Nintendo E3 2014 Press Conference – Our Impressions

By Chip Tamplin

Published on Saturday, June 14, 2014

Unlike their main competitors, Nintendo decided for the second year in a row to not make a direct appearance at E3. While their games were on display for attendees to play, Nintendo shied away from the huge press conference and decided instead to stick with a more conservative digital event. Starting off with a very amusing intro that appears to be made by Robot Chicken, Nintendo got right down to business opening with their juggernaut franchise Super Smash Brothers.

Super Smash Brothers – Wii U, 3DS

For the first time in a Smash Brothers game, you’ll be able to use your Mii (a digital representation of yourself) in the game. The developers noted that they debated adding the feature into Brawlers, but eventually decided against it, but now seemed like the opportune time to do it. Your characters can come in one of three types: Brawler, Swordfighter or Gunner. The Brawler type fights empty handed, so they prefer to be up close and personal. They tend to be fast and powerful. The swordfighter are “weapon masters” and love chasing down opponents. Finally, you’ve got your Gunner class, armed with arm cannons and various other projectiles to fight their opponents. Each class can choose four special abilities out of twelve options, meaning the Mii fighters will have a total of thirty-six special attacks to choose from, where as it would take nine special characters to equal that number of moves.

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While the Nintendo 3DS version is supposed to come out on October 3rd, we’re still not sure on a definitive date for the Wii U version. “Holiday 2014” is the official word we know as of now.

I had the opportunity to try out both versions of the game and I have to say they were both equally as awesome. While it has been almost a decade since I really used a handheld gaming system, it was pretty easy to pick up the 3DS and try out Smash Brothers. My strategy has always been to button mash and pray for the best, and that seemed to still work out well for me. I was able to play two different matches on the 3DS, one was set in the living room of a house, with a puppy in the background. While the camera angle was set from the other side of the room, the dog kept running up towards the screen, almost feeling like he was going to jump into the game. It was a cool new level of immersion that was nice to see in the series.

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On the other hand, it was great to try a few levels of the Wii U version. As was reported a few weeks ago, you’ll be able to purchase an adapter for your Wii U that allows you to play the game with GameCube controllers, and that’s what we were able to use for the demo. Sadly the GameCube was one of the few consoles I never owned so the controller took some getting used to for me, but I was actually able to win my first match as Bowser. Unfortunately, when I teamed up with Wii Fit Trainer, I didn’t have the same amount of luck. Drat. While our time with the game was short, I can safely say that those who have loved the series will not be disappointed by this game.

Amiibo’s – Wii U/3Ds:

Due to the small sensation the gaming industry has gone through with physical figurines – mostly thanks to Skylanders and Disney InfinityNintendo has decided to come out with their answer to this. Their version will be called Amiibo’s. These little figures will come will microchips that will allow data to be transferred between your figurine and your Wii U/3DS. By simply setting your Amiibo on your Wii U gamepad, it can sync with your gamepad via an NFC transmitter.

As Nintendo stated in their conference, the first game compatible with the Amiibo’s will be Super Smash Brothers for 3Ds (and Wii U). Amiibo play will be added into other games soon, but Mario Kart 8 is the only one confirmed so far. Seems a bit too gimmicky for my liking, but I can’t fault Nintendo for doing this, especially given the marketability and popularity of their characters. The figurines should start around $10-15.

Yoshi’s Wooly World – Wii U:

This game was definitely one of the highlights of E3 for me. While it’s not a direct sequel to Kirby’s Epic Yarn, there’s no denying that it was heavily influenced by it. With beautiful coloring and graphics, it’s hard to feel bad about failing when everything is just so damned adorable.

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I had the opportunity to play it for about twenty minutes and it worked perfectly. The controls were a bit challenging to get used to, especially with learning all of the things you’re able to do with Yoshi and the yarn, but it’s very fun and satisfying once you get the hang of it.

Unlike Mario games, where you’re tasked with completing difficult missions in a pre-determined amount of time, Yoshi games are set around exploring each level in as much time as you want. You’re able to freely explore and find all the collectables without all the blood pressure inducing panic you can experience in Mario games. This is especially fun when playing with a friend. As I played through the demo with my friend Garrett, it was a lot of fun to work cooperatively because if you didn’t one of you would surely die. This was definitely one of my favorite games from E3 2014.

Captain Toad’s Treasure Tracker – Wii U

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While it was only a short teaser trailer, but there was definitely a fun element to Captain Toad’s Treasure Tracker. If you played any of Super Mario 3D World, you remember the Captain Toad segments. While much of the gameplay holds true to that, you won’t just be obtaining stars, you’ll also be looking for gems too. To fully complete a level, you must collect all the gems before touching the star, or if you just want to complete the level you can haul ass through it and just go for the star, it’s up to you. Also, levels have been expanded both in size and in scope. The game is also going to be compatible with Amiibo. We don’t have a firm release date yet, but we will see the game by the end of 2014.

