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Nintendo at E3: Day 1 Grade

Posted on June 2, 2009 by (@NE_Austin) in Features, General Nintendo

E3 Day 1 – Wii and DS Overview

Every year game developers from across the globe gather at what can be called the biggest video game convention in the world to showcase what they believe to be their top quality products. In past years this is where games like The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and the Sony Playstation 3 console were announced, and this year should be no different. With rumors circulating of new Mario’s or new Zelda’s among others, E3 2009 promises to be just as good, if not better, than previous outings.

EA’s Press Conference

On the forefront of the unofficial first day of E3 was Microsoft’s press conference. While, to my surprise, they failed to announce anything for either the Wii or DS, EA picked up where Microsoft left off by discussing a few key Wii titles, including Grand Slam Tennis and EA Sports Active.

The latter of the two titles, EA Sports Active, was announced to have sold 600,000 units in the two weeks since its launch. Additionally, it was announced that an expansion pack is on the way for this holiday season and will include around 30 bonus exercises, among other additions.

Grand Slam Tennis, EA’s realistic tennis game with an unrealistic style, was previewed and demonstrated at the conference much to the enjoyment of the audience and viewers at home. The game, which ships in a week, was controlled by Peter Moore and Tom Singleton, and was soon thereafter interrupted by tennis celebrity Pete Sampras who took the place of Peter Moore on stage and played a few sets with Singleton.

Overall, the performance (at least, from a Nintendo lens; the trailer for Star Wars: The Old Republic was spectacular) was nothing beyond of bland. Though there were a few pieces of Wii-related news that were possibly worth seeing, the bottom line is that it was nothing that Wii owners haven’t seen already, and the DS-related items were so casual-centric that they aren’t even worth mentioning.

Grade: D+

Ubisoft’s Press Conference

After watching a disappointing EA press conference, I went into Ubisoft’s hoping, perhaps naively, that I would find something better. I predicted a possible mention of Red Steel 2, and maybe a small gameplay trailer of Rabbids Go Home. To my surprise, however, Ubisoft’s press conference ended up being far more Wii-oriented than I would have expected, containing both expected announcements, and a few curve balls that gave Wii owners a bit of a treat to nibble on before Nintendo’s press conference tomorrow.

The first Nintendo related gift that Ubisoft gave us was a slice of Red Steel pie; and it was big slice. For the first time we got to see direct footage, new areas, enemies, cinematics, and an all around awesome display of hack n’ shoot gameplay which proved that the stuff we saw in the trailer wasn’t just edited to look nice; it was actually how the game plays. Despite a few clunky death animations and lack of blood, it looked quite good both in terms of controls and graphics.

Next came “Your Shape”, a startlingly robust fitness experience exclusively on Wii that would use a surprising new addition to the Wii’s peripheral list: A video camera that scans your body into the game to keep track of weight, height, etc. Aside from the lame jokes from Key about how the camera adds 10 pounds, the property looks genuinely interesting, and with the success (and true quality experience) of EA Sports Active, who knows what innovator Ubisoft could have in store for us?

Could it have been time for us to go home after these two events? Nope, but it is that time for the Rabbids! As predicted, a gameplay demo of Rabbids Go Home! was present to the impressed eyes of many in the audience. The game looks like a refreshingly comedic adventure platformer that may just shed some respect on the Rabbids franchise.

After the impressive gameplay video of RGH, Ubisoft’s North American President Laurent Detoc came by to talk Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Soon after, a new TMNT: Smash Up trailer debuted. Originally, I had my doubts about Smash Up!, but now (though I still do have them) after seeing some gameplay I can say that I the game surely shows a bit of promise, and seeing more of it at E3 made my day that much better.

Finally, Ubisoft rounds up the Nintendo portion of the show by briefly speaking about 2 of my most hyped games for 2009: No More Heroes: Desperate Struggle and Miziguchi’s brand new IP for Wii, tentatively titled “Eden”. This was arguably my favorite announcement of the day simply for the chance to hear that the talented creator of Rez is still working on his title for Wii, which I can guarantee will be something brand new and very well done.

Ubisoft’s E3 performance deserves far from a bravo, but in terms of games revealed and trailers shown, it was a success in my eyes. Sure, it was occasionally difficult to sit through the ramblings of James Cameron and the technical difficulties presented by the main screen, but all in all I would call it a successful conference that gave Wii owners an even stronger hope for the hardcore in the near future.

Grade: B


Aside from these two press conferences, little happened in the world of Nintendo on the first day of E3, but to be honest, I’ve been made pretty happy by what I have seen so far. With the best yet to come, I can safely say that no matter what happens I will be a fairly satisfied Wii owner in 2009.

Day 1 Grade: C+

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