Tuesday, June 14, 2011

E3 2011: Nintendo Press Conference Impressions

It’s a known fact that I’m a Nintendo fan. While I enjoy their games the most, I have no problem being critical if they do something I don’t like. Heading into the press conference, everyone had one question on their minds: what is Project Café? And while Nintendo did answer that question, they created much, MUCH more questions in its place.

The press conference opened with a Legend of Zelda orchestra playing a montage of Zelda themes. Overall, it was a great way to start the show. It was very entertaining and got everyone excited for the press conference. Turns out it wasn’t just for show as Shigeru Miyamoto announced that there would be a Zelda symphony tour in all regions of the world this fall. The tour is part of a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Legend of Zelda series.

Speaking of Zelda, Miyamoto had much more to talk about. He talked about how Link’s Awaking DX is available on the 3DS eShop and Ocarina of Time 3D will be released for the 3DS soon. I won’t be buying Link’s Awaking, but I already have Ocarina of Time 3D pre-ordered. I’m glad that the graphics and the frame rate has improved as well as there being new content made for this version as well. I won’t buy every 3D remake for the 3DS, but Zelda deserves a replay. Miyamoto also announced that they will be releasing Legend of Zelda: Four Swords on the DSi and 3DS eShops for free. That is very surprising news. Along with a 3D version of Excitebike, it’s nice to see Nintendo provide free content to help raise interest for their eShops.

Miyamoto also talked about Skyward Sword for a little bit, saying that it would be one of the best Zeldas ever. The strange thing is, this was the only Wii title talked about during the press conference. It’s strange because they did have Wii games that they could have debut at the press conference, such as Kirby Wii and Mario Party 9, but didn’t announce until after press conference. It’s not like they didn’t have time either. Nintendo’s press conference was one of the shortest press conferences of E3. It’s very strange that they didn’t talk about their newest games for their current console. I guess they wanted to focus on the 3DS and Project Café more.

Speaking of 3DS, Nintendo talked about some games coming to the 3DS, most of which we knew about ahead of time. I’m just going to go through these quickly.

Star Fox 64 3D showed that it will use the camera to show your face during the multiplayer mode. I think it’s a cool little addition. Personally, I just want to play a Star Fox game that will wash away the foul taste of Star Fox Command for the DS.

A trailer for Super Mario 3D was shown for the first time. To me, it looks like a mix between Super Mario Bros 3 and Super Mario 64. It also looks like it still needs some more time for development. I’m betting we won’t be seeing this game until sometime after E3 2012/

Mario Kart 3D was shown and it’ll feature racing both in the air and underwater. In addition, you can customize you kart however you like. It looks like a Mario Kart game. It’ll sell.

Kid Icarus: Uprising showed a 3-on-3 multiplayer mode as well as at least two new AR cards that can be played with the game. What’s interesting is that during the new trailer, they showed a character who looked like he should be in a Final Fantasy game rather than Kid Icarus. I almost definitely will be getting the game, so I look forward to seeing what the story is like when it is released sometime this year.

Finally, Nintendo announced Luigi’s Mansion 2 for the 3DS. This has me excited because I thought I was the only one who wanted to see another Luigi’s Mansion game. Unless the game gets unanimously panned by critics, I will be getting this game.

For the last section of their press conference, Nintendo announced exactly what Project Café is, sorta. The big reveal was their newest console, the Wii U. The problem is, Nintendo never actually said it was a new console during the press conference, creating much confusion. Heck, if you blinked you probably missed that the new console was actually shown in one of the trailer videos. Instead, the main focus was on the new controller which is basically a traditional controller with a 6.2 inch touch screen in the middle. The touch screen is in HD (the console itself is 1080p) and can play your games without the need of the TV screen. In addition, the Wii remotes will be compatible with the Wii U as well.

Personally, I’m not completely sold on the Wii U. You can say I’m interested. There is definitely some real potential with the new controller, but I would like to see more details about the console itself. Nintendo has already said it won’t be coming out until their next fiscal year (which starts April 1st, 2012) so it seems clear that Nintendo will be announcing more details about the console itself in the upcoming months. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Wii U isn’t released until holiday 2012, meaning they have E3 2012 to announce more details and show some official game footage.

The potential for the Wii U is there and it’s nice to see more third party support for the console. When it comes to learning more about the Wii U, this is a marathon, not a sprint. We’re just going to have to wait for our many questions to be answered.

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