Welcome back, Nintendo. It’s been a while.
Antigravity Mario Kart, Cat Mario, and Mega Man in Smash Bros. were just a few of the many features in new titles announced by Nintendo this morning during its Nintendo Direct broadcast. The company is taking a new approach to E3 this year by bringing news directly to the gamer instead of holding a large conference as it has done in the past. My only complaint was that I couldn’t enjoy the enthusiastic cheers of thousands of game developers as Nintendo established itself as a market contender once again.
While there were several third-party titles announced (Scribblenauts: Unmasked, Shin Megami Tensei IV, Sonic Lost World, and Watch Dogs, among others), the focus was on Nintendo-published games; just what I said Nintendo needed. The most hilarious segment of the broadcast was when Iwata discussed Wii Fit U and Wii Party U and apologized, saying that they needed more time to complete them. And why does Nintendo need more time to work on these games that no one watching E3 really cares about? Because they were too busy making…well, see for yourself.
The next installments in the Pokémon franchise were no secret, but we learned some things today that were surprising to some. Since the announcement of Eevee’s new evolution, Sylveon, there have been rumors going around about the introduction of a new Pokémon type. And indeed, as many speculated, Sylveon will belong to the “Fairy” category, which is super-effective against Dragon types.
Also unveiled was a new feature in the game called “Pokémon-Aime,” which more or less allows you to interact with your Pokémon like Nintendogs, feeding them and copying their facial expressions to improve your relationship. Is this just a gimmick, or could it add a new element of strategy to the game? Either way, it’s awfully cute.
Mario Kart 8
Mario Kart never gets old, and is loved by hardcore and casual gamers alike. Mark Kart 8 combines features of the Wii (motorcycles) and 3DS (air and water capabilities), but adds new ones as well. By far the coolest aspect of the new Mario Kart game is the antigravity feature. Karts and bikes can now go upside down, which adds a new dimension to gameplay and opens up endless possibilities for courses. I’ve yet to be disappointed by a Mario Kart game, and I’m positive that this one will live up to my expectations. I’m just afraid I’ll get dizzy.
Super Mario 3D World
With a name similar to its 3DS predecessor, Super Mario 3D World is the newest title in the three-dimensional Mario adventure games. The presentation focused heavily on the new multiplayer aspect, which allows players to play as one of four characters (Mario, Luigi, Peach, or Toad). These characters all have different abilities, and work together to beat enemies and stages. I don’t see myself necessarily using a multiplayer feature in a Mario adventure game (lest tempers and tensions run high), but the concept is intriguing and has potential. It’s no Super Mario Galaxy, but it’s still a Mario game and looks like a lot of fun.
And come on, Cat Mario. Sold.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
I’m a bit at a loss for what all the hype is over this one. Wind Waker is a fantastic game as it is, and while the graphics have gotten a nice boost, it really is just the Gamecube version running on the Wii U system, as Iwata explained. There is quite a bit more cell shading and visually it looks nicer than the Gamecube version, but not enough to warrant a port onto the Wii U, in my opinion. There are some new features, like a faster boat (thank Nayru) and a revamped Tingle Tuner that allows players to connect to others via WiFi, but these are simply extras. It’s not as if the game has been remade. But, because I am a diehard Zelda fan, I will withhold my final judgement on this game until I see it in action.
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and for 3DS
At the end of the conference, President Iwata announced what we have all been waiting for with a full-length trailer for the new Super Smash Bros. game. The graphics are everything we would expect from a first-party Wii U game, and the gameplay looks just as fun as any preceding title. New characters include Mega Man, Villager, and, yes, Wii Fit Trainer (I thought it was a joke too). This will most definitely be the most anticipated Nintendo game of 2014 (if it doesn’t get delayed), and the wait will be nothing short of painful. Of course, there is way too much to be said about this game here, but you can read up on it in my recently-published article exclusively on Super Smash Bros..
If this broadcast was an accurate indication of what is to become of the future of Nintendo, I think it is safe to say that we can all rest easy, because the BigN isn’t going anywhere. Nintendo has presented a solid lineup, and while it continues to ride the nostalgia wave of its past successes, it seems to be working. Sure, it wasn’t perfect, and I didn’t get a new Zelda game (not that I expected to), but you can’t have it all. No matter what the rest of the week brings, I think we can all agree that it’s a good day to be a Nintendo fan.