On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of attending Nintendo’s E3 presentation, which included the debut of Nintendo’s latest console, the Wii U. I must say, as someone who was utterly disappointed by the Wii, I was impressed. While the excitement before the presentation was reserved for the new console, none was spared for the impressive display of new games for the Wii, DSi, and the 3DS. Nintendo’s presentation was one of my favorite from the big 3 in recent years. As a core gamer, I’ve felt Nintendo has lost it since the Wii debuted, but I’m happy to say they may be poised to turn that around. Considering this year is the 25th anniversary of Zelda, this makes me very happy. One more bit before we get to business: The orchestra at the top of the show — highly appreciated. Delightful.
When I first got to demo the 3DS a few weeks leading up to its release, I was astonished by how disappointed Nintendo left me. As a fan of 3D gaming (not 3D movies), I was eager to try out the new handheld. The viewing angle made it difficult to lounge comfortably while playing and the launch titles… oh, brother. Stinkers. While I still am disappointed in the hardware, the games they showed off and made playable on the floor have turned me around, although I’ll use up a genie’s wish for a new version of the 3DS to be announced at the Tokyo Game Show later this year. There are too many games to talk about, so I’ll share my favorites.
Next week, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D hits shelves. Own a 3DS? Buy it. No questions asked. I beat this game numerous times on multiple consoles in the past, but wow! The game play is as good as it ever was. The graphics are clean with vibrant colors. But the 3D, oh my goodness, that sweet, sweet 3D. I could have stood in the same spot playing this game all day. There is no better use of 3D in a game on the market yet. Not even close.
When Kid Icarus: Uprising debuted last year, I didn’t care for the most part. I wasn’t particularly a fan of Kid Icarus in the past. Uprising just looked like a game to play if you were bored to me. I was wrong. The footage shown to us blew me away. Packed full of fast paced action and impressive 3 on 3 multiplayer. Put it on your Christmas list.
Mario will see an impressive holiday season. Both Mario Kart and Super Mario will be hitting the 3DS this winter with new titles. Mario Kart plays as good as always. The addition of gliding karts is yet another fun and comfortable addition to the beloved franchise. The hints to other kart augmentations, such as submarines for underwater portions of courses, excite me. Super Mario sees the addition of a new raccoon tail, which is cool, but the 3D tickled me more. I may not have felt as overwhelmed as when I played Mario 64 the first time, but I’d be lying if I said that the rush of nostalgia that warmed my body wasn’t welcomed.
Lastly, a game I rolled my eyes at when first debuted on the GameCube, but quickly became addicting, is getting a sequel: Luigi’s Mansion. Next year we will get Luigi’s Mansion 2 on 3DS. I can’t wait to see more.
I still hate the Wii and its base games. There are good titles. I know. I’ve played them. Overall, the Wii left gamers behind. The new games shown were no exception. Bland party games to bore me to sleep after an hour or two of sleep. Kirby Wii was the largest disappointment. Now a multiplayer hack and slash, players bumble across the screen attacking in a button mashing fury while someone always seems to have a special power ready that clears the enemies from the screen. BORING!
Of course, one star always shines brighter. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is blinding. While I was originally turned off by the cartoonish look to the game, it works. It looks consistent in art style and well thought out. The new weapons, such as some hook shot projectile that you fly, seem like welcomed additions. I plan on borrowing my friend’s Wii to play this holiday season.
There’s only one DS game that gets me excited – Professor Layton and the Last Specter. This series is great. Ya feel me?
The new console is here. Well, sort of. Not until fall of 2012, but that’s close enough to get giddy about it. All focus is on the new controller. This tablet-like device harbors a 6.2″ touch screen, two analog pads, four shoulder buttons and all the other normal buttons. There are stereo speakers, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a camera, a microphone, a sensor strip, a rechargeable battery, and a stylus all built in. What a mouthful! The screen will be used in multiple ways.
My favorite use was demonstrated first in the video shown. Imagine playing a game on your tv. In a fit of passion, your roommate bursts through the door intent on watching the tv. No problemo, dude. Just send the game play to the controller screen and continue your game. I want this now. Of course, developers can get creative with their uses of the screen. It could be used as a scope on the new Zapper, or a hub to organize your items during a game. On demo showed the player swiping the screen, which flung throwing stars a targets on the screen. Another showed the player placing the controller on the ground to display a golf ball, which was then hit with a swing of a Wii Remote. It can even be used as a tabletop gaming surface for games like checkers and what not.
The Wii U is backwards compatible with all Wii titles and peripherals. Thankfully, more focus will be given to the system by third parties this time around, perhaps because it is in HD and it looks damn fine. They showed off plenty of “M” and core gaming titles coming to the system. Finally, the respect we wanted as gamers. Diversity and choice wrapped in a pretty bow. I want. I want. I want it.
Hey, Nintendo. If you’d like me to review the console at launch, just let me know. I think I could work that into my schedule for you.
Zelda is 25 years young
Miyamoto was very excited about Zelda‘s success. Beyond what I mentioned above, Nintendo is giving away the Ocarina of Time soundtrack if you purchase the new version. All you have to do register the title. DSi users get Four Swords as a free download. Also, Link’s Awakening DX is available on the 3DS eShop.
Most excitingly, this fall there will be an orchestra on tour playing everyone’s favorite Zelda music. Zelda and I both turn 25 this year. The music is engrained in my ears. I also believe a live orchestra delivers a live music experience that can’t be replicated. News on this to come in the future.
Overall, great display from Nintendo! I was thoroughly impressed. I can’t wait to see how this pans out. There was too much to fit here. Watch the presentation and get all the info at E3.Nintendo.com and follow me (@MatthewBurnside) on Twitter for live updates from the E3 floor. I’m playing the games and I’m making fun of the weirdos.