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Mario, Zelda & Yoshi: was Nintendo’s E3 enough to save the Wii U?

Monday, 16th June 2014 11:58 GMT By Catherine Cai

Hyrule Warriors

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“Legend of Zelda fans should approach Hyrule Warriors with caution, as the core gameplay is a little more shallow than what they’re used to.”

I’ll be honest: the only appeal that Dynasty Warriors ever held for me was the historical aspect of it. I loved tangentially learning about the period of the Three Kingdoms in Chinese history. Hyrule Warriors, a blend between The Legend of Zelda and Dynasty Warriors, honestly didn’t hold too much appeal for me, because it lacked this historical aspect.

Though it’s been revealed that Link, Zelda, Impa, and Midna will all be playable characters in Hyrule Warriors, the demo was locked to a choice between Link and Zelda. Since playing as Link is already a far too familiar option, I decided to play as Zelda.

Immediately, as I jump into the game, I’m warned that Impa needs aid. Zelda’s armed with a rapier, and in true Dynasty Warrior fashion, I begin slicing through minions with it without much trouble. Once Zelda’s laid waste to enough enemies, her special move can be unleashed. She conjures up a magical bow and arrow that knocks back enemies.

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Objectives in Hyrule Warriors follow the format of Dynasty Warriors. The general ebb and flow is to act as reinforcements of a friend in need, slice through pawns, and eventually fight a semi-challenging enemy at every base. However, in true Legend of Zelda fashion, I’m rewarded a treasure chest for my efforts. Inside are bombs that make it simple for the player to destroy boulders that block bases.

For those that are a fan of Dynasty Warrior’s format, Hyrule Warriors is more of the same vein. Legend of Zelda fans should approach Hyrule Warriors with caution, as the core gameplay is a little more shallow than what Legend of Zelda fans are used to. There is no puzzle-solving element here.

Yoshi’s Wooly World

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“Yoshi’s Wooly World is absolutely adorable. Other than the aesthetic, however, it plays exactly like any other Yoshi platforming game.”

Yoshi’s Wooly World does exactly what Nintendo’s best at – charm the heck out of players until they’re left with dumb, goofy grins on their faces.

The entire aesthetic of Yoshi’s Wooly World is exactly as the title suggests. The world is made of yarn – there are even small “gift” boxes tied up with pieces of yarn that Yoshi can pry apart with his tongue. Inside usually lies yarn balls that Yoshi can collect. These function in the same way as eggs do in other Yoshi games. Players can also gobble up enemies in order for Yoshi to convert them into yarn balls. These yarn balls can then be fired at targets in order to open up the level.

Yoshi’s Wooly World is absolutely adorable. Other than the aesthetic, however, it plays exactly like any other Yoshi platforming game. Eat things? Check. Lay eggs? Check. Jump around? Check. Yoshi’s Wooly World is definitely more of the same Yoshi, for those hoping to have that itch scratched. Otherwise, there doesn’t seem to be much substance to Yoshi’s Wooly World other than it’s amazing aesthetics.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

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At last, Toad is finally getting his own, full-fledged spin-off and it’s a puzzle game. It’s something along the lines of Fatshark’s Hamilton’s Great Adventure mixed with Polytron’s Fez. The basic premise revolves around Captain Toad adventuring in search of treasure.

Levels are a little like puzzle boxes. In order to traverse the level, the player must use different perspectives. The camera can be rotated in order to better see where Toad must go in order to nab the treasure.

Unlike most Mario games, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is about strategy and patience. Toad doesn’t have the ability to jump and many of the puzzles involve rotating pieces, so playing the game efficiently without dying means rotating the camera thrice over to solve the puzzle box levels.

Bayonetta 2

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“Platinum has done a fantastic job tuning everything to the gamepad, to the point that players can control Bayonetta with only touch controls.”

Bayonetta 2 was the only third-person Wii U game that was on the E3 showfloor, and it’s not hard to see why. Platinum Games has done a fantastic job fine tuning the Bayonetta sequel. With games like Mad World, Revengeance, and Bayonetta under its belt, Platinum Games is known for its good work in tight controls and gorgeous visuals.

Bayonetta 2 isn’t any different in this regard. The environments and character design are absolutely lush. Platinum also didn’t shy away from using particle effects to their max, though I didn’t feel that they distracted from the experience.

