GBAtemp Exclusive E3 2019 Coverage and Demo Impressions - Day 2: Link's Awakening, Luigi's Mansion, Pokemon, and XSEED

Discussion in 'GBAtemp & Scene News' started by Chary, Jun 17, 2019.


    Front-page GBAtemp Exclusive

    Welcome back! As promised, it’s time to talk about day 2 of the adventures of GBAtemp at E3 2019! The first day of the conference had been amazing; going through the SEGA booth, being stunned by all the booths on the show floor, finding free swag, and being able to play through a port of one of my favorite games. Things were looking to get even better, though, as just like last year, we had a meeting with Nintendo of Canada, and the opportunity to play some upcoming games from them! Join me once more, as I detail all the exciting things that happened on the second day of the event!

    Though we had already seen one of XSEED’s upcoming games, that wasn’t all that they had in store for the show. It was time to continue my tour of their booth, starting with Sakuna: of Rice and Ruin. If you have a good memory, then you’ll remember that this is the game’s third year at E3, originally popping up all the way back at E3 2017. Though I didn’t have the chance to play the game this year, I was granted an interview with Edelweiss, the developers of the game! Sakuna has been developed by the two-man studio over the past four years, who both have had prior experience working on games like Astebreed and Ether Vapor Remastered. The past two times I had gotten to try Sakuna, it had felt very reminiscent of a Vanillaware title, with beautiful artwork and fast-paced 2D action, much like Muramasa Rebirth or Odin Sphere. Not surprisingly, the developer had gotten this comment a few times, and had replied that though many make that comparison, neither of those games had been direct inspiration for Sakuna. Instead, ActRaiser had been the most influential during the development of the game, as it blends simulation with action. In Sakuna, platforming and beat-em-up styled gameplay appears to be the focus, but there’s also a season system in place, which is very important, as there’s an entire farming simulation part to the game, which will affect your stats in a major way. Just as during E3 2017 and 2018, I was happy to see more of Sakuna: of Rice and Ruin, and I’ll definitely be picking the game up when it launches on PC/Switch/PS4 this winter.

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    The next game I was guided towards was Granblue Fantasy Versus. I can’t say that I knew much about the series--I’m familiar with it being a gacha, and there’s a very prominent JRPG releasing soon that had Platinum Games’ assist in development, but that was as far as my knowledge on Granblue went. Fortunately, Granblue Fantasy Versus is a fighting game, by Arc System Works. If you’ve ever played Persona 4 Arena, Blazblue, or Dragon Ball FighterZ, you’ll feel right at home. Just like those previously mentioned games, Versus features exceptionally detailed spritework, and a very solid fighting system. In my attempts to button-mash, I’d pulled off a fantastic-looking special attack, which to the dismay of the player next to me, utterly destroyed their health bar. During my time with the game, I got to play as two characters: Gran and Katalina, who both had very distinctive combat styles, despite both being sword users. As explained by the XSEED worker standing nearby, Granblue Fantasy Versus has a few auto-combos to help those unfamiliar with fighting games out, though it features a very deep and complex system that hardcore competitive players should enjoy. While fighting games as a whole don’t interest me very much, I had fun with this one, just as I did with Arc Sys’ previous game, Dragon Ball FighterZ. If you’re interested, too, then this will be out later this year, for PlayStation 4.

    The final showing at XSEED’s booth was a wacky little RPG called Heroland. This was, without a doubt, one of the quirkiest games available to play at E3 this year. Originally titled WORK x WORK in Japan, this title features a wealth of talent within its insanity. The dialogue is penned by the writer of Legend of Mana (Nobuhiro Inoue), the soundtrack is arranged by the old school Shin Megami Tensei composer (Tsukasa Masuko), and the very detailed and colorful graphics were done by the art director of the very beloved Mother 3 (Nobuhiro Imagawa). If that alone isn’t enough to sell you on the game, then let me take a moment to further explain the concept. In Heroland, you play as the tour guide of a theme park modeled after classic fantasy JRPG tropes. Excited customers will then ask you to take them on a journey through different sections of the park, where you battle evil enemies, who happen to just be your coworkers, in disguise. Battles will take place, though you have very limited control over your party; rather than commanding them what to do one by one, you supervise the battles, and have the power to step in every once in a while, to help direct the fight in your favor. Combining crazy dialogue with a riff on classic JRPG combat, Heroland looks like it’s shaping up to be a hilarious game that’s worth keeping an eye out for.

