Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Nintendo post-E3 event impressions (including 3DS hands-on)
Yesterday I attended a post-E3 event at Nintendo of Europe and caught up with the line-up presented at the Los Angeles trade show. Here are my impressions.
Obviously, I played around with the 3DS for quite a bit. And I have to share the comments from people who tried it out before me. It really is most impressive. The effect is simply stunning and it is almost obvious that this device will become a megaseller and the new must-have gadget.
The quality of the hardware seems below that of the DSi, though, perhaps somewhere between the original DS and DSi. The shell feels “plasticy” and does not have the same quality finish of the later DS models. These were prototypes, though. So let us hope that this will be touched up.
The most impressive trailers were undoubtedly ´Metal Gear Solid 3D´ and ´Resident Evil: Revelations´. Both proved how much more powerful the 3DS is, albeit generating two separate images. It really is Wii and PSP quality, if not better. In ´Kid Icarus: Uprising´, you can see every bit of detail on Pit. The most impressive game was ´Nintendogs & Cats´. The animals came to life so much more in 3D, I am totally motivated to play this title silly like I did the DS games.
´PilotWings Resort´ did not work for me. I lost the 3D effect quite often, perhaps because there is so much depth. The leeway the device allows in terms of sideways movement appears to vary greatly from title to title. And here I was trying to navigate the plane while adjusting the 3D depth. Not a pleasant experience, but presumably something you will only have to do at the very beginning.
What got me excited again, though, was the movie trailer for ´Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole´. It looked brilliant and I can quite imagine watching entire movies on the device. Finally, playing around with the camera was great fun. To look through a digital camera and get a 3D image in the viewfinder was a revelation. While Nintendo is settling once again for a mere 0,3 megapixel, the quality seemed sufficient on screen.
´ Metroid Other M´ (Wii)
This game has a very high production value, as could have been expected. The cutscenes are cinema quality, the in-game graphics also amazing. It is essentially a 3D game with a level design that, at times, makes it feel like a 2D side scroller. There is a large degree of auto-aim. But you never feel that you are playing “only” in 3D. Combat is made easier by features such as missiles replenishing automatically. But the bosses seem quite tough. The transition between isometric and third-person perspective works very well and you will manage them easily within boss fights. This will become a must-have title.
´Zelda: Skyward Sword´ (Wii)
Unfortunately, this seemed to be the most underwhelming title there. Having played through ´Twilight Princess´ (and quite a few other Zeldas), this game seemed a step back in terms of visual quality. The world just seemed simpler and less rich than the one in its predecessor, without it oozing style like ´Wind Waker´. I played for a while and defeated two level bosses. And, for sure, the combat is much more complex. With Motion Plus, you need to slice those piranha plants in half the right way, depending on which way they open. But the game failed to capture my imagination and I heard similar comments from other game journalists at the event.
´Donkey Kong Country Returns´ (Wii)
This certainly was the surprise hit in my books. I did not expect ´Metroid Prime´ developer Retro to instantly get the Jump ´n Run genre right, but they sure did. In fact, I do not remember playing such a game with so many fresh ideas. The visuals, of course, were equally satisfying. Undoubtedly a must-buy for the console.
´Kirby: Epic Yarn´ (Wii)
This game is one of the most stylish and original games I have seen in a long time. I played through three levels and was blown away by the originality in the visual style and how that ties in with the gameplay. You might not be a Kirby fan, but you should definitely check this one out.