Is the new era of Nintendo finally here?
Some people loved it, some people hated it. Today’s Nintendo Direct was a mixed bag, to be sure. They had a lot of cool stuff to show, but not without a few stumbling blocks along the way. So what did Nintendo do right, and what did they do wrong? Here’s my rundown:
Ustream Traffic Woes
First things first. Ustream can’t support a million people watching a broadcast at once. I’m sure no one expected it, but everything crashed. I had to turn to the UK site to actually watch a decent quality video. I was optimistic about this video broadcast at first, but now I hope they never do such a thing again.
Pokemon X Nintendogs
Did we really need this? “Pokemon-Aime” is a mode in Pokemon X and Y in which you get to play with your Pokemon so that they two of you can “bond.” Seriously? I don’t know what else to say. This isn’t the audience you’re trying to target with the broadcast, Nintendo.
Super Mario 3D World: Failure to Wow
Nintendo’s new 3D Mario game is exactly what I feared it would be. This E3 has been filled with great games but none that really made me say “wow, this is the next generation.” Add Super Mario 3D World to that list. Yes, it’ll be a super fun experience, and it’ll sell millions… but it doesn’t do anything to show off the hardware and does nothing to “wow” gamers. This is exactly what the Wii U doesn’t need.
Abysmal 3rd Party Support
That trailer was so depressing to watch. Wii U third-party support is so bad, with Ubisoft seemingly the only one holding some ground. Everything else just went down the drain. What, we have Assassin’s Creed, Watch Dogs, Batman, and what else? Disney Infinity? Skylanders? Ugh.
Wii Play Party U
I don’t really need to say anything about this.
Retro’s Disappointing New Project
And possibly the biggest disappointment of the press conference is Retro’s Donkey Kong Country Returns Tropical Freeze. And it’s not that people hate DKCR, but that Retro, like EAD, had the potential to make an awesome new title that would “wow” every Wii U owner, and they blew it. DKCRTF will still be a great game for sure, but we will spend the next few weeks – even months! – scratching our heads as to why Retro, a studio with so much talent, decided to do yet another 2D platformer.
Mixing Up Mario Kart
Mario Kart 8 looks so much fun, and it looks like the reboot I think most people wanted. Adding verticality to this series changes everything, and I mean it. The courses are now limitless to the imagination. The amount of creativity that can be achieved in this game is ridiculous. And not to mention how great this game will look in HD! I’m genuinely excited for Mario Kart 8, because it looks like the first game in the series (bar Double Dash) that actually attempts to do something different.
Impressive Indie Showcase
Indie support of Wii U has so far been great, and the trailer shown during Nintendo’s E3 Direct further proves that the Big N is trying to reach out toward younger, lesser known developers. Lots of good stuff was shown today from the indie front, not to mention that a lot of indie titles currently in development didn’t even make an appearance in the trailer. With what I saw, there are most definitely many great things coming in the Wii U’s indie future.
Monolith’s Jaw-Dropping New RPG
Holy sh*t. Nothing I say will accurately describe how amazing that new X trailer was. This is what the Wii U needs – an impressive, open-world RPG that shows off just how powerful the machine can be. Every second of that trailer blew me away, and to think that this game is coming in 2014… wow. Yeah, so what if Final Fantasy XV is coming to PS4? Nintendo has an equally impressive RPG coming to Wii U. I mean, did you see those mechs?
And of course, Smash Brothers. I almost forgot this game was going to be shown today! But what I saw was impressive, both with the Wii U version and the 3DS version. I like the new graphics style a lot, and the fighting looks as solid as always. I wish they revealed a bit more detail about the two titles, but you know what? I can wait. I’m satisfied with the stuff I saw. Also, Mega Man!
Overall, I think it was a decent E3 showing by Nintendo. I’m a bit disappointed by the lack of “wow” that we usually associate with E3, but Nintendo still showed off some pretty impressive games. Yes, SM3DW and DKCRTF (wow, that was painful to type) may not be what I was expecting, but they’ll both probably turn out to be amazing, adding to the growing list of great Wii U exclusives.
However I still can’t help but feel a bit confused. Nintendo still has over a dozen studios with unannounced games, many of which are undoubtedly working on something for Wii U. Where are they? Why not announce them now? We only received two brand new titles that we had no idea was in development until today: DKCRTF and Art Academy. Everything else was old news.
Where’s the new? I just wish Nintendo would stop for a moment and think about this. Everyone wanted to see something new today, and instead we got just another 3D Mario, just another Donkey Kong Country… is this what Nintendo wants, to retread waters just for the fun of it? Mario Kart 8 was impressive because it looked new. X was impressive because it felt new. How about everything else?
But despite my qualms, I’m still super stoked. Granted, my most anticipated Wii U titles are coming in 2014, but I still can’t help but feel confident that the Wii U will succeed, perhaps even ahead of PS4 and XB1. My only hope is that from today forward, Nintendo will pick up the pace and begin its phase of innovation once again, showing the world that they indeed are still alive, that they don’t survive solely on nostalgia.
What successes and failures did you guys see out of today’s Nintendo Direct? Sound off in the comments below!