Sunday, 13 July 2014

E3 2014 Roundup: Nintendo

Now that all the main buzz of E3 is over, I think that it's time to roundup all of the conferences, sneak peeks, information and interviews into three posts. The second one of these is on Nintendo. This post will contain information on the main conference followed by info on each of the games and finally rounded off with some opinions! Obviously, the following paragraphs contain spoilers.

And what an E3 it was! As I sat watching the conference from home all I could think was wow and did that just happen and did Iwata just beat up Reggie? Anyway, like last year, Nintendo's E3 conference was done through a Nintendo Direct (with, thankfully, better connection than their last Direct). I was a bit unsure about this, like I was last year, but the fact that the conference isn't live lets Nintendo play around with some great CGI and... Robot Chicken-esque shorts? But I'll get onto them in a second. And that wasn't all from the Big N either, oh no, as they also had Nintendo Treehouse (a run through of the conference and some more info and releases) and two Smash Bros 4 tournaments. So, let's look through it.

First things first and Reggie walks on in the guise of a Robot Chicken-esque figure into a press conference arena (see, I told you I'd get to them) and, after the announcer struggles with his name, instantly starts showing up the internet. For instance, by saying things like "And you guy's thought we wouldn't have a press conference' as well as using a Fire Flower to burn an E3 press person who predicts another Mario game and asks for Mother 3. Also 'backstage' are Nintendo's greatest heroes (also represented as Robot Chicken-esque figures) who constantly make fun of their own characters and games such as Bowser apologizing to Princess Peach for kidnapping her 80+ times and Little Mac failing to pour coffee due to him never taking off his gloves. All the way through the conference, both the press people and Nintendo's hero's are used to make fun of all the problems the internet has with Nintendo such as not having a new Starfox game or Mario being used all the time. I liked this as it really showed how great Nintendo was as a company and showed that they did listen to their fans. But nothing prepared me for the next part.

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS:
Did that really just happen? What? It did? Well... Only in a Nintendo conference. I am, of course, talking about Iwata and Reggie fighting it out, Smash Bros. style, before actually transferring to Smash Bros. so as to announce the first bit of big news. Mii's. As playable characters for Smash Bros. Now, while it works very well for a game meant to be advertising Nintendo (and some other companies) greatest characters, I did have some trepidation about them adding Mii's. This was due to the idea that all of a Mii's stats would be editable which would make them overpowered which, in turn, would lead them to being nerfed. However, all my worries were eradicated after hearing the rest of the information.

  1.  You can play as any Mii that you have designed (finally, people can stop asking for Iwata to be a playable character!)
  2. There are three distinct classes for the Mii's: Brawler (fast and powerful with an up close and personal attack style), Swordfighter (weapon masters with a mid-range attack style) and Gunner (wielder of a strange arm cannon that enables many different types of projectiles and a long-range attack style). 
  3. Due to the customisable special moves for all characters (that's both Mii's and other characters such as Mario and Donkey Kong) Mii's now have a total of 36 different special moves (12 for each class).
All of this information means that, while Mii's are customisable, so is ever other character and it's not their stats that you can change but, instead, their moves. 

Then comes the onslaught of special modes in the 3DS version of Super Smash Bros. which, I will try to decipher from the trailer as Sakurai declines to go into too much detail. The first one appears to be a mode that lets you choose your difficulty through betting gold (much like Kid Icarus: Uprising's style of choosing your difficulty. In fact, even the modes are named the same such as Infernal, White Hot and Nothing Harder). You then go onto something that resembles a world map with paths splitting into different franchises (one of these has a trophy on the path so at least you get rewards). The next screen shows something that is similar to Classic Mode in Brawl in the fact that the person you face is randomly chosen and that there are stages. After winning, you get a random drop of stat boosting equipment (the same ones from Smash Run). I'm not sure if this is the same mode as the first one or not. The next mode is a returning veteran and comes in the form of Home Run contest and sees the welcome reappearance of Sandbag. Then comes the new online mode which is separated into two sections (for fun and for glory) which are further split into another two sections (solo and team). Then the trailer leads on to some basic information about the game including showing how you change the width of your character's outline; a video of Smash Run (which shows the powers, some items, a boss/enemy and something called a Flower Smash (this might just be the name of the stage)); some trophies; the photo album; something that looks like a Home Run contest in which you hit a bomb; the customisable special moves of Mario; a page that shows a percentage of something between three teams; a tips page that details information on things such as items; a mode that has a fever section in which boxes and pentagonal images of coins and items rain down on you; fighter records; a betting system; a win streak challenge; an area where you can place your trophies much like in Brawl; some sort of game where the characters have been turned into circles with their character motifs on them and have to push each other off of a platform by launching themselves at each other on a bird's eye plane and Master Hand's reappearance. Whew. That's a lot of information. And then Sakurai goes and say's that there are even more game elements to come.  

