As time passes and our memories get endlessly packed with more information and mementos, big events end up being remembered not by the full extent of their details, but by one or two facts that either made them relevant or by a smaller occurrence that, analyzed in an isolated manner, ends up being both a perfect summary for what happened and a thread of remembrance that unlocks other memories related to that event that we thought were lost forever, when they were actually just hidden away in a dark corner of our minds waiting to be awaken by something. For this year's E3, that singular starting point by which I will define the whole three-day expo and that will serve as the starting point to recalling all that happened in the previous week will be Watch Dogs. Yes, the Ubisoft game seems to be absolutely fantastic; but its apparent quality is not why it will be elected my personal memento. The credit for such achievement falls on the lap of everybody's reaction towards the title, and how it was somehow able to deliver more awe than any other huge established franchises that appeared on this year's E3. The positive reactions to Watch Dogs prove that: the industry has hit a point where their own fans are tired of the constant rehashing of old IPs, and at the same time - in a devilish twist - gaming companies are so used to making tons of money on their famous properties that fans have never been hungrier for something new. The excitement over Watch Dogs is the materialization of that famine.
The scenario was seen over and over again during the event: in Microsoft's great presentation of games we have already played many times, in Sony's reveal of yet another God of War and supposedly refreshing take on the fighting genre by copying the Smash Bros. formula and, finally, on Nintendo's insistence to give us more Mario sidescrollers - this time not in one, but two games that basically bring the same graphical style and gameplay that we have seen in the other two New Super Mario Bros games that have been released in the past few years. Thankfully, one thing is for sure, all those familiar faces will star on games that will be an absolute blast to play, titles that we will be talking about for years to come, but it is kind of disappointing to come out of an event that is supposed to show the latest displays of what the junction of human creativity and technology can bring to us with new takes on universes we have explored a good number of times.
As a Nintendo fan, I found myself terribly surprised to come to the conclusion that, for the first time ever, I am far more excited about what other companies will initially create for the Nintendo Wii U than what the Big N itself has in store. Pikmin 3 looks glorious, and stating it is the best-looking game to ever hit a Nintendo system would be an understatement on how beautiful it is; New Super Mario Bros. Wii U will be ridiculously fun, and some of its levels look to be overflowing with creativity, but I do not think any of those games have what it takes to make the shattering statement on what the Wii U is capable of offering to developers and fans, something that is extremely necessary to a system that is still standing on all fours. Nintendo Land, naturally, draws automatic comparisons to Wii Sports as a game that is supposed to show the basics of the many possibilities that the new control scheme provides, and although in terms of polishing it seems to be far closer to Resort than the original Wii Sports, it is a game that will either have to come packed with the system - hopefully the decision Nintendo will make - or be sold at a very friendly price.
If Nintendo's initial showcase of games for the system failed to surprise or amaze, as fun as it looks, the same cannot be said about what a few other companies have to offer. Boasting that Mass Effect 3, Arkham City or Assassin's Creed III will bring hardcore gamers over to Nintendo's side borders on ridiculous, because most - if not all - of those gamers have already played, or will play, those games in platforms they already own, not making it necessary for them to purchase new hardware to do so. If those games do anything for the Wii U is make it dangerously possible that the system might become a platform to which third-parties will simply port games that appear on the PC, PS3 and 360, hence making it a possible bizarre in-between generations device, if the trend continues and the PS4 and 720 prove to be much more powerful in terms of hardware.
Still, there are very bright spots to be found. Rayman Legends seems like the type of game Nintendo should have come up with to present the Wii U to the world: it is wacky, colorful, beautiful and it makes a fantastic integration between the different kinds of controls that the Wii U supports for both single-player and multiplayer, something that New Super Mario Bros Wii U should have done, instead of solely using the tablet controller to increase the number of simultaneous players to five. Meanwhile, in equally amusing fashion, Lego City: Undercover looks like GTA's over-the-top cousin, and it will be a wonderful title to those which - like me - tend to think that GTA could heavily benefit from some extra touches of humor and more extravagant action sequences. If the game is packed with as much content and freedom as Rockstar's franchise then it will be, by far, my most anticipated game for the console.
