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Following last week’s Wii U buzz, my mind’s a blur of Nintendo glee. In his nearly 30 min. long video for the Nintendo Direct conference 2013, Nintendo’s own Satoru Iwata, announced a boatload of goodies that lit a fire in the belly of the Wii U’s fanbase, me included. While many are looking ahead to the prospects of the X-Box 720 and PS4, this latest round of announcements has me amped for the console already sitting in my living-room and its promising future. In this latest round-up, I try to summarize, to the best of my ability, the thoughts I have about Mr. Iwata’s announcements in all of their awesomeness. Live long and prosper, Wii U!
6. Nintendo’s Virtual Console
Though this one’s been in the rumormill for months ever since the Wii U came out, Nintendo finally made it for real when they officially announced their virtual console for the Wii U. Rather than yielding any new games, the virtual console was still an fun move on Nintenod’s part to the fan that wants a blast to the past. Being able to buy your most beloved NES games or ones you never played at all and playing them on the big-screen at long last is a dream come true and the Wii U’s gamepad offers a big advantage over the Wii’s own system. but the idea of sitting by the fire enjoying Link to the Past or Super Metroid on the Wii U’s gamepad is an excellent idea nonetheless. Besides experiencing plenty of my old favorites on a bigger screen than the 3DS or DS, there are plenty of old NES games like F-Zero that I never played and would love to see for my first time on the kind of screen that the gamepad could offer. The virtual console’s cost of just a buck or two at most may be an annoyance to some, but to me, it’s by no means a big deal. After all, it’s a huge bargain compared to the game’s original price. Plus, as these games aren’t getting any younger, it’s worth finding a few ways to preserve them in for all your future play-throughs.
5. More Mario
While it’s definitely not the least bit surprising to anyone, the inevitable prospect of more Mario games is more than enough to keep me interested in the Wii U. With the latest Mario Kart and another 3D Mario coming our way, I’m all the more confident in my possession of a Wii U and, frankly, expect no less than the expected amount of from the enduring series. Like most, I found my gamer calling in the original Super Mario Bros. as a young’in and since then pretty much have followed Nintendo’s plump plumber just about everywhere: from the racetrack to his silly parties to the edge of space. Mario undoubtedly has more than just nostalgic longevity, though, he’s pretty much the face of Nintendo’s marketing and the heart and soul of its commercial success. It’s only natural, then, that Mario must play his part in every Nintendo system. Perhaps a part of me, then, feels underwhelmed by what comes as nothing novel to Nintendo as a company. Keep in mind, though, that I don’t at all take that fact for granted. If Mario’s thrills seem to decline, it’s only because of the incredibly high bar it’s set for itself over the generations. That alone still makes great games. On the subject of Mario Kart, I generally enjoy and while it will probably be a very typically fun Mario game, I am excited even more for the 3D Mario title Nintendo has reported. It could be any number of things, from a Super Mario Galaxy epic to a long-awaited Super Mario Sunshine sequel (please!). Regardless, it could take Mario in a more radically different direction, and that would be a terrific move in my book.
4. A Wii U Xeno Game
Thanks to Operation Rainfall last year, I was finally able to experience Xenoblade Chronicles like the rest of North America and am all the more hyped for the prospect of a Wii U Xeno game because of it. Granted, I haven’t finished nearly all of Xenoblade yet, but what 40 + hours I’ve already clocked in have been greatly rewarding. True to many of its complaints by the non-JRPG fan, it suffered from mediocre last-gen graphics and a dull battle-system and definitely has a way over inflated length. However, even with those flaws, I can’t seem to not to like the experience it gave me. It’s wonderful art-style is simply majestic in the size and scale of its world and creatures and its story kept me quite engaged with its interesting characters.
With all that said, the flashy trailer released for Monolith Studios's so-called “X” game (that looks 100% Xeno-like) showed off just about everything that I could want from a Wii U Xeno title. From the trailer, Xenoblade’s already amazing art-style seems to have transferred wonderfully over to the Wii U’s graphic capabilities. Every bit of the world looks as surreal and beautiful as Xenoblade’s did with a good dose of realistic depth to it that rivals any PS3 or X-Box game. The in-game enemies looked gloriously huge, but the real steal of the show were its giant, flying robot suits. If characters do get to jump into these babies and soar across the skies in free-roam, then this Xeno-whatever already has me sold.
