Nintendo E3 Booth Review: Back To The Roots

Nintendo logo old school

Nintendo made waves during the morning of E3’s official kick-off with a deluge of first party and exclusive title announcements for the Wii U. Yours truly was fortunate to get some hands on time with a snippet of Nintendo’s upcoming exclusive titles, and it’s now clear that Nintendo may be shifting its focus back to great software.

WiiU_MarioKart8_scrn12_E3.bmp

Mario Kart 8 is next gen in look and feel.

The first exclusive game I got some hands on time with was Mario Kart 8, and it’s a rebirth of the classic Mario Kart games from Nintendo’s past. I went for the traditional Kart control scheme on the Wii U’s gamepad (can also go for motion-based controls.) The action felt like I’d returned home to the glory days of competitive Mario Kart racing, which consisted of intense testosterone fueled challenges among friends and drunken headbutts.

Mario Kart 8 is by far the best looking, and even more importantly, feeling, version of Nintendo’s storied racing game franchise. You can rest assured on this one Kart fans, because it’s shaping up to be a gem. The game is set to release during the spring of 2014 for Nintendo’s Wii U console.

Bayonetta 2 in game

Bayonetta 2 is packed with combo action.

After a few spins on the racetrack I moved on to Bayonetta 2, which is a Wii U exclusive sequel to the original hair slashing action title. This game can be played on either the gamepad, or a TV, but I chose to go with the former to see how the game’s touch based inputs functioned. The actual fighting controls in this mode are all based on swipes and taps of the stylus, which made the game feel very natural on the tablet-like Gamepad. Unfortunately, this also makes the game feel very easy, and at times monotonous, but the overall experience remains action packed, and true to the Bayonetta formula.

Just like MK8, this game doesn’t have a firm release date yet, but expect to see it sometime during the spring of 2014.

Yoshi bobsled

Who taught Yoshi how to bobsled?

Kicking demon ass is fun, but the next game I played made great use of the co-op experience that can only be found on the Wii U. The game in question is Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games (title is way too long), and it features party-based gameplay rooted in both real and fictional Olympic sports.

I was fortunate enough to play with three other players which provided me with the full on co-op/party experience. We played through a bobsled mini-game that required all of us to work together to achieve the fastest race time, and it was actually entertaining on multiple levels. The joy of playing games with other gamers was present, but the actual gameplay, although very simplistic, created a feeling of contributing to the overall team dynamic, which enhanced the overall gameplay experience.

Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games is set to ship during the Fall 2013 shopping season.

Batcave Scribblenauts

Draw the solutions to all your problems.

The final stop at Nintendo’s private booth tour provided a chance to play a very unique game in Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure. I’ve not had prior experience with this franchise, so my time with the new entry was truly a fresh experience. This game is built specifically for use on the Gamepad, but can be interacted with by other gamers while it’s being displayed on a TV screen. That may sound fun, but the true selling point of this game is its use of the DC Universe.

Through simple touch-based commands many versions of DC’s comic book characters can be used to aid your cause. In my demo I had the chance to summon the Green Lantern, Batman, and even the Man of Steel. Each one can be programmed with instructions that range from changing their skill set to equipping them with weapons that can be spelled out and spawned into the game world.

This game provides an entirely unique experience to newcomers to the franchise, and based on a few discussions I had with fans of the series, it seems that longtime fans are happy with the new experience as well. Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure is set to ship sometime during the fall of 2013.

Nintendo’s plan to not hold an expensive press event at E3 seemingly paid off solely based on a few hands on experiences with the console’s upcoming batch of exclusive games. Mario Kart 8 tops my list of games played at the show, but there are many more that should cause Nintendo fans to get excited about the future of the Wii U.

[#ff entbuddha] “Making you a better geek, one post at a time!” [ratings]
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