Sometimes life gives you little surprises. At the moment I’m doing work experience with a certain national newspaper (who shall remain anonymous). One of the perks of working for a broadsheet is that you get invited to stuff; in this instance, our department received an invite to to a press event promoting the 3DS and upcoming Nintendo games. As the token young person, I was sent to represent the paper and glean some info.
As this was an event for the general press (and it was held in London, the backwater of the gaming industry) I didn’t discover anything new that you can’t already find from several sources on the internet. These are just a few impressions.
I was quite curious to see what 3D-without-glasses would be like, and I was pleasantly surprised. The effect is on par with 3D films, and I feel that a smaller screen helps. However, I don’t really see what impact it will have on gaming. More significant, I feel, are the graphics – they’re far nicer than the vanilla DS’s, probably on par with the Gamecube. In all other aspects, it’s little different from the battle-scarred DS phat I have on my desk.
The only playable demo I found was Pilotwings Resort; it was mostly good for demonstrating the use of the 3DS’s pseudo-analogue-stick (only six years after the PSP – good job, Ninty!) and wasn’t anything special. Everything else were merely video demoes; and of those, most didn’t even show gameplay. Mario Kart is the same as always, although the 3D and vertigo-inducement make it look prettier than its predecessors. Resident Evil: Revelations had nothing to show for itself apart from one cutscene, and I’ve never been that interested in the series. The Naked Sample was impressive, but apparently it’s nothing more than a tech demo.
The highlight of the pack was Kid Icarus. Given Nintendo’s reputation for exploiting their core franchises like a Taiwanese sweatshop, it’s refreshing to see them give some attention to a series with few entries. Again, basing predictions around a three-minute video is foolish; but I hope it turns out good.
I was extremely happy to see a playable demo of Epic Mickey. Great things should be expected from the man who created Deus Ex. Obviously, the graphics were a bit of a letdown – though to be honest, there wasn’t a chance in hell that it would be true to the amazing concept art – although the cutscenes are done in a quirky style. The gameplay isn’t groundbreaking, but it’s not bad. Unless it gets horrible reviews in the lag between NA and EU release dates, I’ll probably buy it.
I only played one match on Goldeneye 007. I’m probably not the core audience, being neither an FPS nerd nor a nostalgiafag for the original N64, but regardless I wasn’t blown away. The graphics seem bad, even by Wii standards.
Metroid: Other M was intriguing, if nothing else. Gameplay switches between a third-person platformer, with the occasional foray into FPS mode. It’s confusing and inconvenient, but that’s not much of a hindrance because the gameplay is ridiculously easy. I don’t like the direction that the series has taken; I feel that Metroid is at its best with claustrophobic, lonely corridor-scrolling. The recent glut of Halo-esque SPESS MAHREENS and bounty hunters doesn’t hold a candle to the 2D games. I also found the treatment of Power Bombs in the dialogue to be hilarious – the characters treat them like nukes, whereas in-game they’re pretty weak and have infinite ammo.
Surprisingly, most of the demoes on show were RPGs. I didn’t think Golden Sun and Dragon Quest would receive such prominence. Neither was amazingly fun, although I don’t feel that five minutes is long enough to truly appraise them.
Pokemon Ranger is confusing and wrong to my mind; the only non-main series Pokemon game I’ve played was the trading card game on the GBC, which was okay. Drawing circles around a Pokemon to capture it makes about as much sense to me as trying to play Tetris with triangles. But if you’re already a fan, you’ll probably like it.
I think I’ve been too harsh on casual gaming in the past. I tried the new Professor Layton, and it’s actually reasonably fun if you don’t treat it as a video game. Recently I’ve become a bit of a sudoku addict, so these puzzles are nice.
Ghost Trick seems like an interesting concept (possessing inanimate objects to solve puzzles) and I might pick it up. The graphics are nothing special, but it was an amusing demo.
Stuff I didn’t see (and couldn’t really care less about)
More Wii rhythm/sports shit, Nintendogs, Donkey Kong County.
Okay, I think that covered most major things. I’m probably committing several breaches of contract, but like I said, most of this is on IGN so I think my arse is safe. If anyone has questions about stuff I forgot to mention, just post a comment~