Monday, 20 June 2011

E3 Part 3 – Nintendo Press Conference.

Before this conference Nintendo were suffering--with Wii sales diminishing by the month and the very poor launch of the 3DS, something needed to change. Fortunately, if there ever was a good opportunity to get the masses back on the Nintendo bandwagon, it was during the E3 press conference. Nintendo started slowly with their tribute to The Legend of Zelda’s 25th Anniversary, but stepped up the pace with solid title announcements for the Nintendo 3DS and impressed the crowd with a brand new console--The Nintendo Wii U. Overall it was a well-organised presentation that gave the audience what they wanted, high-profile content.

A beautiful orchestra alongside Shigeru Miyamoto spent the first portion of the conference reminiscing over The Legend of Zelda and its 25th birthday. With the release of Ocarina of Time 3D round the corner and Skyward Sword for Wii due this holiday season, it was a welcome presentation--one that reminded the crowd of all the incredible adventures the series has offered and what is yet to come. The announcement of free downloads for The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening and The Four Swords Adventure gave fans plenty of Zelda based content to look forward to.

Nintendo were all about their hot property franchises this E3 and the majority of them will be coming to Nintendo 3DS. Lengthy Mario Kart 3D, Luigi’s Mansion 2 and Super Mario 3D trailers were highlights of the handheld portion of the presentation--showing off brand new ways to play Mario Kart, Luigi capturing ghouls and an all new Mario adventure designed specifically for the platform. Other games of note included Star Fox and Kid Icarus and a highlight reel showed glimpses of Resident Evil: Mercenaries, Resident Evil: Revelations, Tekken and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. More in-depth footage of the above titles would have been very nice at this point.

Of course the final section of Nintendo’s conference concentrated on announcing a new home console and subsequent games. The Nintendo Wii U was revealed to everyone’s confusion--with so much emphasis being placed on the intuitive controller that resembles a Dreamcast pad blended with an iPad, many people assumed it was a peripheral for the Wii. The clever piece of kit has a 6”2 inch touch screen and gyro technology--with the ability to transfer the game you’re playing on the TV onto the Wii U controller being the unique selling point. Wii U revealed full blown HD graphics--while specs were yet to be revealed, HD footage of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was shown off alongside a montage reel of strong third-party title support like Batman: Arkham City, Ninja Gaiden III, Assassin’s Creed, Darksiders II, DiRT 3, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Metro: Last Night, Ghost Recon Online and a guest stage appearance from EA. Perhaps the biggest games announced at conference were Super Smash Brothers for both Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.

These are certainly early days but the scrapping of friend codes and confirmation of a strong online system could allow Nintendo to compete for online dominance. It seems that Nintendo are attempting to capture the more hardcore market while keeping their casual gamers appeased with the Wii U being backwards compatible and Wii-remote enabled.

Overall Nintendo did a good job at their press event--unveiling hot property titles and a fresh machine to challenge for the attention of hardcore gamers. One can’t help but wonder if this machine has come too late however. As next generation projects are underway at Microsoft and Sony, if Wii U is only just more powerful than the PS3 and 360 now--it could find itself already outdated even before launch. We assume that new machines Microsoft and Sony will announce specs that would blow Wii U out of the water. The competition from the PS3 and Vita is already a threat and that is still this generation’s machine from Sony. Nevertheless, it is still early days and I think everyone is fascinated to see how the Wii U will try and change the course of video gaming once again for Nintendo.

Igor Kharin, CeX UK Contributor.
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