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E3 Impressions - Nintendo's Wii line-up
Editorial by 
Editor
June 13, 2011, 09:54:18
 
In this article, I will be talking about my brief time with a lot of the demos on display at Nintendo's booth, but if you are looking for The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword impressions, I have posted some more in-depth thoughts here.

But enough with Zelda hogging the spotlight! You wouldn't know it if you only watched Nintendo's press conference at E3, but they did show off a few Wii games in their corner of the conference center. Perhaps not enough for your liking or mine, but thankfully the few games shown seem to be of high quality.

Rhythm Heaven

Back when Rhythm Heaven was announced for the Wii, there was much worrying about the controls. After all, many believe that the touch screen controls of the DS game are a step down from the accuracy of the GBA's Rhythm Tengoku (never released outside of Japan). Not only that, but the games being shown off seemed to be begging for motion control, as they all features things like rackets, swords and clubs, somehow. Well, you can stop worrying now, as Nintendo as confirmed that the games in the game use buttons, not motion. Some may lament that the game has no place on the Wii, then, a console built on motion controls, but those people probably have never played Rhythm Heaven...

Perhaps it was the 2D, but it was one of the better-looking Wii games on the TVs Nintendo was using. The game would have been impossible to play if headphones hadn't been provided, thanks Nintendo! The music was quite catchy, and the situations, funny. Because I could not record the music, the videos I shot ended up being pretty pointless, so watch the official trailer instead.


I played a stage in which a Samurai had to cut in half demons jumping out of a portal. Simply press A to the rhythm as the red-eyed demons come out one by one or two in a row. Occasionally, a bunch of green eyes would appear in the portal, and you had to press A and B at the same time to slice them all up. The timing was tricky! As you play, paintings of the Samurai's deeds appear and start obscuring the action. I kind of wanted to pay attention to the story they told but that would have spelled disaster...

I saw someone play a level in which two cats in airplanes above the clouds playing badminton. As the level goes on, dusk sets in and you see only silhouettes. Additionally, at a certain point they start to descend through the clouds and you really cannot rely on your eyes anymore.

Is the game as hard as the other iterations? This is something I cannot judge from a mere demo. I am sure they did not through the toughest games at E3 attendees. That said, the game seemed somewhat forgiving, and the different mini-games seemed to go on a tad longer than in the DS version.

Kirby™ Wii
Official trailer

Another 2D platformer enhanced by being 4 players co-op. In this case, however, everyone has different powers. And forget about what they told you: not everyone is born equal: Kirby matters the most. He's got the best powers all for himself, and he's the only one who shouldn't die or else you have to start over from the last checkpoint. Everyone else is expendable, it seems.


Also, I did not get to play as Kirby. But King Dedede is still cool to play as. With his trusty mallet, he packs quite a punch. He plays much as he does in Super Smash Bros Brawl, with different moves depending on whether you're dashing, crouching, etc. Unlike NSMBW, you don't interfere with the others unless you attack. It looked really good and colorful despite the terrible TVs Nintendo is using which seem to amplify the aliasing somehow.


There are many things in the levels that only Kirby can affect. Sometimes he is required to inhale something, sometimes a mega power-up (which only he can get) is necessary to open an alternate path or to just get some more stars. Tons of fun and very frantic! I am just unsure about the in-game cutscenes that occur whenever Kirby gets a major power up. Fewer and shorter interruptions in my 2D platformers, please!

Fortune Street
Official trailer

I had the chance to play this game with the guys at Brawl in the Family It is basically Monopoly without being called Monopoly, and with Mario and Dragon Quest characters. You roll the dice and then either buy the property you landed on or pay the owner his due. Buy several properties touching each other, and their value is multiplied. Fall on one of your own properties, and you can choose to upgrade any "shop" on any tile you own, by the amount you desire. It will increase the amount people need to give you, but be careful as you can screw yourself over as I did: I spent too much and had to auction off my only other property.

At any time you can try to offer another player an amount for one of his titles, and he can accept, refuse, or make a counteroffer. If you have the means, you can also buy the "enemy" tile you landed on by paying 5 times its actual value, and the current owner will be unable to refuse. The official trailer shows off a bunch of Mario Party-like mini games, but don't be fooled, they are not the meat of the game. I did not get to play any of them during the round that we completed.


There are other subtleties... I had a fun time even if I lost (because of my own stupid early mistake, mind you), but it does seem like solo players should abstain, this is strictly for people who regularly play board games, I believe. Basically, if watching the above gameplay footage made your heart race, by all means, get excited.

