E3 2013: Nintendo (Direct)

DIRECTLY TO YOU

Going against what is expected of a publisher their size, Nintendo decided to skip the big press event and do things a little differently. This morning saw a (technically impaired) live stream of a new Nintendo Direct that outlined big new titles for the struggling Wii U. Whether or not Nintendo showed something to truly ignite sales for the Wii U is uncertain, but I found a lot to enjoy from Nintendo’s event. Here are the games that had me excited to be a Wii U owner.

Super Mario 3D World – The first original game that I really sunk a lot of time into after the launch of the 3DS was Super Mario 3D Land. It was a ton of fun and made good use of the glasses-free 3D. I’m hoping that Super Mario 3D World will be able to do the same for the Wii U. It takes the gameplay of 3D Land and allows four player co-op, with Peach returning as a playable character for the first time in a Super Mario game since Super Mario Bros. 2. Each character has a special ability like they did in that NES game, such as Peach’s hovering, Luigi’s high jump and Toad’s quickness. Nintendo also introduced a cat suit to the game, which allows players to climb walls and flagpoles to increase their vertical movement distance. Couple that with HD graphics and it’s a game I’ll be more than happy to pick up when it releases in December.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD – Having played this GameCube classic recently due to my impatience for the upcoming HD remake, it helped me remember why I was so excited by this announcement. High definition remakes/collections have allowed me to not only play games that I never got around to playing when they were originally released, but to relive some of my favorite gaming experience and seeing them in a whole new light. Wind Waker HD falls into that second category, and Nintendo has made what look to be small but significant changes to make the game more enjoyable. The addition of a “speed sail” to traverse the Great Sea quicker, the assignment of ship tools to the D-Pad while sailing with the King of Red Lions, and the improved graphics and lighting engine will help to make this visually stunning and even more fun. The addition of the Tingle Bottle, that allows players to put messages or Pictographs inside the bottle and send them to other players’ worlds with Miiverse, will add a little social interaction and add to the already vast amount of collectibles for you to find. Needless to say, I’ll probably be picking this one up when it ships in October.

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS – Yes, folks, it’s finally here. While it was announced prematurely at E3 2011, Nintendo has finally delivered something concrete to prove its existence, and it looks to maintain the fun factor of previous Smash games. The announcement also came with news of three new characters. The “Villager” from Animal Crossing can use various items and pocket projectiles to fight his foes. The Wii Fit Trainer uses, well… fitness as a weapon by warrior-posing the life out of the other fighters. But perhaps the biggest character reveal was that of Mega Man, who uses the various weapons across the various Mega Man games to take on the classic Nintendo characters.

In addition to the new characters, we also got to see what the game looks like on both Wii U and 3DS. The Wii U version is obviously going for a more detailed HD graphic style, but the 3DS version seems to be a little bit more stylized visually. These games will also feature different stages depending on their platform, with the 3DS version housing smaller maps based on portable games and the Wii U version having bigger stages based on console games. It looks to be a typical Smash experience when it releases in 2014, and that’s not a bad thing at all.

Platinum Games – Over the past five years, Platinum Games has developed some of the most fun gaming experiences I’ve had in that time. From the stylized action of MadWorld to the fast-paced shooting of Vanquish, I can always count on Platinum to make a game that I will enjoy. The Wonderful 101, a unique action game exclusive to Wii U, looks to continue the trend of fun coming from the Japanese studio. The game puts the players in control of a group of heroes that fight together to take down enemies. The action relies on a technique called “Unite Morph,” in which players draw various shapes on the GamePad to turn part of your hero group into a living weapon against enemies. These powers can be collected and upgraded to make your group of heroes the ultimate fighting team. Luckily we won’t have to wait too long for this one, as it ships on September 15.

If you noticed, I left one of Platinum’s games out of the previous blurb: Bayonetta, a game so Japanese that it deserves to be the national video game of Japan. Hideki Kamiya’s action game told the story of Bayonetta, an Umbra Witch who wears pistols as her heels and a suit made of her own hear that can turn into various demons to attack enemies.

Yes, you heard that right.

On top of the craziness of the game’s story and premise, it’s one of the finest action games I’ve ever played. So when I heard that Nintendo saved Bayonetta 2 and made it a Wii U exclusive, I knew I had to have the system. Based on everything I’ve seen and read about the game today, it’s just as crazy and fun as the Bayonetta I knew and loved the first time around (just with a new hairstyle). If you haven’t played the original game, go do so right now. Hopefully you will see what I see and understand why Bayonetta 2’s 2014 release can’t come soon enough.

Nintendo also showed us Mario Kart 8, Monolith Software’s “X” and a nice lineup of indie games coming to the eShop, all of which looked pretty impressive. I’m not sure that a wide audience will find as much to like as I did (Bayonetta is not a game for everyone, as sad as that statement is), but only time will tell whether or not Nintendo’s small scale approach to E3 will garner the attention they need to turn a profit from the Wii U.

———–

So that’s all for the press events this week from E3 2013. From this point on, it’s all about the games. Be sure to check back here on Wednesday and Thursday for my thoughts on some demos that catch my attention.

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