From the off, I knew that this year's E3 conference from Nintendo was gonna be special. After having to put up with some wholly disappointing shows over the past couple of years (Wii Fit Plus, anyone? No, I didn't think so either), so when this year's show was precedented with loads of intriguing rumours (such as details of the 3DS and an upcoming GoldenEye remake), and when it kicked off with a new title in the Legend of Zelda franchise, things were starting to look up for Nintendo's reputation. In this feature, I'm going to try and cover all the highlights of the event. And just so you know, there weren't really any "lowlights" to speak of.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
The new Zelda game uses Wii MotionPlus to it's fullest extent, with Shigsy demonstrating the controls on stage. They seemed flawed at first, although Miyamoto blamed this on people's interfering wi-fi connections. I blame the fact that they probably should've recalibrated their controller. Nevertheless, everything seems to work fluidly, from swinging the sword, to standing in the fighting stance with your nunchuck (shield) held out in front of you. When I said the technology is used to it's max, I wasn't kidding. You don't even need to point the Wii remote at the sensor bar, because all the aiming and menu selection is done based on the motion of the controller. Finally, one of the most striking features is the new cartoon-y style. Not quite Wind Waker, and not quite Twilight Princess, the graphics look great, but not lifelike in the slightest. Nevertheless, it looks awesome.
The N64 classic is reborn with all the old maps from the original, all with a nice new lick of paint. The graphics could be much better, but are still on par with what you'd come to expect from the usual Wii FPS titles. It also boasts four player split-screen multiplayer (YES!) and eight players online (YES!!) and stars Daniel Craig in the place of Brosnan.
Dubbed "Disney's Epic Disney" by Reggie (by accident, of course), the upcoming adventure title exclusive to Wii focuses on the technique of being able to paint and remove environmental objects in it's demo, with bridges added in by the gamer, and walls removed to reach hidden objects. It also boasts some 2D levels based on the Mickey games of old and the old Mickey cartoons, including a Steamboat Willie level, which looks great fun. Really impressed.
Kirby's Epic Yarn
As we pictured on our Twitter feed, the return of Kirby to the Wii (after appearing in Virtual Console and cameo appearances before) is a 2D side-scrolling adventure with a very unique art style which, as the name suggests, shows everything with a "yarn" theme. Looks awesome, both aesthetically and gameplay-wise.
Metroid: Other M
Looking as awesome as ever, Reggie confirmed a North American release date of August 31st for Nintendo and Team Ninja's joint effort.
Donkey Kong Country
Or possibly called Donkey Kong Country Returns. I couldn't tell if the trailer was just saying DKC was returning, or if DKC Returns was the actual name of the game. Nevertheless, Nintendo look to have done it again with yet another look at 2D platforming on the Wii, with once again a really cool art style, with things such as a silhouette-styled level, and a 2.5D visual aspect throughout the whole game.
Omissions from the Wii presentation
There were some amazing announcements this year, and Nintendo barely had to rely upon third parties for their info, but there still felt like there were some things missing. Sure, the hardcore and the casual gamers both got their own titles, but for some reason something was lacking in my opinion. Whilst I'm not entirely sure, I'm gonna pin this down to the Wii firmware itself. Nothing new was revealed with regards to the system or it's channels, never mind the Virtual Console or WiiWare services. Also a distinct lack of Balance Board, Wii Wheel, Wii Zapper, the Vitality Sensor and (unless you consider Zelda alone to be enough - and you'd be forgiven for thinking that), Wii MotionPlus.
Dragon Quest 9 and Golden Sun: Dark Dawn
Amongst the Wii reveals, Nintendo found the time to show off two upcoming DS games out later this year, showing off Dragon Quest 9's ability to search for other gamers in the local area even when the DS is shut, as well as unveiling the full name for the Golden Sun game shown off at last year's event.
Believe it or not, the above titles were the only ones specifically revealed for Nintendo's existing handheld consoles, which has been steadily shrinking in popularity over the past few years due to a lack of decent, new content. Not a word of DSiWare or other downloadable services.