Control-wise, Bayonetta 2 is fairly similar to the original. However, Platinum has done a fantastic job tuning everything to the gamepad, to the point that players can control Bayonetta with only touch controls (though I wouldn’t advise it, for the sake of combos.)

Bayonetta 2 is very much more of the same of the original: frenetic gameplay, lush visuals, and tight controls. In that regard, Platinum is very deserving of its spot as the sole third-party title that Nintendo was showing off for the Wii U.

Final Thoughts

Though I left the booth with a smile on my face, I still wonder whether or not I should buy a Wii U. I saw many solid titles that were coming for the Wii U, but without a heavy-hitter like Super Smash Bros, the jury’s still out. Overall, these titles are all, in my opinion, fantastic for keeping the current Wii U user base on hand and interested for when the bigger things do roll around. Regardless, with games like Splatoon and Mario Maker, it’s obvious that Nintendo isn’t afraid of experimenting and pulling out all the stops to pull in sales for its struggling console.

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11 Comments

  1. xxxGamesMasterxxx

    Yes, it’s currently in second place sales wise with Xbox One being 3rd. I believe WiiU will be more successful than Xbox One.

    #1 2 months ago
  2. monkeygourmet

    I think the real triumph was how Nintendo hosted their e3 content. It was a great way to make viewers feel like they were actually attending the conference rather than the media placating MS & Sony managed.

    The actually games they had were extensivly demoed in all their glory (or roughness – Im looking at you Devils Third), and it created a much more ‘realistic’ and gamer-centric approach.

    I know the bottom line is still a sales pitch, but it was handled in a way that didn’t make you feel like a complete moron. I fully expect Sony / MS to have to copy this format in the future.

    The games themselves were almost all exclusives too. A huge bonus for someone like me who owns a gaming PC. I was left with little else I was interested in from Sony / MS’s perspective. All third party games will look / play better on the PC. By that token, all third party games will look / play better on PS4.

    All MS showed were lots of games that would play better on their rivals machine, which also costs less in many places. What was the point of that?!

    Exclusive-wise, both MS / Sony were a bit lacking this year, either remakes or titles that will be lucky to see the light of day in 2015.

    So, what we are once again left with is a £199 console with a huuuuge range of high scoring exclusive titles versus 2 third party machines (one of which has gimped hardware and is desperatly trying to make ground). From a gamers perspective, the answer to me is obvious, the PS4 / Xbox One simply aren’t ‘ready’ yet. They are being proped up by third party content I can already play at a higher quality and for cheaper on the PC…

    #2 2 months ago
  3. Obernox

    I liked Nintendo’s Wii U showing. Splatoon looks very original and Xenoblade Chronicles X is looking amazing.

    Their 3DS showing was meh though. Rehash Pokemon games, Mario UGC thing, an a hideously jaggy smash bros game….

    I’m totally sold on the Wii U though.

    #3 2 months ago
  4. Legendaryboss

    Oh god not this again! No, it is a good lineup but it is spread far too thin to keep any type of momentum going. Example nothing in June, July and August to keep up the Mario Kart 8 momentum. Bayonetta 2 is a Wonderful 101 repeat, likely to have higher-up sales, Hyrule Warriors i don’t know and then Smash Bros U is going to be impacted by the early 3DS launch, but should be Mario Kart 8 part 2.

    @1 Thats funny: Xbox One will surpass Wii U when all is said and done, Wii U will be lucky to get to Gamecube sales level.

    And whats up with the title? This is a range of previews of Nintendo published games. Where is the no longer a new IP ‘X’ and Devils Third?

    #4 2 months ago
  5. ManuOtaku

    @monkeygourmet glad to see you are good and well, and that you have decided to comment again.

    I think the wiiu has a good list of games right now, games that have been release, and upcoming as well. The value is increasing with every new title, therefore i believe the console will shine the brighter, late in the lyfe cycle.

    As for nintendo e3 i did like it, did surpass my expectations, and the treehouse events were good as well.

    #5 2 months ago
  6. Dave Cook

    Not enough coming out in 2014. They need to be faster.

    I am exited for Bayonetta 2 and Smash Bros. though, so I’m not poking fun at Nintendo when I say that.

