E3 is a wonderful time of year. Here are my highlights from the Nintendo Digital Event. Once again, Nintendo have opted to ditch the traditional press-conference and present themselves in a more unique way to the others. This approach allows the company to play by their own rules a little more and set out their time more effectively. I’m starting to get used to it now, and it may well be the norm from now on.
The Zelda U Reveal
Easily the best part of the show for me. It’s been a loooong time since we’ve heard anything about this title.
It appears that the new installment will take inspiration from the very first Legend of Zelda title (NES, 1986) and focus on non-linear gameplay. This is awesome news, and was foreshadowed by rumors that Zelda U will be massive in scope, if not totally open-world. Eiji Aonuma explained that re-thinking the conventions of the Zelda series led to this decision, and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out. It seems as if the puzzles will be linked to the way you approach them and explore the new world. It also seems like this could be the biggest Zelda installment yet. Yes, please!
While the trailer was short there was still a lot to see and take in. Link’s character model appears to be inspired by the way he was drawn in A Link Between Worlds, and the environment (probably Hyrule) looked absolutely lush. The mechanical spider looked was incredibly detailed as well. Even the blades of grass swaying in the wind and the mist rolling down the plains looked impressive. Nintendo’s artists are known for their attention to detail and what we saw today has only confirmed this. I’m super-keen on this game now.
It is a little awkward that we have to wait until 2015 for what will almost definitely be the Wii U’s ‘system seller’, but on the other hand this means that Zelda U is getting the time and care in production that it deserves. Bring on 2015.
More Smash Bros. News
“Mii’s are now playable”.
I thought this might happen and was pretty sceptical about the whole idea, but after watching Iwata and Reggie Fils-Aime smashing the piss out of each other during a pretty hilarious reveal, I became a little more receptive. It looks like this will be the only game where you can beat the hell out of Chuck Norris, Elijah Wood and other celebrities as well in the form of their Mii avatars. Neat!
There will be 3 fighting styles for Mii’s which is pretty cool. However, this reveal was bundled together awkwardly with the Amiibo figurine announcement. The idea that selling a bunch of individual plastic characters to enhance gameplay is not good – it’s basically a physical version of DLC. Not cool, Nintendo.
But we were blessed with another upside – the reveal of Palutena as a brand new playable character for the franchise. I loved the trailer for this – the anime style battle between Link and Pit was amazing to start with – but when Palutena stepped in it just got better. I’m not even a fan of the Kid Icarus franchise but was still majorly impressed.
We also got a bunch of additional screenshots and snippets of footage to tide over fans until release day.
Mario Maker Reveal
This looks incredibly fun.
A fully decked-out toolkit for creating and sharing your own Mario-inspired level creations is nothing but a good thing. Mario Maker looks like loads of fun. The ability to toggle the visual aesthetics from the older, retro feel to the modern style we saw in New Super Mario Bros U is an added bonus.
This title is purely community focused – Nintendo have basically given their consumers the keys to the Mushroom Kingdom to redesign it as they please. Sadly we have to wait until 2015 to get this one, but it’s definitely something to look forward to for Wii U owners. A creative title such as this will sit very nicely in the Wii U’s catalogue.
Overall, Nintendo’s E3 presentation was exciting but not outstanding. It was great to see the Wii U finally get some attention though. And it’s not quite over yet…