that towns, other characters, and the mysterious voice in the beginning has been limited or taken out completely. This is solely to protect players from being slammed with spoilers. However, in the final version there will be plenty of towns, and character stories for gamers to enjoy. Now, when the gameplay first started Link awakens and appears only in his underwear! Well this a first! Don’t worry, you don’t have to play the rest of the game in Link’s underwear, instead there are familiar treasure chests near that contain your very first outfit. Just like many other Zelda games, Link will have an option of different outfits to help him out while you take on certain areas. For example, on the Great Plateau there is a snowy mountain range, if Link is not well equipped clothing wise he will begin to lose hearts. However, with the right equipment Link can withstand the weather and further your explorations. This works the same way with other weather conditions as well, which reminds me of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time with the tunics that Link had access to. This just shows how much thought went into creating the environment and the realistic obstacles that come with harsh weather for people.
Get ready for this, Link has a new ability. Link can finally jump! For the very first time there is a whole button on the controller dedicated to allowing Link to jump, which I’ve been waiting for since Ocarina of Time. This aids the player when they venture out and might want to use some new actions like having Link climb up a tree, mountain, etc. With new abilities comes stamina. In order to climb cliffs, trees and even run full speed, the player must watch their tiny green stamina gauge. The physics engine in this game helps to create these new experiences that players will love. I know I will!
Survival is a big theme of Breath of the Wild as well. Players are dropped in this brand new world with no weapons and barely any clothes. Now it is your job to hunt and gather to survive. Gamers can collect Hylian shrooms, apples, wood, flint, various weapons and much more. Food is used so Link can eat and cook (chef Link in the house!) and will recover hearts (Link only has three in total). Unfortunately, there will be no rupees or hearts hiding in the tall grass or any pots. This I will miss dearly, however, since food is so accessible there should be no worry about running out of hearts unless you didn’t hunt and gather before a fight. As for the rupees, I’m not too sure what and if those will have a replacement. On the other hand, weapons can be gained through finding them in treasure chests or on the ground as well. One of the best ways to gain new weapons would be through defeating enemies. The stronger the enemy, the stronger the weapon, which is crucial since no weapon is really permanent. As you fight your weapons will break and you will need to find new ones. We can only hope and speculate that sometime during the game, Link will obtain the Master Sword and we won’t have to worry about losing any more weapons. This game appeals to everyone’s different fighting styles. You can choose to sneak attack, use long distance weapons to attack, as well as close combat. Link even goes into this awesome slow Mo action called Flurry Rush whenever you have perfect timing while fighting the enemy. The enemy slows down and you can deal all the damage you want for a short amount of time. It’s the perfect way to enter or even end a dramatic fight.
One big development to this game is the Sheikah Slate. The Sheikah Slate is the first item Link is able to get. It is considered Link’s very own high tech device that holds some magic power. One can only hope that this means the Sheikah will be involved in the backstory in some way, shape, or form, since their symbol is plastered everywhere in the game. Mr. Aonuma explained that this Slate is meant to show how this world is much more about technology than magic. The Sheikah Slate allows the player to lock onto enemies and view how strong they may be before interacting with them. It also acts as a way to pin places off in the distance in order to find them easier in the game and via map. Throughout the game the player will encounter more than one hundred shrines! That’s right, Mr. Aonuma revealed there will be plenty of shrines that will play a bigger role within the story, some are even guarded by ancient guardians. The Sheikah Slate acts as a key in order to enter the shrines and begin mini trials, that allow you to then use different rune capabilities like freezing objects, bombs, etc. Don’t worry, you get to keep these abilities throughout the game. After passing these trials, the creator of the trial waits for you at the end and mentions that they are dedicated to those who seek to defeat Ganon and then gives you a spirit orb. This is a MAJOR clue. We can speculate from this that Ganon is our main villain, however we have to keep in mind that he could be working for a bigger and more dangerous source. The shrines, however, will vary with what is inside; some may be elaborate or some may be simple. In addition, some shrines are more puzzle focused and others will be combat focused. It all depends on the shrine itself.
Overall, Mr. Aonuma wanted to bring the original Legend of Zelda illustration to life with the technology and gaming advancements we have in today’s world. E3 has shown me that Nintendo has accomplished just that with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I hope to get my hands on this game as soon as it is released sometime next year!
Let us know what game you’re most excited for, and what you look forward to trying out in the comments below! (Here is the Day 1 E3 Live stream). Check back tomorrow for a Day 2, Pokémon GO recap!