I was really hoping Nintendo would come out swinging this year. Last year I thought the Big N had the weakest showing at E3 of the three consoles. They only showed one title from their current gen console, and while Skyward Sword was amazing, it still left a lot of Wii owners feel like they were left out in the cold because so much attention was given to the Wii-U, which was still a long ways off.
For me personally at the time, the 3DS portion of the conference last year did not resonate all that well as I did not have a 3DS. This year I have one, and the with the Wii U coming out soon, I had much higher expectations from this conference - it felt like it would be much more relevant to fans.
New Super Mario Bros. U hit the expected notes: it was colorful, showed off multiple players like the Wii game did, has plenty of creative platforming and more than a few mushrooms were probably hurt in the making of that video. This was a needed reveal and it sat well with viewers.
I have never played Pikmin, so I'm not particularly psyched up for this third entry, but I have to say it looked decent and made for a fun introduction for Nintendo.
Nintendo Land looked interesting and appears as though it will make good use of the Wii controller. Will it be anything more than a gimmick? Hard to say, but titles like this will probably be essential in selling the hardware, much the way Wii Sports did.
It was interesting to see a third party game like the critically acclaimed Batman shown off with Wii U specific features. Just porting an existing game that's a year or two old is not going to move units, so I think it is important that these kinds of features are shown, but for me it is hard to get real excited about a game that I've had on my PlayStation 3 for over half a year. Same for Mass Effect 3. Games that are not out yet, like Darksiders 2 I think have a better chance at delivering a greater amount of buzz, but I suppose time will tell.
I was glad that they steered away from showing off non-gaming apps. Things like Miiverse do not generally excite me much, and I would have enjoyed seeing more about the system's particulars: Online support, trophies/achievements, pricing - there are some questions I would have liked seeing answered.
For the 3DS? New Super Mario Bros 2 for the 3DS with the gold-splosion was intriguing. Paper Mario seems like a great fit for the 3DS and looks like a lot of fun. The sticker mechanic was fun. Luigi's Mansion 2 is one of the games I have been most looking forward to so it was great to see a bit more of the game content. The third party lineup video at the end of the 3DS part of the presentation was fun - but had no true reveals as all of those games had already been announced.
The Lego City game was cute, though the most entertaining part of the preview was the Mario pipe at the end. It looks varied and seems to make sue of the popular action found in Lego games, but I admit that my favorite part of the Lego titles is seeing established franchises looked at in a new light. So for me personally, this non-themed Lego title is a bit less appealing to me than say, Star Wars or Harry Potter in brick form.
The Ubisoft part of the conference was nice show of support for the Wii U, but really only the Zombi U game really stood out - maybe because I hadn't hard anything about it and it is a new IP? But considering how weak 3rd party support was for the Wii, I think it's great to see Ubisoft up on stage showing their support.
Last year Nintendo's presentation felt very Zelda-heavy, which was great. This year was very Mario-heavy, which again is a great source of inspiration. But it felt like there were so many great Nintendo properties that just felt conspicuously absent. Pokemon, Metroid, Donkey Kong, Zelda development for the Wii U - these and more would have made some nice teases for Nintendo faithful.
Last year, I felt like Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo had conferences that were in that order - Sony's was the best, Nintendo's was the worst. I really did not come away from any of these presentations feeling like any one of the big three did much to differentiate itself from the others. There were some good announcements, plenty of eye candy, but I think the lack of major surprise announcements dulled some of the excitement for me. There were a handful of titles I had not read about or seen trailers for prior to E3, but not many. I saw a lot of games I am looking forward to playing, but with so few genuine surprises, this year's E3 has left me feeling largely disappointed in the 'big three'.
Now, there have been some cool games and studio announcements overall and I will try to post some of my favorites tomorrow.