Thursday, June 13, 2013

My Thoughts On Nintendo's E3 Announcements

Super Mario 3D World:

Probably the biggest disappointment of the day for me was Super Mario 3D World.  Which is a weird thing for me to say.  After all, I greatly enjoyed Super Mario 3D Land.  It even managed to crack my list of my top 5 favorite main series Mario games.  Shouldn't I be excited about a sequel to such a fun game?  I guess I should...but I'm not.  In fact, I can't remember the last time that a new Mario game reveal left me feeling so uninterested.

The main thing is that this is the big "3D Mario" for the Wii U and it's a sequel to a handheld game instead of a large-scale impressive new take on the series.  Instead of having the wow-factor, the scope, and the surprise of games like Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine or Super Mario Galaxy, we have small and contained levels with basic goals, time limits, and nothing really all that new to speak off.  Oh yeah, it's pretty looking in HD.  But it just feels...small.

I'll still play Super Mario 3D World and I'm sure I'll enjoy it quite a bit.  But, honestly, the main reason that I'm so unenthusiastic about it is the fact that I can probably already write my review for it right now:  It's fun, but ultimately forgettable.  It does all the things that make Mario games enjoyable but nothing more.  It has "new" elements but most of them are really just things from Super Mario Bros. 3 and World brought back in 3D.  And it's really really easy.

That's basically been the case for every single Mario game released since 2006 save for the first Galaxy game.  They never have their own identity apart from each other.  And I just can't bring myself to care anymore.  As a longtime Mario fan who has always preferred his 3D adventures to his 2D ones, it's incredibly frustrating to see the 3D series continue to regress toward the stale repetitiveness of the New Super series.  Since Mario already has a 2D adventure on the Wii U, why must the 3D series continue to be forced in that direction as well?  For now, it looks like the Mario series is going to continue to stagnate.  And that's a bummer.

Plus...the cat suit?  Really?  That's the best you've got?  Oy.

Mario Kart 8:

Really really pretty Mario Kart Wii is what I saw.  I don't know.  The Mario Kart series is kind of turning into the New Super series for me.  There have been enough of them in a short enough period of time that it's hard to get very excited about a new one when it still pretty much looks the same as the ones before it.  And considering that Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart 7 both felt considerably less enjoyable than the entries before them, I'm just having a hard time getting interested in another game of more of the same.  Like Super Mario 3D World, this is another game that looks good but is just very hard to get excited about.

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS:

Oh look, it's Brawl again.  Same problem as the last two games.  It looks so much like its predecessor that I really have a hard time getting excited about playing it.  Mega Man looks like fun, but the Blue Bomber alone is not enough to get me interested in playing a game that looks to be pretty much exactly like the games that came before it.  The most interesting thing about this game to me is the slightly stylized graphics for the 3DS version.  Those look kind of interesting.  That's about it, unfortunately...

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze:

Ah, here we go!  Finally!  Donkey Kong saves the day!  Yeah, it's a sequel, but it hardly looks like a retread of Donkey Kong Country Returns.  That game was positively exploding with original ideas, unexpected level gimmicks, and the type of creativity and inventiveness that's so sorely lacking in the Mario series these days.  And it looks like the design philosophy behind Tropical Freeze is to continue to do all those things but bigger and better than ever!  More chaotic set-pieces!  More level types and characters to play with!  More beautiful graphics!  This is how a sequel should be.  It's everything that made the first game fun taken up a notch.  For now, Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze is really the only Wii U game I'm excited about.  Mario's old rival is showing him up when it comes to platformers these days!

Plus, DK has fur this time!  Nintendo really wants to make sure you noticed.

Yoshi's New Island:

I have a theory:  If a game has the word "new" in the title, there won't be anything new about it.  Seriously, when it comes to rehashing the past, this game looks even worse than the New Super series.  I can play Yoshi's Island already.  Why would I want to play it again?  FOR GOODNESS SAKE, NINTENDO!  DO SOMETHING NEW IF YOU'RE GOING TO PUT "NEW" IN THE TITLE!

The Legend of Zelda:  A Link Between Worlds:

I'm still very much looking forward to this one, though nothing really seems to have been revealed that wasn't already known about the game.  I still really like it's classic looking visuals and top-down gameplay, though.  Here's hoping this really turns out to be something special!

Other Thoughts:

Wind Waker HD:

Wow, and I thought Wind Waker was pretty before!  Not much else to say.  It's cool to see my favorite 3D Zelda game getting such a gorgeous overhaul, and a few gameplay refinements to boot!  Looks like an incredibly solid remake overall.

Sonic Lost World:

I really want to be excited about this game, but it just feels like such a huge step backwards from Colors and Generations.  The classic graphics are nice, but they just feel a little too simplified for my tastes.  Plus, with everything else looking as old school as possible, it really feels like a missed opportunity to not have Classic Sonic be the main character here.  The new style of gampeplay is intriguing but it also looks clunky and less fun than the modern Sonic gameplay of the last few games.  And, maybe it's just me, but the footage almost makes me a feel a little motion sick, what with the sudden jerky changes of movement causing the camera to swoop around all over the place.  Sonic doesn't really seem to have a sense of weight or momentum anymore.  He just kind of takes off at top speed and changes direction on a dime now and it feels choppy.   I'll have to wait and see about this one...

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