3. A Yoshi Yarn Game?. . .
Perhaps far more surprising is the mysterious Yoshi game that was announced. Like in the screen-shot above, Yoshi looks like he’s taken more than a few cues from Kirby and Sack Boy’s recent entries, running around in a quirky looking mash-up between 2D side-scrolling and 3D platforming. I loved Kirby’s Epic Yarn and think of it as one of the Wii’s all-time classics, having found it a rare and highly enjoyable throw-back to simpler kid fun. I already love the idea of Yoshi taking the same steps. The cutesy scenery fits the little dino-guy perfectly and Yoshi’s yarn get-up will no doubt provide a ton of clever gameplay elements as it did Kirby. What I’m wondering the most about this beauty is the realistic bedroom window seen in the back-round of the screenshot below. It’s probably the biggest reference to Little Big Planet’s “playground within the real-world” setting and might even imply something about the plot here. Is Yoshi coming out of a storybook? Or Grandma’s knitting basket? Or out of a video-game console?! Either way, if Yoshi boasts Little Big Planet’s style of scenery, might he also take a few inspirations for an on-line level-creation system? This is easily the most shady of all of Nintendo’s announcements last week and I hold high hopes in seeing a whole lot more of this game in any of Nintendo’s E3 tidbits this summer.
2. Return to Windwaker. . . in HD!
The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker was easily my favorite title on the Gamecube back in the day and still lives on as one of my favorite games of all time. It made me truly fall in love with Zelda for the first time and gave perhaps the most remarkable world in the series to explore and feel a part of in its memorable and endearing interpretations of Link and Tetra. It should be easy to say, then, that it’s remake is equally exciting in all of its nostalgia-ridden prominence.
However, more than that factor alone is Nintendo’s amazing revamp of the game’s graphics. The screenshots that were shown off were gorgeous to behold, reminiscent of Pixar’s realistically detailed, cartoonish charm while keeping the game’s vibrant character animations alive. Windwaker HD is thus looking like the most gorgeous remake ever to hit video-game consoles and may be worth it to Zelda fans for its visual beauty alone. This announcement also comes at no better time to me, as the home’s original and aging Wind Waker copy is already having a hard time being read on Wii and Gamecube. It’s just all the better that I can finally keep Wind Waker’s memory alive for at least another generation.
On top of that, Wind Waker is the only new game announcement that has been confirmed to actually be relevant to 2013, hitting our store shelves by this fall. Aside from what’s already been shown, I have a few high hopes of my own as to what potential bonuses Wind Waker could deliver as a remake as well. Imagining the addition of new, extra dungeons and even some new Master Quest features are just too tempting not to consider isn’t it? While it may be nothing entirely new, Wind Waker’s fantastic original content and cool new look is more than enough for me to shell out $60 for Windwaker HD come this autumn season.
1. The Future of Super Smash Bros.
The number one piece of news released for my video-game world was, hands down, the very long-awaited announcement of Super Smash Bros. being present at E3. Clicking onto this site and seeing this headline was flabbergasting to say the least, and it was all the more exciting to hear that its footage would be accompanied by demos no less. I can’t begin to think about how many awesome characters could make their way into the roster, but a few views of the stages themselves may at least satisfy my urgent craving for more of my favorite fighting game series of all time. In any case, it was terrific to see that Super Smash Bros. is more than still alive, but thriving within whatever dark abyss it’s being worked on in Nintendo’s studios. The only unfortunate piece of pessimism I can hold against this particular announcement is, of course, that Super Smash Bros. 4 is very likely not to be any time soon. With the long production time that Brawl had, gamers shouldn’t be expecting this baby to hit the market this year or even the next. However, if Namco Bandai is helping as Nintendo reports, than maybe their may be some hope left that Nintendo is keen on releasing this sooner than we think.
So what about all of you? What was your favorite announcement and what else do you want out of the Wii U? Thanks for your time and see you back soon!