The Nintendo press conference was the media briefing that I had been anticipating the most. An impressive feat considering that I probably turn on my Wii the least of all three major consoles (though the 3DS does see quite a bit of use). So how did it actually turn out? Read on and find out.
1. The conference opened with Shigeru Miyamoto introducing a title that everyone had predicted was coming: Pikmin 3. They demonstrated how the WiiU controller can be used as an overhead map and can guide the Pikmin around far more efficiently that what could be done before. Rock Pikmin were also added as a new type to be included in your miniature plant army.
2. It was announced that Netflix, Youtube, Hulu, and Amazon Video would all be coming to the Wii U console. While this may be a minor thing in of itself, it does show at least some willingness on Nintendo’s part to adapt their console to fit in people’s homes as an all in one device. Except for playing DVD’s of course.
3. Dispelling previous concerns that the new console would only work with one tablet controller, Nintendo revealed that two of these controllers can be used together to play two player mode with titles that support it. No mention of price in getting another one of these though.
4. New Super Mario Bros. U was shown in a more official capacity, and I gotta say, it looks great in high definition. New abilities were also shown off, including a power up that turns Mario and friends into a flying squirrel or something to that extent. It looks much like its Wii predecessor, but I look forward to it all the same.
5. Nintendo wasn’t hesitant in unveiling its third party support, and the first of such games is Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition. It’s basically a port of last year’s game, only with WiiU functionality added. Batarangs could be guided around with the tablet controller, and there appeared to be some minigames that involved use of the touchscreen. I suspect it won’t be enough to be worth picking up a second time, but for those who haven’t played it before, it may be worth taking the plunge.
6. Scribblenauts Unlimited was shown briefly, followed by a montage of other third party releases. Some of the ones I was able to catch were Darksiders II, Mass Effect 3, Tank! Tank! Tank!, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Trine 2, Ninja Gaiden 3, and the new Aliens.
7. If you haven’t tossed away your Wii balance boards, it seems that Wii Fit U will be making use of them again. Preview footage showed how the balance board could be used in conjunction with the tablet controller for a variety of different minigames.
8. Nintendo claimed they weren’t going to talk much on new 3DS titles until later, but they did have three on hand to show off. New Super Mario Bros. 2 looked much like the previous entry on the DS, only there was a theme with golden enemies and golden objects (and a form of Mario running around with bricks on his face). It will be releasing August 19th. Also briefly shown were Paper Mario Sticker Star and Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, both which will be available during the holiday season.
9. Ubisoft was on hand to show off what games they had in store for the WiiU (things they had previously introduced in their own conference). Just Dance 4, Assassin’s Creed III, Rayman Legends, Rabbids Land, Sports Connection, The Avengers, and Your Shape are all coming to the system. The most interesting one for me by far was the title ZombiU. I like zombie games in general, but this one looked creepy and looked like a game built ground up for the system. Hopefully, I’ll have a chance to check it out on the show floor this week.
10. Nintendo ended their conference with a title called Nintendo Land. Despite name dropping other Nintendo properties such as Zelda and Donkey Kong, I could sense much of the audience groaning at what appeared to be just another minigame collection. Some of the minigames did look fascinating, but I suspect the gimmick will run its course rather quickly before it just gets old.
Nintendo had all the opportunity in the world to completely wow the crowd, but this year was a bit of a letdown compared to previous years. Pikmin 3 and all of the Mario titles look great, but there were no real surprises and no news of the next Zelda or Smash Bros. Oh well, maybe next year. Be sure to stay tuned to Diehard GameFAN for more E3 2012 coverage!