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    Saying my goodbyes to the lovely XSEED staff, after joyously passing my business cards around to anyone who would look anywhere in my direction, it was time to head a few steps over to the one, the only, Nintendo booth. As usual, they had one of the largest setups in all of the West Hall, featuring both an elaborate mansion-like booth for Luigi’s Mansion 3, along with a recreation of a soccer field, designed to look like one of the Pokemon Gyms from Sword and Shield. Standing by the entrance were workers dressed up as referees, waving yellow flags and directing the massive lines of people, just waiting to get a glimpse of the demo. Per usual, Nintendo knocked it out of the park, in terms of grabbing your attention at E3. I can remember in 2016, they had a serene booth full of cardboard trees and a cooking spit, meant to represent Breath of the Wild. In 2017, they had put up giant towers, along with statues of Chain Chomps, Boos, and even a frog, for the imminent release of Mario Odyssey. Last year, they had a much more simple display; clear cases full of painstakingly recreated weapon props of many of the Smash Bros. cast, for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. For this E3, Pokemon would be Nintendo’s main focus, and star of their showcase. As I stood inside the booth, I saw elated fans get to play the latest Pokemon games for the first time, and while it didn’t cause as much pandemonium as Smash or Breath of the Wild once did, there were still dedicated fans waiting hours upon hours, just to play a ten-minute demo.

    The Nintendo booth wouldn’t be where I got to play any games, however, as media instead are directed to the well-guarded Nintendo lounge. There, each journalist is privately escorted into the room, which is full of Switch units geared up to play upcoming games like Pokemon Sword and Shield, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, Luigi’s Mansion, and The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening Remake. There, I got to play three games of my choice, while talking to the lead of public relations for Nintendo of Canada, Julie Gagnon. She was incredibly nice, and so incredibly excited to show off each of the games Nintendo had to offer. Being that I got to play any three games of my choice for 20 minutes each, I decided to go with Pokemon, first, as I was super curious on how different Sword and Shield would be to Let’s Go. The moment you press start, you’re thrown right into the game, as you walk into a Gym. I had a full team of six Pokemon, set to level 50. Even if I wasn’t made very acutely aware that this was going to be a water type gym from the footage and booth decor from earlier, the puzzles were a dead giveaway. The goal is to turn off water valves to open a path to the leader, which actually managed to not only stump me, but also the two Nintendo reps by my side. They then began calling out the color of each valve I needed to hit in order to proceed. “Red! Red! Then Yellow! Wait no, blue blue blue!”, as we all laughed. While the demo wouldn’t allow me to open the menu and switch around the order of my Pokemon, I made sure to swap out each of my team in order to try them all. New to E3 was the Electric type corgi-like creature, Yamper, who made quick work of most of the gym trainers. The starters, Sobble, Grookey, and Scorbunny were all fun to use, and once the game launches, I’ll be sure to pick the small Fire type rabbit. Wooloo, the sheep, was so incredibly cute, bringing back fond memories of using each generation’s standard Normal type, like Sentret, Zigzagoon, and Bidoof. Corviknight was the downright coolest of them all, being Steel and Flying, a combination that I can’t recall using much at all in any Pokemon game, beside Skarmory.

    As many know, new to Sword and Shield is Dynamaxing, the new gimmick for this set of games. I had nearly forgotten that fact, until the Gym Leader did so, immediately KO’ing both Yamper and Grookey. As the enemy Pokemon turned back to normal on the third turn, I relied on the adorable Wooloo to carry me to victory, turning into a gigantic sheep and winning the day. Getting into the finer details of the demo, I noticed that now that Pokemon isn’t relegated to the aged 3DS hardware, battles felt smooth, and much faster pace than they’d been on the handheld console. This was a gripe that I’d had with the series starting with X/Y, carrying over all the way until US/UM. The Nintendo Switch felt far more suited to displaying 3D Pokemon models, and running them at a stable framerate. I’ve been tenatively excited for Sword and Shield, and after getting a chance to try them out, I can say that it brought back a feeling of excitement I hadn’t had since the days of Black and White.

    Upon completing the demo, I turned my focus away from the screen of the TV, and began to look around the room, as hushed whispers could be heard. Who could be garnering so much excitement? As I looked to my left, I could see Charles Martinet, the voice of Mario himself! He was posing with some writers, looking like he was having an absolute blast being at E3. What an awesome sight!

    (That man on the left has a face that says "I know who you are, and where you keep your super secret totally legit ROM section!)

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    Moving on, my next experience would be with Luigi’s Mansion, a franchise that I regrettably haven’t have the chance to play through prior to this. For that reason, I found myself a little confused by some of the game mechanics, though I quickly adapted. Each room that I explored had tons of little puzzles to solve, which were a great deal of fun. The visual design of this game stood out to me, especially, looking very crisp for a Switch game. Many of the rooms required defeating a multitude of ghosts, which actually proved challenging for what seemed to be a tutorial level. New to this entry is a small burst attack, which you can use if you find yourself in a pinch, and need to distance yourself from an onslaught of ghosts. Gooigi, who is also new to Luigi’s Mansion 3, was also a prominent part of the demo, is required in order to solve some trickier puzzles that Luigi couldn’t handle on his own. Everything controlled nicely, and felt great to play, leaving me wanting to go back and play through the first two games, to be prepared for when Luigi’s Mansion 3 releases later this fall.

