Unlike Sony or Microsoft, Nintendo dedicated their entire press conference to talking about games, and not about search engines or ESPN or other nonsense that has no business being at E3. Unfortunately, while Nintendo’s event was all about games, not all of those games were good. On the plus side, we did get our first look at Pikmin 3, which did look pretty good.
It’s been 8 years since the last Pikmin game (which is due to be re-released on Wii later this month,) and fans have been clamoring for a new title in the series ever since the original Wii was unveiled. They’ve had to wait until the Wii U to see those demands fulfilled, but from what we’ve seen so far, it looks like Pikmin 3 will live up to fan expectations.
The original Pikmin was a pretty good demonstration of the Gamecube’s horsepower, and likewise, Pikmin 3 on the Wii U is a very pretty title: while the game’s titular Pikmin and Capt. Olimar still look as adorably cartoony as ever, the stages have benefit from the Wii U’s increased horsepower and have a photorealistic quality to them. The graphics look to be about on par with what you’d expect from a modern 360 or PS3 big budget title, and while Nintendo’s getting into this whole “HD gaming” thing about 6 years late, it’s nice to see that Nintendo already has a grasp on techniques not possible on the antiquated Wii, like normal mapping.
Pikmin 3 offers a variety of control schemes: the default control scheme uses the standard Wii-mote plus nunchuk controls that Nintendo’s been using for years, and they work as you’d expect: you point to something to make your Pikmin target it, and you use the nunchuck to control Capt. Olimar. When you play the game using the Wii-U’s tablet controller, however, more options open up: you can use the game’s touch screen to control your Pikmin RTS style by tapping and selecting units and tapping where you want them to go. Pikmin 3 also features multiple controllable characters outside of Capt. Olimar, which Nintendo says will allow players to effectively employ their army of Pikmin in multiple tasks simultaneously.
And that’s all Nintendo revealed in their trailer. I’m going to try to brave what’s sure to be a long line to try out Nintendo’s new system at E3, so I’ll hopefully have hands-on impressions with Pikmin 3 before the end of the week.