Ubisoft once again, in a ridiculously inspired year, seems to have struck undead gold with ZombiU. While the awfully cheesy name, that needs urgent changing, makes most think it is either some bad shovelware take on the overly explored zombie apocalypse, the game actually revealed itself to be very refreshing by making death permanent and forcing players to constantly switch between survivors in order to uncover some bigger mystery regarding yet another humanity's fall to a brain-eating virus. Finally, Project P-100's best description is that it is Pikmin on crazy steroids, and even though its premise of joining individually weak beings to create a mob capable of defeating gargantuan beasts is not exactly original, its presentation and its seemingly frantic pace make for quite an attractive title.
All in all, the Nintendo Wii U seems like a system with very good potential, but with very clear risks on the horizon. A few third-parties seem to have embraced the system, and although Nintendo themselves did not have a mighty software showing to get things started, we all know the company's creativity will soon come pouring out into the machine and into our living rooms. However, for as long as the 720 and the PS4 are not revealed, it remains up in the air whether or not the Wii U will be able to catch great multiplatform titles on its net or if Nintendo fans will have to once again choose another system to fulfill their third-party gaming needs for the next generation.
Okay I've actually watched Watch Dogs and it looks no better than GTAIV mods, plus it's got that Deus Ex 3 sheen that covers up a lot of texture work. Wat. I thought it was meant to look mindblowing?
@Foolz3h From a gameplay standpoint.
@JustPlainLucas Oh, that makes more sense. I wouldn't call it mind blowing, but it does look interesting...which I suppose might equal mindblowing these days.
@Pierst179 Yup, yup we agree. :)
@Foolz3h Well, I thought its gameplay elements were quite unique, and leave room for some pretty great possibilities. But, as I said, it is nothing out of the ordinary, but its quality was blown out of proportion due to the industry's inability to come up with brand new IPs.
You hit the nail with Watch Dogs. One of the reasons why people are clamoring for it is because it's a new IP, and a really good looking one at that. It has a lot of original ideas, and overall it's just a beautiful game. As far as Nintendo goes, I LOVE the 2D SMBs so to have two new ones coming out on their respective systems is awesome. Let's also not forget the new Paper Mario. It's a good time to be a Mario fan. I will say the Lego City game looks amazing, and I have to have it.
@JustPlainLucas I also love 2D Mario games as much as anyone, but I feel like Nintendo could take a break from them for a while or, at least, keep the series exclusive to the 3DS and leave for the Wii U to house some more unique and impressive Mario adventure, it would be a great way to unleash the console onto a great start and I am sure Nintendo knows that, which makes me feel like they were a little bit lazy with their efforts.
Lego City was my favorite thing of the whole presentation!
@TAMKFan They will be great, though I am not sure on how the concept of the 3DS one will play out, but it looks quite different, which is a plus. We will find out in a couple of months, I guess.
I agree, but in Gaming terms, Pikmin 3 made me REALLY happy otherwise Hardware wise, your right.
Damn, i never noticed that NSMBU Pic had that background, its just making me like it more
@hotdiddykong The game has beautiful, and occasionally very artistic backgrounds, you should check more images!
It was obvious MS and Sony held out on revealing their new consoles. I think Nintendo had the best show but thats not saying much because Im a big platformer fan so I would think that anyway, plus new Mario games are a given.
Im still not sold on the whole 2-screens thing. I dont know what these companies are expecting a second screen to do that DS hasnt done already except maybe stuff like maps and inventory. Even then those are just minor conveniences.
Ya LEGO GTA...I mean City looks awesome lol.
@wildcat2000 I think that, much like what happened with the Wii Controls, the benefits of the two screens are something that you only understand when you actually play the system. Judging by impressions from the media, reactions to the controller have been overwhelmingly positive.
I'm still angry about Nintendo's conference. They have great games coming (especially the 2nd/3rd party you mention) but then pushed them aside to show wii fit u and sing, and that Nintendo land game which is basically tech demo that should be bundled with the console. Also did you hear about how audiences are still confused thinking that the controller is just another regular wii periphrial?
@mariosonic91 I hear that CNN posted an article on how the Wii U is an add-on to the Wii, which is just embarrassing! I am with you, I thought Nintendo could have done much better.
The hugely positive reaction is actually due to console gamers seeing PC graphics for the first time, but thinking they're console graphics.