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E3 3DS impressions, part 2
Editorial by 
June 14, 2011, 10:52:14
For impressions on Super Mario 3DS, Resident Evil Revelations, Kid Icarus and Luigi's Mansion 2, check out Part 1 of this feature.

Mario Kart 3DS

I am not the biggest Mario Kart fan around. Historically, I have found the rubber band AI and the irritating barrage of attacks too frustrating to deal with. I am more of an F-Zero fan: it may be a tough series, but I feel it is also fairer. That said, perhaps it was the fact that this demo was a bit on the easy side, but I have a good feeling about the racing in Mario Kart 3DS

The demo was solo-player only. I managed to stay ahead of the pack in all of its three courses, and never felt once the frustration of getting hit by shell after shell after shell, which is a good thing! But again, it might have just been on a low difficulty.

What else is there to say? For the most part, you know exactly what to expect, having raced as these same characters with these same weapons on the same, or very similar, courses. There is a new wrinkle here and there, for instance the possibility to choose between small, normal and big tires, changing the way the kart handles.

There is also, of course, the addition of a propeller for sub-marine racing, and a hang glider. Well, as far as I could tell, the cars did not handle any differently underwater, so for now I will chalk it up as a simple scenery change. As for the hang glider, I think it will be fun to find the optimal rate of descent to get the best possible boost of speed, or opt to stay in the air as long as possible at the cost of speed in order to avoid racers and other obstacles, but in my limited time with the demo, I did not experiment.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D

What can I say? It's Ocarina of Time, and yes indeed, the 3DS version is the best way to experience the game yet.

Youtube would not let me upload this video on my channel
for copyright reasons, which is BS

There were three demos to choose from: the Kokiri Forest, the Master Quest version of the Kokiri Forest, and the Water Temple. Since I have only played this game once, long ago, and have not memorized it by heart like so many of you have, I went with the easiest demo possible. It was probably a mistake, as the demo lady told me afterwards that the Water Temple wasn't really all that intimidating as it used to be, and its presence in the demo was specifically to showcase how much less frustrating the game is, and how easy changing equipment has become on the touch screen. Oh well.

I still got to try aiming the slingshot by moving the 3DS around, and let me tell you, it is wonderful. It has never been so precise. It can often be hard with an analog stick to get it "just right" quickly, often we will overshoot the target, try to nudge back the reticule on the enemy, perhaps overshoot it again... But that problem is a thing of the past. You will NOT spend seconds trying to adjust your aim and get it just right. You will be aiming exactly where you want to effortlessly, more easily than ever before.

Starfox 64 3DS

Another 3 level demo. StarFox 64 3DS is easier on the eyes than I would have expected. They really went in there and added some much-appreciated details, absolutely.

Before beginning the mission, you see targets for getting a Bronze, Silver or Gold medal for that level, something I don't believe was in the original version (only a medal for those who did extraordinarily well in a level). Do more medals translate into more unlockables? Impossible to say at this point.

Another addition to the game is aiming by tilting the screen. By default, this feature was turned on in the demo, and it meant that you could pilot your ship with the slide pad and tilting at the same time: one method did not turn off the other. The tilt aiming doesn't work well in this game, plain and simple. As much as I thought motion-aiming worked well in Ocarina of Time, it is broken here, if simply because where you aim is also the direction your ship will take.

Motion controls to aim while stationary: more precise than a stick or the slide pad. Motion controls to aim when moving, with a cursor that has an origin to go back to: not so much.

Heroes of Ruin

I think Diablo fans know what to expect of this game: talking to villagers, accepting quests, defeating tons and tons of enemies and ditching old equipment for better loot. I played as a "tank" character with lots of health, strong attacks, and a dash that could stun enemies (but leave you vulnerable if you miss). Standard fare. You can equip the loot you pick up instantly at the touch of a button, a nice touch. Having the map on the bottom screen is very convenient. There was lots of functionality in the demo that I did not explore, however.

I can see why the game was being demoed in Nintendo's booth: it looks great! With the 3D on, it's like watching little figurines battling it out from above. With the confirmed online co-op gameplay, this game could become a real hit, as long as all of the elements are in place.

Ace Combat

There was not much to the Ace Combat demo. It played well with the slide pad, though getting the lock on the enemy could be tricky. Namco apparently realized that, as sometimes the screen would prompt you to press Y. If you did so, you would automatically find yourself tailing the enemy after a quick cutscene. All that's left to do, after that, is pull the trigger. This "win button" was pioneered in Sky Crawlers. One has to wonder how hard it will be to resist abusing it.

The demo seemingly never ended. I kept waiting to reach an objective, but instead, whenever a wave of enemies would go down in flames, it was replaced by another.


The full game will apparently contain more than 20 modes, but the demo only had 3: Survival, Endless, and Fever. Naturally, I went with the newest-sounding mode, Fever.

