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Nintendo Stays the Course at E3

Wii U and 3DS owners have a lot to be happy about.

Nintendo has always been a company that dances to the beat of its own drum. While Sony and Microsoft have been duking it out since 2001, Nintendo has been content to stay the course, remaining profitable while leveraging their wildly successful franchises. It shouldn’t have been surprising, then, when the company announced that they would not be doing a traditional E3 press conference this year, but instead would be issuing one of their very popular Nintendo Direct streams. What was shown was light on surprises, but pure Nintendo, through and through.

Satoru Iwata kicked things off in style, with tons of gameplay for Pokemon X and Y for the 3DS. This fully polygonal entry into the mega popular monster catching series features a plethora of new pals to collect, and even a new Pokemon type: Fairy. In addition, the games have a kind of Nintendogs mode where players can interact with their Pokemon, feeding them, petting them, and playing mini games with them. Pokemon X and Y are due in October.

Hot on the heels of all that “gotta catch ‘em all goodness” was the announcement of Super Mario 3D Word, the Wii U sequel to Super Mario 3D land for the 3DS. For the first time in a 3D Mario game, four player co-op is available. Long time Mario fans should be very happy that Princess Peach nee Toadstool is a playable character for the first time in the series since Super Mario Bros. 2 on the NES. Just like that classic side-scroller, each character has unique abilities, in addition to power ups such as the new cat suit, which allows for climbing up walls. Super Mario 3D World is scheduled for November.

There are only three things that are assured: death, taxes, and a Mario Kart game for a new Nintendo platform. This time it’s the Wii U’s turn, and Mario Kart 8 is sure to impress. Nintendo has the luxury of getting to trot out all of its popular games for the first time in HD, and Mario Kart 8 looks very nice. The tracks are a trippy, loop de loop-filled affair, recalling some of the crazier tracks from the F-Zero series. Karts can now drive up walls or completely upside down, and motorcycles are also on offer to players. Wii U owners will have to wait a bit for this one, as its due next spring.

Third party support has been a big problem for the Wii U since launch, and though a lot of major titles are still missing from the holiday lineup, big games like Watch_Dogs, Batman: Arkham Origins, and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag will give Wii U owners plenty to play. The Wonderful 101 is on track for a September release, and Iwata promised that a future Nintendo Direct would highlight this Platinum Games title. Likely that same ND will show off Bayonetta 2, which got its first full trailer today. The sassy witch has gotten a haircut and a new look, but she still kicks plenty of angel tail, and the game looks to be an order of magnitude crazier than the original.

More of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD was shown, and the game looks mighty impressive in high definition. The highly popular Miiverse will make an interesting appearance in Wind Waker HD, thanks to the Tingle bottle. This item allows players to share notes or drawings by putting them in the bottle and sending them out to sea. These bottles will then wash up on the shores of other people’s games, creating a unique sense of community for the title. Wind Waker comes out in October.

Retro Studios finally got to reveal their mystery Wii U project, and it’s another Donkey Kong Country game, which is very good news to players that enjoyed their take on the franchise for the Wii. This November, Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, and Daisy Kong join up in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. The side scrolling platformer makes full use of the HD graphics of the Wii U and some dynamic camera angles to bring life to the five islands that the Kongs will ultimately visit.

Another teaser for Monolith Soft’s next big RPG was shown. The game, simply titled X, looks every bit the big budget, HD sequel to the mega popular Xenoblade Chronicles. Sadly, this was all that was shown, and players will have to wait for more information.

The direct feed ended with the big game that everyone was hoping for: Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U and 3DS. The 3DS version uses a pseudo-cel shaded graphical style, most likely to help players keep track of the insanity on the smaller screen. The Wii U version of the game looks incredible, with tons of detail in the backgrounds and characters. The “Villager” from Animal Crossing was shown as a new character, but after the “end” of the trailer a new challenger appeared. The Blue Bomber, Mega Man, is throwing down with the Nintendo roster, and he looks like he might be completely overpowered thanks to having so many abilities stolen from evil robots, but isn’t that what fans would want? At the actual show floor, Nintendo announced that the fitness trainer from Wii Fit is also joining the fight. Yeah.

Nintendo could have really blown people away today with a new Zelda and Metroid to go along with all of the other big titles, but they still had a solid E3 lineup. It’s safe to say that if you own a Wii U or a 3DS the Big N has got you covered, at least from now until next spring. After that, well…that’s what Nintendo Directs are for, aren’t they?


