Nintendo's Press Conference was quite a while ago. Yes, I know, I'm quite late with this one. The reason I was absent this time was that I was coming to an end with my school. I am, or better said was in the 10th grade, and now I'll have to go to a new school. Of course, there was a lot going on in that last month. We had the three final exams in maths, German and English, that made 50 percent of my final mark of each of these subjects. All of them worked out well though, luckily, with the German exam being a B and the other 2 an A. Then we also took a trip to Spain. Unlike most of my classmates though, I did not enjoy it there very much. The rooms we stayed in weren't nice at all, and it was way too warm for me. I prefer rain, but it didn't rain once. Okay once it did, but that was only brief. There was of course more going on in the last one or two months, though I won't talk about that anymore. I'm just happy and not so happy that it's over, and I hope I'll be more active now during my summer holidays. Then again, I always say that.
Anyways, while it wouldn't fit to write about Nintendo's press conference directly, I do have opinions about some of their upcoming games to share.
Mario and Luigi: Dream Team:
Well, in Europe, this game is already available. In fact, I got the game already on the 11th of July. However, I am not going to play the game until I am in Canada with my family for three weeks. The reviews are predominantly good, and from what I've seen, it does indeed look good. And it seems as if the game is supposed to be innovative. Gamespot said it does just enough to separate itself from previous entries of the series, while IGN stated the game introduces too many innovations, rarely using the full potential of these innovations. Or something like that. Either way, though, I'm very excited to play this game. And I must say, some of the game's music I've heard already is just amazing.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link between Worlds:
Neither do I have a lot to say about this game. Of course, I'm getting the game. However, the only Zelda game with a top-down view I've played until now was Phantom Hourglass, which marked one of Links weak outings in my book. Sure, it wasn't totally a top-down view, but kinda. But nevertheless, the game looks quite good to me until now. The visuals are clean and simple, yet nice looking, the level design seems quite good, though I do read that it's got its big share of similarities to Zelda: A Link to the Past. And I'm thankful that the game does not have touchscreen controls like Phantom Hourglass.
Super Mario 3D World:
Of course, one of my most anticipated games right now is Super Mario 3D World. New Super Mario Bros U was great, but I've been really excited to see Mario's world during his 3D adventures in full HD. And it looks quite good. But that topic later. First of all, before I went and watched the conference, I took a look at a random blog posting about the press conference. Then I read about a sequel to Super Mario 3D Land, called Super Mario 3D World. I was confused, and then got hope that they were working on 2 3D Mario games, one for the 3DS, and one for the Wii U, 3D World being of course for the 3DS. Then I read that it was for Wii U, and was immediately disappointed. Then I read that Mario, Luigi, Toad and Peach were playable; I was confused and disappointed.
However, after watching the trailer, Developer Direct and several gameplay videos, I'm not disappointed anymore. To a certain extend that is. Of course, I do wish they would have gone for a bigger and more grander Mario game like Super Mario 64, or the Mario Galaxy games. I was also hoping, now with having HD advantage, they'd bring some of the epic feel that the Super Mario Galaxy games had. I doubt that will happen in remarkable form with Super Mario 3D World.
However, where the game doesn't lack in, according to what I've seen until now, is creativity. Super Mario 3D Land was quite a creative game, especially when it came to mixing up elements from both 2D Mario and 3D Mario games. The levels however, while creative, weren't nearly as creative as those in previous 3D Super Mario games, in particular the 2 Super Mario Galaxy games. I really hope this won't be the case with Super Mario 3D World. But it doesn't look like it, thank god. The demo had five levels: 2-1, which was very similar to the first level of Super Mario 3D World; 4-2, A level seemingly high up in the mountains, which makes usage of one of the new innovations in the game, the transparent pipes; 6-3, a level that makes great usage of the new cat suit powerup, 1-5, A level with a Yoshi-like looking sea creature Mario must ride on to get to the goal at the end of the water track; and 4-Boss, that contains a boss battle which looked way better than any of the boss battles in Super Mario 3D Land, except the final boss battle and the normal Bowser battles to a certain extend.
