Editorial Miscellany: Pretendo

Seriously smooth, silky, and pretty.
This game looks far better in action than I expected.

It happened once again, LusiHyrule. Nintendo let me into one of their events. I was under the impression that it was solely a Super Smash Bros. event, but I was pleasantly surprised when they had a large number of games from their showing at E3 available to play. I will disappoint everybody right away by saying that Splatoon was not present. I was told that it has gone “back in the vault” as a game to showcase more heavily in 2015.

Hyrule Warriors

This game is total fan service, it has to be said. But it is fan service that plays well and is very satisfying, so I think it is a pretty smart move on Nintendo’s part. The only playable characters available in the demo were Link, Zelda, and Midna, but playing as Midna felt far better than I expected. I did not become terribly familiar with her moveset, but it was apparent that it was an easy game to pick up and play but would benefit greatly from getting to know the moveset. Somebody far more familiar with the Dynasty Warriors series played after me, and it looked like an entirely different game. The allure of being able to play as so many awesome badasses from the Zelda series that have never – or rarely – been playable will be a selling point beyond those who are fans of the original series.

Still, it is my sense that as much fun as it will be to play, and as many details there will be for Zelda fans, this will not be a must-play game. I do not expect many who buy it will regret their decision, but this will be well-made fan service to tide over the Wii U while its software lineup takes time warming up.

Smash Bros.

This was Smash Bros. It looks great, felt natural, and there was no tripping, but the environment was not conducive to getting a real sense to how the characters are going to feel playing against each other. I tried Olimar, my primary character in Brawl, and he carried fewer Pikmin and his triple jump seemed worse, but it was way too early to tell. I also tried the Wii Fit Trainer, the Villager from Animal Crossing, Geninja, and Rosalina. Once again, I did not get a great sense of these characters because of the short timing of the matches, the fact that I was playing with strangers, and the fact that items were turned on.

I blasted through this part so that I didn't waste all my time on it.
More options than I was expecting.

Fantasy Life

The trailer for this game made me initially excited and then pretty blasé by the time it finished. Playing it, however, was a different story. Level-5’s touch was obvious from the apparently finished version of the game I was playing and it made me feel like it is going to be an excellent light RPG for those who enjoy well-made entries in the field. I only had about 20 minutes with the game, but my sense is that anybody who enjoys both Animal Crossing and RPGs will love Fantasy Life and anybody who does not like one of those two things should probably avoid it as they were already planning to do. This was the biggest pleasant surprise of the event for me.

Yoshi’s Wooly World

Adorable, gorgeous, and creative. This was exactly what I expected it to be. The local co-op worked well as well. Like a lot of Nintendo games these days, it looks like Yoshi’s Wooly World will provide very little challenge to those rushing to the end credits, but will be far more interesting to those looking to get 100% of the collectibles and secrets. I thought Kirby’s Epic Yarn was beautiful and creative although too “kiddy” even for kids, so I am a little wary to get too excited about Yoshi, but my eye is definitely on it.

Captain Toad

Super Mario 3D World is a fantastic game, but is strangely better with more than one person playing it. It is like Nintendo took what worked about multiplayer in the New Super Mario Bros. series and took it out of that environment which is still – ultimately – intended for a single player and then ran with the concept. The fact that it is a better game with another person might be its biggest knock against it, but Nintendo seemed awkwardly aware of this fact because of the single player nature of the Captain Toad sections. The little puzzle levels were necessarily single player ventures but from a multiplayer perspective seemed to exist just to satiate those playing the game by themselves. But that is all speculation because whether or not they fit in with the design of the entire game, they were well-designed and a lot of fun and the one level available at the event was very promising. I think the concept will hold for an entire game, but I am holding out hope that it will not be full price.

Like, it looks fine, but at least the yarn stuff has thematic and creative function.
Also, I am not sold on the aesthetic.

Kirby string or something?

I will need more time with the controls to have any sort of opinion on this game. With a new control scheme such as the one Kirby employs, I need proper time to master it before I prematurely write it off as bad controls. I mean, they very well might be bad controls, but I do not know yet. No opinion.

Bayonetta 2

This was playable, but I only watched. At first I was shocked at how bad it looked, but it turns out that it was only the cutscenes that do not look great, the game in action looked smooth and very pretty. I never played the first one, but I suppose that is the reason it is packed into Bayonetta 2. I am very curious to see if the game sells well at all on the Wii U. I am not optimistic, to be honest, no matter the quality of the game.

Final Thoughts

The lineup for Nintendo this year does very much seem to be saying “just hang on a second, guys! Just one more second!” Smash Bros., Captain Toad, and Hyrule Warriors all look like they will be tremendous fun, but all three feel like holdovers. The real question is if Nintendo can afford to ask people to wait any longer. Both Hyrule Warriors and Smash Bros. have the potential to sell through the roof because of their fan service and build quality, but I feel like they both have the potential to disappoint as well without the rest of Nintendo’s E3 lineup at hand. I think Nintendo has been making far better software in the Wii U era compared to the Wii era, but I think their future is still foggy. Oh, and the title of this week’s article is a portmanteau of “preview” and “Nintendo”. I realize that it is a little misleading because it sounds more like a portmanteau of “pretend” and “Nintendo”, but you can all take out your anger in the comments below.


  1. Mel’s super quick opinions:

    Hyrule Warriors:

    Looks neat but it’s still going to be a Dynasty Warriors game, i.e. it’s going to be a lot of shoveling sand on a beach with mash-fest boss battles sprinkled in. DW games aren’t very huge for a reason.

    Smash 4:

    Neat that they’re paying some attention to Smash fans but it remains to be seen how viable this game is for competitions. It’s not just tripping that kept Brawl from surpassing Melee. Even when people modded that out, it didn’t help.

    Wooly World:

    If this is nothing but a wool theme Yoshi’s Island that doesn’t suck, I’m fine with that.

    Captain Toad:

    Looks fun. An interesting puzzle thing with a deliberate sense of pacing. Could be neat but it does indeed depend on the price tag.

    Kirby’s whateverworld:

    Eh. Kirby. Hasn’t been good since SNES.

    Sexy Librarian Witch 2:

    I’m not a huge fan of these kinds of games. Never cared for the DMCs or Ninja Gaidens or the rest. Closest I got was God of War, and it’s just a dumb roller coaster I had fun experiencing then forgetting about.

    Final Thoughts:

    If this is the best the Wii U has for the rest of 2014 then I do not expect a very successful year. Smash is the biggest draw here, and it’s just one game. It’s also not exactly their most powerful franchise. The rest are side-shows that could be great examples of their genres, but not representative of major appeal. Hyrule Warriors could do well thanks to the brand association, but it’s still just Dynasty Warriors and at the very least that isn’t fooling ME into think it’ll be something different.

  2. Of these I’m only interested in Smash Bros and maybe Hyrule Warriors. Get me some StarFox U Nintendo!

  3. @DiceAdmiral: Be careful for what you wish, lest you end by getting it.

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