So another Nintendo Direct has come and gone, and this one was certainly not short on information. But how much of it was worth anything, how much of it was new, and how much of it is going to be a game changer, as it were, for Nintendo? Consider this an editorializing review of the Direct itself–a talking point to get you riled up.
Here’s what was covered we already knew about:
- Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
- Monolith Soft’s still-untitled X
- Bayonetta 2
- Mario Kart 8
- Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy
- Kirby Triple Deluxe
- Yoshi’s New Island
- Mario Golf: World Tour
- Child of Light
- 1001 Spikes
- Monster Hunter 4
- Retro City Rampage (3DS)
Here’s the new stuff:
- NES Remix 2
- Steel Diver: Sub Wars (only noted as “a Steel Diver game of some sort” previously)
- Little Mac in Smash Bros
- Pokemon Battle Trozei
- Moon Chronicles (recent reveal, the first from Nintendo).
- Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball
Missing in action:
- Release date or even a release window for X
- Ditto, Bayonetta 2. This game was playable at last year’s E3.
- Extensive coverage of 3DS games when the Wii U is what needs games.
- System-selling Wii U games.
- Wide 3rd party coverage. A few indie games, Monster Hunter 4, and Child of Light made up the entirety of 3rd party games.
- Yarn Yoshi?
- Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem?
- Major new, unrevealed releases?
Again, the Direct wasn’t light on trailers and information. But given the recent issues with the Wii U, its disappointing to see such a focus still on the 3DS when that system hardly needs any help garnering sales these days (even though I personally feel it could stand to have more shooters and Western-style games). So take that as the lowest point for the presentation as a whole–simply not enough new information, and still no release dates on major titles.
Mario Golf, Yoshi’s New Island, and Kirby Triple Deluxe–we already knew about these and they are essentially Nintendo covering expected grounds. Granted, Mario Golf seemed like vaporware for a good half a year, but it’s reveal is still a little underwhelming. Take this as opinion as I have personally never cared for the franchise, but recognize it has a following. Donkey Kong Country and Mario Kart 8 were also extremely predictable to be in here. I have long viewed Mario Kart is Nintendo’s true system seller given the massive almost-35-million in sales that Mario Kart Wii garnered.
As nice as it was to see X and Bayonetta 2 footage, lacking release dates or even release windows on these games–that we’ve known about for well over a year–is getting a little absurd. Bayonetta 2 was playable during E3 last year. Also, watch the very first seconds of the Nintendo Direct–the ratings of the games therein state that the games are rated E-T. But there was a Bayonetta 2 trailer. Not RP-Teen. Everyone to Teen. This begs a curious question: Is Bayonetta 2 Teen rated? Or was this a goof on Nintendo’s part where they should have used the “Rating Pending” label but didn’t for some reason? This certainly seems to indicate that Bayonetta 2 is Teen rated, even if that is a little hard to believe. Then again, the new Dark Souls has dropped from a Mature to a Teen rating, and the new Earth Defense Force is Mature, when the previous entries were Teen…
As for surprises, Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball and Steel Diver: Sub Wars are stand-outs here. Take that how you will, but those were literally the biggest surprises. Sure, the Game Boy Advance will be on the Wii U Virtual Console now, and yes I joked that “well, if Nintendo isn’t putting new games on the system, I guess they’ll fill it with as many old ones as possible.” Here’s why Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball and Steel Diver are big surprises:
Both titles venture into new territory for Nintendo. Free-to-play with paid add-ons and DLC. Rusty’s Baseball is, unfortunately, not an actual baseball game, but a baseball-themed mini-game collection of sorts. But it introduces a bizarre new concept of actually haggling to lower the price of the DLC, wherein the haggling appears to be based on how well and how often you play the previous and free parts of the game. While this sounds fascinating in concept, it also sounds like Nintendo may be making us work for the “real price” of the extra content. We’ll have to reserve judgement until we can actually try it out.
Now, as one of the few people who seemed to have genuinely enjoyed the original Steel Diver, I found the new game rather interesting for a few reasons (by the way, you can download it free right now): First, I’ve been saying Nintendo needs to make an FPS title for a while. Well, this is certainly that. Slow as it is, but still. Steel Diver is not only a free-to-play FPS title, but the premium content looks like it may actually be worth getting. Based on my very brief time with the game thus far, I’m intrigued. There is a huge number of submarines and crew members to unlock and add to your gameplay, as well as textures and camouflage for the subs themselves. When I saw this, I realized that this is the closest thing to making a Call of Duty-style title that Nintendo has done. It’s an FPS title, its military-based, there are loads of unlockables, there is DLC, there are loads of customization options on your submarine (change the texture on your CoD Honey Badger, change the texture on your nuclear sub), and there is online multiplayer. I hope to have a review up soon, but all these options, unlockables, and online multiplayer indicate a new way of thinking by Nintendo that quite simply, feels modern.
I was thrilled to see Little Mac added to Smash Bros,but still hold out hope that Nintendo includes Xenoblade Chronicles and Eternal Darkness into the game in some manner. After all, they included the Ice Climbers before, and they’ve only ever had about one game two and a half decades ago.
Finally, it was nice to see some third party content with Child of Light and Monster Hunter 4, but that is still much to little. And no mention of Watch Dogs?