The reason for Nintendo's lack of support for the DS and DSi seems to be because most of their attention was busy focused on the Nintendo 3DS, which has kept it's tentative name thus far. The hardware features improved graphics (which, considering they'll be packed on a 3.5 inch screen AND in three dimensions, are pretty darned good), a widescreen, 3D upper screen which has no need for glasses or any other kind of technology, and an analog stick dubbed the "slide pad", which takes the place of the D-Pad, which is instead situated directly below the slide pad. In addition to these updates, it also (as you could've probably guessed) incorporates motion sensitivity, like the Wiimote and iPod, and has a slider to determine how in-depth the 3D effect of the top screen is.
It also features an updated camera system, with one camera situated above the top screen, and two on the lid. That's right: three cameras. This means you'll be able to take photographs of your surroundings in three dimensions, and view them back as so. Nnooo's Nic Watt already seems interested in running his upcoming game "Spirit Hunters" (links open in new window) on the console, hopefully allowing for super-accurate depth of field when pointing the camera at your surroundings.
In addition to the updated camera app, there are a couple new features that are worth noting. First of all, the console now automatically searches for wi-fi hotspots when left in stand by, as well as other 3DS systems, and will notify you if it discovers any such wireless devices. In a completely different theme, it also has the capability to show 3D movies, with films from Disney, Warner Bros and Dreamworks on display at the E3 show floor. Iwata (who was the one showing off the 3DS hardware) did make clear that they might not follow through with this feature though, and it is only a concept for the time being. In other words, Japan will probably be able to watch 3D content in the next year, and we'll be left as an afterthought for the time being.
Kid Icarus: Uprising
FINALLY, Nintendo reveal an all-new Kid Icarus game, which combines action adventure and flight elements to create an all new 3D experience, complete with some pretty snazzy looking graphics. This game seems to be at the forefront of all the upcoming 3DS titles, and should be hitting the stands at the same day as the 3DS' launch.
With the Nintendo DS, Nintendo helped gain millions of sales with their flagship title Nintendogs, which was the first game to really grab the attention of the female audience. With the 3DS, Nintendo are looking to do that once more, with Nintendogs in 3D... and with cats. Cheezburger unconfirmed.
Other 3DS software
Nintendo showcased loads of upcoming titles from third party developers really quickly towards the end of their conference, albeit with no footage or imagery to go alongside the names. Some of the most notable games to be unveiled include Kingdom Hearts, Saints Row (which was announced to laughter of the audience), DJ Hero (yes, on the handheld!), Madden, The Sims 3, Resident Evil Afterlife, Riiiidge Racerrr!, Street Fighter IV, Assassins Creed and Metal Gear Solid. Clearly, Nintendo are seizing the opportunity to grab the core gamers with their upcoming handheld console, especially due to the distinct lack of interest in the PSP from all parties. Also coming soon, whilst not third party, is a 3D Professor Layton title, subtitled The Mask of Miracle.
3DS Trailer Hints
When Nintendo showed off a trailer of what the 3DS can supposedly do (the trailer consisted of Iwata, Shigsy and Reggie all being sucked into the 3DS itself, which makes me hesitant to try it out for fear of leaving the real world), some other games were hinted by items scattered around the video's environment, including Zelda, Starfox, Donkey Kong, Mario Kart and a 3D Mario platformer. When it comes to their conferences, Nintendo are very good at missing out some vital titles (remember Sin & Punishment last year? No? That's because they didn't show it, even though it was playable on the show floor), but five major DS titles like those suggested? Maybe they thought the hints were good enough. Nevertheless, shortly after the event, Nintendo released a list of upcoming 3DS titles that we can look forwards to, which confirmed Mario Kart and Starfox, amongst the likes of Animal Crossing and (get ready)... Pilotwings!
Check out the full list of announced 3DS titles, and see our highlights from the list, by clicking here.
And with that, I think I've covered just about everything. As disappointing as it was that we didn't hear more on the downloadable gaming side of things, or the non-3DS handheld gaming scene, Nintendo's show was brilliant compared to previous years. So, if you ignore feeling short-changed after buying the DS fat, DS lite, DSi and DSiXL (although, if you did, you're a fool) and focus on the greatness to come, the next year is looking great for owners of Nintendo consoles.
E3 2010 >