All of these 5 levels were built around some kind of idea, or 2. And each of them used these ideas in very creative ways. The Yoshi ride level looked like a lot of fun, just like the boss battle, that seemed to have savored some creativity, unlike most boss battles in Super Mario 3D land. Cat Mario was used in 2-1, though that was just a standard Mario level with colorful blocks, grassy plains and a very familiar layout. However, it went over to a short underground section, which then lead to the goal pole. 6-3 took some mighty advantage of the Cat Powerup, making an extremely awesome looking level; 2 small, weirdly shaped and floating mountains with strong enemy count and long treadmills along the walls, to grant Cat Mario's wall-climbing power a more remarkable effect. And then there was 4-3, which showed the potential of the new transparent pipes. It looks pretty fun navigating through these pipes, collecting everything there is to collect and avoiding enemies within the pipe. And it will surely make up for some more variety.
Farther on, the game looks and sounds good. It wasn't easy to hear the music that played in the levels, but I'm pretty sure each level had it's own music track, and all of them sounded quite nice, as far as I heard them that is. But I hope they'll give the game a soundtrack that is about as creative as the ones from the Super Mario Galaxy games. The Visuals of the game look also great. The environments Mario travels through are vibrant and very colorful, and the HD graphics make everything look even better. The only niggle I had in this category was that some of the backgrounds looked a bit overly simple and plain considering this game being in HD. One background I believe was even quite identical to a background from the Super Mario Galaxy games, which I believe was the background in world 2-1.
I could talk about much more, like other excerpts of levels seen in the trailer or the awesome looking Multiplayer, but I should leave it like this. I might post another blog with my impressions about the game, or not. Who knows, if I don't.
Mario Kart 8:
I love Mario Kart. To a certain point I do. The concept is not implemented in any other game as well as in Mario Kart, just like the kart physics and the chaotic nature, which make the racing so exciting. Or at least, that's how it is supposed to be. Let's start with online: Playing online can be fun, though if there are people with much more skills than others, than you'll find each result to be quite similar to another. I'm not such a big fan of online for multiple reasons: for one, the waiting you have to spend can be annoying; then there are the lags, that let the racing feel not as quality rich as when playing with the AI. But by far the most important reason is that I just don't enjoy trying to drive almost perfect on each stage. But that's what you often need to do to get a decent chance for the first place. Which simply makes me prefer to play with AI, it's faster, easier, and I don't have to try so hard to win. And this leads me to my biggest problem with Mario Kart. In contra for loving Mario Kart games for their implementation of concept and great racing, I absolutely hate the games for their downright awful AI. While I said I don't enjoy trying so hard to drive nearly perfect on each stage, I do enjoy a challenge, and the AI often lacks this. At least it lacks fair challenge. But that's not the main problem I have, but the fact that the AI is so cheaply unfair. I'll take my most recent memories I had with Mario Kart, which of course is Mario kart 7, to explain this. See, I can become in each of the 4 races within a Grand Prix at least 3rd, and still have a chance to lose and become 2nd or 3rd in the end results. Which means one or 2 of my opponents must have been even better than me, which also means the rest must have been losing most of the races. So far so good, that's absolutely no problem, I mean, maybe those specific drivers were just driving really good. The truth though is that they were only able to win because AI drivers with less points were letting the AI drivers with the most points pass, and because they got their occasional, several seconds ongoing speed boosts, being as fast as the player with star. Seriously, I've played each Mario Kart game enough to notice such kind of foul tricks. And I'm sick and tired of this. I swear, play a Grand Prix of Mario Kart 7, and I guarantee you that there will be a huge leap between the 4th and 5th place in the end results of the grand prix. That's because the game tries to constantly keep the 3 drivers with the most points in front of the other 4 AI drivers with less points, but not via different driving skills, but unfair tricks that can be easily spotted.
Why am I telling you this even though I should actually be talking about my impressions on Mario Kart 8? Because, in some way, those are my impressions. I'm very sure they'll have this kind of stupid and unfair AI back, and I will buy the game, and be mad again. Sounds sick, but at the same time there's no other racing game that manages this wacky racing with items concept as good as the Mario Kart games do, and there's no doubt for me that the kart racing genre is one of my favorite genres in existence. Mario Kart games would be some of my absolutely favorite video games if they'd just have good AI. I'm just sick and tired to see drivers drive without any help as fast as I do with my star, and I'm also sick and tired of having AI drivers in front of me driving in normal size as fast as my driver does little sized, after being struck by a lightning. Yet in the demo version of Mario Kart 8, I've spotted the same, embarrassing AI as in every Mario Kart game, which boggles my hopes for better AI down again. I'd be perfectly fine if they'd just add an extra mode where you get challenging races in which all AI drivers compete against each other to win first place, so it doesn't feel like you're only driving against 3 or 2 opponents, but actually 7, or in Mario Kart Wii's case, 11. Then again, it seems like I'm quite alone with this complaint, so...
