Even with it's year long lead over the other consoles, the Wii U is already lagging behind the PlayStation 4's sales and the Xbox One is quickly catching up. The device has an undeserved reputation for being a under-powered and third-party publishers aren't really flocking to it. So with that in mind, of the big three console makers, Nintendo needed to impress at E3 more than anyone else. So how did they do? Pretty good actually. In their E3 2014 video stream, the company showed off some surprising and impressive new products, that certainly got many people salivating.
But even with that quality display sadly, it may already be too late for Nintendo. Here's the Nintendo E3 Digital Event Highlights package.
As they did last year, Nintendo chose to forgo a live conference, opting instead for an online video presentation. A presentation which started in the strangest of fashion, first with a stop motion animated intro that segued into a choreographed brawl between Reggie Fils-Aime, President of Nintendo of America, and Satoru Iwata, President and CEO of Nintendo Co. You can check that out right at the bottom of this article. The whole thing was just a clever and cool way to introduce the first game of the presentation, Super Smash Bros. If nothing else, it proved that Nintendo has a sense of humour about their current place in the gaming continuum.
Super Smash Bros. Wii U/Nintendo 3DS
Super Smash Bros. has always been a huge franchise for Nintendo, but one I've never understood the appeal of. In any case, a new Smash Bros. is sure to go down pretty well. The new one will allow players to use the personal Mii's within the game and to customise them according to their specifications. In an interesting move, players will be able to transfer their combat ready Miis bewteen the Wii U and 3DS versions. Super Smash Bros.will also be the first game to make use of the new Amiibos. If you're famliar with Skylanders and Disney's Infinity, then the Amiibo concept should be easy to grasp. Taking advantage of the GamePad's NFC capability, players can use game figurines to insert new characters into games. Unlike Skylanders and Disney's Infinity, the Amiibos aren't tied to any one game, but games can be designed to take advantage of them.
"Amiibo is a character figurines designed to connect and interact with compatible games. By holding the amiibo over your Wii U GamePad, you'll open up new experiences within each corresponding game. Your amiibo will store data as you play, making it your very own, one-of-a-kind amiibo. In the Super Smash Bros. for Wii U game, you'll be able to scan your amiibo into the game. You'll then be able to fight against your amiibo, team up with it in battle or watch it battle other in-game characters. Your amiibo will be able to increase its attack and defense stats and even learn new fighting tactics."
Yoshi's Woolly World
If the name doesn't give it away, I'm sure the trailer does. Everything in Yoshi's Woolly World is made of wool, giving this side-scrolling platformer not only a unique aesthetic, but also some interesting gameplay elements. In typical Yoshi fashion fashion, Mario's dinosaur buddy can consume his enemies, but in Wooly World this turns them into balls of yarn that Yoshi can use to 'knit' new platforms or tie up enemies. No doubt, Nintendo will find all sorts of interesting ways to exploit this power for oodles of fun.
Captain Toad Treasure Tracker
Toad has been a perennial Mario supporting cast member for years. He's featured as an alternate playable character in a few Nintendo games, but this is the first time, as far as I'm aware, that the Fungi (teehee) has had the starring role. The game looks to be an spin-off of Super Mario 3D World, with the gameplay and assets resembling that game a great deal.
A story trailer for Bayonetta 2 also made an appearance and like the original it just over the top bonkers. Bayonetta has never been a series with any interest in making sense. Which is fine, because it looks like the game will be retaining its absurd and frenetic combat, which is the most important part. Also revealed, was that the entirety of the first game would be included on the Bayonetta 2 disc, so it's really two games in one.
Splatoon is a new IP and is Nintendo's take on four-on-four multiplayer combat. Think Gears of War, but way more colourful. Players are armed with paint games that not only kill opponents, but also stain the surrounding environment. Initially this might seem like just a cool aesthetic feature, but its really an integral gameplay feature. Each character can turn into a squid-like creature and can swim in their own team’s ink, even up vertical surfaces. This new way to travel changes the dynamic of combat dramatically and a unique twist to proceedings.
Xenoblade Chronicles X
Previously know only as 'X', Xenoblade Chronicles X made quite a splash when the Wii U was first unveiled. Now that the game has a real title, Nintendo are revealing a bit of the RPG's story. But since this is a JRPG, nothing makes sense as it's all beautiful people and making profound sounding statements that have little meaning out of context. Even so, the first Xenoblade remains one of the Wii's best games, creating great expectations for this sequel.
The Legend of Zelda Wii U
This right here, this was the show stopper. It begins with the game's director explaining that the new Zelda will be taking an open-world approach to its gameplay. Far from this being a copycat maneuover following in the footsteps of current gaming trends, it actually harkens back to the original Zelda on the NES, which gave players complete freedom of movement. Or least as much as the technology of the time allowed. So the new Zelda is bringing that back. With that established we got 44 glorious seconds of gameplay. Probably the 44 best seconds of the whole of E3. It's so good, it's bamasterous. Yes, I did just make up a word.
As E3 gaming line-ups go, Nintendo's was pretty solid and the Zelda stuff was exactly how you want to cap off a thing like this. But as good as the line-up was, this was something that Nintendo needed to years ago when the Wii U first launched. And this selection of game's really should have been on shelves already. I'm quite adrenalised by this line-up, but it's still too far away for me to ignore the prospect of getting a PlayStation 4 instead.
Nintendo have for themselves in this line-up a selection of games to make any publisher envious, but not quite enough to make them rage with jealousy. What I foresee happening here is the strength of this line-up being enough to keep the Wii U above water, but not nearly enough to make the system a contender. It's too late for that now. The Wii U's reputation is locked in and Nintendo will have to just ride the wave and hope they can do better next generation.
You can watch the compete presentation below:
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