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    Saving what could be considered the best for last, the Nintendo rep started up a demo of the Link’s Awakening Remake, a game that I was so elated to get to try. My experience with the 3D side of Zelda games is fairly limited, but as far as older entries go, I’m fairly familiar with 2D Zelda games, with Link’s Awakening having been the first game in the series that I’d ever played. Out of all the demos at E3, this was hands-down one of the best. There’s some contentious opinions on the graphical style Nintendo chose to go with, but to me, it feels like the perfect representation of the game on modern hardware. Another improvement that comes with the remake is the ability to use more than just two face buttons. You can equip items to both X and Y, which is a much-appreciated change. If you ever found yourself wishing to return back to an area, but couldn’t mark it on your map? Fear not, because there’s a Breath of the Wild-like marker system, which lets you place custom markers anywhere on the map. For those of a more devious mind, you can indeed still steal items from the shop in Mabe Village and earn yourself the permanent name of THIEF, though I didn’t quite have the heart to do so, myself. Everything you remember from playing the original Link’s Awakening has been lovingly re-created for this new outing. There are, sadly, a few blemishes that I encountered, however, such as the permanent blur along the edges, which has been done for an aesthetical choice, but serves to only look annoying. Framerate was also a bit of a concern, as it jumped around at times, feeling a little unstable. Hopefully, the latter issue will be resolved, with three months remaining until launch.

    With that, my time with Nintendo had come to an end, along with the second day of E3. I was so grateful at having a chance to meet with Nintendo, and get to play some of the most anticipated games they had to offer. XSEED, as usual, was also a delight! With just one more day left of the conference, I'd have to make sure to experience all the other cool games on Day 3! And we'll see which games those were, next time. Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you enjoyed the article!
    Discussion (20 replies)
  1. Costello

    Costello Headmaster

    Oct 24, 2002
    you should have done it, to stay true to GBAtemp's core values :ninja:
    Y0shII, 0000ff, CallmeBerto and 11 others like this.
  2. MarcusCarter

    MarcusCarter Furret Freek

    Jan 7, 2012
    United States
    Johto Pokemon Fan Club
    Wait, we have a ROM section?! Why have I not heard this before?!?! LINCK PLOX!
  3. Issac

    Issac I

    GBAtemp Patron
    Issac is a Patron of GBAtemp and is helping us stay independent!

    Our Patreon
    Apr 10, 2004
    Oh wow! I'm not a fan of beat-em-ups, but any game claiming to be inspired by ActRaiser have my interest!

    And you have to play Luigi's Mansion, the original one.
    I remember when I bought the Game Cube on launch, and the store messed up my order so I didn't get Sonic Adventure 2 Battle... So I bought Luigi's Mansion on a whim... And it's still one of the best Cube games!
    I wonder how it is to control on the 3DS port, but on the Game Cube it's perfect!

    The sequel didn't grab me directly, I have yet to play it for an extended time ... But this third game looks more like the first one IMO :D excited!!
    Mr. Looigi and Chary like this.
  4. Mr. Looigi

    Mr. Looigi But that’s MY scratching post!

    Aug 8, 2018
    United States
    Rec Center
    Issac likes this.
  5. kuwanger

    kuwanger GBAtemp Maniac

    Jul 26, 2006
    United States
    Heroland sounds...interesting. Might be worthwhile to play through once, but it doesn't sound like the sort of game I'd go back to a second time through. I guess that's part of the reason I tend to favor ARPGs over JRPGs or more simulation/tactic focused games--the core of the game often feels 50% the story and 50% the memorized strategy to overcome each obstacle. So, you want a game that has a good story and enough of a puzzle to the strategy to make it last a long time one way through. That can definitely be good, but a lot of games/media fail pretty badly with story which just tends to ruin the rest, IMHO. :/
    Chary likes this.
  6. Missingphy

    Missingphy Pokémon Master, Console Bricker, and more...

    Oct 7, 2018
    Dragon quest hero in smash is a waste of space in the character selection (just as greninja) I would have preferred funky Kong or waluigi. Although banjo kazooie is a nice pick for the dlc. I will just not buy the hero
  7. medoli900

    medoli900 Open the Benzenes Gates

    GBAtemp Patron
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    Jan 7, 2013
    Lavender Town
    "Fantasy Versus has a few auto-combos to help those unfamiliar with fighting games out, though it features a very deep and complex system that hardcore competitive players should enjoy."
    So... Like every 2D japanese fighting game in the last 5 years or so?

