E3 Impressions: Nintendo’s Press Conference

As the last of the three big game companies to present, Nintendo had a great chance to win E3. Both Microsoft and Sony were underwhelming and with so much on the line this show, Nintendo needed a blockbuster performance. Let’s see how they did.

Pikmin 3: A++

This game looks amazing. The graphics look great and I can’t wait to play one of my favorite games from last generation. You can use traditional controls or the new Gamepad. It looks like there might be the possibility of multiplayer as well since you now have four commanders at your disposal. Pikmin one of the best real time strategy games I’ve ever played and this is easily my most anticipated Wii U title. This was a great start to Nintendo’s show and hopefully they can keep the momentum going.

General Announcements: B+

  • Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Instant Video coming- this is pretty much a given these days but still nice to see.
  • Wii U will support two Gamepads- This is actually a significant technical hurdle and I’m happy to see that Nintendo figured it out. This opens up even more gameplay possibilities.

New Super Mario Bros Wii U: B
It’s Mario… in HD! As Chas has been saying on the podcasts, he likes Diablo III because it’s just mindless fun. That’s how I feel about these side scrolling Mario games. Just run, jump, and collect coins. Good times. At the same time, Mario is generally the game that shows off why you should buy a new Nintendo system and I didn’t see anything here that proves why this new Gamepad is a must own. I’ve said this plenty before but I would have loved a new Galaxy-style game or ideally a game that really shows off the new controller. This game will be fun and it’s fine, but it’s safe and not what Nintendo needed to convince consumers to run out and buy a Wii U.

Batman: Arkham City:Armored Edition: D

So this game was released in late 2011. I understand that it’s a great step that these big third party developers are actually releasing mature games on a Nintendo system. The Wii didn’t have any of these so it’s great to see that these developers are on board. What I don’t understand is why they’re spending development time on year old games and adding on “enhancements.” My worry is that they’re going to release a game like this and literally no one will buy it and why should they? If people were hardcore gamers and wanted to buy games like Batman they would have bought a 360 for $200. They’re not waiting around for Nintendo to release a new system. The MUCH smarter move would be to have these studios develop their new games for Wii U. Instead this just feels like shovelware and does not appeal to anyone.

Scribblenauts: Unlimited : C-

I like the idea behind Scribblenauts is really cool. Write something, it appears and solve puzzles. But I bought the game on the DS years ago and I’m not seeing anything here to convince me to pick it up, unless I’m looking for a gift for my nephew.

Random Games: F

See my above discussion on Batman. This was the worst sizzle reel of all time.

  • Darksiders 2– This will be out months before the Wii is launched
  • Tekken Tag Tournament 2– No thank you.
  • Mass Effect 3– This will have been out for almost a YEAR by the time Wii U is launched.
  • Tank! Tank! Tank!– This looks brutal.
  • Trine 2: Director’s Cut– I own Trine 2 on Xbox Live.
  • Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge– This game is out ALREADY. Oh, and it sucks.
  • Aliens: Colonial Marines- I have no interest in this game.

SiNG: D-

Oh man, it didn’t get any better here. I understand this is a game for teenage girls. That’s the only thing that’s saving it from being an F.

Wii Fit U: F

I literally threw my Wii Balance board in the trashcan. Some of the exercises (such as the squats) are EXACTLY the same as Wii Fit.

3DS Games: B+

While I would have liked to see a new IP, these games will all do just fine.

  • Paper Mario: Sticker Star– Coming this holiday, this is probably my most anticipated 3DS game. I love Paper Mario.
  • New Super Mario Bros. 2– One of the only things with a firm release date, this game (with one of the worst titles of all time) comes out August 19. If you didn’t know by now I’m a sucker for Mario games.
  • Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon– Coming this holiday season as well, I’m stupidly excited for this game. The original Luigi’s Mansion is a guilty pleasure of mine.

Lego City Undercover: D

Again, I understand this game is for little kids. That’s the only reason it’s not an F.

ZombiU: B

It’s pretty clear that Ubisoft was the true winner of E3. I wish I could have seen what Assassin’s Creed 3 looks like on the Wii U but maybe Sony bought an exclusive on that. I would have also liked to see more from Rayman here at E3, but I was pretty happy to see ZombiU as well. Despite it’s absolutely terrible title, the game itself looks pretty decent. Apparently if you get bit once you die which is a pretty hardcore mode in and of itself. Also, I did like some of the innovations the new controller provided. You could scan areas, your HUD was taken off the main screen and put on the gamepad (which prevents you from pausing to switch weapons in tense moments), you can use the gamepad to zoom in, and use it to hack doors. All around Ubisoft is using the controller in more innovative ways then Nintendo is…

Just Dance 4: F

This isn’t for me, obviously, but I’m sure it will sell a ton of copies. The one player with the Gamepad can choose what dance move the other players have to perform. Still, unlike Dance Central, you don’t actually have to dance. You just shake around like an idiot. This game is total crap.

NintendoLand C

I’m actually a little torn on this game. I think the small game experiences will actually be pretty fun but there were a couple of problems with the way it was presented. First of all, they just said the game is due out at launch. If this is not included with the system (a la Wii Sports), that’s a huge problem. A Nintendo has been saying, this is the game that convinces you on why you need to buy the system. If that’s true it needs to be included. Secondly, the one mini-game they showed, while it seems like it will be okay, is just a dressed up version of Pac Man Vs. Which is a game they highlighted years ago for the Gamecube. Thirdly, none of these games really wow you the same way Wii Sports originally did. They desperately needed a game that would do that to close their show. And lastly, since the game wasn’t going to wow the audience how do you use that as your close?!?! Microsoft had Call of Duty, Playstation had The Last of Us, and Nintendo had NintendoLand? Basically a collection of mini-games? Terrible. How is Retro not making a game? I don’t care if they’ve only been working for a day, throw whatever they’ve got up there.

Conclusion : D

So if you couldn’t tell, Nintendo’s showing did a really good job of getting me angry. They were set up to blow everyone away and especially after two lackluster presentations yesterday, they really could have grabbed the gaming world’s attention. I really want to believe that Nintendo’s system will be everything they’re promising but I’m actually less confident of that after this show than I was before it. There’s still time left, but with a system launch in under six months, there’s not much.

I love the tech behind the new Gamepad but I’ve yet to see any use of it that truly blows me away. The fact that Nintendo couldn’t show us a game that did this, even at their own E3 conference is worrisome to say the least. I loved how Pikmin looked and of course I’m going to like anything Mario related but would it kill them to make a new IP that proved to everyone why we need to run out and buy this system? Maybe there isn’t a compelling reason and that’s what Nintendo should be worried about more than anything.

Stay tuned tomorrow for my final impressions of the show. Let me know your thoughts on Nintendo’s E3 showing!

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