Nintendo's E3 2019 Direct was the best E3 conference

Betheswho? Square-what? Microhuh?

Nintendo's E3 2019 Direct was the best E3 conference

When it comes to E3 press conferences, Nintendo has a chequered past. There are moments of sincere, all-time greatness, like with the reveals of Super Smash Bros. Melee and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. There are also moments of existential dread, such as the infamous Wii Music segment.

Ever since the debut of the Nintendo Direct format, we've had a mixed bag of excellent segments, and some purely mundane ones, and I couldn't be happier to say that Nintendo's E3 2019 Direct is a return to greatness, arguably the best conference of E3 2019, and the Nintendo Switch is the star of E3.

Bold claims to make, absolutely, but rest assured I don't make them for no reason, nor because this is Pocket Gamer and we might, perhaps, have a slight bias towards the portable systems.

Ported from elsewhere

Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on

Now, let's be fair, the Nintendo Switch has been a port magnet, and it's pretty hard to get excited about potentially lesser versions of games we've already played elsewhere.

So it's hard to get excited for games like The Elder Scrolls: Blades, The Last Remnant, Collection of Mana, Disgaea 4 Complete Edition, Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, Alien Isolation, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. All of the above are exciting in their own right, but especially that Collection of Mana, since it comes with the first official localisation of Seiken Densetsu 3, now known as Trials of Mana.

But Square Enix's love for the Nintendo Switch doesn't end there. Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age is a definitive edition in its own right, not simply a retread of the game released on PS4 previously. Though, it largely is.

The same can be said for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Complete Edition coming to the Switch this year. Though that is pretty incredible. The optimisations needed to make the port work are unfathomable, and it'll be fascinating to see how the reported 540p undocked resolution effects the game.

Big new stuff

Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on

So those are the older ports, but Nintendo Switch is standing firm alongside other big AAA releases this year. DOOM Eternal, Wolfenstein: Youngblood, Minecraft: Dungeons, and FIFA 20 are of course appearing on the portable miracle, offering players the chance to play the biggest new titles at the same time as everyone else, except on the train or the bus.

And that's a damn good list of games. I've already mentioned 13 games that are coming to the Nintendo Switch that have been shown off at this year's E3, and I haven't even spoken about the games that Nintendo themselves are bringing to the system. That's how important the Nintendo Switch has been at this year's E3.

Nintendo dominance

Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on

Nintendo's E3 2019 Direct had three separate Zelda games. Let that sink in. A single game is a pretty big deal, but they told us more about The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, showed more of Cadence of Hyrule, and then ended the show on a megaton: a teaser for the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Seems like Link and Zelda have gone exploring the depths of Hyrule after the credits roll on Breath of the Wild, and have uncovered an ancient Gerudo tomb which hides an old evil force. Zelda sports a spicy new hairstyle, which makes sense if you haven't been able to cut it for 100 years.

We essentially knew this was happening, but it's still a massive reveal. The only question is, when will we play it? 2020? 2021? …2023?

Settled in smash

Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on

Then there's two separate Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC character reveals, both of them being the kind that would usually be the show-stopping finale.

The first is The Hero from Dragon Quest. A bunch of them, actually. It's nice to see the Dragon Quest crew fully represented, though admittedly the series is not as popular in the West as it is in Japan. This is definitely one for the fans back home, though that's not to say there aren't plenty of excited fans out here too.

But the second reveal was definitely for the West. Banjo-Kazooie is in Smash. This is literally the kind of reveal people have been asking for since the 90s. People have been conceived, born, and legally drunk alcohol in that time span. Some have even had children of their own. If that doesn't make it a megaton, I have no idea what does. Not only that, but the bear and bird look better than they ever have done before, making the Nuts n' Bolts redesigns look hideous in comparison.

If you are into your niche Japanese games, then Panzer Dragoon, Contra Rogue Corps, and Collection of Mana will all have given you pause during the Nintendo Direct, and then No More Heroes III should've sent you into a frenzy as it shows Travis Touchdown transforming and flying to fight aliens.

Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on

Then the hype just wouldn't stop, as Astral Chain gets announced for a release this Summer, and looks like an amazing action romp. In Platinum we trust.

And did I forget to mention Animal Crossing: New Horizons? It looks beautiful. Set on a deserted island, this Animal Crossing has eight player online multiplayer, gorgeous HD graphics, and the promise of building a deserted island from nothing, to a sprawling civilisation.

The Nintendo Direct started off with a slow burn, but kept building and building until it overshadowed all of the other E3 conferences. Nintendo unveiled big games, and did so in style. They didn't even need to show Super Mario Maker 2, which is coming out very soon.

Nintendo's dominance this year is undoubtedly down to other console manufacturers winding down the generation and preparing for the next, while the Switch is in full swing. But that changes nothing.

While other conferences had very few new announcements to show, Nintendo reminded us all that they could give the Nintendo Switch a good library all by themselves, but with third parties on board it's destined to be a great one.

That's 23 games, by the way, not counting Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Super Mario Maker 2, and I know I've forgot to mention a bunch. This is Nintendo's E3.