Reggie Fils-Aime and Scott Moffitt took the stage for, yes, another Nintendo press conference here at E3 2012, this time to showcase a number of upcoming 3DS titles. Not just any titles, either, these are the games Nintendo is betting the bank on in the foreseeable future.
Nintendo's promise of, "The best portable content is found on Nintendo gaming systems," has been frozen in stasis since the system's launch. Fans continue to ask for more, though despite the addition of a peripheral that added a second analog stick, substance has been lacking. Can Nintendo rekindle the energy around the 3DS?
Here's the lineup Nintendo showed during its conference, and we think you might be pleasantly surprised:
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow -- The Mirror of Fate
Long associated with the Nintendo brand, this Castlevania: Lords of Shadow spin-off is also developed by MercurySteam. While taking cues from the past slow and deliberate Castlevania games of the past, Mirror of Fate also focuses on fast, responsive combat and cinematic gameplay now associated with the Lord of Shadows reboot. How well these almost contradictory styles work together remains to be seen.
Play as one of four characters in Mirror of Fate, including Trevor Belmont and Alucard himself. The other characters may be revealed eventually, or they may be left for you to discover yourself through gameplay. The addition of a magic/mana system and a number of secondary weapons will help keep gameplay varied. Again, it sounds similar to familiar Castlevania systems, but in motion Mirror of Fate certainly lives up the Lords of Shadows reinvention.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow -- Mirror of Fate is planned for release this fall.
Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon
Scott Moffitt declared Luigi's Mansion to be all about giving Luigi a little respect, but personally I find the opposite to be true. Luigi's Mansion 2: Dark Moon is a return to the ridiculous and silly. It wouldn't be so great if you couldn't laugh at Luigi the while way through.
Luigi's Mansion 2 will allow Luigi to explore a variety of mansions, hopefully adding a depth that the original lacked in the long wrong. Luigi's also packing heat, with a new strobe-light weapon that stuns and produces three different colors of light for assorted effects. The new weaponry accessories allow for all sorts of exploration and combat options. We can't wait to see what Luigi is up to.
Luigi's Mansion 2: Dark Moon will be available this holiday season, both in retail and on the online eShop.
Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion
This is going to sound a little crazy, but Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion is a side project drawing inspiration as much from Epic Mickey as it is from the classic Castle of Illusion title from 1990. Peter Ong, the creative director on the project, is apparently a very dedicated fan -- during his presentation he admits to playing Castle of Illusion on a daily basis when he was younger.
As for the actual game, Power of Illusion will feature a number of ways where drawing on the bottom DS screen will effect gameplay. Paint and thin just like the Wii Epic Mickey, and travel through a variety of Disney worlds such as Peter Pan's Neverland and what looked to be Agrabah. Battle Mizrabel through the Castle of Illusion, a lost place in the Wasteland, and paint Mickey and his friends to victory.
Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion comes out November 18, 2012.
Paper Mario: Sticker Star
What a world when a Mario RPG focused on paper has to resort to stickers to refresh its gameplay. Luckily, the new sticker mechanic looks like a lot of fun. Bowser uses stickers in a variety of ways to hide chunks of the environment. They're everywhere and they each provide something interesting when you discover them. For example, every move Mario uses in battle requires a sticker which is then expended. Also, varying puzzles require stickers too.
That's what's new, but what's remained the same is that classic clever Paper Mario wins. If you've been craving a new Paper Mario, the 3DS is going to provide what looks like a great game. Yes, a great game based on paper cut-outs playing with stickers. So. Awesome.
Paper Mario: Sticker Star will be available this holiday season.
Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance]
I'm likely the least qualified to discuss a Kingdom Hearts game, but it can't be said enough how much fans of the franchise are looking forward to Dream Drop Distance finally arriving. Sora and all his Disney crew will be back before too long, and it's sure to be an unforgettable adventure. Hopefully a sequel bound for console isn't too far away.
Kingdom Heards 3D [Dream Drop Distance] will be released July 31.
New Super Mario Bros. 2
"This game is all about coins," is the name of the game... not literally, of course. Any level you beat goes into Coin Rush Mode -- a mode encourages you to focus on gather as much gold as possible as fast as possible. Time is money, naturally. These totals are then passed via Street Pass to those around you. It's a modern leaderboard contest and it's something Nintendo is selling heavily in New Super Mario Bros. 2.
Powers, pitch perfect platforming and a long single player game are all included in addition to Mario's new coin addiction. Also, the full game is available in cooperative mode -- not just battle mode.
New Super Mario Bros. 2 will be available August 19 in North America and keep in mind it will also be the first full release also available via digital distribution in the eShop.
In the first Scribblenauts game to come to the 3DS, the first and largest difference is that Maxwell now explores an open world as opposed to specific levels. Previous iterations of the franchise have added adjectives and descriptions, but it's only now that the developers have decided that Scribblenauts is now truly Unlimited.
Other 3DS games mentioned include: Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, Transformers Prime: The Game, Rabbids Rumble, Heroes of Ruin, and Pokemon Black & White 2 Version 2.