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Nintendo Direct 12/5/12 Recap

Nintendo hosted another Direct video today, which features Wii U and 3DS games that are coming out in the next several months. The initial Wii U launch lineup is already out and people are already looking for games to watch out for in the first two quarters of 2013. Nintendo only focused on a handful of them that are worth your attention, but after seeing this new Direct video, you can tell they are saving their bigger game announcements for press events and E3. That alone it is disappointing since the Wii U is in desperate need of high profile games that will get people excited. They did not even they mention some of the issues the console has been having since launch even though there was a system update that came out last night that supposedly improved stability and performance. Anyway, here's what went down in today's Nintendo Direct as Reggie Fils-Aime hosted the festivities.

The open-ended game Lego City Undercover kicked things off and it was initially going to be released at launch day, but its now slated to come out sometime in Q1 2013 exclusively for the Wii U. The main character you play as is Chase McCane, an undercover cop that has to take out Rick Fury's crime organization from the inside. Gamepad controls were demonstrated during the presentation and extra content for the game is planned to be included in specific Lego City sets. Locking away specific vehicles to unlock codes in Lego sets is an interesting idea, but also a little dirty at the same time like action figures having an exclusive weapon for a first-person shooter.

A new gameplay trailer was shown for Pikmin 3 today as it was the first new footage released for the game since E3. Nintendo describes the Pikmin's transition to HD as more detailed and alive. Other than that, it is the same old Pikmin that fans know and love. Pikmin 3 is still on track to be released sometime in Q2 2013 for the Wii U. One Nintendo game that making its Q1 2013 window is Game & Wario, a new mini-game collection reminiscent of the Wario Ware franchise. Two mini-games were shown from the game as most of them will have 2-5 players involved. The game also uses the gamepad in unique ways such as playing games in Wario Ware fashion and then setting the gamepad down when your mom checks that you're sleeping. The other mini-game that was demoed has a gamepad player play as a thief to try to steal fruit without getting caught.

Another Nintendo game that was briefly announced at E3 last year was Wii Fit U, which is also slated for a Q1 2013 release. Besides 77 mini-games being in the game that allows gamepad, Wii Remote, and Balance Board controls, this Wii Fit sequel comes with a Fit Meter that tracks their health and progress while being outside. This reminds people of the Pokewalker that was released with Pokemon Heart Gold & Soul Silver for the DS, which had Pokemon accompany you outside Tamagotchi style. The last Wii U game that was featured in today's Nintendo Direct was Ninja Gaiden III: Razor's Edge, which already came out on launch day. Ryosuke Hayashi, the producer of the game, announced two new playable characters that will be available for free via a patch. Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword's Momiji and Kasumi from the Dead or Alive series join Ryu Hayabusa and Ayane, also from Dead or Alive, as playable characters. Speaking of Dead or Alive, I'm a little surprised Tecmo Koei has not announced a Wii U version for Dead or Alive 5 yet since a Vita version was recently announced.

More apps are also coming to the Wii U in the coming months. Wii U Panorama View, which was also briefly demoed at E3 last year, has players look at scenic localtions and controlling the gamepad allows the camera to be focused on what interests you the most. What is surprising about this app is that you actually have to buy it when it comes out sometime in spring 2013, but there is a free demo if you're interested to try it out. Google Maps is also coming to the Wii U as a free app on the first quarter of next year. Its pretty much the same app you use in everyday life online or on your smartphone. Street View on the gamepad was demonstrated during today's Direct presentation. Honestly, I don't see much usage in both these apps and I rather use them on my phone instead of at home with my Wii U. Nintendo TVii, which is supposedly still coming out this month in a system update, was not mentioned at all today.

While the Wii U side of today's Nintendo Direct was a bit disappointing in terms of no new blockbuster announcements, the 3DS stuff that was shown and announced today were a little better. New footage for Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon was shown even though that highly anticipated sequel is still slated for a Q2 2013 release. Final release dates were announced for Brain Age: Concentration Training and Fire Emblem: Awakening. The new Brain Age is coming out on February 10, 2013 for the 3DS while the next Fire Emblem game comes out a week earlier, which is the 4th. The New Super Mario Bros. 2 DLC that was recently released in Japan is also coming out here at the states. The Classic Pack that features levels from Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 3 is out now for free till January 31. Another DLC pack is a little more difficult that tests your Mario platforming skills is also out now for a small fee. I'm more curious when Nintendo will reveal their DLC plans for New Super Mario Bros. U even though it is just going to be more challenges and boost rush level packs if you played that game. Lastly, two more games were announced as downloadable eShop titles. Tokyo Crash Mobs is a weird looking game that is expected for something from Japan. HarmoKnight is the other eShop game coming soon and it is made by Game Freak, the folks behind the Pokemon series.

Today's Nintendo Direct was honestly a disappointment, especially for the Wii U crowd. Sure, there's some games that are coming in the new several months that are interesting like Lego City Undercover, Dragon Quest X for those from Japan, and Pikmin 3, but we pretty much know what to expect from them and no specific release dates were announced either other than their release windows. As mentioned earlier, Nintendo is probably saving their bigger announcements for press conferences than these Direct videos. I also wished they addressed some of the issues consumers are having with the console since launch and say they're working on them in future system updates, but that was not the case. Then again, this is typical of Nintendo to have a light first year of games with a new console, but with Sony and Microsoft's new consoles coming either next year or 2014, they need as much momentum as they can if they want the Wii U to be successful in the next couple of years. Hopefully Nintendo has something big with the Wii U up their sleeve in the coming months to get people excited again. The full Direct video is above if you want to watch the whole thing and let us know in the comments below whether or not Nintendo dropped the ball in terms of Wii U/3DS announcements today.


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