I think we can all agree by now that Nintendo's E3 press conference this year was a little lacking. There were no major reveals and no pandering to the core whatsoever. It was the kind of event that looks good for the mainstream press, but the gamers who actually follow E3 intently were immensely let down. Nintendo had one more chance to redeem themselves with their 3DS software showcase Wednesday night. Did it work? Well, it's complicated.
First and foremost, the Nintendo 3DS software showcase was definitely more focused than the Wii U press conference. Nintendo was more on point and wasn't taking 30 minutes to explain a mini-game that could have easily been explained in five. There was plenty of great gameplay shown, but few surprises.
Nintendo started off the event showing off a third-party title which is highly unusual for the publisher. It looks like Nintendo is starting to give more credit to its third party partners who are finally beginning to make great experiences on the handheld. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate received an extended trailer that confirmed the existence of Alucard in the game and he looks just like the character that we saw at the end of the Lords of Shadow 2 trailer. The gameplay itself looks like classic side-scrolling Castlevania obviously inspired by Symphony of the Night. It will launch in the fall.
Unfortunately, Nintendo didn't show any gameplay for its newest Luigi's Mansion title now named Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon. We did, however, get a new trailer that shows off some of the new environments and mansions that we can expect to see in the game. We also learned that Luigi will now have different colored streams from his vacuum that enable different abilities. The game will be one of the first titles to launch digitally on the Nintendo eShop starting this fall.
Warren Spector came out next to talk about Epic Mickey 2: Power of Illusion. The game is a sequel to the best Mickey Mouse game of all time - Castle of Illusion. It works in gameplay mechanics from the Epic Mickey franchise this time around by allowing Mickey to use the magic paintbrush. It will launch alongside Epic Mickey 2 on November 18.
Nintendo went back to first party titles again to showcase its new Paper Mario game - Paper Mario: Sticker Star. The game will be a return to the classic Paper Mario gameplay after the departure to a more action RPG platformer that we saw with Super Paper Mario. The key difference this time around is that all of Mario's attacks and abilities are tied to stickers that he collects in the world. It was also revealed that Mario levels up by completing side quests, instead of through gaining experience.
The company ended the show by showing off what is most likely going to be the big seller this holiday season - New Super Mario Bros. 2. It was a little disappointing at first to see this getting the main spotlight especially after the sublime experience that was Super Mario 3D Land still present in many 3DS gamers' memories. Thankfully, it looks like Nintendo is actually doing some really interesting things with this title. Not only is the entire single player campaign playable cooperatively, but coins collected are counted and shared across all levels. It seems that the goal is to collect 1 million coins with power-ups that turn enemies and blocks into coins helping you reach that goal.
Strangely enough, Nintendo announced a game for the 3DS via Twitter that was not shown at all during either press conference. The company announced that Fire Emblem Awakening would be hitting the handheld, but it was probably not formally announced as it will most likely see a 2013 release in the U.S.
We are excited to confirm a NEW game announcement coming to the US: the new 3DS Fire Emblem! More info to come.
Nintendo definitely has a packed year ahead of it with Wii U and 3DS. It's just unfortunate that the 3DS is far more exciting at this point in time than what the Wii U has currently planned. It's still great news that us 3DS owners have a lot to look forward to for the rest of the year. Here's a game montage showing all the games that are planned to launch this year.