Nintendo Delivers on its E3 2013 Nintendo Direct Promises
The E3 2013 Nintendo Direct video has come and gone, and as promised, we received a glimpse of what Nintendo has in store for its Wii U console. Going into the E3 2013 Nintendo Direct, Nintendo gave us an idea of what they planned to showcase. Of those things, Nintendo promised we would see the new Super Mario Wii U game (Super Mario 3D World), the new Mario Kart Wii U game (Mario Kart 8), and a trailer for the new Super Smash Bros. game. Nintendo delivered on all of those promises as we received a trailer, and approximate release periods for all three Wii U games. Let’s take a look at all of Nintendo’s major announcements.
Super Mario 3D World
I think a lot of Nintendo fans expected Nintendo to announce something akin to the Super Mario Galaxy games, but instead, we got Super Mario 3D World, a game that borrows heavily from its younger brother, Super Mario 3D Land. Personally, I’m more than pleased with Nintendo’s decision to go this route as opposed to the star “collect-a-thon” in previous 3D Super Mario games.
I really enjoyed Super Mario 3D Land and feel it contained more of the Super Mario spirit than any of the previous 3D Super Mario games. Things as simple as linear levels and the Super Mushroom – and by extension, Small Mario – flourished in the new 3D environments Nintendo created. While the game had plenty of spirit, it didn’t really outshine either of the Galaxy games, but I think we may see Nintendo perfect the formula with Super Mario 3D World.
After watching the trailer for the first time, it is apparent that Super Mario 3D World will be much larger in scale when compared to Super Mario 3D Land; its levels seem to be much bigger and infinitely more creative. Of course, Super Mario 3D World also sports gorgeous HD visuals which makes the Super Mario spirit truly come alive.
Speaking of Super Mario spirit, Nintendo – as is the norm – will be introducing a new power-up to the series. When Nintendo Direct was live yesterday, I never witnessed the debut of Super Mario 3D World – thanks to Nintendo’s shoddy stream – so when I heard that Mario would be wearing a “cat suit,” I was skeptical. However, after watching the trailer, I instantly believed in Cat Mario and predict that it will be one of my favourite Super Mario power-ups. I watched as Cat Mario ran gallantly across the stage on four legs and started clawing away at enemies. Cat Mario’s claw-swiping combos look like fun to pull off, plus, the new diving attack was thrown in without missing a beat. My excitement only grew larger when Cat Mario started climbing up surfaces.
Nintendo also revealed that Super Mario 3D World would have a four-player co-op component that sees gamers play as Mario, Luigi, Toad, Princess Peach. Yes, Nintendo is bringing back the cast from Super Mario Bros. 2, with each character bringing over their unique traits. Mario will be the standard (default) character, Luigi will be able to jump higher, Toad is the fastest, and Princess Peach can use her dress to float over gaps. It’s like a dream come true for older Nintendo gamers.
Lastly, I’m really excited that Nintendo seems to have dropped the repeat boss fights from Super Mario 3D Land. Yeah, I like Boom Boom as much as the next retro nut, but honestly, I grew tired of fighting him in Super Mario 3D Land. Repeat boss fights seemed to have plagued many of Nintendo’s games recently (Skyward Sword, Super Mario 3D Land, New Super Mario Bros. 2, etc.), so I’m hoping the peak at this larger than life boss fight is an indication of Nintendo’s direction with Super Mario 3D World.
Mario Kart 8
It’s hard to imagine just how Nintendo can revolutionize its popular kart racing series, but it looks like they will do it again with Mario Kart 8. One of the first things I noticed about Mario Kart 8 is that the tracks seem to be much larger this time around. With Nintendo’s jump to HD, I believe larger and more detailed tracks are a must, however, the graphics and design aren’t the most exciting elements of Mario Kart 8.
For the first time, gamers will be able to race on the walls and ceilings of the tracks from Mario Kart 8. This is an element that really gets me excited because I can already feel my heart pounding thinking of the high-speed action around the upside-down, and sideways sections.
Not much else is known about Mario Kart 8, but Nintendo did mention some of its online features. Of course, Mario Kart 8 will feature 12-player online multiplayer like Mario Kart Wii, but its the Miiverse possibilities that are especially exciting. Gamers will be able to share replay videos using a feature called Mario Kart TV. No doubt, gamers will be able to find an interesting and creative way to utilize this feature, so I’m looking forward to that aspect of Mario kart 8.
