E3 is considerably less miserable now that things are actually happening! Hanging out in a hotel in Santa Monica for a few days is lame, but doing, you know, work? That is fine. Honestly, I feel like my trip here was more or less justified by my 20-minute hands-on with Super Mario Galaxy. That game is crazy good. So far the only person who doesn’t seem completely enamored with it is Shane Bettenhausen, but that’s because his professional goal is to satirize Sony fanboyism… and sometimes I worry he’s been in deep cover so long he’s gone to the other side.
Anyway! Here are links, because of course the only thing that matters at E3 is the set articles that I write.
News: Super Mario Galaxy has a release date in America. That is hawtsome. Less hawtsome is this idle speculation that Smash Bros. Brawl may not be online… not that I care or anything. Unfortunately, our man was rushed out of his Miyamoto interview before he had a chance to ask about it. A mystery for another day. The Wii Zapper looks decent, although I was sad to learn that the bundled software is not Duck Hunt; and Wii Fit… is actually pretty fun and is going to sell insanely well — it’s basically the logical next step from Wii Sports and the DIY fitness routines people were creating with bowling and baseball.
Wii Fit seems to be the focus of a lot of negativity, and frankly Nintendo seriously boned their press conference by spending 15 minutes talking about an aerobics video game. Poor Miyamoto seemed so reserved, trapped up there like a washed-up celebrity on QVC. (“Wow, Reggie, that’s a breathtaking cubic zirconium necklace! But I probably can’t afford it on my salary.” “Not at all, Shigeru! You can buy it today for only three monthly installments of $29.99!”) But despite the awful impression that Wii Fit left at the press conference, the game itself is really enjoyable. And apparently will have 40 minigames.
Previews: I think I harped a little too much about how much Lost Odyssey looks like a Final Fantasy game, but seriously, that’s all I can remember about what I saw. If you hate the direction the FF series has taken in recent years, you could totally get away with calling this Final Fantasy XI, seriously. Pretend the element spells Earth, Wind, Water and Fire are Fire, Thunder and Ice and you’re good to go. Most of the characters are direct analogues to FF characters, particularly the Palom and Porom-like kids and cantankerous old dude with the airship who looks exactly like Amano’s rendition of Galuf (and whose name is suspiciously similar to Cid). But at least that has a legitimate reason for looking like Final Fantasy, since it’s by the same guy. Namco Bandai has no excuse for how much Flash Focus rips off Brain Age. Honestly, it’s shameless.
Meanwhile, I’m really not sold on Metroid Prime 3 — which isn’t to say I’ve decided it’s going to suck or anything. I’m just worried that Retro took the wrong approach in addressing criticisms about the previous games. Rather than dropping the stupid end-game relic quests, they appear to have made the game a straightforward shooter with puzzle elements. A slightly more complex Metroid Prime Hunters. Which could be good, no doubt — but is it Metroid? Does it even matter? Eh, probably not.
In any case, Super Mario Galaxy is phenomenal. I loved it last year, but this time around it’s even more refined. And being able to go hands-on with more than one stage was the best thing I did all day. I’ve gushed enough in the preview and in the 1UP Show segment that should be going up tonight, so I’ll shut up. It’s good. It’s really good. That is all you need to know, right?