E3 2012: Nintendo Press Conference

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First, a disclaimer:  I originally planned on watching a recording of the actual press conference, but for one reason or another, the recording did not work.  So I had to cobble my thoughts through Destructoid’s coverage and IGN’s videos, and I hope it is something up to par.  WIthout further ado, my thoughts on Nintendo’s E3 Conference.  Well, the Wii U one.

The conference started strong with the reveal of a game that people wanted since 2004, Pikmin 3!  Now, I have never actually played a Pikmin game, something that I hope to amend soon with the Wii ports of the first two titles, but I’ll need to get the thing working first.  The game itself looks wonderful, lovely nature effects, smooth water, and very well animated Pikmin to thrown.  They also decided to expand on the dual captain idea from Pikmin 2, and now you can alternate between 4 of the little buggers, which will probably evolve into a wonderful multiplayer feature, but I will talk about Multiplayer near the end of this, because it ties in with the Wii U quite a bit.  But for now, Rock Pikmin look cute, and are a solid enough replacement for bomb rocks.  The bosses look great, and the mini-map on the Wii U Gamepad looks very handy.

This was then, I think, followed by New Super Mario Bros. U, which I will forever call New Super Mario Bros. 4, because the Wii edition was a sequel, and that means that I can call New Super Mario Bros. 2, New Super Mario Bros. 3D.  But onto the Wii U title, it is 2D Mario with better backgrounds, and an emphasis on speed running, which is broken by the fact that a Co-Op player who holds the Wii U Gamepad can make blocks wherever they want, while players with the Wii Remote can control Mario and Co.  Now, I was never fond of New Super Mario Bros. Wii, due to its floaty Co-Op, and this looks more or less the same, but with some asshole placing blocks in your face.  Seriously, if you want to make a Co-Op platformer, do not make players bounce off of each other by running into one and other, and don’t make is obnoxiously hard, not challenging, just punishing to anyone who did not grow up with 2D Mario titles.  Oh, and in New Super Mario Bros. 2, the main gimmick is how you collect a ton of coins, have a coin suit, and enemies that become coins, real creativity, now if only all that gold did not look like rubbish.  At least the Wii U one had a flying squirrel acorn, which seems redundant because of the Tanooki, Raccoon Leaf, Cape Feather, and Wing Cap, but it is a flying squirrel, they rock!  Also, there are Baby Yoshis that float like a parachute and act like Bud and Bob from Bubble Bobble, that is awesome.

But as a break from the list, I want to plug Project P-100, Platinum Games’ Wii U title.  What happens when you combine Earth Defense Force 2017, Infinite Crisis, and Pikmin?  A damn great looking game that involves you recruiting citizens so that together as one they can become a fighting being that can destroy robots from space!  To clarify, you combine all the people at your command, and form into one giant person who can deal damage to a massive cheese-tastic aliens foes.  Platinum has a good pedigree, and this is one title that you should not gloss over.

Back to the conference, we were shown the Miiverse, which is some form of internal social network for players, which is doomed, because everyone online is going to want to abuse the light-heartedness of the whole thing and will just talk about Sodomy with beloved Nintendo characters.  You cannot offer people freedom without censoring them, or else there will be penises everywhere.  But the fact that this will be the first thing that comes on, worries me.  Now, I understand that this is optional, but why can’t you just begin the system by having an icon on the ‘Play Disk’ option, and have the Miiverse off to the side?

Speaking of getting into games, let’s talk about what the third Parties plan for the Wii U, mostly just ports.  The first of which is Batman: Arkham City – Armored Edition, which will just be the Game of the Year edition, but with new Remote Batarang controls, a power bar that unleashes a super mode, because the normal game was apparently too hard, and explosive gel detonation.  In other words, if you have not played it yet, might as well wait for the Wii U version, because the game is great, and these extras do not hurt, but seem unnecessary.  There will also be games like Darksiders 2, Which I plan on buying, since THQ is not doing very well, and I want to see more Saints Row.  Hell, they had to sell their UFC license to EA and close down a studio just a few days ago.  Mass Effect 3, which I will post a review of this Thursday.  Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, which I heard was pretty crap, let’s not delve into it any deeper than that.  Aliens: Colonial Marines, which looks really rad, the motion detector with the Wii U Gamepad is a great idea for making it feel like AliensTekken Tag Tournament 2, which has Mario items and drawing on characters’ faces, but is a fighter, a genre that I do not care for.  Trine 2: Director’s Cut, because why not have a great looking physics platformer on your system.  And a minigame known as Tank! Tank! Tank!  No comment, it is a game about tanks, and there can be more than 3 of them.  

