E3: Nintendo Briefing

The next conference up was probably the best of the three, which is a complete turnaround from last year. Nintendo wowed us at their briefing and had more than a few surprises up its sleeve, even if they were leaked a day early. The show started off almost immediately with a new Zelda game, Wii’s Skyward Sword. This game is the smoothest Zelda game I’ve played since Ocarina of Time and, depending on the storyline, may be better. We’ll have to wait and see when this comes out. Shigeru Miyamoto appeared on stage in a surprise move, and showed off the new title’s MotionPlus capabilities which adds everything to the experience. Gone are the Twilight Princess days of flailing randomly to swing your sword. Now, a vertical slice is a vertical slice, a jab is a jab, and so on. The controls are perfectly tuned and tweaked, and the game isn’t due out until 2011, which likely means we’ll see it in March or have to wait until E3 2011 to see anything new about it.

The next surprise was Goldeneye for Wii. This one is supposed to be a complete remake of the original Nintendo 64 titles, except with updated graphics, controls, and welcome additions such as new weapons and melee attacks. However, from what I played on the floor, I will say that this was nothing like the original, nor was it up to par with anything close to today’s standards. We only had one level of multiplayer to try out, but it was actually quite horrible. This better change by the time the game is launched later this year. I’d rather it be delayed another year than have this P-O-S released. What’s another year on top of the 13 we’ve already waited anyways, right?

The big announcement of the show was quite obviously Nintendo’s new 3DS. Not slated for release until sometime in 2011, the 3DS will likely see a minor design change much like the original DS did back in 2004. Either way, the technology is actually quite simple, but Nintendo has put in its own incredible spin on it, and that makes all the difference in the product itself.

The upper screen displays three dimensions while the lower one retains touch capabilities. The only thing I don’t like about the device is the “3D depth slider” which doesn’t actually change the amount of 3D, but rather adjusts it so it looks proper to your own eyes. You can’t really have “sort of 3D” or “varying degrees of 3D” on the 3DS without it looking blurry or out of sync at certain parts of the screen. But that’s the only sort-of negative thing I can say about the device. The new slide pad is smoother and more responsive than Sony’s “analog” nub on the PSP, the games are ridiculously awesome, and the dual cameras on the back for taking 3D pictures is absolutely genius!

Let me touch on probably my favourite point in all this: the games. The 3DS, for me at least, is going to be a great way to re-imagine some older Nintendo titles. It seems like some of the best iterations of Nintendo’s franchises all happened on the Nintendo 64, and bringing them to the 3DS will revitalize them and make them absolute must-buys for every single title. I’m talking about things like Mario Kart, PilotWings, Starfox 64, and Diddy Kong Racing (not actually announced at E3). Oh, and, you know, Ocarina of Time. Yes, OCARINA OF TIME! Shigeru Miyamoto announced in a closed developer’s roundtable that Ocarina of Time would be coming to the Nintendo 3DS, and with any luck, it will be a launch title. Incredible stuff, Nintendo. Incredible stuff.

Take a look at some pictures below, and we’ll be sure to have video of all the greatest as soon as we can!