Wii Play Motion
Official trailer

I tried three of the games in this compilation which will come packed with a Wii Motion Plus controller. The first one worked the best of the bunch, but it was also the simplest: you had to keep an increasing stack of ice cream scoops in equilibrium by holding the remote like an ice cream cone and tilting it accordingly. I made it to 60 scoops, but the record at the time I played was 90. Fun but simple, who knows how long it can hold one's interest.


The mini game I was most eager to try out was also the most disappointing: your Mii has strong wind in his back, an umbrella in his hands, and a course in front of him. You have to use the umbrella to get around the track. In the trailer, this game looks fast-paced and fun, but when I tried it, the controls were less than satisfying. I suspect the remote needed calibration. I pressed down on the D-pad the same way you would in Wii Sports Resort in order to re-center the controller, but that did not work, so I gave up.

Another game had me swinging the Wii remote like a mallet to whack some moles on the head, so to speak. Again, perhaps it was calibration problems, but I found the remote to be imprecise.



And this wraps up my impressions of the Wii games at Nintendo's E3 booth this year. There were some other games, such as Mystery Case Files: The Malgrave Incident, Go Vacation, Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games and Just Dance 3, but lack of interest made me pass on them.

Still, Rhythm Heaven, Skyward Sword and Kirby Wii became definite buys this year for me, and I am still cautiously optimistic about playing Wii Play Motion in a better environment.

What Wii games do you look forward to this year?

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Posted: 06/13/11, 09:54:18  - Edited by 
 on: 06/13/11, 10:33:20    
 
Why not sign up for a (free) account and create your own content?
 
With the exception of Kirby and Zelda... Go Vacation will be the best wii game this year. The concept of it has just pulled me in and the gameplay videos have me believing it will be a great 'clone' of wii sports resort.


Posted by 
 on: 06/13/11, 10:04:38
I've played too little of it to tell, really. I didn't know about the exploration aspect, all I played was a very simplistic jetski mini game and I didn't enjoy it that much. The controls kind of sucked, they had you hold the Wiimote and Nunchuk upright and tilt both of them together to turn... I never liked that scheme, it has never worked well.

And then you could jump and do tricks. Jerk the wiimote up to jump, hold a direction on the pad and shake the wiimote to do a trick. Again, simplistic.


Posted by 
 on: 06/13/11, 10:13:44
I'm looking forward to Rhythm Heaven, and I'm really excited for Kirby Wii, which TriforceBun said feels like a true successor to Kirby Super Star.

Wow, I don't remember hearing about Fortune Street before. If I had just watched a little bit of the footage of the game I would have thought it was a Mario Party game with Dragon Quest. How strange is that. I don't know much about Monopoly though, so this doesn't really appeal to me.

And so far, I haven't really heard anything about Wii Play Motion to get excited about.

Thanks for all the E3 impressions! Not bad for your first experience Guillaume.


Posted by 
 on: 06/13/11, 16:00:00  - Edited by 
 on: 06/13/11, 16:01:37
I never picked up Rhythm Heaven for DS, but the demo was hella fun. The Wii game looks great, especially the badminton airplane game.


Posted by 
 on: 06/13/11, 23:15:28
@Secret_Tunnel

Go buy it! Rhythm Heaven is absolutely worth the price of admission, especially if you enjoyed the demo. Amazon has it for 13 bucks!


Posted by 
 on: 06/13/11, 23:36:55
Kirby Wii is gonna be a big deal at my house with the nieces.

Not too interested in the rest of the games except I'll probably get Wii Play Motion.


Posted by 
 on: 06/14/11, 04:34:11
Paleo_Orca said:
With the exception of Kirby and Zelda... Go Vacation will be the best wii game this year. The concept of it has just pulled me in and the gameplay videos have me believing it will be a great 'clone' of wii sports resort.


Yesssss!!!!! I wouldn't even call this a 'clone' of Wii Sports Resort. It is a notable evolution, for the better.

Guillaume said:
I've played too little of it to tell, really. I didn't know about the exploration aspect, all I played was a very simplistic jetski mini game and I didn't enjoy it that much. The controls kind of sucked, they had you hold the Wiimote and Nunchuk upright and tilt both of them together to turn... I never liked that scheme, it has never worked well.

And then you could jump and do tricks. Jerk the wiimote up to jump, hold a direction on the pad and shake the wiimote to do a trick. Again, simplistic.

Each mini-game on their own isn't really all that special. Some will be duds, some will be great, some will fall in-between. But the seamless open-world integration of so many activities makes this a very ambitious title. Also, many games were designed to work with the balance board, and you know how shitty the wiimote/nunchuk-only alternatives can end up.

Still, SO VERY EXCITE!!