Super Smash Bros. 4
I wasn’t expecting to see much of Super Smash Bros. 4, but I was delighted when Nintendo delivered not one, but two trailers for the game, and an in-depth “Developer Direct” for the game.
The first trailer was the debut of Super Smash Bros., which showcased gameplay for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U versions of the game, plus one newcomer, Villager. First, let me start by saying that Super Smash Bros. looks great on the Nintendo 3DS. Nintendo is opting to use a cel-shaded look for the handheld version. The characters are outlined in black, which is done to make them easier to see on the small handheld screen. I was skeptical about a Super Smash Bros. game on the Nintendo 3Ds, but this trailer alleviated my fears by showing us that the gameplay will be just as good as its console cousins.
I am also a big fan of the HD visuals in the Wii U version of Super Smash Bros. One arena in particular – presumably Battlefield – looks absolutely stunning with highly detailed platforms, and an incredible background. Also, the characters have been given a nice HD overhaul, which I might add, really suits the Super Smash Bros. environment. Let’s forget about the graphics and talk about the newcomers.
The first newcomer to be revealed was a Villager from the Animal Crossing series. Villager has a quirky move set that includes moves involving a bug catching net, a shovel, balloons, and pitfall seeds to name a few. Of course, the biggest reveal was the addition of Mega Man. Mega Man is the first third-party character to be announced for the new Super Smash Bros. game, and playing as Mega Man looks like a lot of fun. Mega Man uses his trusty Mega Buster and slide instead of traditional punching and kicking, plus he will also utilize the many weapons he has acquired from Robot Masters over the years. Mega Man is the only other third-party character I wanted to be added to the Super Smash Bros. family, and now that day has come. Lastly, and perhaps the most intriguing addition is the Wii Fit Trainer. Absolutely nobody could have predicted her addition, but here we are a day after the announcement. Like Villager, Wii Fit Trainer seems to be a quirky fighter, but her Yoga inspired move set might just make her a powerful fighter. She seems to be more graceful – than the other characters – in her movement, and her Yoga attacks have a great reach, and a certain unpredictability that might make her a new favourite.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
The last big announcement to come out of yesterday’s Nintendo Direct video is the new Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze game for Wii U. This is the project Retro Studios has been working on, and while the game does look great, it’s not the Retro Studios project I wanted, but it was the only surprise announcement yesterday.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze will bring back its two-player co-op, devious level design, and other familiar elements, but the new additions are looking pretty nifty.
I especially like the addition of swimming and underwater sections. Water levels were missed in Donkey Kong Country Returns, but it looks like Retro Studios is making up for lost time. These underwater sections are gorgeous, and swimming looks like a lot of fun, but I’m not pleased to see Retro Studios implement a limited oxygen meter. I know it’s more realistic, but this is a video game about a giant ape fighting an assortment of viking animals. Fortunately, there are ocygen bubbles that you can burst to refill your meter. Retro Studios is also adding Dixie Kong – complete with ponytail mechanics – to the game’s roster of playable characters. I’m looking forward to playing as Dixie Kong again as she was always my favourite Kong. Lastly, there is a new dynamic camera feature that activates at certain parts of certain levels that spin around, showcasing the massive, gorgeous HD world that Retro studios is creating. This is a nice touch that will break up the monotonous nature of 2D sidescrolling.
Nintendo Direct Disappointment
I wasn’t happy about Nintendo’s decision to step down from the stage at E3, but Nintendo Direct did deliver, on the promises they previously made. That feeling of excitement I felt every year before Nintendo’s E3 presentation was nowhere to be found. Couple that with the lack of surprises and you get a pretty mediocre Nintendo Direct video. We knew about the new Super Mario, Mario Kart, and the Super Smash Bros. games weeks before the show, so their debuts were met with a less than normal enthusiasm. The only real surprise – besides Mega Man in Super Smash Bros. – was the announcement of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, and that was hampered by the expectations I had of Retro Studios’ project.
Don’t get me wrong, I am looking forward to all of the above for the Wii U, but after Sony’s blockbuster E3 2013 show, it would have been nice to receive some unexpected, and truly exciting announcements from Nintendo.