Sunday, June 22, 2014

E3 2014 and Nintendo

This is coming in late -- but I wanted to give my opinion about the recent Nintendo showing at E3 this year. Nintendo has not been having a great year, with sales of the Wii U not meeting expectations -- as the system still struggles to justify its existence, beyond being the sole platform for playing Nintendo games. I really think they are getting back on track, and this E3 really shows it.

First off, the internet video clip began with a Robot Chicken sketch (minus the vulgarity), with Nintendo actually laughing at itself! They even mention the long beleaguered Mother 3 - which Nintendo refuses to release in the West; but, really, kudos for actually allowing Robot Chicken to make fun of them.

The games they showed, while not groundbreaking in any respects - coalesced into a delightful gallery of what Nintendo has in store for the future. The bedrock of all these games, really, is simply quality.

Captain Toad's Treasure Tracker, spinning off from Super Mario Wii U, initially struck me as a waste of everyone's time - as it will essentially be a puzzle solving game. Yet looking at what they managed to showcase, through mini-games, in Mario Wii U, I can't help but think this will be solid puzzle game for kids and fans alike.

"Kirby and the Rainbow Curse" follows up the DS game "Kirby Canvas Curse" - but with a winsome claymation style that looks incredible! I recently picked up the DS game, and while the stylus controlled Kirby might not be to everyone's taste - it's a solid gameplay mechanic, which will make good use of the Wii U touch screen. Only problem? You'll be looking at the touch screen - and not at your TV!

Yoshi's Wolly World seems like it's ripping off a thread from "Kirby's Epic Yarn" -- developing a game around Wool and Yarn. The exploration gameplay of Yoshi games are always fun -- and now it's just extra cute! The Yarn gameplay mechanics look interesting, too.

What really stole the show, for Nintendo, was nothing less than Smash Brothers. I honestly had ignored this game series for a long, long time up until now. I picked up a copy of the Wii version "Brawl" - and while the game initially didn't wow me -- I found myself continuing to come back over and over again, as the game kept offering up more and more surprises.

Well, I'm officially hyped for Wii U Smash Brothers, coming out later this year! Not only are they including a large and eclectic cast of characters (including Mega Man!!!) - but its boasting a strong competitive edge against regular fighters -- joining the ranks of Street Fighter and other games, and becoming a real competition-level game. Nintendo had a large fight between gamers at E3 -- which the crowd seemed to go wild for!

Another classic video game character has joined the fight! Pac Man!! I'm really surprised by this - but welcome to his addition because of the classic video game effects combined with his character.

Smash Brothers, combined with the already released Mario Kart 8, are going to be BIG system sellers for the Wii U. I really think this is were the system turns the corner. To be honest, being my only current gen system that I own (and being an early adopter of it) I'm quite pleased to see the system get its due. Its simply been mis-marketed, and mis-directed towards fans and hardcore gamers -- but Mario Kart and Smash Brothers are the games that can really change that.

What is also going to REALLY help Nintendo (at least in terms of cold hard cash) -- is the introduction of Amiibo, a collection of Video Game Figures, which interact with various games. This is similar to Skylanders -- which, if the stores stuffed with figures from floor to the ceiling are any indication, are selling quite well for kids. These Amiibo are going to appeal much more to hardcore fans -- yet, their real use beyond collectibility remains to be seen. It will make Nintendo a lot more money -- but its an easy thing for fans to ignore if they want to. As long as that mantra, of usable, but ignorable remains true - I say let Nintendo have their fun. (and money.)

Bayonetta 2 is getting a release on the Wii U, with Nintendo themed clothing options - PLUS, the inclusion of Bayonetta 1; two games for the price of one.

Xenoblade Chronicles X released a stunning trailer, of mech-fueled war -- shooting right into space! Honestly, I was more in awe of this game when they where only calling it "X" last year at E3.

Nothing was shown, but I heard there was talk of two Metroid games in development. Perhaps we'll get a better version of Other M (with less talking from our heroine, I hope), and possibly another Metroid game in the vein of the Prime series. I say, Nintendo: MAKE BOTH!! You can never have enough Metroid games.

Finally - the last thing I wanted to talk about - was the reveal of the new Zelda game for Wii U. WOW -- this looks like it is going to be a defining Zelda game, as its harkening back to its roots of a sprawling expanse to explore!

Nintendo really stole the show at E3 this year, and I hope they continue to keep up the momentum going into the new Holiday season!

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