A lot of games, some looking very good, some very hard, some very funny, few surprises, and a small number of very good ones. That is the early conclusion of Eurogamer Expo 2012. Here are my impressions of what Nintendo had to offer!
I finally got my hands on a Wii U, but it wasn’t the revolution I had expected. In some games it seems they have made the TV screen superfluous which is a bit strange. I thought the controller was supposed to be either an extra screen with additional information and actions, like maps, equipment, statuses and logs; a little similar as the lower screen of Nintendo DS and 3DS. It could be used as an extra screen, but only when you had to leave the TV for example when someone else wanted to watch something on the telly.
Instead it seems the Wii U gamepad is used as a replacement for the screen, at least in some games I tried. Because the gamepad’s screen contained more info, and actions, plus the whole game world/scene, I preferred to look at the gamepad’s screen all the time.
Here are some of the Wii U games I tried
I have never played any Rayman game before, until I played a demo of Rayman Origins on the 3DS last week. Rayman Legends looks quite similar to the older Rayman games, but at least this version plays differently due to the Wii U’s special control setup.
I played with another guy; I played with the special Wii U gamepad and he with the classic gamepad. While I controlled some extra stuff and removed blocks for him using the gamepad’s smaller screen’s touch ability, he controlled the main character on the big screen. It was a bit hectic to play like that, and I also wonder about how it will be in single player. I asked the girl at the booth, but she didn’t knew…
New Super Mario Bros U
NSMBU is way to similar to the two other New Super Mario Bros games, the first one on Wii and the recent NSMB2 on 3DS. There is of course the addition of the Wii U gamepad’s extra features (the one using it can add blocks for the other players, so they can reach higher or “out-of-bounds” areas and items), but that is clearly a feature/player-position that will become quite boring to play after a while.
I also don’t like the graphical style of the NSMB-games. It is somehow too “plastic” or static in my eyes; there is something lacking. I really hope they will go back to the more funny and lively style of Super Mario Bros 3 and Super Mario World.
In this game I felt the TV screen was not needed because all of the three characters’ actions are controlled by touching the Wii U gamepad, and since the full game screen is also mirrored on the gamepad, you don’t have to look up on the TV at all.
In the game you have three characters to choose from: a wizard, a ranger and a warrior, each with the usual pros and cons (yes, the wizard is very weak and the warrior very strong, physically). The controls were quite bad, especially since the gamepad is too big to hold in the hands all the time. This make me doubt the usability of the Wii U gamepad in these kind of games, where you have to use it all the time. I sincerely hope that most games will use the Wii U gamepad as an extra screen with additional information and features, while the main controlling will be done by the classic Wii controller or gamepad.
There were quite a few 3DS games on the floor, unfortunately not many impressed me…
Luigi’s Mansion 2: Dark Moon
Even though the gameplay was not the best in this game, it really showed that the 3DS can have some quite impressive graphics. It almost looked as a game from the Wii (although, that perhaps say more about the Wii than the 3DS…), but as mentioned, it didn’t play as well. It was also quite hard to understand what to do, even though a guy told me where to go and what to do. Some actions were un-natural in the sense that they didn’t make too much sense.
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask
I just played this for a short while, because the first puzzle was very frustrating, so I quit and moved on… That is the risk with too many games on display; you have to move on if you don’t like something. I have to try it again, but that particular puzzle made me a bit scared. It wasn’t the fact that it was a bit hard, it was more that I didn’t fully understand how I could solve it, and that is not a good impression of a puzzle game…
Castlevania Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate
The Castlevania games have had a special place in my gaming heart ever since I played the first game around 25 years ago; it was a great game with dark environments and gruesome difficulty! The Castlevania games on the GameBoy Advance I played on a special device, which was connected to my GameCube, so I could play it on a big screen. I really liked those games, and even though I haven’t tried any of the Castlevania games on the DS I had high hopes for this game.
I was a bit disappointed on what I experienced on the short time I played it. The graphics were a bit blurry, and it was hard to see which environment you could interact with or use and which was just in the background, even though I played it on a 3DS XL.
I will post more from the Expo soon, expect some info on the Indie titles!