Nintendo’s E3 2012 Keynote Brings Pikmin 3, Some Marios
We’ve seen Microsoft’s showing, we’ve seen Sony’s. Now, Nintendo shows off their goods, and unfortunately, it was highly predictable. The big surprise was a game we all knew was coming, and following that were a few montages of third party games, which rang all too reminiscent of past E3 Wii showings, and three Mario games. Ubisoft showed off a new zombie title, and Nintendo ended with what they’re hoping will be the Wii U’s Wii Sports, NintendoLand, a (who would’ve guessed it?!) collection of minigames.
- If not for Nintendo’s pre-E3 briefing video, the hardware stuff they went over during the actual keynote wouldn’t have been fresh, but at least not have been rehashed yesterday. The big announcement, however, is that the Wii U will support up to two GamePads. A year or so ago, it was said that the Wii U could only handle one.
- Nintendo led the conference with Shigeru Miyamoto announcing Pikmin 3. It’s pretty much Pikmin. The video showed a new rock type Pikmin, as well as groups of the little plant guys performing tasks, like building bridges and breaking down walls. Oddly, the default control scheme is with the Wii Remote Plus and Nunchuck combination, with the GamePad being set down in the player’s lap and being used as a map. It probably wasn’t the best idea to announce a game for your new console that doesn’t use its new features by default. They did say players can control the game with the GamePad, but it not being set as the default control scheme was pretty telling.
- Reggie took the stage as Miyamoto left, and said Nintendo fans always say when you have a new Nintendo console, you have to have a new Nintendo game, then proceeded to announce New Super Mario Bros. U. Get ready for a generation of games with the U suffix! It’s a side-scrolling Mario game. Some of the clips showed off four player co-op. Everything about it was extremely passive: The colors were bright but not aggressive, the music was very soft and somewhat muted, and onscreen action wasn’t happening very quickly. The characters seemed to move slowly, and everything seemed floaty. Players can play the game on the TV or the GamePad. In the new “Boost Mode,” four people play using Wii Remotes, and the person with a GamePad can alter the game play in some fashion; the example given was the GamePad player can put blocks on the screen.
- Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition was shown off, with Harley Quinn up on the big screen addressing Reggie on stage. It’s Arkham City, but with some GamePad features. Arkham City released in October of 2011. It is now June 5, 2012, and the Wii U is supposed to be released holiday season 2012.
- Scribblenauts Unlimited. It’s a new Scribblenauts, but with the Wii U GamePad. If you have ever played Scribblenauts, there’s not much to say. The GamePad provides a better object creation mode, in that there’s more screen real estate on which to squish items together, compared to the Nintendo DS. The game is sporting a multiplayer mode, and the trailer says the story will reveal the origin behind Maxwell’s notebook.
- A montage of third party games showed off Darksiders II, Mass Effect 3, a game that is hilariously called TANK! TANK! TANK!, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Trine 2: Director’s Cut, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, and Aliens Colonial Marines.
- Wii Fit U up next. It’s just a new Wii Fit; however, instead of just using the Balance Board, the video — I kid you not — showed one sequence where the player was using four peripherals at once: The Balance board, the GamePad, a WiiMote, and a new Fitmeter, which seems to be a pedometer that allows one to upload workout stats to the main game.
- Next up is SiNG, a singing and dancing karaoke game. Hilariously, the trailer was set to “Call Me Maybe,” currently one of the Internet’s favorite jokes. The GamePad displayed lyrics, and the trailer showed a group of people playing together, with the person holding the GamePad also holding a mic and singing.
- The show then switched to a 3DS focus, which didn’t last very long. They announced New Super Mario Bros. 2, which is funny, because they just announced New Super Mario Bros. U. The game is “all about the gold,” and all the monsters are golden, there are gold coins everywhere, and the trailer even has a segment where Mario himself gets a golden block on his head that spews gold coins.
- Paper Mario: Sticker Star. A new Paper Mario for the 3DS. It’s all your favorite Paper Mario mechanics, except this time with sticker items. The player can collect them by pulling them off the scenery, and in turn, receive different powers from the stickers, such as new battle commands, new ways to affect the scenery, or to find hidden areas. Coming this holiday season.
- Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. Heavier emphasis on ghost-catching, with new types of ghost. It seems pretty similar to past iterations of the franchise.
- Another montage of third party games, this time for the 3DS. Castlevania: Lord of Shadows Mirror of Fate, Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion, Scribblenauts Unlimited again, and finally Kindgom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance, which we’ve known about forever.
- Back to Wii U, with LEGO City: Undercover. A LEGO minifig policeman runs around the city, jumping off rooftops and swinging along flagpoles. The GamePad is shown off to work as a map (which seems to be the trend unfortunately), and also when pointed at the TV, is used like a heat scanner. There’s a terrible, dated Matrix joke: Minifig policeman knows kung fu. Game play shows off an in-game hot menu that allows Minifig man to switch disguises.
- Yves Guillemot of Ubisoft comes out to talk a bit, mentions Rayman Legends and doesn’t show off anything. He leaves and lets another Ubisoft employee do the dirty work, who then shows off ZombiU, a first-person zombie shooter. The game looks like a pretty standard zombie FPS, but at the end of the presentation, Reggie holds his face up to the GamePad, and it AR zombifies him. Reggie says he’s hungry for french food. Get it, because Ubisoft? “One bite, and you’re dead.”
- Another montage, this time showing off Assassin’s Creed III, Rabbids Land, Your Shape Fitness Evolved, Rayman Legends, Sports Connection, and Avengers: Battle for Earth.
- Last game of the show: NintendoLand. It’s what Nintendo hopes to be the Wii Sports of the Wii U, as it will be a launch title. You guessed it, it’s a minigame collection, but this time the minigames are at least based on popular Nintendo franchies like Zelda and Donkey Kong. The game is set up like a theme park, and will feature 12 different attractions. That’s the end of the show.
I don’t know why I was hopeful for Nintendo’s keynote this year. I recently received a Nintendo 3DS for my birthday, so I was hoping for some interesting 3DS games, but instead we got two Mario games and another Luigi’s Mansion. It would’ve been nice if Nintendo even offhandedly mentioned some of the more gamer-friendly titles, like some sort of Metroid (considering we already have the stand from Kid Icarus: Uprising that a new Metroid would basically require), Zelda, or a date for the U.S. translation of the new 3DS Fire Emblem, which Japan has had since April.
It was a bad sign that the biggest game announced at the keynote, Pikmin 3, doesn’t use the whole point of the Wii U, the GamePad, as its default control scheme. Diehard Nintendo fans were probably happier than I was, considering there were two new Mario games, but ultimately, this was a standard Nintendo E3 keynote. Not very exciting, and left you a little bewildered as to what in the world Nintendo thinks they’re doing.