Last year you had to wait in a massive line in order to get your hands on a 3DS and play one of the few demos available at the time. But this year, the line was for the Wii U and you could pretty much just walk into the back of Nintendo's booth and have a go at any of the multitude of 3DS games available to try. In fact, there were so many demos, I didn't even get a chance to play every single one of them. But I made sure to try the big ones!
Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D
This 3D port of the PS2/PSP game is looking pretty good. The graphics are quite impressive, but the controls were a little overwhelming. To me, at least. Obviously when playing the game for real, you'd be able to adjust to all the many buttons, but in a demo situation, I find complicated controls really hurt because you can't just jump into the game. Also the fact that it's all about the stealth, you have to go slow, something else you don't really want to do in a demo situation where there's so many other games to try! So basically, I got a little lost and pretty much sucked when I tried the demo. Well, and I kind of suck at Metal Gear Solid games anyway! Stealth is not my bag, baby I'm loud and proud!
Resident Evil: Revelations
This game features probably some of the best graphics I've yet to see on Nintendo's handheld. Capcom really outdid themselves with the visuals on both Resident Evil titles. But because Revelations is the storyline-based one, it's at the top of my list, way ahead of Mercenaries. The controls are the usual tanky ones you expect out of a RE game, but you can look around and turn by swiping your thumb across the designated area on the touch pad, so that helps some. The giant monsters were kind of disturbing visually, but took way too many shots to put down, and I was always really low on ammo. In fact, at one point, I was completely out and had to run for the elevator and hope for the best. I also ran across a device that acts as kind of an item radar to scan for hidden items like extra herbs and ammo. The touch screen is also used to quickly swap weapons, which I find very helpful. All in all, RE: Revelations is shaping up to be one solid package and I can't wait to play it for real.
Star Fox 64 3D
I didn't bother with the single-player demo stations since I had played this last year. Oh, I'm sure it's very different from last year's demo, but I still figured if I was only going to have time to play one of these it would be better to try the multiplayer. The ship controls well, and it's fun to see the pictures of your opponents as you play, but they're also kind of distracting. They're much larger than the ships you're supposed to be shooting at, and honestly, I found myself blasting the pictures more often than the ships. I still emerged from the dogfight victorious, though! Controls seem tight, and when navigating through tighter quarters, I knew it was my own lack of skills that led me to crash into a wall and not the game. I also enjoyed the little crown that it superimposes over your head when you win a match!
There were a few stages to try, so I just picked one at random. It had a more overhead viewpoint, and felt like Mario 64 as you ran around an area stomping and jumping. I picked that stage mostly because I knew the tanuki suit was in it. The graphics are clean and bright, and the 3D effect really helps with the platforming, especially when going forward and back into the screen instead of side to side. And I later saw someone demo other stages that were a more side-scrolling view and objects like drills and enemies would fly out of the background right into your face. The 3D is really used to good effect in this one. There's also a section that's based on top-down Zelda dungeons to celebrate that series' 25th anniversary. Those are really cool, especially when Mario would jump down and be catapulted right up into your face in full, glorious 3D!
In addition to just the cool factor of being able to play Mario Kart in 3D, they've added some new features to the game, like flying and swimming. There are now hang glider attachments that pop out for brief gliding segments, and while I didn't play this in the demo, there are propellers for underwater racing. Before a race, you choose your character and vehicle, and can customize your tires, glider, and some other aspects of its appearance. Racing is the usual Mario Kart frenzy of trying to stay on the track and use the right power-ups at the right time to come in first. And as much fun as it is normally, it's even more fun in three dimensions.