8th June 2011 - Announcing a good two weeks before the show itself, everyone knew Nintendo had something big in store for their E3 show; a brand spanking new home console. What exactly it was, though, was a big mystery. But know we know. So strap yourself in as AAG brings you all the information from Nintendo’s big event and just why you should or shouldn’t be excited! Its news the AAG way!
The Legend of Zelda: 25th Anniversary
The show started with a very lengthy video showcasing all Zelda titles from the beginning in beautiful fashion, complemented with the addition of a live orchestra performing the Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword musical score. Amazing stuff. For those of you not in the know, Skyward Sword is the latest Zelda title, releasing later this year for the Wii.
After the historical Zelda montage, series creator Shigeru Miyamoto graced the stage with his presence. He’s a very humorous character to watch, and proceeded to gather some laughs as he demonstrated some classic Zelda animations, like opening chests, to the aforementioned orchestra recreating some of those timeless tunes. All in all, he was here to make sure we all knew that this year is the 25th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda series.
There was a heap of Zelda-related information in this segment, some more exciting than others, but all related to one of my all time favourite gaming series. I was glad to see something to be excited for, too, seeing as the insurmountably annoying Wii motion controls that have been implemented into Skyward Sword have put me right off. On talk, was;
Links Awakening – The classic Zelda, Links Awakening, is now available to download via the Nintendo 3DS’ eShop.
Ocarina of Time 3D – A kind reminder that next week see’s the release of the much anticipated Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D for the 3DS, featuring a new, Master Quest, which reverses the entire game, allowing for a fresh start for Ocarina veterans.
4 Swords – a new co-op adventure for up to 4 players, downloadable free for everyone.
Skyward Sword – unless it was about how they were allowing use of the Classic Controller, I simply wasn’t interested in this. And let down yet again, I was, as the announcement came of just a Holiday 2011 release and a special new Gold Wii Remote.
25th Anniversary Concert – one of the bigger announcements here, this was a reveal of a the Legend of Zelda: 25th Anniversary Concert, a live travelling performance from a large orchestra, this show is coming later this year to every region on Earth, with full details coming shortly. Zelda and classic music enthusiasts, get excited.
It was all ended with Miyamoto giving the crowd one final ‘Thank you’. Thank you for making his brain child series become an international phenomenon, and helping the series stay fresh and original even 25 years on. I think a lot of the gamers who enjoyed the classic Zelda games for what they were aren’t too interested in the direction of the title though. Twilight Princess had some cumbersome Wii controls, but Skyward Sword looks like it’s taking uncommon and necessary motion to new heights. We haven’t seen anything for it in a little while, but here’s hoping a lot has changed since the showing at last year’s E3 conference.
Nintendo 3DS Showcase
After the lengthy Zelda presentation, it was time to delve into some other games. Next up was the 3DS Showcase. This segment had Nintendo’s American President discussing all things first-party with the recently released handheld console. After a severe lack of quality titles on launch for the 3DS, it was time for some info on the big hitters.
We were shown 5 great new titles coming to the 3DS within the next year, all first-party and all, or at least some, of which should have launched alongside the console. With an update way off from launch, and no quality games, the 3DS has been regretted worldwide. But now with these few titles, it’s time to change that frown upside down;
Mario Kart 3D – just like the last instalment (and the one before that. And before that), only 3D. Okay, that’s not entirely true, the latest in the long running Kart series has a few new gimmicky addition, but the 3D looks like it works fantastically with the gameplay and the timeless design of the title definitely means this will be as fun as ever.
Star Fox – a revamp of the series, the new Star Fox game allows gamers to play with both regular buttons, or use the 3DS Gyro sensors and tilt the machine in any direction to control flight with surprisingly precision. Looks to be a decent revival of a once great series.
Super Mario 3D – the man on stage laid claim that this was the first original Super Mario title built with 3D graphics from scratch. Not 3D like the gimmick of the 3DS, but 3 Dimensional as in, everything post ~1995. I don’t believe him. But nonetheless, the game is Super Mario like we know and love it, and should be a good romp for anyone not still satisfied with the Wii’s instalment.
Kid Icarus – im not going to beat around the bush, I hate this guy. I hate this guy, and I hate this game series. This new game is biggest title in the series though, and is titled Kid Icarus: Uprising. I most certainly won’t be indulging in this title, but for fans, it looks like a return to form, and definitely one of the better games in the franchise.
Luigi’s Mansion 2 – the character of Luigi always pleases me, and the original Luigi’s Mansion on Gamecube was a solid effort, and one of the finer new-age Nintendo franchises. This game see’s Luigi venturing into scary territory in not just 1, and a handful of new mansions full of creepy crawlies. Watch this one.