Okay, so what about Mario Kart 8 in general, besides the AI? Well, in this respect, the game looks pretty good. The visuals are outstanding, the kart physics seem even better than ever, and the racing looks like it could be a bit more speedy than in previous entries, especially if that what we have seen in the gameplay demo was only 50 ccm, as one of my friends had told me, which I honestly doubt, though. And Waluigi is back, he was certainly missing in Mario Kart 7, just like Toadette. The courses look also really, really good, and the new anti-gravity feature will give them some nice, new twists. I do fear though that this single new addition might not be enough novelty for some people.
What should have been released already in February is now landing in the stores during August 30 in Europe and September the 3rd in America. Seriously, I should have been able to play the game already a long time ago on my Wii U, but only because they decided to port over what was supposed to be at first a Wii U exclusive title to the PS3, Xbox 360 and Vita, they delayed the Wii U version to a date where all game versions would be released at once. Which is incomprehensible for me. At least have the Wii U owners get the game when it was supposed to be released.
Anyways, Rayman Legends looks pretty good until this point. It seems to be incredibly imaginative and creative, as well as innovative and simply put fun. It's also a gorgeous game to look at, even more so than Origins, and that was already a beautiful game. However, I've still got my fears with it. I enjoyed Rayman Origins overall, but I had disputes with the game more often than I would have wished to have. The game could get frustrating, as I felt some parts of levels just didn't match the rather not so precise controls of Rayman. Don't get me wrong, the controls were great, but Rayman did seem a little floaty and slippery, which made very precise platforming a bit of a chore. A few difficulty spikes and a very few occasions where I found the levels to become a little unfair also ensured some frustrations. And maybe the biggest issue I had with the game were it's boss battles. They weren't very good at all. The bosses themselves had some great designs, and their battles held some interesting ideas, but the ways the battles played out were just pretty mediocre, lame and unspectacular in any ways. Always going after that pink bulb that would pop out somewhere on the boss, and dying after each phase like 5 or more times really made these boss battles inedible.
Otherwise, though, I'm still anticipating this game.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze:
Alongside Super Mario 3D World, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is one of my most anticipated games announced right now. I absolutely loved Donkey Kong Country Returns and was very disappointed when I found out that the Donkey Kong Country game announced for the 3DS was nothing than a remake of Returns. So I was especially pleasantly surprised when I saw Donkey Kong suddenly jump out of that wrecked front side of a crashed plane. And man does it look good. The game still seems to have the same art style like Donkey Kong Country Returns, but with the HD visuals it looks better than ever, and the environments Donkey Kong passed by were pretty breathtaking. It was definitely one of the best looking games announced for the Wii U. It also looks like a ton of fun. The level design seemed to be top notch, just like it seemed to be incredibly creative and innovative. And there are some new, significant additions to the game as well. For one, Donkey Kong can now swim under water again, and Dixie Kong is also back, along with another still unrevealed fourth character. Then there is the new feature of a camera that moves around in 3D. Instead of always having the same view point, the camera now zooms along during barrel blast sections, going into all sorts of angles and creating some very new and unique situations, as well as giving the player an even better feel for the 3D world Donkey Kong is traveling through. It certainly does look like a great idea. Donkey Kong also has a new move at disposal. Instead of being able to blow at certain objects, Donkey Kong can now pick up certain objects and enemies as well as pluck certain objects out of the ground. This new feature will also make the game even more varied and fresh.
So all in all, I'm pretty pleased with the upcoming Nintendo games. Sure, there are many more than the ones I've just listed, but these are the ones I'm interested in the most, and the ones that have the biggest chances to be bought by me. Anyways, it seems like I'll be entertained throughout the rest of the year. Sure, there are some gaps before and after Rayman Legends, but that's not going to be a big problem. While I'm not sure about Mario Kart 8, all other games look pretty good, especially Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Super Mario 3D World. However, the game I'm looking forward to right now is Mario and Luigi: Dream Team, as it is sitting in my house now for several days. Luckily, tomorrow is finally the day I'll be flying to Canada with my family, and then I'll finally allow myself to play the game. I must say though, waiting to play a game that sits in your house for multiple days isn't easy at all.