The Legend of Zelda – Wii U:

With the evolving scope of video games giving developers more ability to expand and create more content for their fans, The Legend of Zelda universe will be getting a major overhaul for its new game on the Wii U. Taking a page from The Elder Scrolls and The Witcher, The Legend of Zelda for Wii U will boast a huge open world for the players to explore. While the gameplay will still feel like your typical Zelda game, the added depth is sure to be a breath of fresh air into the series.

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“As soon as those boundaries are removed, it means you can enter any area from any direction. So the puzzle solving in this game begins the moment the player starts to think about where they want to go, how they will get there, and what they want to do when they arrive.” Said producer Eiji Aonuma.

We hope they deliver on the promise when the game releases in 2015.

Pokemon Omega Ruby/Pokemon Alpha Sapphire – 3Ds:

While the remakes of Ruby and Sapphire have been known (officially) for about a month now, it was nice to get a full length trailer showing off the remakes of their 2002 counterparts. The games will be available on November 21st, 2014.

Bayonetta 2 – Wii U:

Coming exclusively to the Wii U this October, Bayonetta 2 will be packaged with a copy of Bayonetta 1 as well. Platinum Games confirms Bayonetta can climb into a massive machine to fight enemies. The Bayonetta package is set for release in October.

Hyrule Warriors – Wii U:

Hyrule Warriors is an interesting hybrid featuring The Legend of Zelda series and Dynasty Warriors. While the game is projected to be more combat oriented than Zelda games tend to be, the creators are hoping fans of both series can enjoy the game equally. Release date is set for September 26th, 2014.

Kirby and the Rainbow Curse – Wii U:

Kirby’s Canvas Curse was an early exclusive for the DS and showed off just how fun and creative touch pad gameplay could be. Now, Nintendo plans on recreating the creativity of that game for the Wii U in Kirby and the Rainbow Curse. By simply drawing a line across the screen, you can make Kirby do just about anything. He could quickly traverse a large gap or take a roller coaster ride around an object. It’s a blast. The gameplay from the original will remain the same. Kirby, stuck in ball form, rolls through the game’s colorful environments, maintaining his momentum until he collides with a wall or an enemy. By tapping Kirby, you’ll make him dash forward, crushing enemies and destructible blockades in his path.

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Kirby and the Rainbow Curse will be available exclusively for the Wii U in 2015.

Xenoblade Chronicles X – Wii U:

A spiritual successor to Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii, X will follow in the footsteps of its successor urging to the player to explore the fictional world in all its RPG glory.

Mario Maker – Wii U:

Unfortunately the surprise of Mario Marker was ruined a few days earlier due to a leaked photo from the showroom floor, but that didn’t make actually seeing the game creator in action any less special. While a developer allowing their fans to create or augment their work isn’t anything new, it has certainly been popularized by Halo’s Forge customization and many modes like it. Now, we’re finally able to create the Mario levels we’ve always wanted. While something like Project Spark is a bit too intense for my tastes (mostly due to the fact that I just don’t feel like I’m creative enough to properly utilize its scope), Mario Maker seems right up my alley.

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After a quick hands on with the game, one of the most surprising aspects of the game is just how easy it is to use. Everything is available right in front of you without a ton of complex steps to complete a task. So one second you’re painting the screen with enemies; the next you’re running and stomping on them. Doesn’t feel right? One more click and you’re editing again, right where you left off. You’re also able to switch between the old school Super Mario Brothers graphics from the SNES days to the beautiful graphics of Super Mario Bros U is stunning and seamless.

While my hands on preview of the game was short, and I still have no idea how great my levels will be, I know that if I was ever going to try my hands again at a creation game, this would be my choice. Mario Maker, like most of these games, launches sometime in 2015.

Splatoon – Wii U:

Certainly one of my more unexpected games announced at E3 was Nintendo’s exclusive colorful shooter Splatoon. The game features 4v4 online multiplayer battles. This isn’t the type of shooter we’re used to playing. Each player inhabits a squid-kid hybrid (of sorts) armed with a gun that shoots brightly colored ink in thick globs. The object was to cover the battlefield — a field with different levels of terrain and a team base at each end — with more ink than the opposing team. It’s simplistic, but a lot of fun. To add another dynamic level to the gameplay, you’re able to switch between the kid and the squid, giving you more abilities to win the match. For example, you’re only able to shoot ink as a kid (oddly enough), but in your squid form, you’re able to swim really fast through the ink to traverse the map faster as well as going through objects that the kid wouldn’t be able to. Likewise, if you try and walk through enemy ink, your movement speed will be reduced dramatically.

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Like most shooters, you’re also able to talk out players on the other to slow their progress down. There are many ways to play through Splatoon and this is far and away one of the most intriguing games from E3.

Final impressions:

While it was disappointing that Nintendo couldn’t bring this to E3 directly, there’s no denying that they delivered some A+ games. Yoshi’s Wooly World, Mario Maker and Splatoon were easily some of the most captivating and unique games I’ve seen from Nintendo in awhile. Super Smash Brothers and Zelda will be unstoppable juggernauts as they always are and the rest of the games left me wanting nothing but to go home and sit down in front of my Wii U. Unfortunately, most of the games aren’t going to be available until sometime in 2015, but when 2015 hits Nintendo will be an even better place for gamers.

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