For the last few years, Nintendo haven’t had much a presence at E3 instead opting for a pre-recorded live stream rather then a live stage event. It’s worked really well. Then can spend time polishing their message and saying what they want to say in a clear and precise way. Just look at how long their stream was. It was the shortest even compared to EA and Ubisoft at only 45 minutes. It really shows that you don’t need to spend hours hammering home a message if you have spent time making what amount to a merchandising film. But while their stream wasn’t that long, they spent the rest of E3 live-streaming their their events like ‘Nintendo Treehouse’ which showed gameplay and interviews with developers live from the E3 floor. So much praise has to go for Nintendo from me for showing everyone gameplay, interviews, and having a polished conference like everyone else. Well done Nintendo for doing the right thing for E3. Others, especially their competitors Xbox and Sony, could learn a thing or two from their handling of the whole expo. Anyway, on to the “Nintendo Direct” live stream…
They opened with their biggest gun this year, “Super Smash Bros’ Wii U”. They started with a very anime fight between the head of Nintendo and Nintendo of America, which was really well done and pretty entertaining. It was to show off a new feature for ‘Smash Bros’ U’, you can play as your Mii. You Mii can have one of 3 different classes, basically put and fisticuffs Mii (Mario fighting style) sword Mii (Link/Ike fighting style) and Metorid Mii (Shamus ranged style). It makes an interesting add on. The said they didn’t want to add Mii fighters to early, most likely because the Miis where aimed as the most family friendly thing ever made. But now you get to smash your friends rather then by character proxy. Its a great added option designed for online multiplayer matches between friends.
They then showed off the ‘near-field communication’ [NFC] figures they said they where going to implement a while ago. They are calling them ‘Amiibo’s‘. I’m sure the mii in that nonsense word means that a-mii-bo stands for something rather the just being another stupid word made up by Nintendo. It seams to be good add on because they are essentially character memory sticks. For example, in ‘Smash Bros’ U’ you can use the Amiibo as a character (a Mario figure selects Mario in game etc.) but you can save your win/loss stats, player options and levelling on to the Amiibo. So you can take it to another Wii U at your friends house and have access to your character like you would at home or playing online. They also said that with the Amiibo, there was going to be a partnership with “Disney Infinity” and “Skylanders” for exclusive content. It makes sense with all three using NFC technology.
They then had a trailer for “Captain Toad’s Treasure Tracker” for the Wii U. Remember the bonus Captain Toad puzzle-like levels from “Super Mario 3D World”? It’s that but a whole game.
Then then showed off the spiritual successor to “Kirby’s Epic Yarn”, “Yoshi’s Wooly World”. ‘Epic Yarn’ was a child-like, relaxing Kirby game. ‘Wooly World’ is the same again but with Yoshi. It’s nice that they are continuing the series of nice, very U rated games that, for me and most of the adult players (yeah, I know you play it when the kids aren’t looking), play like a hushed lullaby of relaxation.
After that nice-ness, we where privy to a new Zelda. It looks amazing. It has that animated, cartoon style that the games have had for the last few games. It’s a few swings past the more realistic style that we saw in the videos before E3 but I won’t complain. It still looks great. And as the talking head says as the gentle breeze blows through the background’s grass, the next Zelda will be open world. I guess more open then the relatively open play style of regular Zelda. After the talking head fades in to nothingness, a rather androgynous looking Link (it’s androgynous to me and I like anime and ‘visual kei’ bands) rides away on his horse from a robo-fantasy monster/mech thing who corners him on a river bridge. Link then jumps up, action hero style off the horse and coat throwing, and shoots a laser arrow in to the things face. It comes out 2015.
There was a brief advent for Pokemon “Omega Red” and “Alpha Sapphire”. It’s Pokemon. Can I move on?
An advert followed and advert with an ad for “Bayonetta 2” and the Bayonetta 1/2 twin pack that comes out in October. (Or September if your in Japan.)
Then there was a rather long talk about “Hyrule Warriors”, the Dynasty Warriors Zelda. Its much like Dynasty Warriors with its army’s, slashing and area of effect magic. This cross-over has had mixed reactions. “Dynasty Warriors” after all gets mixed reactions so being ‘Dynasty Warriors’ but with Zelda’ is going to garner some of the same criticism. Although, it does look very fun. The talking heads of the video did say that they wanted “Hyrule Warriors” to be a way in to the ‘Dynasty’ franchise and I think that will work. I was never really in to ‘Dynasty Warriors’ (I played a demo way back yonder on the PS2 and didn’t get in to it,) but even I’m interested in giving it another shot after “Warriors”. So it might have more of an effect in the broad sense of “Dynasty Warriors” rather then on Zelda.
There will be a new Kirby. Remember earlier when I talked about “Kirby’s Epic Yarn”? It’s a new one of those. “Kirby and the Rainbow Curse” is a more plasticine and stop motion affair that actually looks very good. They showed a section of Whispy Woods (the usual stage one tree boss in Kirby games,) and it looks like its from a Aardman stop motion animation.
Then came an advert for something that I’m either to young and/or old to really get in to. “Xenoblades” is something I’ve never played or even know about. So the sum of my knowledge is there there is a game called “Xenoblades Chronicles X” coming for the Wii U. After a quick Google search I know it has mechs and space so maybe I should try it if I get a Wii U. I liked ‘Zone of Enders‘ although this does seems pretty far from that sort of game. Maybe I will keep my normal distance after all.
Then came “Mario Maker”. A game we all knew what it going to do as soon as we saw the title. You can make ‘Super Mario’ levels, send them to your friends and play them on you Wii. It a sort of ‘does what it say on the tin’ deal with this one. It’s out in 2015.
Then came some new IP. New IP and Nintendo isn’t a combination that happens that often but something is it pretty good. This new IP is “Splatoon”, a family friendly, 3rd person shooter. See Xbox/EA/spunkgargleweewee makers, you can make shooters that don’t involve the latest armaments from the US with more explosions and hero worship then the latest “Expendables” movie. In “Splatoon”, you wield a paint gun that splats and covers the arena in your team colour paint. When on your teams paint, you can turn into your squid form and swim in it. You can swim up walls, go what amounts to prone and hide, (you can’t shoot in ‘squid mode’ so you have to pop up to fire) but only in your teams paint. When you stand you enemy paint, you are slowed because it’s icky or something and you can’t use squid mode. It’s a really well rounded shooter.
People after E3 ended started to say that Nintendo ‘won’ E3. While the ‘won’ aspect is stupid and is bad journalism, I have to say that Nintendo really did step up to the plate this year and are starting to cement themselves as actual competitors to Sony and Xbox. All they need now is a console people will buy and the re-inventing will be complete. Well done for pulling a sort-of victory out of the jaws of obscurity. Keep going like this Nintendo and you’ll be back in the game in no time.