And that was it for the 3DS segment. 5 huge new first-party titles just waiting to be played in full 3D on Nintendo’s little gadget. I have no doubt these games, as well as next week’s Zelda revamp, will rocket sales of the handheld through the stratosphere.
Before signing off, it was then confirmed that the new update for the console was now live, resulting in the free download of the new and improved DS internet browser and the Nintendo eShop, where everyone can enjoy classic titles remade for the new console, and new 3D game trailers free of charge. If you own a 3DS, what are you waiting for? Go download!
The Big Announcement...
It was the reason I was watching. It was the reason half the world was watching. It was the reason people were there... It was Nintendo’s first reveal of their new gaming console.
The new machine is called the Wii U. The hardware is a little smaller than the Wii, and is a little white box just like its predecessor. With new graphics and hardware running the thing, it’s Nintendo’s most powerful machine to date. But the real shining light of the announcement was the controller. The device looks a lot like a Tablet, like the iPad or the Samsung Galaxy, only with a Nintendo twist. That is to say, it looks like something you would find in a child’s toy box.
The new controller really is where the excitement is at. Its jam packed full of more hardware than the console itself actually, and is a good step away from Nintendo’s motion-happy regular Wii. Games can be made with either the TV for the main screen, or the controllers new 6.2” Inch touchscreen, or more appropriately, utilising both. It features 2 Circle Pads (joysticks), 2 sets of triggers, all the normal face buttons, d-pads and new home buttons. It’s teh closest thing to a normal controller we’ve seen in years from Nintendo as a main peripheral, and i Must say, I am very pleased with it.
The controller also features a microphone, built in speakers, and a forward facing camera. All of the oddities on the thing can be programmed by developers to use in conjunction with games. But the beauty of the thing is that for the first time in years, it is now possible to play the latest games on the latest Nintendo system like a normal gamer; no more silly motion , no more gimmicks (be assured though, that there will still be a LOT of these), no more nonsense. This is a Nintendo console for the hardcore crowd, just like the old days when Nintendo reigned supreme.
The company was quick to show off the likes of the TV-less integration, where it showed a gamer playing Mario on the Wii U, but when a friend wanted the TV for boring old Baseball, he was able to simply change it so that the TV was no longer needed and the entire game could be played completely on the controllers screen. Some games require the TV, and use the touchscreen as a bonus inventory or menu option, but others allow completely free playing with no TV required. The controllers camera can also be used for Video Calls via the Wii U’s internet capabilities, which Nintendo are designing to rival the other big competitors.
The console is also completely backwards compatible with all Wii games, controllers, stupid peripherals (and good ones, if there is such a thing). Standard Wii remotes can be used to play multiplayer games on the Wii U, and allows for at least up to 5 players simultaneously, allowing for unique options where the main player uses nothing but the controller and its screen. This allows for some very strange and unusual co-op possibilities im sure we will see a lot of.
As the conference started to round up, a video of developer testimonials was shown, with the big wigs of companies like Irrational, EA and Vigil games all stepping in to have a word. This is when we really seen the possibilities of the new console, with a solid list of upcoming titles developed for the console that shows Nintendo’s stance at once again being on par with the hardcore crowd. Allow me to indulge you;
Batman: Arkham City
Ghost Recon Online
Aliens: Colonial Marines
Metro: Last Light
It’s a list that one wouldn’t normally consider when discussing Nintendo, and I think really shows their dedication, or at least attempt, to reach out to the crowd that turned their backs on the Wii. The graphics of the machine look like they successfully rival the high-to-average visuals of the current generation of consoles, which is a good step up for Nintendo who usually are a step behind with a generally more colourful and child-friendly look, which we all know doesn’t translate very well at all to more hardcore titles that are out of the consoles range.
It’s all too early to judge the machine completely, but I personally am very pleased with what we’ve seen. The reliance on the controller’s unique performance demands the console to be looked at with a pinch of salt, but it’s obvious Nintendo are really trying to create a machine that brings something to the table for everyone. The new gimmick is still there, but the beauty of the machine is that it’s not required. Some smart developers will be able to really create video game gold out of the possibilities of the console and its controller, while im sure we will still see a range of silly games just like the Wii had. The main difference is that it’s obviously not too hard to create the core gaming experiences.
I will be keeping a keen eye on the development of this console and see what else Nintendo will be delivering when it launches on its 2012 release date. This is the beginning of the new generation of consoles. You’re move, Microsoft and Sony.
Article By John Elliott