Posted by 
 on: 06/14/11, 05:28:20  - Edited by 
 on: 06/14/11, 05:29:20
@casper884

But does every vehicle control with that cumbersome scheme I described? Because if so, that's a pretty big knock against the game as far as I'm concerned.

edit - Oh wait, the jetski controls that way because it's meant for the balance board?

What about the other vehicles?


Posted by 
 on: 06/14/11, 05:39:52  - Edited by 
 on: 06/14/11, 05:40:36
@Guillaume

Namco claims that many of the activities demonstrated with the wiimote (or wiimote and nunchuck) will be better suited with the inclusion of the balance board, because that's how they were designed. Of course, they can't require everyone to own a balance board, so they had to make alternatives for those who don't have that option.

And no, all vehicles won't control like that. In fact, each vehicle has its own unique controls (skateboarding can use the balance board, race car driving uses tilt controls, horse riding uses the wiimote and nunchuck as reins), and there are multiple ways to traverse the same terrain.

Did I mention FOUR-PLAYER SPLIT-SCREEN EXPLORATION??!!!!


Posted by 
 on: 06/14/11, 05:51:38
Hmm, I dunno, I've played Rhythm Heaven and I'm pretty darn disappointed at the lack of motion controls. I think it would have been tough to pull off, but would also have added a whole other level of awesomeness, especially while beating drums and the likes. Ah well.


Posted by 
 on: 06/14/11, 06:21:52
Awesome, thanks again Guy. Loving these impressions.

Kirby and Rhythm Heaven look great, not a bad couple of games to strengthen the Wii lineup later on this year. Kirby is gonna be another great platformer in the Wii stable, and Rhythm Heaven looks as kooky as the DS version. I don't feel like paying 50 dollars for Rhythm Heaven though. I wonder if it'll actually retail at that price.

I'm gonna assume your Wii remote wasn't well calibrated for Wii Play Motion, but thanks for the detail anyways. The new trailer makes me pretty keen on this game, especially because there are 4-player simultaneous games. My four WM+ will be validated for something other than canoeing.

I don't get why Fortune Street is releasing here, in fact it makes no sense whatsoever with Mario Party 9 being announced. I guess MP9 is a 2012 title, but still. Fortune Street was probably part of some deal between Nintendo and Square Enix that also encompassed Mario Sports Mix.


Posted by 
 on: 06/14/11, 06:23:04
I thought I was watching a Smash Bros. vid for a minute with that Kirby gameplay.


Posted by 
 on: 06/14/11, 06:24:08
@Zero
I'd be shocked if there weren't some side games that used motion. Nintendo was smart to use buttons though, more accurate and all. There were even a few games in the DS version that were too finicky with the Stylus controls for my liking.


Posted by 
 on: 06/14/11, 06:25:30
Fortune Street is to Mario Party what Monopoly is to Candyland.

They got almost nothing in common save being played on boards. I can see room for both, personally.


Posted by 
 on: 06/14/11, 06:26:28
@Guillaume
If they released years apart, sure.


Posted by 
 on: 06/14/11, 06:28:55
I don't get it.

Did you think the same thing with Kirby's Epic Yarn and DKCR releasing close to each other?


Posted by 
 on: 06/14/11, 06:37:25
@Guillaume
They could have probably used some space, yeah. One or the other should have released in 2009. But I don't personally mind that much.

Edit: 2009, or 2011. Kirby did come out this year in Europe.


Posted by 
 on: 06/14/11, 06:39:15  - Edited by 
 on: 06/14/11, 06:43:44
@Guillaume But... you remember the board in Mario Party 8? where you get to buy properties and stuff? That sounds kind of similar.

@anon_mastermind But Guillaume said "Well, you can stop worrying now, as Nintendo as confirmed that the games in the game use buttons, not motion." which sounds like he means ALL of them.

@Jargon Oh yeah, this one will be huge here. Almost makes me think buying Epic Yarn was pointless, because this one can serve the same role, except up to 4 players, not 2. Well, and I got Epic Yarn because my girlfriend likes Kirby, but even she thought it was "too easy" so she's not a big fan. So basically only my nieces and nephews play it now.


Posted by 
 on: 06/14/11, 06:57:45  - Edited by 
 on: 06/14/11, 06:58:06
I just checked Nintendo's fact sheet, and there is no mention of motion-controlled minigames at all in Rhythm Heaven. You play by pressing either A or A+B. If there are exceptions to this, they are not mentioning it.


Posted by 
 on: 06/14/11, 07:04:48
@Guillaume Damn, DS game had button pressing and some flicking stuff. It'd be a step back to just do buttons.


Posted by 
 on: 06/14/11, 07:08:53
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