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Nintendo 3DS Experience, or E3 Repeat

by Karlie Yeung - July 28, 2010, 5:29 pm PDT
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Nintendo often shows their E3 games in London for UK journalists to try out around a month after the event. Today was one of those days, and the NWR UK team were present to play (or replay) some of the games from Nintendo's booth at E3. As it was the first time the 3DS was playable in the UK, the event was titled "Nintendo 3DS Experience".

We saw less than half of the games from Nintendo's E3 booth. There were just a handful of 3DS demos, including Nintendogs + Cats and Pilotwings Resort on the playable side.

One of the games there I hadn't played during E3 was Hollywood 61 from Ubisoft. The opening sequence showed a detective in his car, driving to a crime scene. The graphics used a realistic style. On arrival there was a puzzle where you had to turn mirrors that had been arranged in a grid shape so that a beam of light from the bottom of the screen would go into an entrance at the top of the screen.

I'd also missed the 3D camera tech demo previously, and this was the only one of the Nintendo tech demos on display. There is a separate on-screen slider that you use to focus the picture and adjust the level of 3D before you take the photo. The image tended to blur even before the snapshot was taken if the focus wasn't set correctly.

I didn't think much of Nintendogs the first time I saw it; the Frisbee didn't really impress me. After seeing the facial recognition mode, where the puppies come up to the screen, little paws sticking out and licking your face, and discovering the puppies can do the some of the tricks from the original game, I have to admit that it's very cute.

On the Wii side there was no Zelda, but I had a chance to play Metroid: Other M. The demo was extremely long, mainly due to the lengthy cutscenes. It was the same demo as E3, and since I played from the beginning, I ran through a tutorial mode in a testing chamber before the two main sections. It looks like Prime, but controls very differently. The game seems to do a lot for you, such as snapping to enemies when you are shooting them. While I can't be certain, it seems easier to avoid enemies when you're in visor mode, I would have expected to lose more health than I did. Also I was able to fully recharge my health when it became very low. As for the many cutscenes, they serve to tell the backstory of how Samus came to be who she is today. There is a lot of spoken inner dialogue as she reflects on events in the past.

GoldenEye 007 was playable in multiplayer with a control choice of the Classic Controller Pro, or the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. As the latter was not available at E3, I took the opportunity to test it out. It seemed a little strange pointing at a section of the split screen; your pointer movement is relative to the sensor, so you don't point directly at your corner. I found it more difficult than the Classic Controller Pro, it seemed to be less accurate and a little floaty.

While I took the opportunity to play Professor Layton and the Unwound Future at length, there's little more to say about the game without story spoilers; the layout is exactly the same as the previous game apart from enhanced memo function I've mentioned. There were two games from the trunk that I came across, one that was particularly exciting to me. There was a toy car mini-game that seems to have replaced the hamster, and instead of the camera/painting puzzle there was a set of three picture storybooks. The game gives you stickers about as often as tea ingredients from the last game, and you place these on the picture book pages to fill in the blanks for the story. The story will have something like, "on the right there was a [tree]" so you'd place the sticker you thought matched best on the right side of the page. I thought this was really neat, and I enjoy anything that lets you collect stickers.

I was pleased to have a chance to finish the demos of Kirby's Epic Yarn and Donkey Kong Country Returns. E3 is so busy that you only get one chance with games, and I only saw those two titles briefly. Kirby was just as charming as last time, with the dash move Car Kirby still a firm favourite. During co-op, I found myself crashing my blue car into Greg's Kirby car, leading us to figure out that you can jump while you're a car to avoid such incidents. Of course this meant we had a mid-air car crash instead.

DKCR surprised me now that I had a chance to play it fully; there is a lot to explore in each level and it's not really about speeding through. A varying number of puzzle pieces have been added to each level. On first seeing the stats at the end of a level showing 0/5 collected, I groaned about something else to collect, but you have to work for most of these puzzle pieces. For one such piece, pounding a platform to unlock a hidden barrel, which shoots you to a sub-level where you have to defeat four crab-like creatures (jump on them once, pound the ground to flip them over, then jump on them once more) before the puzzle piece appears.

Thank you to Nintendo UK for providing a venue with ample seating to play some E3 games!


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