Let me start by saying I couldn’t come from a more “Pro-Nintendo” background. Yup I know that’s terrible journalism. Guess what I’m not a real journalist but I also think it’s rather unfair to not know a bit of my background going into this. I have in the past supported Nintendo through quite a bit. Starting back with the original NES back in the 80’s as most kids my age did. All the way up through the Wii itself and even the bad years of the 64 and Gamecube. I was there and those were the only systems I owned during their life cycles. I place the blame solely on my love for the Zelda franchise. Enough about me though you want the juicy bits. So onward for great gaming and justice and whatever else may ensue!
The show started off with some nice CG overlay of Pikmin poking around in the dressing room of one of my personal heroes, Mr. Miyamoto. It was obviously staged and hokey but it came off cute as hell and very charming. He did a bit in english about the possibilities of pikmin being all around us and there were cuts to more CG pikmin on people in the audience, cool enough but lets get it going. Following this Myiamoto announces the obvious Pikmin 3 for the WiiU. Looks great off the top, 4 player co-op, better control is demonstrated in a very RTS overhead view via the WiiPad. Olimar is missing though and they wouldn’t say why, my guess is that’s the plot of the game, to find him. Take a look at some video below.
After this Reggie took the stage to got a bit more technical. Which while most of it was bleh and expected we have streaming video etc. He did announce one major thing I was waiting to hear. WiiU will support up to 2 pads now instead of the 1 previously announced last year. HUGE. That was a make or break for the system to me and I was very worried that they’d stick to their guns on the single pad but apparently public outcry over the past year has made them rethink that decision for the better.
Next up we got our first look at New Super Mario Bros. U. A (sequel?) that integrates a new type of social comment tagging within the game. Looks really neat at a glance. Seems to work well with an over world map interface but I could see it easily being integrated with tons of other games.
Following this we got a deluge of 3rd party reveals starting with a revamped Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition. It was introduced by a creepy voice over pre-recording by the actress who plays Harley Quinn and felt very awkward and out of place addressing Reggie and the WB Interactive onstage. Regardless I have yet to get time (money) to grab a copy of this one myself and adding in the WiiPad features to the game might sell me more on it (as if I needed more selling on the best Batman game ever). We moved from this into a huge montage of game clips many of which were unexpected. Some of the games shown were Mass Effect 3, Scribblenauts Unlimited, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Tank! Tank! Tank!, Trine 2: Directors Cut, Ninja Gaiden 3, and more.
Reggie moved on after this to introduce a bit of a yawnfest in the new Wii Fit U game. Honestly this looks like more of the same and integrates the WiiPad as well as some sort of new device that looked to me like a basic step counter or something similar. I didn’t mess with the original much, maybe I should have. I think it’s somewhere under my TV stand.
3DS took to the stage briefly as well to introduce New Super Mario Bros 2 which has a major focus on ‘gold’ or coins, and the newest addition to the Paper Mario franchise, Sticker Star. Also unveiled was a preview of the long awaited sequel to Luigi’s Mansion subtitled Dark Moon. This was about all they showed besides a speedy montage, they promised more tomorrow night with an hour long presentation dedicated to 3DS.
Starting to wind down they showed us Lego City: Undercover. After some time to reflect on it I am totally sold. Seems like Grand Theft Auto Lego style and a bit more family friendly, or that imaginary world some of us came up with in our heads playing with Legos as a kid. There will be both a WiiU and a 3DS version.
They closed out the press show with a presentation for their new multi franchise integration game, Nintendoland. I honestly am not sure the presentation did this game justice, while at the same time it doesn’t seem to be much more than a pack in game similar to Wii Sports or Wii Play. The basic concept is it brings together tons of Nintendo franchises in the form of a theme park that you can take you Mii through and participate in 12 different attractions. The overall impression comes off as a collection of games like in a Mario Party title but with a bit more depth and WiiPad features to acclimate a new player to the system, just like Wii Sports. Presentation seemed to drag on far too long and only showed off a small bit of it. Lots of over emphasis on how a Luigi’s mansion themed find the ghost game worked. Honestly I really really hope they’re not crazy enough to try to charge for this and it’s included with the system.
Lets wrap this up what say you?
While I did take away a much better appreciation and understanding of how the WiiU works, I was still left feeling empty handed. They sold me on the system for sure, but I feel they left out far too many important details. No Pricing? No Release Date? Bad form there. No other main franchises shown? Really bad form. Where’s the new Smash Bros they promised to be working on? Metroid? Star Fox? God forbid, Zelda? I loved Mario growing up but I have to be in the right mood these days to play it. You can’t expect to impress the crowd that grew up with the red hat with JUST the red hat anymore. I’m sold, but I want more. On a bit lighter note they seem to have the system in the white Wii original color, as well as now a sexy sleek new black finish as well, which will be my choice when I do pick it up. Yes I’ll get it, like I said wonderful presentation yet left me wanting more just not in the right way. Oh and one more thing. Lets not do the hokey fake acting next time eh? Well unless your name is Myiamoto. He’s the only one you guys have charming enough to pull that off.
Thanks again for taking time to enjoy E3 with us! Keep your browsers locked in here for more updates and opinion columns throughout the rest of the show week and beyond!