It was weird and frantic, almost like a Wario Ware game. You had a task to complete quickly, and as soon as you did, the field changed and you have to do something different. Well, in both cases you had to make lines disappear, it's just that the levels kept changing on you and had some sort of gimmick, for instance in one of them you only had square blocks, etc.

Fun, but $40 at retail fun? That remains to be seen. First, no price has been announced, so I am definitely jumping the gun here. Still, it is hard to accept that a publisher will attempt sell us a retail version of Tetris in this day and age, when the game can be downloaded on a phone for a fraction of the price, and probably plays just as well.

And that concludes my impressions of the 3DS games playable in Nintendo's corner of E3. Do not hesitate to ask questions or comment!

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Posted: 06/14/11, 10:52:14  - Edited by 
 on: 06/14/11, 11:01:17    
Why not sign up for a (free) account and create your own content?
I kind of don't like the idea of more and more customization of karts in Mario Kart. Just makes it more damn confusing for me trying to figure out what actually works well.

As I said before, the "win" button in Sky Crawlers did take away from the game a bit, although I tried not to use it until later stages where it was almost mandatory.

Did you get to try Starfox with the slide pad? How is that? I thought I remembered targets for the medals before each mission, but I could be remembering wrong.

Posted by 
 on: 06/14/11, 16:51:07

There was only one target per level. Hit that and get a medal.

The Bronze/Silver/Gold thing is new. Makes me wonder what else they're throwing in.

Posted by 
 on: 06/14/11, 16:59:39

Yeah, I tried with the slide pad. As I tried to explain, both control options were "on" at the same time, it was weird.

It felt alright. I wasn't any better at the game than with the CCPro's stick.

Posted by 
 on: 06/14/11, 18:34:37
I know you mentioned that the underwater portions of Mario Kart appear to play no differently than dry land racing, but I hope Nintendo does make it different somehow, though I have to wonder how. Obviously the feature opens up more "choose your route" possibilities, whether you want to stay on land or under the sea.

As for Ocarina of Time, I'm relieved to hear you praise the aiming used by moving the 3DS itself. Does it feel similar to the aiming in Face Raiders?

Sad to hear the motion control aiming is not as good in Star Fox 64. of course, we'll have the option to play the game using standard non-motion controls (right?), which will probably be my preference. But it's awesome that the graphics have such an improved quality about them, especially in the details.

Heroes of Ruin sounds cool, these kinds of games usually do not appeal to me, but this could be different.

It sounds like your experience with Ace Combat was a bit underwhlming to say the least. I'm not sure how I feel about this game. I haven't played an Ace Combat game since #4 on the PS2 (which was a really good game), so I'm not familiar with the features added in the later games such as Sky Crawlers.

Posted by 
 on: 06/14/11, 19:14:52

This underwater and flying stuff reminds me of Diddy Kong Racing.

Posted by 
 on: 06/14/11, 19:21:08

You're right! I loved that game as well. But you can also see how Mario Kart does its own thing, it's not a rip-off by any means.

OOoooo, here's wishing there is an Adventure mode in Mario Kart like there was in DKR. Exploring open worlds and racing bosses, that would be cool.

Posted by 
 on: 06/14/11, 19:30:49
Again, lucky bastard.

I don't have much to add here, just that I am looking forward to Ocarina of Time this weekend and I hope Nintendo doesn't disappoint me with Mario Kart.

Any idea what the chat options are, if any, in Heroes of Ruin?

Posted by 
 on: 06/15/11, 23:30:32
Nah, the demo wasn't multi.

Posted by 
 on: 06/15/11, 23:37:44
Very nice impressions, Guillaume. I am still trying to save up for a 3DS, but might wait just a bit longer until I nab it. Still, it will have some good stuff to choose from when I do.

Posted by 
 on: 06/15/11, 23:43:00
Star Fox and Mario Kart are my most wanted games. Thanks for the info :)

Posted by 
 on: 06/16/11, 01:11:06
Super-pumped for Mario Kart. The trailer just looked like pure fun. So you don't have to choose between amphibious or ... avian? The propellers and hang glider just get triggered for every car at the same points? Sort of like a cannon, but with more control? That's probably better. Can you give any insight on the tracks? Which previous entry they felt similar to? How many cars, overall? I hope they pull back from MKWii's super-wide track/12-car field.

How about the power-ups? Anything new? Which previous game's drift mechanic was most similar? (Think back!)

Star Fox 64 3DS does look super-beautiful. Did Q-Games demo it? Probably not. I think limiting yourself to vertical motion control might be best. Did they fix that shitty submarine level?

Heroes of Ruin initially underwhelmed me, but the more I think about it, the more excited I get. It could be really good. Nice to hear that it looks nice.

Ace Combat seems like a series that might be more suited to portable play, somehow. How was the 3D effect?



Posted by 
 on: 07/22/11, 20:41:29  - Edited by 
 on: 07/22/11, 20:41:57
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