Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Highs and Lows of Today's (March 3rd, 2016's) Nintendo Direct

After three months of waiting, a new Nintendo Direct wrapped up earlier this afternoon. With it came new announcements, updates on upcoming titles, and much more. Now I could just regurgitate all of the information shared during the Nintendo Direct, but that would be fairly boring, and you could find all of that information on any of the other (seemingly) millions of gaming sites out there.

Instead, I'd like to focus on the announcements and tidbits that personally excited and disappointed me most from today's 41 minute North American presentation. After you've read my thoughts, chime in with what you liked and disliked from today's Nintendo Direct.

+ New Star Fox Zero footage and trailer

Star Fox is one my favorite under-appreciated Nintendo franchises. I was quite worried to hear Liam Robertson of Unseen 64 suggest that the latest installment, Star Fox Zero, might get delayed due to quality control reasons. Whether Mr. Robertson has a pulse on the innards of Nintendo or not is debatable, but I'm just glad that the game is still coming at the end of next month.

With new announcements of cooperative play with one player guiding a vehicle while the other aims and shoots, branched pathways a la Star Fox 64, and more impressive footage, Star Fox Zero is indeed a game I'm quite looking forward to, hoping it makes fans like me super satisfied.

+ New Kirby announced

When Kirby's voice actress retweeted the news of today's Nintendo Direct, it gave way to rumors that something Kirby-related was going to be featured. Little did most of us know that it'd be a brand-new Kirby game for the Nintendo 3DS, Kirby: Planet Robobot, a traditional 2.5D Kirby game whose main new mechanic is the addition of a giant mech that Kirby can control. I am a huge lover of Kirby, and seeing the pink puffball's latest taking a similar formula to the great Kirby: Triple Deluxe makes me very excited. Kirby is basically comfort food gaming to me, so there's always room in my gaming stomach for second, third, fourth, etc. helpings.

+ Metroid Prime: Federation Force looks much improved

The anger, hostility, and quite frankly, entitled nature of Metroid fans when Metroid Prime: Federation Force was announced last E3 was pretty ugly and embarrassing. Still, Nintendo and Next Level Games (who have done a lot more good than bad, so they should at least get SOME benefit of the doubt) saunter on with development of this multiplayer Metroid.

Is Metroid Prime: Federation Force the ideal Metroid game after years of silence? Heck no, but does it deserve to be cancelled because it doesn't satisfy the personal desires of select fans? Heck no to that, too.

I, for one, am interested in seeing how Federation Force ends up being. I understand it's not to everyone's forte of what they want Metroid to be, but again, Nintendo and Next Level Games' relationship has been extremely fruitful thus far. The team deserves the benefit of the doubt here, I believe, even if the game is Metroid only in name.

+ A new Paper Mario was announced!
- It looks to be more like Sticker Star!

There were rumors from the 'net that a new Wii U Paper Mario game was in the works. Today, that rumor turned out to be true. However, while Paper Mario: Color Splash looks absolutely gorgeous visual-wise, its roots towards Paper Mario: Sticker Star seem very concerning to fans. I personally liked Sticker Star, but I'd be lying if I said I want more of that and not in the direction of the Nintendo 64 original and the GameCube hit, The Thousand-Year Door. That said, I don't want to jump the gun and also jump to a conclusion on what Color Splash will play like when all we've seen is about thirty or so seconds of footage.

- Dragon Quest VII release period possibly changed?

When Dragon Quest VII and Dragon Quest VIII were announced for localization to the West during the last major Nintendo Direct, Dragon Quest VII had a Summer 2016 planned release period. Today, the period was altered to late 2016, so we may have to wait some extra time for Dragon Quest VII to be released. One can then assume that Dragon Quest VIII will have a delay as well, well into 2017, unless Nintendo plans to publish both during the same launch period. Still, we've waited many years for the games to be localized, especially Dragon Quest VII, so a few more months isn't too much of a bother.

- No localization announcements for Picross 3D 2, Style Savvy 3, or Disney's Magical World 2... yet.

If you recall, an apparent leaker with sources to Nintendo posted a list of Nintendo 3DS games expected for 2016. A lot of the information on that list has come true, making it seem like the entire list might actually be worthwhile. Today, we saw the announcements of a new Kirby game (perhaps the Torte City mentioned in the leaked list), Disney Art Academy, and the localization announcement for the new best of collection of Rhythm Heaven for the 3DS.

However, something that disappointed me personally was a lack of information regarding the games mentioned above. There was no Picross 3D 2 (which is a game I desperately want to see localized, as the first Picross 3D on the Nintendo DS was fantastic), no Style Savvy 3 (the Americas are the last major market to not have the game), though that game might be the code name "Cadillac" in the list, and no word of Disney's Magical World 2.

It's important to note that Nintendo might not be ready to announce these titles, so while I am disappointed at the lack of them in the Direct, I am feeling everything but hopeless that these three games will be localized.

- Super Nintendo Virtual Console games for New Nintendo 3DS

Now, the announcement in itself wasn't bad by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it's pretty awesome that New Nintendo 3DS owners will get to expand their collection of digital games from yesteryear. However, what isn't awesome is the fact that Nintendo once again expects its user base to pay for these games all over again with zero cross-buy features. Do you want Super Mario World to take with you on your New Nintendo 3DS, own the game already on Wii or Wii U Virtual Console, and don't want to pay for it again? Tough. Too bad. This is why millions of Nintendo fans eagerly await the NX to see some semblance of an account system in the near future.

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