Posted on June 11, 2013 AT 11:01am
Every major hardware company has officially shown their hand at this point with Nintendo coming in with their Direct video this morning. After the show of force Sony had last night showing off some amazing games and features for the, Nintendo really had their work cut out for them. The real question at this point, is whether they managed to wow us with their lineup of new titles enough to stave off the unstoppable hype train that is the PS4.
Nintendo started things off this morning by diving right into their first party titles and talked about some previously unannounced features of Pokémon X and Y. The “Pokémon-Amie” feature lets you care for your pocket monsters in a style very similar to that of a virtual pet game and looks to add yet another feature to an already robust series. They also briefly discussed the new fairy type that had been previously announced. Adding a new type is a huge deal, even though it sounds pretty small, because it drastically changes opportunities for some monsters in battle.
Nintendo then shifted to their plumber hero Mario for their next announcement. The next 3D Mario game is going to be Super Mario 3D World for the Wii U. With Super Mario 3D Land still being one of my favorite games released for the 3DS, I was definitely glad to hear this news. The game also comes with a new, and very adorable, suit called the cat suit. It allows the wearer to climb up walls, flag poles and slash up enemies with their claws. The big surprise for me with this title however was the ability to play as Princess Peach for the first time again since Super Princess Peach for the DS. She’ll retain the special ability to hover for a short time, which’ll make traversing each environment different for each character. You’ll also get Luigi’s wobbly leg jump and Toad has his extra speed giving each character a different way to navigate the levels. I’m very excited to see more from this game when I hit the show floor.
Keep on track, pun intended, Nintendo moved on next to Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U. The first thing that struck me about this game was how good it looked graphically. Out of almost every other title in this direct, they really nailed the look of this game keeping it stylized in a fantastic way. The big twist in this game, pun yet again intended, was that it features zero gravity courses that allow you to drive on a wall or even upside down. This honestly makes me a bit dizzy just thinking about it, but it’s still a very cool concept and I can’t wait to see the creative ways they implement it in the game.
I held my breath for a second when they said the words Legend of Zelda and paused for a moment and feel a little embarrassed to be disappointed to hear the words Wind Waker come next. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD certainly looks good and I can’t wait to see it on an actual HD TV to confirm how gorgeous the improved graphics actually are. They also announced a few new features in the game with Miiverse integration built into the game via glass bottles you throw into the ocean. Other people’s messages can also pop up on the sands of your beaches for your reading pleasure. The famed tingle tuner is also going to make a reappearance without the need to connect a GBA to your system. It’s certainly looking good and is still on of my favorites in the Zelda series to date.
NIntendo then went on to discuss a little about their 3rd party support throughout the year. With cross-platform titles like Batman: Arkham Origins and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, there’s lots to look forward to later this year. They’ve also got console-exclusive Bayonetta 2 looking even more solid than the last time we very briefly saw it during previous Nintendo Directs. They’re really pushing the graphical capabilities of the system for this game and it looks to be one game to look forward to on the system.
I thought I had seen some excellent graphics in the games previously shown during the direct and then they brought out Monolith Soft’s X for the Wii U. Looking at the beautiful mountains and giant creatures featured in the trailer, I was blown away by the vivid textures on the environment. If this game plays as good as it looks it might just be the best reason to pick up a Wii U when it comes out.
Growing up, I think I beat the original Donkey Kong Country about 100 times on my SNES. This makes the announcement about Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze all the more exciting for me. When they released Donkey Kong Country Returns in late 2010, their dedication towards making sure the difficulty and charm of the original series remained intact and I’m glad to see them continuing on with the reboot of the series. Dixie Kong is going to make a return as a playable character in the new game. I’m looking forward to seeing how they continue to push the boundaries of difficulty and innovative level design of the Donkey Kong Country series.
Last, but obviously not least, on the scene at the Nintendo Direct was duel Super Smash Bros. games for both the Wii U and the 3DS. The cell-shaded style of the 3DS version of the game is beautiful, but the game really shines on the Wii U truly impressive visuals. New characters entering the mix include the townsperson from Animal Crossing and, finally, Mega Man. I’ve been wishing for Mega Man as a character since the beginning of the Smash Bros. series and from the footage that they’ve shown, it looks like they’ve really nailed the character by including a bunch of his special attacks from various robot masters. I’m especially excited to see what separates the two versions of the game and what connectivity features they incorporate between the 3DS and Wii U.
In the past, I have been referred to as a Nintendo apologist having grown up with the company and their games. I love the first party games that the console maker puts out and their innovations in new console features are unmatched. After watching the Nintendo Direct this morning, to be honest, I’m a little worried about Nintendo. The announcements they’ve made have been really positive and there are quite a few things to look forward to for the system coming up, but nothing during the direct was one of those insanely exciting moments where a stand and clap until my hands hurt. If they were going to have one of those moments, it really needed to be this year. Also, their apologies about us having to wait for games is getting to the point of annoyance with the drought of new titles looking longer and longer. They could always still pull something out, but they need to do it soon.
That being said, I’m still psyched for all the announcements Nintendo made this morning. They’ve got quite a strong lineup of first-party titles coming both later this year and next. Keep an eye on them, because you’ve got several new reasons to pick up a Wii U and a 3DS running down the pipeline as we speak.
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