It was a sad time at this year’s E3, not because there weren’t any decent games on display, there was, loads. It was a sad E3 because it showcased the downfall of one of gaming’s most esteemed companies.
It was with much anticipation that I sat down to watch the Nintendo E3 Press Conference, excited about what they had to show off with their new Wii U console. I was excited about seeing how the year since its first reveal at last years E3 would show of what the Wii U could really do, what it could bring to gamers and how it would change the way we play games.
But what I was left with was one of the most awful press conferences I have ever witnessed in all my years of gaming. There was nothing, nothing that even excited me in the slightest. Even the ‘comedic’ opening with Mr. Miyamoto and his Pikmin failed to ignite the Nintendo fires that I so longed for.
Reggie Fils-Aime took to the stage cutting a lonely shape in front of the huge video screen announcing that there would be 23 games to show off to the audience. This would be good I thought, a new Mario, A new Zelda, perhaps even a bit of F-Zero, something from the vast Nintendo back catalogue that the company so often relies on would be on show. Alas, there was nothing. A new Super Mario Brothers game. Good but not what we all craved. Then there was Batman Arkham City Armoured Edition. Which looked no better than the Xbox or PS3 version. The only difference was added touchy nonsense that is meant to ‘enhance’ the game, but looked as if it was taking players away from the game to touch some icon on the touch screen. The only game that stood out amongst the glut of ipad looking games was Zombi U, finally something mature for a Nintendo console. But even this made me cringe as the player on stage had to struggle with the Wii U controller tablet. Taking his hand from the controls to carry out some pointless action that required you to touch the screen. I don’t know about you guys, but when I’m in the thick of the action, I like to keep my hands on the controls, with an itchy trigger finger, not take them off just to activate a scanner or something.
And to finish off the conference, Reggie thought it would be a good idea to show of Nintendo land, not just once, but twice. Nintendo land to me seemed like a version of PlayStation home, with some rides and those god-awful Mii’s that just freak me out now. This was the closing announcement. No big hurrah like the announcement of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (a video that was doing the rounds on news sites just before the Nintendo event) Nothing like the announcement that the utterly stunning Watch Dogs was actually running on Wii U hardware. There was nothing. When it was over I thought, is that it?
You see the trouble with Nintendo now is that they don’t really know where they are, are they for the hardcore gamer or are they for the casual gamer? It’s not really clear what the Wii U is for and who it’s targeted at, and just seems to be stuck in the middle ground bogged down by it’s own identity crisis. Even the Controller Pro looked scarily similar to an Xbox 360 pad. Graphically, if you’re one of those graphics junkies, there was nothing on display that showed off the capabilities of the machine in this department. With talk of Unreal Engine 4 not running on the Wii U, you could say the console is out of date already.
We had a brief glimpse of the future of graphics with Watch Dogs, although no platform has been announced, it looked good, great in fact, If this is what we can expect from the next generation of Games, then the Wii U can’t even hope to compete, again, like the Wii, left one step behind other companies in terms of hardware. But Nintendo has never been in the graphics race I hear you cry, and I get that, It’s just having a tablet, as a controller is that going to bring anything new to gaming? Is having a tablet going to immerse you in a game more than having a world that is rich with characters, seamless entering and exiting of buildings, Random NPC’s acting out actions depending on the situation at hand, realistic weather and lighting, bigger and better game worlds to explore. I don’t think so, if anything it will detract you. Having to take you eyes off the action to look down at your control pad to me seems like a jarring waste of time.
I was hoping upon hope that Nintendo would come out fighting, showing of Mario, Zelda, hell even anther Mario Kart game would have been nice, but there was nothing. If Nintendo feel that Nintendo Land is their savior then it really is Game Over.