Under the Knife: Remember Nintendo?
The next generation is upon us and with that comes the post-E3 reactions from many people. I couldn't help but notice that a lot of focus has been primarily on Microsoft versus Sony. The gaming press and community at large have taken note on those two more so than the other companies. I haven't seen much coverage done for Nintendo. Heck, EA and Ubisoft haven't been talked about much either. Today, I'll be doing an in-depth look into Nintendo and everything they showed.
It is important to note that Nintendo did not have an actual press conference at E3. Needless to say, that was quite a shocker. Instead, Nintendo opted to do a lengthy Nintendo Direct. In it, Satoru Iwata hosted as per the usual Nintendo Direct and gave us a lot of information regarding upcoming events and games for everything Nintendo.
First up was Pokemon X and Pokemon Y. The first major detail we got was that the region our next adventures are going to take place in is the Kalos region. This was followed up with in-game battle footage and the reveal of a new Pokemon type known as Fairy. The latest Eevee evolution (Sylveon) is a Fairy type and as such is strong against Dragon types. A new feature called Pokemon-Amie allows you to interact more with your Pokemon by petting, feeding, and playing with them.
Now, I grew up in the time of when Pokemon was popular. Being someone who is approaching their mid-twenties, I can honestly admit that I still love a lot of things from my childhood. Power Rangers, Transformers, Dragonball Z, and (of course) Pokemon are a few things I love. The presentation of the new 3D Pokemon games with all of these features makes me all the more excited for when they release on October 12.
The next game Iwata introduced was Super Mario 3D World. To put all of the content the footage showed in a nutshell, essentially it is another Mario game, but this time bringing back Peach and Toad as playable characters (each character has a special trait) along with adding new features. One feature includes a Cat Suit that allows the character to climb up walls. There also appears to be a lot of mini-games that you can tackle solo or with three other players. Super Mario 3D World will launch in December.
The following Mario game Iwata introduced was Mario Kart 8. The video showed a number of changes from Mario Kart Wii. For one, this Mario Kart will share some features that Mario Kart 7 had (i.e. hang gliding). Also, anti-gravity has been added to the courses as you can now race upside down and vertically. The courses offer alternate routes to take as well. The only thing I hope they would add that Mario Kart 7 had is the ability to customize your vehicles. Mario Kart 8 will launch in Spring 2014. Get used to seeing 2014 a lot as we progress.
Wii Party U and Wii Fit U were shown and mentioned. Wii Party U had actual gameplay shown, while both games were mentioned by Iwata to being still in development as they want to add more features to the games. It is from here that Iwata also notes on how they have been wanting to release more Wii U games, but haven't been able to as quickly as they want. Iwata thanks us for our patience and shows the new projected release dates for Wii Party U being in October and Wii Fit U being in December.
Now, I would like to address the debacle of lack of games on the Wii U. It has been approximately eight months since the release of the Wii U. The system has a total of thirteen exclusive games available in North America as of the day this was posted (June 24) and a little more than thirty available in general. The other currently available games are multiplatform, while projected games coming out will be released between September to December or next year. The Wii U needs some big titles and third party support to keep up momentum leading into November when the PS4 and Xbox One will release. I don't know how much the new consoles will impact Nintendo's holiday season, but hopefully they can get out of this rut and have games that will sell well.
The next in-development game Iwata mentions is another installment of Art Academy. Nintendo have taken notice of the fantastic artwork from Wii U owners on the MiiVerse and have decided to give those gamers more tools in their creative pieces. Before an official Art Academy game can be released, Nintendo will be forwarding more artistic content (i.e. colored pencils, palettes) to Wii U owners this summer. You can draw pieces on the Game Pad, color them, and post them to the MiiVerse.
Iwata follows up with a showing of third party support (which they undoubtedly need). This includes Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Batman: Arkham Origins, Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate, Disney Infinity, Disney's Planes, Just Dance 2014, Rayman Legends, Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure, Shin Megami Tensei IV, Skylanders SWAP Force, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Sonic Lost World, and Watch Dogs. All of these have set release dates (mostly this year). Nintendo eShop is also boasting a plethora of downloadable titles, which include some indie developed games.
The Wonderful 101 from Platinum Games had shown gameplay and explanation of said gameplay from Iwata. You play as the heroes defending Earth from an invading alien force. Your unique power called Unite More is to unite together everyone and transform them as weapons. There will be in-game powers you can purchase with points you gain. There will also be multiplayer features with mini-games. The Wonderful 101 will launch on September 15.
Next up is Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. Yeah, I know, it sounds like a new flavor from Jamba Juice, but this new Wii U game looks like fun. Dixie Kong returns to aid Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong against the marauding Vikings who have taken over Donkey Kong Island and the surrounding islands. This time around Donkey Kong has been brought into HD and the use of different camera angles will change up gameplay experiences. The new DK game will release in November.
Next up is Bayonetta 2. A cinematic fight scene between Bayonetta and a mysterious cloaked figure was shown. Some brief gameplay was also shown to which Iwata takes note that the game has had its fighting mechanics polished. Little else is known about the story or said gameplay. It will release in 2014.
The next Wii U exclusive titles shown were X from Monolith Soft and Super Smash Bros. Both games had amazing presentation. To start, X looks graphically beautiful, the gameplay is refined, and the open world looks huge. Super Smash Bros will be coming soon with new challengers. The Villager from Animal Crossing, Mega Man, and the Wii Fit Trainer join the battle. Super Smash Bros and X will release in 2014 and I cannot wait for them. Iwata concludes with a sneak peek of Nintendo's E3 booth.
So there were a few things I have taken away from this Nintendo Direct. One, my Dragonite can actually be intimidated by a Jigglypuff. Two, a buddy of mine will master Mega Man in Smash Bros because it's been too long since we have seen the Blue Bomber. Three, a good number of these games won't be here until next year. Finally, we at least have some games coming this year.
My letter grade for Nintendo is a solid B. There are lot of games they showed that I am excited for, but it's also some games I have to wait for to bring to my Wii U and 3DS. This is given that the release dates have been flip-flopping making it hard to determine when they will release. I think Wii U and 3DS owners can rejoice in that their gaming libraries will have a chance to grow in two months time.