Pikmin 3 may have been the best game at E3 that I had the opportunity to play, but I won't be able to tell you that until it's out. It seemed great, there were shadows of deeper strategies and a huge world to explore, but my time with it was more akin to learning to swim in the shallow end of a pool. I'm just standing here, there's no way I can say how great swimming is.Ten to fifteen minutes of Pikmin 3 was just not enough. It's not the sort of game you can take a vertical slice of and say, "Look at that, you're persuaded, right?"
In the time I had with Pikmin 3's single player I acquired a few dozen Pikmin, I threw them at plants, I threw them at fruit, I threw rock Pikmin at structures that shattered, I watched Pikmin be devoured by a Bulborb. On a second stage I tried the flying Pikmin were available and could lift indestructible gates or carry things via air routes. Also, switching between characters seemed a bit beyond my tutorial level this early on. It was just enough for me to want to play more.
Lucky for me single player wasn't the only thing Nintendo was showing of Pikmin 3 at E3. They also announced the brand new "Bingo Board" multiplayer mode, which I believe supports 1v1 and 2v2 from the menus I saw. At first glance it seems kind of ridiculous, as it's not really a concept supported by any other game. However, in practice it couldn't be easier. There's a four by four bingo card filled with items in the corner of your screen. All you have to do is pluck enough items from the environment with your Pikmin to fill a line on the bingo card before your opponent does. Win!
My first of two bingo matches was against a very nice booth attendant who I'm not sure had never played Pikmin before, despite knowing the controls like she had them written on an instruction book nearby. Needless to say, I discovered she had thrown all of her starting Pikmin at at Bulborb, which subsequently eaten them, when the cheerful "You Win!" screen popped up on screen. Afterwards an unnamed developer came over the give me a bit more of a contest. There were Pikmin plucked, Pikmin devoured, and a 5-minute battle over acquiring a Bulborb corpse to win, leading up to a mutual armistice due to time restrictions. It was outstanding, but all it did was make me want to play a few full hours of single player.
I do know that when I finally get to play Pikmin 3 I won't be using the motion controller and nunchuck, despite Miyamoto's insistence that it's the best way to play. Shaking the controller would either throw off my targeting or simply not register at all. I wouldn't mention it at all, but it happened multiple times. I failed more than succeeded whenever I tried to use motion controls. I didn't get to use the GamePad, unfortunately, but I'm betting it will be somewhat more responsive, absolutely more accurate, though perhaps not as quick.
Just to sum my thoughts up, I didn't feel like I played enough of Pikmin 3 to feel comfortable calling it one of the best games at E3. However, considering everything we've seen up to this point, I feel absolutely comfortable saying it will be the best game on Wii U when it launches August 4 in North America. Further, it may very well be the best game Nintendo releases on the Wii U this year, and has the potential to be the best Wii U game currently announced. I really wish Pikmin 3 hadn't missed its initial release window, which would have put it out back in March, because it's going to have some major competition going into this fall, but hopefully it still gets the attention it deserves.