 

Comments

Our Take

Jon Lewis Staff Writer

06/11/2013 at 11:53 PM

I feel like my opinions might be of the minority, but I think Nintendo had a pretty decent showing. I'm REALLY pumped for Mario 3D World. I know that the game has been divisive, but I for one thought that 3D Land was one of the best Mario games I've played since the Galaxy games so I'm really looking forward to playing it more on Wii U. Donkey Kong looks fun, though I am disappointed we didn't see something else from Retro. I felt they played it a bit too safe, but a good game's a good game. I'll play it.

Bayonetta 2 looks pretty awesome (im a fan of the new hair do) and X still looks amazing to me. Mario Kart looks fun. And Smash Bros was a given for me since day -30 so you can imagine my jovial reaction to both Wii U and 3DS versions, as well as the inclusion of Mega Man. 

Overall, they have some great stuff to look forward to, but the problem with them was the lack of surprise. Every game they showed, we knew about already. They played it really safe, and while it works to a degree, they could have taken some risk and showed something, idk, NEW. A new IP would have been nice to see from Retro, but whatever. DK is coming out this year, meaning they can move on sooner than later. Plus, they didn't show off any of the limbo franchises (Star Fox, and FZero) and no new Metroid makes me sad. I mean, i would have settled for a 2D one! 

The thing that really bothered me though, was that my friends, who don't own Wii U's, were not very impressed by the showing and had no motive to go ahead and buy the system. They do plan on getting it closer to the launch of Smash, but right now, the PS4 is high on their radar because of the surpise and incentives that came along with their showings. And the 3rd parties are jumping ship like crazy, with Deus Ex: HR Directors Cut no longer exclusive either. Its a shame. I like my Wii U, and I'll probably buy a lot of the games they showed today, but its gonna have a tough time this holiday. I mean, cmon - PS4 is only 50 bucks cheaper! lol

Anyway, I'm still pleased for the most part. Hoping Nintendo will have more news to share in the coming months.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

06/11/2013 at 11:55 PM

I really loved most of the stuff they showed. I just think they should have gone for a longer presentation and showed off some of the amazing 3DS titles they have coming.

The Last Ninja

06/12/2013 at 01:04 AM

Great games as always, but I was hoping for a new Star Fox or F-Zero. Are these series dead? I was hoping Retro would be behind one or the other, but no, another DKC game. Now I can only hope to see these series revived in a future Nintendo direct. 

Chunopo

06/12/2013 at 02:16 AM

thay are the same old franchaises but it's what Nintendo does with them that makes me excited. They continually drive to improve gameplay and add a new flavour to classics to always keep me going back for more. After the beating they ve taken comment wise on the internet over recent months it's good to see them getting a bit of love.

Cary Woodham

06/12/2013 at 05:07 AM

I'm not a total Nintendo fanboy, but they generally make the kinds of games that suit my tastes.  So I'm very pleased with their E3 lineup right now.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

06/12/2013 at 09:00 AM

My favorite thing about Nintendo lately is they've been showing new games that are right around the corner. Most of the big games they showed are out before the end of the year.

transmet2033

06/12/2013 at 09:10 AM

I have loved everything that retro has put out so far, so I will love the new donkey kong.  I am excited for all of these games, but not excited enough to go out and buy a wii u right now.  Nintendo will get my money at some point, they just need to actually release the games.

gigantor21

06/12/2013 at 09:08 PM

The problem isn't that the games look bad. I'm sure they'll all be good. It's just that none of them really had that wow factor that the system needs to push units outside the Nintendo fanbase. Nor do most of them look to vidicate the Gamepad as a Wiimote-level distruption. Considering the sales morass the Wii U is stuck in, I expected better out of them than Super Mario Land 3D U and yet another DKC platformer.

Also, what was up with Iwata going on about resolution and shaders? Or how realistic Donkey Kong's fur looks? Whatever happened to "specs don't matter" or "unique experiences are better than graphics"? Because the last thing they should be doing is stoking a hardware debate that they can't possibly win, especially against a PS4 that's just $50 more than the Premium Wii U (for now). It was jarring to me.

BrokenH

06/14/2013 at 12:41 AM

Bayonetta 2 looking smoking hot! Might even be some two player shenanigans with Jeanne! Yes, even the Wii U is curb stomping the Xbone. Ah,sweet justice! Wink

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