The second part of my E3 news coverage is solely about Nintendo. They came out quirky, as always, with a lot of news about their new console. Their second press conference (on the 6th) was completely about the 3DS. To read the news from Sony, EA, Ubisoft, and Microsoft’s press events, check out my other blog And Ubisoft Takes the Prize – E3 News.
Opening with a demo for the new Pikmen 3 for the Wii U, they did their best to push how innovative the new Wii U Gamepad would be. If the system was set up to just use the Gamepad, I wouldn’t be complaining, but after repeated references to not only the Nunchuk but the Pro Controller and the Balance Board, I’m wondering just how many peripherals Nintendo wants their customers to purchase. Is this everything you’ll have to buy to play all of the games on the Wii U?
And how many will you need? Since the system is being catered towards families, owners may need more than one of each and the only controller announced to be packaged with the Wii U is the Gamepad. The lower priced tag system could be concealing a lot of hidden costs.
The only good that’s come out of all these peripherals is the Pro Controller. Assuming the it will be compatible with all games on the Wii U, it removes the gimmick from the system and gives it the capability to be a normal gaming system. Since the Wii U is officially HD (720p with upscaleing like the Xbox 360), we will hopefully be seeing plenty of thrid party games released on the Wii U. At the release they will already be back dating their content with “new” versions of Batman: Arkham City and Mass Effect 3. There was also a promise to see a release of Assassin’s Creed 3 on the system. Finally, we’re already moving in the right direction.
This system also has Sony and Microsoft looking for ways to put their own touch screen into the mix on their systems. Microsoft wants to use SmartGlass to link up to your tablet while Sony has declared the PS Vita can be used as a peripheral for the PS3. And, as you can see from the picture on the left, Nintendo created a Gamepad that looks startlingly similar to the Vita. They both even have cameras in them. Their differences, unfortunately, only hurt Nintendo. The position of the buttons, the size, and lack of ergonomic conformity will make the Wii U Gamepad uncomfortable to hold for long periods of time.
Personally, I find the added game play from having this kind of extra controller questionable, and I’m referring to the PS3’s use as well as the Wii U’s Gamepad. The new Rayman was demoed on the Wii U with a specific game play elements for the touch screen. A new character, Murphy, can be controlled by a separate player from whoever is jumping around as Rayman or Globox. This doesn’t mean co-op is dead in Rayman; the game supports five players total as well as Wii remotes. The player controlling Murphy can interact with the environment, assist on puzzles, and harass enemies. Besides that, the Gamepad’s touchscreen allows users to take out enemies, clear paths and use the gyroscope technology to manipulate and rotate platforms. The demo also showed off a subsequent level that featured Rayman and Globox on rails, being propelled through the level while the player who controlled Murphy tapped the GamePad screen in time to the song’s beats and rhythmic background. Rayman and Globox’s actions highlighted the melodic guitars and other sounds.
While this doesn’t detract from the game, it’s not adding anything either. Will the game play on the Xbox 360 or the PS3 be any less fun? Similar elements used in the DS and the Vita are the same; good, but removing them doesn’t make the game worse. Also, because the Gamepad doesn’t have a dual touch screen like the Vita, switching back and forth from tapping the screen to using the controller buttons in the middle of a platforming section is likely to slow your speed times down significantly.
Still, the game line up isn’t anything to sneeze out. The following will also be release for the Wii U:
- Super Mario Bros. U
- Scribblenauts Unlimited
- Tank! Tank! Tank!
- Tekken Tag Tournament 2
- Trine 2: Director’s Cut
- Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge
- Aliens Colonial Marines
- Luigi’s Mansion: Ghost Mansion
- Just Dance 4
- Lego City
- Your Shape
- Sports Connection
- Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth
There was so much to release for the Wii U, Nintendo hardly had any time to talk about their current handheld system, the Nintendo 3DS. Plenty of good games are going to be coming out for it, but what stood out for me was Paper Mario: Sticker Star.
The newest edition to the Paper Mario franchise, Paper Mario: Sticker Star will be released this holiday season exclusively for the 3DS. An RPG with turn based combat, timed button presses will be used to prevent incoming damage and increase offensive damage.The stickers come into play in several ways. One of two collectable items, they are also the basis of combat and how players will solve the problems for the inhabitants of Marioland. These quests and events are how you level up, so collecting all of the stickers will be essential to progress through the game.
This wasn’t the only good game announced, though. Also coming to handhelds everywhere are:
- Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion
- Castlevania: Mirror of Fate
- Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance
- Scribblenaunts Unlimited
- Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heros
- Transformers Prime, The Game
- Rabbids Rumble
- Heros of Ruin
- Rhythm Thief & the Emperor’s Treasure
- Luigi’s Mnasion: Dark Moon
- Super Mario Bros. 2
- Pokemon Black: Version 2
- Pokemon White: Version 2
Of note, the new Pokemon Black and White are squeals to the DS version, set two years after events in the first. It will also be released for the DS. Super Mario Bros. 2 looks amazing, while Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion is a tribute to the original Castle of Illusion game. I’m looking forward to most of these games, though my wallet is beginning to weep.