The next piece of Smash Bros. information comes in the form of amiibo's which I will cover in another section. 

However, there are still another two character announcements. The first one of these is the goddess Palutena (from Kid Icarus) who is introduced after a cartoon fight between Link and Pit. Her attacks are themed after the powers in Kid Icarus: Uprising and include things such as Heavenly Light, Warp and (hopefully as her final smash) a combination between Black Hole and Mega Laser. Even more intriguing though is the appearance of Dark Pit at the end of the intro. Possibly a new character (possible clone alert there) but more likely an alternate costume for Pit. The next character announcement came in the form of Pac-Man and I'm not really sure where in the conference he appeared (I watched it later from a trailer I got from a friend) so if someone would comment that then it would be very helpful. The trailer starts with Mario forming a red line, Sonic/Mega Man forming a blue line and then Pac-Man forming a yellow line. Then we get to find out a bit about Pac-Man:

  1. He comes in his anthropomorphic from the new games.
  2. He fights using retro fruit from the original game as well as the ghosts and other 8-bit graphic attacks.
  3. He can also turn into a 3D version of his original non-limbed form of himself to attack/dodge opponents.
  4. He changes attacks by holding down the attack button (it cycles through the fruit for instance).
  5. There is now a Pac-Man themed stage which is themed around the maze from the original game.
  6. His final smash is him turning into Super Pac-Man (you know, when he eats one of those bigger pellets) and moving across the screen, eating every character in his path.   
At the end of the trailer, there is another sneak peek and, this time, it comes in the form of Game and Watch showing up. A label then appears, putting Pac-Man and Game and Watch under 1980 and Mario and Donkey Kong's heads under 1981. I'm not really sure what the relevance of this is or whether Game and Watch is a new character.

That's all on Smash Bros. but we've still got the rest of the conference to talk about!

This is Nintendo's outing in the Toy's to Life category and promises to be quite an interesting development. Much like with Skylander's, these toys all have an NFC chip in them which can connect with the one in the Wii U gamepad and so upload/download data to and from the system. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U will be the first game to support the new amiibo's (yes, there really isn't a capital letter) and it does it in a number of ways.

  1. The amiibo's appear as fighters that you don't control but that you can have indirect input on, instead. For instance, you can change their stats, level them up and develop their fighting style. For this reason, they are more intelligent than most AI.
  2. You can fight against them, yourself or get your friends/enemies to fight them or even get said friends/enemy's amiibo's to fight them. 

Nintendo are also developing amiibo compatibility with other games including Mario Kart 8.

Before I start to list information about the rest of the upcoming games, I would like to share with you a quote from Reggie. 'At the end of the day, Nintendo game creators share one belief, there's nothing wrong with having a little fun.' The following paragraphs will contain information on the different games in the same format as my earlier Sony E3 post.

Yoshi's Wooly World: It's. So. CUTE! The graphics are as crisp and clear as always and the gameplay involves Yoshi using eggs made of wool to defeat enemies made of wool while walking around a world made of wool. What's not to love? The emphasis is on exploration and you can collect gems that, surprisingly aren't made of wool. Yoshi is almighty (to quote the trailer) and he can fly as far as he wants if he tries as well as having the powerfullest weapon ever (his tongue). As Yoshi is made of wool, his transformations are now explained (not that Nintendo have always bothered, nor needed, to explain the impossible). Two player has been implemented and so we can expect some tight knits and tears (yay, knitting joke!) to form especially due to the 'eat the other player mechanic'. Do Nintendo enjoy breaking up friends? At least the graphics can help you forget the computer-generated eye-gougers that were the character models in Yoshi's New Island. This game is much more beautiful. Also, is it just me that wants that Yoshi plushy? (I want it! - Satamer). Out in 2015.

