Nintendo kept its video presentation short and to the point. That’s both good and bad: there was so much we wanted to see from the house that made Mario that left us wanting more, but at the same time you can’t help wonder if the company is even prepared to go toe-to-toe with big boys Microsoft and Sony. Most of its heavy hitters are only coming out after the end of 2014, come to think of it.
Yes, we get to see more Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U and 3DS that we will eventually buy because of its camp and nostalgic value, as well as its simple-yet-hard-to-master fighting mechanics. And yes you can make custom characters in the game using your own Miis (brawler, gunner and swordfighter). And we also get to see its figurine tech called Amiibo that’s reserved strictly for Nintendo characters and Nintendo titles.
It was, however, the company’s new twists on its old ideas that made its video presentation stand out. There’s Mario Maker which lets you make your own 2D Mario levels using templates from either the 8-bit original or the New Super Mario Bros. engine. Remember that clever Captain Toad minigame from Super Mario 3D World? The company’s making a full-fledged game out of it for this year, complete with new puzzles that require deft use of the Wii U Gamepad.
Hyrule Warriors combine the popular action gameplay of Dynasty Warriors using Legend of Zelda characters: why not use a time-tested popular game formula in Asia using Nintendo icons Europe and America are more in tune with, right? Core gamers got their thirst satiated with a confirmed release date of action game Bayonetta 2: October, now with the original Bayonetta attached to it and Nintendo costumes for the female protagonists to wear.
Japanese role-playing game company Monolith Soft also released a meatier trailer of its upcoming opus Xenoblade Chronicles X, slated for 2015. If you love real-time swordplay combat featuring giant transformable mechs, it’ll blow your mind.
With all that said, Nintendo went back to the trap of going back to the past. Yoshi’s Woolly World, for all of its charm, is just a retooled Kirby’s Epic Yarn with Yoshi exploration and platforming mechanics. There’s also another goddamn Pokemon re-release for the 3DS, this time on Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire. There’s a tease on a new Legend of Zelda game with colourful graphics and a quick boss fight on horseback, but beyond a release period, there isn’t much to go on and justify saving up and investing in a Wii U.
We’ll have to say that Nintendo’s offering falters as there aren’t any strong must-have games apart from Super Smash Bros. Even so, that game doesn’t have that same mass appeal and luster as a Super Mario or Legend of Zelda title. Its fallback to its nostalgia still prevails, hampering the company from its full potential to make completely new ideas. As we implied before, 2015 seems like the year of the Wii U, but will Nintendo’s luck keep going before the system may get discontinued due to lackluster sales?
One more thing to note: it seems that all of the other interesting games are announced right after the Nintendo video. Action game Devil’s Third now exclusive for Wii U (and visually downgraded from the look of things), a new Star Fox game in the works. Why didn’t Nintendo just added 15-20 more minutes of this into its video presentation again?