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[E3 Impressions] A Surprise Hiding in Plain Sight: Pikmin 3

Posted on June 13, 2013 by (@NE_Austin) in Features, Wii U

The latest entry in the Pikmin series has been in the works for nearly 9 years, and it shows.

System: Nintendo Wii U
Release Date: August 4th, 2013
Developer: Nintendo EAD Group No. 4
Publisher: Nintendo

Author: Jack

Were you to ask me what I’d be excited for the most coming into Nintendo’s first E3 with the Wii U on the-stocking-shelves a few days ago, I’d probably have a fully mindful answer for each finger-on-the-hand. Given the somewhat sparse industry-wide response to Nintendo’s follow-up to the successful Wii, and with two competitor consoles set to drop in five months, I was fully expecting Nintendo to arrive at the Los Angeles Convention Center guns a-blazing, ready to duke it out with Sony and Microsoft the way they do best: releasing can’t miss first-party Nintendo gaming experiences that no other platform really has an equal for.

With the release of last month’s high-quality Nintendo Direct, we had the prospect of just that. To start, you’ve got the announcement of the new 3D Mario’s reveal, which is a true can’t-miss prospect given the series’ history. In addition, you’ve got whatever mature 3D action game Retro Studios is covertly cooking up, and they’ve made some pretty good dishes in their ~twelve year reign as Nintendo’s primary second-party developer. Premium developer Platinum Games has two, yes, TWO high-quality hack’n’slash games slated for release in the near future in The Wonderful 101 and Bayonetta 2. Finally, to top it all off, a trailer for the much anticipated, two-ways-to-play eighth generation Super Smash Bros. was to be displayed for all to see.

As it turns out, the previously unquestionably safe-bet Mario somehow turned out to be a flop, and Retro’s under-wraps game turned out to be a solid, yet altogether underwhelming HD sequel to Donkey Kong Country Returns. While The Wonderful 101, Bayonetta 2, and the trailer for the yet-to-be-named Smash Bros. certainly pulled their weight, the latter two, with ambiguous 2014 release dates, are still too distant to get truly excited about, while the former is deliberately too small in scale to really count on delivering a show-stopping experience.

With all of the above leaving some room for improvement or imagination in some form or fashion, I had yet to experience the “killer app” I felt Nintendo desperately needed to steal some thunder from Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One. While that designation might still not practically exist for Wii U at this year’s E3 showing, another title’s demo managed to completely grab my attention and give me hope that this year’s exposition in Los Angeles concerning Nintendo’s chief home console would not be for naught. It’s had an eight to nine-year development cycle to become fully polished, several recantations of release dates and platforms, and Miyamoto’s seemingly undivided attention for the past eighteen months. It’s a game I’ve been aware of for a good long while and already deemed worthy of purchase, but had mistakenly neglected in a serious light. It’s Pikmin 3.

Next page: Why Pikmin 3 is as good as it is…

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