So with E3 finally having been wrapped up, I headed off to my local Best Buy to try out some of the new E3 demos that were there. I was able to show up on the dot of the starting time of the event and by then there was already a pretty lengthy line. Thankfully there was a sign in sheet, so the demos were not simply "first come, first serve." Most of the players were into the new Mario games, Super Mario 3D World and Mario Kart 8. While I was only able to play two demos for myself, I was able to watch other players take a go at Mario Kart and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.
(Just an extra note, my kiosk was giving away little prizes to anyone who played their demos. They were giving away Year of Luigi coins, Mario Kart flags, Styrofoam Luigi hats and Donkey Kong stickers).
Tropical Freeze more or less is the continuation of Country Returns, the disappointing reveal for many a Retro fan at Nintendo's E3. Don't get me wrong, the game looks gorgeous and is most likely going to turn heads as yet another amazing Nintendo platformer, but knowing that this could have been a new Metroid leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Mario Kart 8 looks freaking beautiful. Its graphics are highly detailed and runs at a particularly high frame rate. Another interesting feature is that the game uses motion and traditional controls which can be switched on the fly by touching a button on the gamepad's touch screen. All in all, the gameplay seems to be an upgrade of the already stellar Mario Kart 7, having kept underwater segments and hang gliding while also bringing back motorcycles and characters like Waluigi and Toadette back into the racer roster.
Now onto the games I actually did get my hands on.
Super Mario 3D World was... weird. The game looks beautiful, don't get me wrong. But it essentially plays like a 3D version of NSMBU, multiplayer gripes and all. If some characters move too far ahead, players can get lost off-screen and automatically trapped in bubbles. It makes things easier for new players and is actually a lot less chaotic than NSMB, but so far I'm not sure I see the point of coop in the game; there's no real teamwork involved. On top of this the controls felt a little stiff. I should mention I was playing as Peach, so that may have been why.
I'm sure the game will be improved before release, but without online play I don't see myself spending the $60 necessary to get it.
And finally, Zelda Wind Waker HD. In my demo, I had the selection of playing a tutorial segment or a boss. Naturally I chose the latter. I was given only five minutes to beat him (though the lady at the counter was kind enough to give me the extra minute needed). The game plays identically to the GCN original and is shot for shot the same exact game but in high defintion. Had concerns about the art style? Don't worry, they found a way to make the game have the same toon shaded feel, but with higher quality shadows and models. This is by and large an improvement over the original; to hell with the old version.
All in all, these games are shaping up well (for the most part) and will definitely hold over Wii U users for a little while, especially with Wonderful 101 and Pikmin 3 also on the horizon. All in all the experience was a lot of fun and I got to see a lot of people just buckling down and having fun playing video games.
If you have even a small interest in Wii U games, a Best Buy near you and they are supporting this experience, I would definitely check this out if possible.
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