Thu, Jun 07, 2012 | 11:04 BST
Nintendo 3DS Software Showcase: full report
Nintendo’s 3DS Software Showcase highlighted a strong line-up for the rest of the year, with Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate; Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon; Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion; Paper Mario Sticker Star; Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance; Scribblenauts Unlimited; Pokemon Black & White Version 2; New Super Mario Bros 2; and more.
3DS Showcase Highlights
New Super Mario Bros 2 has full two-player co-op.
Alucard is definitely in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate.
Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon will simul-launch digitally and at retail, making it the second 3DS game to do so.
Nintendo of America CEO Reggie Fils-Aime introduced the showcase, beginning with a small stumble over the event name which drew a laugh from the audience. Fils-Aime immediately relinquished the stage to sales and marketing executive Scott Moffitt, who asked the audience to welcome Non-specific Action Figure. Moffat joked that the character’s inclusion in Nintendo’s Wii U concept presentation had resulted in its attracting a bigger following than Fils-Aime; the NoA boss responded by saying he doesn’t need a sword to kick arse and take names.
These pleasantries concluded, Moffitt moved on to talk up first-party sales before opening a third party-heavy showcase with Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate. The trailer was aired re-confirming a northern autumn release for Mercurystream’s side-scrolling effort.
Producer Dave Cox arrived to present highlights from the playable E3 demo, which cinluded a glimpse of Alucard. Trevor Belmont must confront the evil which murdered his mother; skeletons, animated armour, and a huge executioner boss were shown. We saw Trevor’s dark magic – like a flaming aura – and grab skill, which is activated with the right shoulder button. Block and counter were demonstrated, as was the boomerang secondary weapon, which sticks to enemies for sustained damage or can be charged for a single powerful attack.
The right shoulder button is also used for Trevor’s whip chain during platforming. The castle map looked pretty big, and players can make notes on it using the stylus. The double jump navigation was classic Castlevania, but thanks to the 2.5D perspective, cinematics regularly depart from the side-scrolling view.
Next up was Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon, which was first announced as Luigi’s Mansion 2 at Nintendo’s 2011 E3 conference. Moffitt promised the game will “finally give Mario’s little brother some respect”. The trailer shown is available as of right now in the 3DS eShop, foreshadowing an eShop and retail simul-launch over the holidays.
Industry Warren Spector turned up to talk about Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion, which he stressed is not a port or spin-off but a whole new game which will explore the “lost history” of Disney video games.
Spector introduced the game’s creative director who confessed that the game’s two-screen mechanic was in place before developer Dreamrift had a plan for the game’s fiction. When contacted by Disney to make an Epic Mickey game, Dreamrift jumped at the chance, because the creative director is a huge fan of 8-bit era classic Castle of Illusion and wanted to re-explore that space.
The game’s plot has the Castle of Illusion appearing in the Wasteland world of Epic Mickey, where the witch from Sleeping Beauty has trapped a number of characters ripped out of their own times as part of a plan to get back to her own cartoon world. A trailer was shown demonstrating how players paint and erase on the bottom screen while platforming on the top. It’s due on December 8.
Paper Mario Sticker Star was up next, the first portable outing for the property, first announced in 2010. Nintendo’s Nate Bihldorff presented a demo, playing live on stage as he spoke about the appropriateness of the game’s aesthetic to the 3DS.
The sticker system was shown off in closer detail; it replaces the traditional menu-based control system. Players collect and store stickers for various attacks, power ups, and specials and combine them strategically.
During the battle a Toad’s garden was destroyed; Bihldorff showed off how the game can be paused and tilted – “paperise mode” – to appear like a sticker album. The developer chose a number of flower stickers to fill in empty spaces in the album, restoring the garden – and spawning more stickers as well as the quest reward, an HP+ heart. Solving quests and puzzles and exploring the environment to earn rewards is how Mario powers up, rather than a traditional experience system.
Bihldorff then demonstrated how Mario can bring real world items back to a vendor and turn them into stickers with various effects. The example shown was a fan; once turned into a sticker, Mario paperised the world and applied the fan. This triggered a short cinematic and kicked a stalled windmill into gear.
One last battle was shown. Bihldorff said some of the game’s enemies are huge and require multiple stickers. Players can spend collected coins to use a battle spinner; if successful, they net extra sticker slots for the next turn, allowing them to combine stickers for extra effects.
No release was given beyond this holiday season, but a trailer is available right now in the eShop.
Moffitt moved on to Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance with a trailer. I spotted The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Pinnochio, Tron and The Three Musketeers, but there was also loads of battle and general gameplay footage.
The game’s July 31 release date was reiterated. Moffitt talked up the game’s StreetPass and Circle Pad Pro support, as well as new slow motion and reality shift gameplay mechanics. A demo was promised “soon”.
Scribblenauts Unlimited arrived, with a trailer promising to tell Maxwell’s story and take advantage of StreetPass. The key difference is in the word “unlimited” – Maxwell will wander an open world solving problems for quest givers rather than following a series of set puzzles.
A sizzle reel followed, giving brief screen time to Transformers Prime, Rabbids Rumble and Heroes of Ruin.
Moffitt then turned to Pokemon Black & White Version 2, pointing out that while the games are designed for DS, they’re compatible with 3DS.
Highlighting the eShop, Moffitt said some of the highest Metacritic rated 3DS games are on the digital service. He reiterated the 70% connection rate and average of five purchases per user, but added that 58 million messages have been sent via SpotPass and SwapNote. US users have watched over 60 million videos in less than a year, and The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords. Netflix, Pokedex 3D and Swapnote have each been downloaded over 1 million times.
On the subject of Nintendo Video, Moffitt introduced Threediots, a new live-action exclusive which looked ridiculously cheesy. The first episode is now available.
Still on the eShop, Moffitt mentioned Pokemon Dream Radar and Pokedex 3D Pro, only available on 3DS to tie in with the DS release of the RPG twins, as well as more upcoming demos including Spider-Man and Rhythm Thief. Lego Batman 2 was highlighted in particular; the demo is out now.
Having admired the eShop for a while, Moffitt segued into New Super Mario Bros 2, the very first digital retail simul-launch for the 3DS. Bihldorff returned to present a stage demo. It looked exactly like it did the other day, but the word “coin” was said approximately 87 times. It seems collecting coins via speed run mode is the ultimate Nintendo StreetPass bragging right.
Perhaps more interestingly for non-combative types, Bihldorff showed off how the entire single-player mode can be played in co-operative play. The camera is locked to “whichever bro is in the lead”, which seems to refer to core rather than screen position. The game’s due in August.
Fils-Aime awarded Moffitt a “Nintendo of America president big thumbs up” for the line up as the presentation ended.
The presentation aired on Nintendo’s official E3 site.