E3 2009: Big 3 Press Conferences – Nintendo Impressions

The second of the 3 major press conferences that we were subjected to was from Nintendo. Not allot was known about this press conference before hand, people were expecting the usual self congratulatory slides and statistics and references to bringing gaming to masses, but beyond that not much was known about what games would be shown. Speculation was rife as to whether or we’d see a new Zelda or a new Mario game, or even if any other classic franchises would get a modern reboot (*cough* Kid Icarus).

Allot of new stuff was announced, and surprisingly Nintendo seemed to have listened to the hardcore section of their audience and delivered on core Nintendo properties that are sure to delight everyone.

The event starts off rather predictably, and rather dull. Initially we are shown a video with the tag line ‘Everyone’s Game’, a generic video showing off people of all ages enjoying a variety of wii games, nothing that we haven’t seen before. This is followed up by a woman on stage telling us about how great the video game industry is compared to other forms of entertainment.

The conference was quickly made excited after these brief corporate musings by the announcement of New Super Mario Bros. Wii, a new 2.5D platforming game in a similar vein to the ds game of the same name (minus the ‘Wii’ of course). The game is shown to have 4 player co-op modes, with the developers from Treehouse playing as Mario, Luigi and two toads. The game looks very interesting, especially to fans of the DS game or old school Mario in general, in not revolutionary. I can’t help but feel that I would rather see this game on the DS.

With that excitement over, it was time to talk about Wii fit and the great numbers that it has been shifting. There is a nice pun as Wii fit is referred to as a ‘Platform’. We are shown Wii Fit Plus, a new upgrade to the hit fitness aid, with new training activities in similar veins to the previous title, as well as some more interesting games like skate boarding, maths based game and a mario-esque platformer. It will be out this autumn (fall), and be available without the balance board, for those who have already taken the plunge.

Reggie comes out and talked about the Wii interface, and moves the presentation on to focus on the Wii Motion plus add-on.

We are given a live demonstration of the upcoming Wii Sports sequel, Wii Sports Resort, which starts off with an interested sky diving mini game that cleverly transitions in to the games hub menu. The main aim of the game and, as a result, this demonstration is to sell everyone on the Wii Motion plus add-on that is getting packaged with it. This controller adds on finally delivers what everyone had assumed the original Wiimote could give us, true one to one motion tracking. The sports that are demonstrated are archery and basketball. Archery looked entertaining enough, but not all that satisfying, where as the basket ball mini game look genuinely fun. To show off the basket ball, the regginator was invited back on stage to challenge the presenter at free throwing, amidst some lame corporate smack talk.

Demonstration over, we are told about the importance of Wii motion plus, how third parties are really taking advantage of the add-on, and told about the games that will be supporting it, including Tiger Woods 2010, Virtua Tennis 2009 and Red Steel 2.

Next up are a couple are a couple of trailers for Square Enix RPG’s, first off is the previously unannounced Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers. This game looks very interesting, showing some impressive graphics (for the Wii), and full voice cast. It features the cutesy art style that will be immediately familiar to anyone who was played one of the previous Crystal Chronicles instalments. It’s described as an ‘exclusive open world RPG’, which is definitely welcome on the system, as it doesn’t seem to have enough of this sort of game.

The next trailer is also from Square Enix, ‘Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days’, the next game in Disney/Square mash up series that started on the PS2. The graphics look very impressive for the ds, especially during the in-game cut scenes, as a fan of the original two games this game is very high on my wish list. It is due to be released later this year in America, no mention of Europe.

Following on with the RPG theme, Reggie talks about ‘Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story’, the third game in the Mario and Luigi RPG series, the second to grace the DS. The game looks very charming, a side-scrolling platformer with RPG mechanics all taking part inside of Bowsers digestive system. Not a must buy for me, but an interesting game that I might check out. It has been out in Japan for some time now, so its appearance at this event is hardly a surprise.