    Edit: Uh, you might want to edit the part where you say that Gooigi is new to Luigi's Mansion 3, @Chary. It actually appeared in the remake of the first game on 3DS, in the coop mode.

    I'm also pretty sure the burst attack appeared before, either in the second one or the remake.
    Last edited by medoli900, Jun 18, 2019
  8. DarthDub

    DarthDub Amateur Hacker

    Jan 26, 2016
    United States
    Your mom's basement.
    That quirky JRPG has my attention.
  9. Captain_N

    Captain_N GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

    Mar 29, 2010
    United States
    I agree. We dont need more jackasses with swords. Atleast banjo is a unique character. Waluigi could also be unique. The Hawaiian punch mascot seems a better fit for a smash bros character then more sword jackasses.
  10. anhminh

    anhminh Pirate since 2010

    Sep 30, 2010
    Man, I'm so hype for Sword and Shield. I love the game on 3DS but it was too slow and framerate drop is quite annoying. Glad to know that thing had been smooth out and Dynamax look pretty awesome (please let giant Lilligant be a thing).

    Link's Awekening look absolutely adorable and I wish we will have more Zelda game with that look, much better than Toon Link in my opinion.
    Pablitox and Chary like this.
  11. slaphappygamer

    slaphappygamer GBAPerm

    Nov 30, 2008
    United States
    Aptos, California
    Any shots of Luigi’s mansion? I love playing those with my kids. I usually let the 5 year old wonder around for a bit. We “take turns”. Lol
    Mr. Looigi likes this.
  12. lordelan

    lordelan GBAtemp Psycho!

    Jan 4, 2015
    @Chary What game is that character selection screen from?
  13. Taleweaver

    Taleweaver Storywriter

    Dec 23, 2009
    I can already see the mental picture here... :P

    Chary: ooh...Zelda, Link's awakening. Can I try this? :D
    Nintendo spokesperson: sure thing. :)
    Chary: *starts playing*
    Nintendo spokesperson: *to audience* Link's awakening is the retelling of the classic hero story...
    Chary: *breaks into people's houses to look in their cupboards*
    Nintendo spokesperson: ...where you'll act in numerous brave and noble acts...
    Chary: *cuts up some chickens*
    Nintendo spokesperson: ...and help the local population whenever you can.
    Chary: *robs the store*
    Chary's T-shirt (backside): PROUD MODERATOR OF GBATEMP.NET

    EDIT: @Chary
    Is it hidden behind that huge stash of illegal ROM's? :P
    Last edited by Taleweaver, Jun 18, 2019
    Chary likes this.
  14. Torina

    Torina GBAtemp Regular

    Aug 26, 2018
    Sheesh, Zelda reboot, pokemon thingy, third luigi's cinema, video games are plagued by the "take no risks, just rehash" protocol.
    Well, I can only play handheld consoles and nintendo has won over PSVITA, so just I have to follow the group and enjoy tasteless "enhanced ultimate HD remastered final editions"...

    90's golden age is getting further by each passing days...
  15. Enryx25

    Enryx25 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Jan 25, 2016
    Daemon x Machina? Astral Chain?
    medoli900 likes this.
  16. Torina

    Torina GBAtemp Regular

    Aug 26, 2018
    You're right to be positive.

    What I see in these trailers are another 15yo gundam sequel and a slow paced DMC.
    Sorry but it doesn't tickle my interest the least.

    I want strategy games with fun skirmish mode and replayability, tacticals without anime stuff (FE or VC3 were awful...), driving simulators with a real sense of progression (gran turismo or Rallisport challenge 2 are still unchallenged fun wise)...

    Buuut I know I'm stuck in the past.
    The games I want to play, I just have to develop them.
  17. TheZander

    TheZander King of the Level 7's

    Feb 1, 2008
    United States
    Level 7
    They really had a lot of video games there this time huh. Did you check all stools, nooks and crannies for a stray new switch prototype absentmindedly left behind by some Nintendo executive?

    Also was Luigi there by chance? I heard rumors the real Luigi goes to e3 sometimes but low key.
  18. Chary

    Chary Never sleeps.

    pip Senior Editor
    GBAtemp Patron
    Chary is a Patron of GBAtemp and is helping us stay independent!

    Our Patreon
    Oct 2, 2012
    United States
    That one's Granblue Fantasy Versus :)

    Sadly, I wasn't allowed to take footage of that one. Nintendo had pretty strict rules for the ones that could; every picture was supervised by them and had to be reviewed afterwards. They also couldn't be too zoomed in, and had to show the booth in the background.
    lordelan likes this.
  19. slaphappygamer

    slaphappygamer GBAPerm

    Nov 30, 2008
    United States
    Aptos, California
    Not surprising given how stable their stability is. IM sure we will all see soon enough. Thanks for the report. :)