    #6 2 months ago
  7. ManuOtaku

    @Dave Cook i know you like nintendo, and that you are also very critical, in a positive way as well, and that is the way it should be imo, i do really appreciate that, is not that common in the media. You Dont bash it for the sake of it, or because is cool, your reasons are very well explained.

    #7 2 months ago
  8. polygem

    It was a great, modern style of presentation and what was shown was solid. It was awesome for people who already own a WiiU but i am not so sure if it was enough for the guys who don´t yet.

    I personally can´t see the appeal of the one and ps4 yet but people are buying them, probably because they expect the good shit to come later.

    For the WiiU, there simply isn´t enough for 2014.

    On the other consoles isn´t either if you also own a PC though. If that´s the case, those presentations have been extremely disappointing.

    But anyway, i think Nintendo really go for it now. The presentation showed that. It was very confident and optimistic…It just takes too long with these games releases – still does – but i think we´ll see a much more frequent flow of content soon.

    MK8 gave the WiiU a pretty decent boost, Smash will probably do the same, Zelda will too, i mean that´s pretty much out of question. The WiiU is not a failure.

    I wanted a Metroid so bad – the show was good and all but it lacked a true wow moment – but compared to the competition, it still was the one that made me the most excited.

    #8 2 months ago
  9. OmegaSlayer

    I must say that this E3 sold me a WiiU.
    A second hand WiiU just for Bayonetta.

    As a Sony fanboy I’m severely disappointed by Sony.

    I like corridors and don’t like open games.
    I like my gameplay to be condensed the game, I like a dense game, I don’t enjoy too much to go from A to B for 10 minutes just to have a 2 minutes shoot out or to eavdrop someone.

    I like third person stuff and not first person.
    I like swords and kicks more than guns.
    I like artsy settings rather then the same reality I have outside the window.
    I like playing a game without needing of grind and search in a menu the best weapon for the best thing.
    I like a direct game to have fun.

    Sony at the moment has nothing like this under its hood.
    Neither first party, nor third party.

    Bayonetta is the embodiment of indie spirit with AA(A) production.
    I poured 170 hours in Bayo1 on PS3, the worse version, the worse port ever, and had so much fun.
    I’ve seen Bayo2 trailer and in the first 5 second there’s a polygon that’s big like an elephant, but I wanted to play that more than The Order or Uncharted 4.

    There’s no way I’ll buy more than one console each gen, and at the moment I’m strongly thinking in getting a WiiU in October instead of going for the Destiny PS4 bundle.
    I might pick Bayo2, Wonderful 101 and maybe Mario Kart since I don’t like other Nintendo stuff, but I’m sure I’ll have fun and replay those games more than Killzone, Uncharted or even God Of War

    #9 2 months ago
  10. monkeygourmet

    @9 Omega Slayer

    If you haven’t already played it, may I also recommend Mario Galaxy 1 & 2 on the Wii?

    IMO, one of the best examples of concentrated gameplay in existance.

    I also share your opinion on a more structured and concentrated experience. There is nothing worse than a title attempting open world and failing. From that perspective I think games like Watch Dogs fail even harder. A huge budget, wasted on providing ‘freedom’ of choice which simple isn’t there.

    Five minutes of skating round on an ice lake and throwing a snowball in Mario Galaxy, is infinitely more enjoyable than 40 hours of Watch Dogs depressingly boring trudge through a lifeless world.

    Im really intrigued to see Nintendo’s take on an ‘open world’, with the new Zelda game. I always feel they don’t attempt something unless they can make it:

    A. Unique
    B. Polished
    C. Play really, really well

    Bayonetta 2 should be a treat in this respect too. Incredibly explosive and tight mechanics coupled with deep gameplay… Sounds great! :)

    #10 2 months ago
  11. Clupula

    I think Nintendo definitely showed a move in the right direction, BUT no way is this going to save the Wii U.

    Xenoblade Chronicles X looked exciting and so did Zelda, but that Spitoon game or whatever? Don’t care. Nor the Yoshi thing.

    Overall, just more of the same from Nintendo. Definitely stuff that appeals to the people who already own the system, but not enough to lure in a very large number of new people.

    #11 2 months ago

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