E3 – The Big 3 Round Up Part 3: Nintendo
In the final part of the big 3 round up, we take a look at what Nintendo had on show for us all, including the announcement of a new home console.
Things started off in a grand way, with an orchestra playing some very familiar music to a montage of all the Zelda games from the original NES game, right through to the latest version, celebrating 25 years of the series.
Miyamoto san then took to the stage. He started by showing off the orchestra playing certain Zelda motifs, which was quite fun. As it is the 25th anniversary, several Zelda games are being re-released over each console. It was announced that Link’s Awakening, will be available to download for 3DS store. Also coming to the 3DS is Ocarina of Time, including the Master Dungeon mode, as seen in the Gamecube special edition. For the DSI/XL, there will be a free download of the multiplayer Zelda, The Four Swords. This was originally available on the GBA, which also included A Link to the Past. It wasn’t mentioned if this will be included with the download of Four Swords, but as it’s free of charge, I sincerely doubt it.
Coming soon on the Wii, is the new Zelda game, Skyward Sword. This will utilise the Wii controls in a similar way to Twilight Princess, which worked very well. A limited edition gold Wiimote will be released in conjunction with the game. The game is released in time for the silly season. Also announced was a series of worldwide concerts with the orchestra in celebration of Zelda’s anniversary. The concerts will also be released on CD in conjunction with Skyward Sword. Those who register their Ocarina of Time 3D game soon after release will receive a free copy of the soundtrack.
This concluded the Zelda section of the presentation.
Nintendo’s president was then introduced. He talked about how the Wii and DS consoles have reached people who wouldn’t usually play video games. He then talked about the core/casual divide. Then teasing about the new Nintendo console, but said he’d get to it later and went into the 3DS. We saw teasers for Mario Kart 3DS, Starfox 64 3D, Mario Bros 3D, Kid Icarus and Luigi’s Mansion 2.
Nintendo’s American Brand President then took the stage, again talking about the line between the core and casual gamers. He then started going into more depth of the games just seen in the teaser trailers. First of all we saw footage from Mario Kart 3DS. It looks as though they’ve tried to add a little more variety to things, although I did recognise a couple of tracks from the Wii version. Following Mario Kart, we saw a preview of Starfox 64 3D. Showcasing motion controls for the game and the multiplayer. After we saw a brief glimpse of the fox, we were treated to a preview of Super Mario 3D. A brand new Mario game, built from the ground up for 3DS, and it looks very good, I have to say!
Kid Icarus makes his long awaited return with Kid Icarus Uprising, a very Japanese looking 3rd person action game. This looks like one to keep an eye on, and finally we saw Luigi’s Mansion 2. While similar to the excellent Gamecube original, this has been made from scratch and will feature several different locations.
We were then introduced to a video of 3rd party titles, including Resident Evil Mercenaries, Tetris Online, Resident Evil Revelations, Driver Renegade and Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D. As well as those few samples, it has been hinted at loads more games coming soon. As well as those, the Nintendo Virtual Console will be available for the 3DS which will have older hand held games, as well as console games available to download. Also, as a limited offer, Classic Excitebike will be free of charge and also in 3D.
Things swiftly went Pokemon, with an announcement of Pokedex 3D. It’s basically what it says on the tin. It’s a catalogue of all the Pokemon, but in 3D. To find all the Pokemon however, you will need to utilise the 3DS’s Augmented Reality feature. This is only available through the Nintendo E shop, but is free of charge.
Then the new console was announced. Wii U. “Tailor made for you”. We then saw the new controller. It looks like an upside down PS Vita if I’m honest! The controller was the focal point of the presentation. The motion sensitive controller boasts 2 analogue thumb sticks, 2 shoulder buttons, 2 triggers, a D-pad, the usual 4 buttons as well as a 6” touch screen and integrated front camera. Some of the features shown include the ability to play your Wii games on the controller, so if someone wants to use the TV, it doesn’t have to cut into your game time. Also, in a similar function to the DS, it works as an extra screen for menus, functions etc. Not only that, you can use it for video chat as well.
While it does look quite neat, the layout of the controller does not. The thumb sticks sit above the buttons, making it look rather uncomfortable. Not only that, it is very bulky. Also, the controller tablet doesn’t appear mandatory as some of the example footage showed the Wiimotes being used. Speaking of which, the Wii U will be backwards compatible with all Wii peripherals, so you won’t have spent all that money on 4 Wiimotes and a balance board only for them to become obsolete a couple of years down the line. You will also be able to play your original Wii games on the console too.
Although similar to one, it has been stressed that the controller is not a portable gaming device, even though you can play your game on the controller screen. The Wii U will feature current gen graphics, meaning that Nintendo are up to date (for now) when it comes to quality visuals. We will also see the games presented in lovely high definition.
The first game to be announced for Wii U, was Super Smash Bros. However, this was only talked about. We then saw a lovely looking tech demo of a bird flying through a wintery looking Japanese garden, which was beautiful. We then saw an announcement of LEGO City Stories, a brand new open world adventure LEGO game, not based on any film franchise. We then had a rundown of several core titles, (that are already appearing on PS3 and 360) that will be available on launch, including Arkham City, Darksiders II, Assassins Creed, Metro: Last Light and Aliens: Colonial Marines (the footage of which looked awesome, can’t wait!).
And with that, the presentation drew to a close. It was the shortest of the 3, but the most interesting due to the announcement of a new home console. Until more has been shown with regards to it’s functionality I’m not going to get too excited as the original Wii was quite a let down. Also, a lot of the core titles will be seen on the systems I already own, meaning there needs to be another reason for me to invest in one of these.
The Zelda anniversary announcement was a highlight as I’m a big fan and will hopefully get hold of each version that has been announced. I’m particularly looking forward to Skyward Sword. A new Zelda console game is always something get excited about!
Over the coming days I’ll be bringing you my highlights from the expo, including a look at the forthcoming Resident Evil games, Batman: Arkham City and the superb looking Aliens: Colonial Marines, so keep an eye on HCF!