Captain Toad's Treasure Tracker: I think it's fair to say that none of us saw this one coming. Captain Toad's Treasure Tracker features the Captain himself as he traverses levels that are built in the same way as the Captain Toad levels in Super Mario 3D World. It also features a first-person shooter aspect (no, really) in which you use the gamepad to fire turnips at enemies. There's also a dragon because, why not? Out in the Christmas holidays 2014.

The Legend of Zelda Wii U (working title): beautiful graphics (they are in the style of Skyward Sword so I have no idea what happened to the old Zelda Wii U trailer), a vast open world, a giant robotic crab/spider thing that fires lasers, and a Link wearing blue. This is looking like a Zelda revolution.

Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire: not really any new information for me here as I have kept up to date with Pokémon developments religiously. But for any, less hardcore, Pokémon fans, I'll give a round up. Mega Sceptile (who is now a grass and dragon type) and Mega Swampert confirmed as well as returning characters Steven Stone, Gym Leader Roxanne and Team Magma/Aqua. Also, Groudon and Kyogre do not mega evolve but instead change through a process of Primal Devolution. Note that some of these details were given around the time of E3 but not, expressly, in the trailer. Oh, and there out on November 21, 2014.

Bayonetta 2: the usual frantic fighting and sarcastic witch included in this massive game as well as some, scandalous Nintendo themed costumes. Oh, and Bayonetta 1 comes bundled with it.

Hyrule Warriors: giant armies, giant bosses, giant swords, giant game. Also, two player mode is included which opens up even more fun fighting opportunities especially due to it not being split screen (you use the TV and gamepad instead. Playable characters include Link, Zelda, Impa and Midna (and since E3 more have been announced: Lana, Agitha and Fi) and they each have their own unique fighting styles and attacks. The name, Hyrule Warriors has also been confirmed. Release date: September 26, 2014.

Kirby and the Rainbow Curse: Nintendo seem to have this fascination with using unconventional materials in their games as this Kirby game appears to be made of Plasticine. It follows the gameplay mechanic utilized in Kirby's Power Paintbrush (or Kirby: Canvas Curse for our American readers) in which you create platforms for Kirby to roll on. Kirby can also transform into a submarine, a rocket and a tank. Release Date: 2015.

Xenoblade Chronicles X: with brilliant graphics, brilliant music and a brilliant story (one that centres around the idea that humanity is a cancer and so should be purged from existence), this looks to be just as big as its predecessors. It is unknown whether it is a direct sequel to the Wii game Xenoblade Chronicles or not. Release Date: 2015.

Unknown Title: it's a game where a turnip like creature wearing sunglasses falls out of a box and declares himself free. Consider me intrigued.

Mario Maker: does what it says in the title. In this game, you can design your own NES or Wii U style Mario levels before playing them. You also appear to be able to splat annoying flies and make powerups do different things (such as a thin super mushroom making you appear thinner). I can't wait to see what the world comes up with! Release Date: 2015.

Splatoon: this is a shooter with a difference. Well actually a number of differences and similarities (I've also included other pieces of information in this list that are just about the game):

  1. You shoot ink instead of bullets.
  2. To win you have to have more of your colour of ink on the map than the opponent.
  3. You can turn into a squid in order to traverse your own ink quickly (but you will be slowed down on your opponents' ink).
  4. Squids can also hide in the same colour ink which introduces an assassins style of play.
  5. Along with the usual rifles, snipers, grenades and rocket launchers, you can use a paint roller to roll over enemies.
  6. You can tap on a player on the gamepad in order to jump to them (you can only use this feature from spawn).  
  7. Only humans (or whatever you are when you're not a squid) can shoot.
  8. You can use the gamepad's gyroscopes in order to aim.
  9. It's an 8 player, 4 on 4 multiplayer action game.
  10. Release Date: 2015
Project Giant Robot (project title not the game's title): you're in a giant robot and you punch things using the gamepad's gyroscopes (according to Miyamoto, it's a lot like sumo wrestling). 

Project Guard (project title not the game's title): you defeat enemies using security cameras and lasers. 

Codename S.T.E.A.M: in a comic book steampunk London, the Americans have to fight off some evil creatures of darkness because... reasons. 

Star Fox Wii U: yes internet, it happened. And it looks great.

That's all on Nintendo but please comment your hopes and gripes below! 

Goodbye for now, Harry

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