Nintendo’s E3 conference started off strong. They began by showing Pikmin 3 gameplay, and even had some “augmented reality” Pikmin running through the audience. Nintendo took the chance to show off game play, and demonstrate how Pikmin 3 would make use of the new WiiU gamepad, allowing you to have a bird’s-eye view of the map. There were even a new Pikmin shown; heavier, rock like ones that are to be used to break down sturdier structures. The game looks like it’s moving to more RTS like gameplay. The graphics for the game look awesome as well. It didn’t really hit me just how great they looked until Olimar walked under a leaf and I thought “Damn, that thing looks real.”
With such a strong start I was calling Nintendo for winning this years E3, and when Reggie came out and boasted about showing 23 games at this conference, and not having time to talk about anything but games, I just got more excited. Reggie then proceeded to jump straight into not talking about video games, focusing on social features for the WiiU.
After this we got some more information on the WiiU. The WiiU will support up to 2 gamepads, which is still kind of disappointing, but it’s better than the one pad limit that was in place before. The gamepad itself was also shown off more during this segment, detailing the button layout. The pad looks a lot more comfortable than before, but it is still a hulking behemoth of a thing.
A new Mario game for the WiiU was shown as well, called, you guessed it, Mario WiiU. The game adds a new Yoshi that inflates and can be used to float. Another interesting element added was the use of the gamepad to place blocks and manipulate the environments of the levels. Reggie said this would be great for speedrunning, but we’ll see.
A new edition of Batman Arkham City was announced, this time called Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition. It makes use of the gamepad by forcing you to make tugging motions to pull walls down, and moving it around to direct bat-a-rangs. This does not look appealing to me at all. Something interesting they did show was the ability to use the gamepad to more easily select which explosive gel you wanted to go off after planting them. This is nice to see because I had some trouble with that when I played Arkham Asylum.
Next up was the wildly popular (apparently) ScribbleNauts. ScribbleNauts Unlimited was shown, with impressive gimmicks such as being able to make a dog with wheels and a mohawk. I don’t get it, but I suppose some people do.
After this a stream of popular Third Party titles were shown. Darksiders II, Mass Effect 3 (great…), Tank! Tank! Tank!, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Trine 2, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, and Aliens: Colonial Marines. I was really excited when I saw that they were finally doing a second Tekken Tag Tournament because I played that game all the time when I went to arcades as a kid, but then I saw something disturbing. One of the characters grew in a Mario like fashion, and another shrank, making the appropriate sounds. Super Smash Bros. Tekken Edition maybe?
Then Reggie made sure to let us know his body was ready for the new line of Nintendo Fitness games. While they looked kind of silly, I have to admit that they were the only fun looking fitness programs shown this E3. Show cased were games that had you bobsledding, jumping, and putting out fires, all implementing popular exercise moves. It’s only a matter of time until they make some kind of Wii sex game for the Homebrew stuff.
Sing, a karaoke game, was also shown during the conference. It looks boring but, hey I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my number, so call me maybe.
The 3DS got some announcements as well, but there will be more at the 3DS conference at 6 PDT tomorrow. The New Super Mario Bros. 2 was revealed to center around the collection of coins, which is cool I guess. To bad we didn’t get a Wario game instead.
Then a new Paper Mario game was announced. Paper Mario Sticker Star seems to use a battle card system like Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories were you select your attack from a hand your dealt. The Paper Mario series has always been good about putting out fun and well made games, and this one looks like it won’t be an exception. I may even consider getting a 3DS just to play it.
Next was some footage of the new Luigi’s Mansion game called Dark Moon. It was promised that there would be new and interesting ghosts that would be a challenge to capture, and that the game would be much more centered around capturing ghosts. I’m not sure what they mean by that since the last game was pretty ghost centric.
Then we got some clips of new games coming to the 3DS. Castlevania: Lord of Shadow – Mirror of Fate, Epic Mikey: The Power of Illusion, Scribblenauts Unlimited, and Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance were all shown. The 3DS section was pretty short, but there will be a whole conference dedicated to it tomorrow.
Next we got a look at Lego City Undercover from last years E3. The game looks like a more “hardcore” Lego game with actual violence and free running. The free running looks pretty cool. Since the last game I played was Lego Island with that pizza guy, I’m actually kind of excited for this, since it looks like a successor for that series. Also, Mario pipes have been confirmed, and a portable version has been confirmed for the 3DS.
Next was ZombiU, which looks boring and awful (seriously, when will this zombie craze die out, it’s getting annoying), and Rayman Legends. The only really interesting thing I saw for ZombiU was the ability to “zombify” yourself. Unfortunately for Ubisoft the demo they showed did not map to Reggie’s face well at all. They probably should have tested that before showing it off.
Then we got a closer look at Just Dance 4, which was shown at the Microsoft conference as well. I was really hoping that they would get Reggie out there moving his body, but alas, they did not. Reggie instead just chose which dance moves the dancers were to perform using the WiiU gamepad.
We got some more clips of new games after this, including Assassin’s Creed III, Rabbids Land, Sports Connection, and Avengers: Battle for Earth.
Now we come to the absolute worst part of E3 for me. Worse than Microsoft, worse than EA, and certainly worse than Sony and Ubisoft. Nintendo revealed their Nintendo Land social thing. I don’t really even know what to say about it. It looks like a Pixar movie (and not in a good way), and it just looks boring and pointless. Nintendo proceeded to spend way to much time talking about a new Luigi’s Mansion game called Luigi’s Mansion: Ghost Mansion, which is a glorified version of Pac-Man. Four human players try to survive five minutes against a fifth ghost player (using the WiiU gamepad), and can hurt the ghost player by shining their flash lights on it. The batteries run out, though, so you have to be conservative, which already makes it more of a true survival game than the new Tomb Raider. This part of the conference made me die a little inside.
I had high hopes for this conference, and they started by blowing those expectations out of the water, but Nintendo’s conference ended so weakly that I really can’t give them much more than a C+. The first half was excellent, the last was atrocious.