Finishing up the RPG section of their show, we are shown a short but sweet trailer for the previously unannounced ‘Golden Sun DS’, a game that hasn’t been seen since Golden Sun 2 on GBA many years ago. The game looks great, showing 2d sprites on 3d backgrounds. This certainly is an announcement that no one was expecting, but I am sure that it is welcomed by many.

The excitement quickly wears off, as its back to business and we are told about some upcoming ds games that the executive on stage obviously thought were great, but I don’t think anyone in the crowd was particularly thrilled. The games were James Patterson’s, Women’s Murder Club: Games of Passion, Cop: The Recruit and a north American release of the popular Japanese ‘Girls Mode’ game called ‘Style Savvy’.

We are now shown a video of people stood inline, talking about how great the DSI is/was going to be, followed by some impressive sales numbers. Following this, there is talk of the DSI online store, and announcements of a few games and apps that are heading its way. Firstly, ‘Flip Notes Studio’, an app that allows people to draw animations and upload it for others to view.

Secondly, Mario vs. Donkey Kong: minis March Again, at game that looks exactly like the previous Mario vs. Donkey 2, but we are told that this version has a full level editor with online level sharing, and available from next Monday. I might be mistaken here, but the last game in the series had a full level editor and the ability to share online levels, although this was previously only available by using the annoying friend code system, so perhaps that would suggest this game has a bit more openness to its sharing?

The third DSI game announced is WarioWare: DIY, a game that lets you make your own WarioWare style challenges. The game was marketed as if it was simple and accessible to everyone, but personally I thought the process looked fairly complicated, and I can’t see myself investing the time it would take to learn how to create decent levels.

Before moving on again from the DSI, its announced that Facebook integration will be coming to the DSI (a popular feature this E3), allowing you to upload photos taken and edited on the Dsi, finally validating the camera on the handheld, which some people have seen as a needless addition.

The next presenter is ushered on stage, and it is none other than Nintendo head honcho, Satoru Iwata, bringing with him the expectation of the announcement of something big. He talks for a while, at length about the usual company line of getting everyone gaming before pulling something out of this jacket. He presents to us the Wii Vitality Sensor, which looks like the biorhythm sensors you might get clipped to your finger on a trip to the hospital, but with a cable to attach it to the Wiimote. It’s going to be released to help people relax and monitor their vitality. It’s not greatly received by the audience, and the announcement falls on its face, although I bet it sells by the bucket load to same people that rush out and buy every new Wii Peripheral.

Next we are treated to a trailer announcing a game that easily makes up for the previous stall in the proceedings, Mario Galaxy 2! The first, Second full 3D Mario title on a single Nintendo console we are told. The trailer featured familiar settings to those of the original Galaxy, but showing off some new powerups and the addition of Yoshi.

Reggie comes back onstage, to talk to us about mature gaming on the platform. We are shown 3 trailers for previously announced games Resident Evil: Dark side Chronicles, the Conduit and Dead Space: Extraction. All 3 games show promise, but nothing that we didn’t already no about, so it was a bit of an anti climax.

Just before the close of the press conference, Reggie talks about a new partnership with Team Ninja, the developers behind Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive, and rolls the trailer. There was silence as everyone’s minds were racing as to what this game could possibly be. After the long Team Ninja intro sequence, the game is revealed to be a new revamped Metroid title, featuring action packed gameplay, which seemed to mostly be third person in nature, although first person sections are shown. The game looks very promising, and very action packed, along that could just be a result of the way that the trailer was edited.

Overview.

went into this press conference not expecting a great deal, apart from the announcement of a new Mario or Zelda game. Instead we were given 2 new Mario games, New Metroid as well as some great 3rd party titles. I am personally very surprised by this press conference, there are actually a few Wii games that I am now excited about playing. I must mention that I much preferred Microsoft’s method of really cutting down on the statistics and business talk. Nintendo wasn’t as bad for this material as it usual is, perhaps as a direct result of the Microsoft Conference, but it still added to the stop, start nature.

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~ by rusted3572 on June 3, 2009.

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