There were other oddities like Wii Fit U, which is harmless, just another new version of Wii Fit, but it no longer occupies your television, which was never a problem for me, even before I got my own TV.  We also had Scribblenauts Unlimited for both the 3DS and Wii U, it is just like the first 3 games, but you create your own items, and there is now a backstory.  Also, is it me or does Maxwell run like he has some kind of massive learning disability?  Either way, the game looks fun, and is smoothed out, unlike its DS counterparts.  You can make anything you wanted by just writing the word, and now there is multiplayer, which will be totally insane!  

There was then a bit on 3DS titles, but nothing beyond three Mario titles.  After glossing over New Super Mario Bros. 2, which I totally predicted the release date of August 19th for,  we then got to a game that was surprisingly not delayed, Paper Mario: Sticker Star.  Now, I love Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, and Super Paper Mario, so I am very cynical of this one.  Stickers are the apparent gimmick, but they really only seem to replace badges, Star Pieces, and serve as the general McGuffin.  Other than that, everything looks very simplified, which might work better with the right music and general mood, but it just looks half-hearted.  I am probably over-reacting, but the game still looks solid… Some kind of paper pun!  We also got a bit more Luigi’s Mansion 2, which will now have a mission structure, and based on a playthrough that I saw, I think that the game will only benefit from that.  Multiple mansions will lead to themes, no doubt about that, and I am sure that there will be some interesting foes, and hopefully not just somethings that NIntendo has deemed safe.  Super Mario 3D Land was on the border of stagnation, do not make the same mistake this Holiday season, please?

We then went back to exclusive Wii U titles with LEGO City Undercover, which looks to combine the other LEGO games with Grand Theft Auto’s base formula, but you are an undercover cop, so you can vandalize while still being the good guy, and thank god for that.  There is also the standard LEGO humor, which is so cheesy that it is amazing.  And then we, I think, had Rayman Legends, and the game looks to be to New Super Mario Bros. U, what Rayman Origins was to New Super Mario Bros. Wii.  Which, if you are not a twit, means that it is a better looking, better functioning, fairer, better paced, more diverse, and overall better game, as you will tell by my eventual review of Rayman “Astonishing” Origins.  And if anyone is unable to get my sarcasm, I am kidding, I did not like New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and I think that Rayman Origins is better, my opinion is worth whatever you claim it to be worth.

There was also ZombiU, an uncreative title, but at least it is not trying to hide how it is a Zombie game for the Wii U.  The game seems to actually be a bit tense due to the lack of a pause based menu system, and a very expansive array of tools, which will need to be built against to create a sense of fear, and that by itself could be enough, it is a game that actually looks like it could be a tense experience where you actually feel week, not like Dead Space where you can stamp in an enemy’s head, or Resident Evil 6 where you can dodge helicopters.

And then we have NintendoLand, which people should not complain about, because it is like complaining about Wii Sports or Wii Play, it is a glorified tech demo that they are using to experiment with new technology, and to get it out of their system before they start making major games, or so I hope.  It is just a collection of 12 Nintendo based Minigames, some multiplayer, some not, all using the system to a good potential, and fairly creative in their own right, and besides, $60 for 12 micro games is not a bad deal, but I really hope this just ends up as the launch bundle.  It looks neat, but it is aimed at families who star in insufferable advertisements, the same people who bought a WIi, they want to draw them in and expand them into more complicated gaming.  And sure, the Wii U will end up being a mess for the ill-informed, but that is why we have electronic departments.

Overall, I think Nintendo did an okay job with this E3, but seeing Retro Studios’ new Star Fox Wii U game would have been nice.  And the same can be said about a 3DS Zelda/Metroid title, which we may see tomorrow.  It was not as much as I would have liked, but it was still leagues above Microsoft, and better than Sony, which I WILL talk about soon.

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