E3 2012: LEGO City Undercover, Scribblenauts, and Arkham City Armored Edition Announced for Wii U

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Nintendo’s E3 conference had some good stuff—and a lot of SAME stuff. You can check out Lawrence’s live-blog of the conference right here, in case you missed it.

We already know from their pre-E3 conference that the Wii U GamePad’s been redesigned since last year, and it really does look awesome. The new gameplay possibilities look solid, and actually way more interesting than what we’ve seen out of the current Wii console’s remotes. I’m looking forward to that—but we didn’t see much that was truly new at today’s conference.

We did, however, get glimpses at some new games. First and foremost were details on Pikmin 3, hashed out by Shigeru Miyamoto himself. Check out Landon’s coverage on that right here.

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As for third party games, one of the first announcements was that of Batman: Arkham City, Armored Edition, which is a GamePad-optimized version of last year’s Arkham City from Warner Bros. Interactive, along with a new suit of armor for the caped crusader. While he fights bad guys, the armor stores the energy and redirects it at foes. The GamePad is also used for investigation, detonating explosives, and selecting gadgets. All in all, this wasn’t too terribly thrilling—but for anyone (anyone?) who hasn’t yet played through Arkham City, this is a must-buy.

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But Warner Bros. Interactive also unveiled Scribblenauts Unlimited, an HD version of the game that was so awesome on the DS a few years back. We heard rumblings about this title last week, and I’m pleased as punch to know it’s true. It looks AWESOME, and there was a 3DS version announced as well.

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We also caught a glimpse of LEGO City Undercover, which looked a lot like Grand Theft Lego. Basically, it seemed like an open world LEGO action/adventure game that utilizes the GamePad in creative ways in terms of navigating the world and changing your character’s appearance for infiltration. It looks great, and I’m surprised by how excited it made me.

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As for the 3DS news we all expected—specifically the announcement of a new, bigger 3DS—we didn’t hear nothing. Apparently there’s going to be a 3DS-specific stream tomorrow at e3.nintendo.com, so I’m sure we’ll be covering that as well. We did, however, hear about a new Paper Mario title that looks like a good time, as well as a sneak preview of the previously announced New Super Mario Bros. 2 and Luigi’s Mansion for the 3DS.

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We also saw a bit about ZombiU (which we’ll cover with a bit more depth in another post), and Just Dance 4 (ugh). There’s also a karaoke game tentatively called Sing that I’m sure will be the only thing I can use to justify the system’s purchase to my girlfriend. She loves her some karaoke.

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Last, the conference spent a ton of time on Nintendo Land, which seems like a built in minigame-filled tech demo space for the Wii U with a bunch of games that highlight the “Asymmetrical Gameplay” they’re going for. Basically, some players will be armed with Wiimotes, while one player screws with them with the GamePad. It looks neat, but man, tons of time devoted to this thing. We’ll see how it all pans out.

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Aside from all that, nothing too major came out of the conference, sadly. We still don’t know when the system is coming out aside from “holiday 2012.” We still don’t know how much it might cost, or any other really specific information. In my mind, considering the fact that Nintendo’s the only company with a brand new console launching this year, this feels like something of a missed opportunity. Not only that, the focus was once again on local multiplayer options. Local multiplayer is great for getting people over, but there was a surprising lack of emphasis on online multiplayer—again.

This is a perennial problem for Nintendo, and if they’re serious about actually appealing to the “hardcore” gaming crowd this time around, they should get on the stick with online multiplayer. Asymmetrical gameplay is neat and all, but if you want LOTS of people to buy your system, instead of just families, you should probably let us know how we can chat with each other while we’re shooting the shit out of some aliens or something. I’m excited about the Wii U, but I don’t think it’ll get the audience it needs to boost the company’s fortunes unless they get this piece of the puzzle. Just my two cents, for whatever that’s worth…

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