VG Tribune

Nintendo Direct 08.03.2018 – Thoughts

March 9, 2018 / 10:40 AM

By: Matthew Gibson

What. A. Show. Nintendo Direct’s are always a healthy resource for hype, but the latest presentation just completely knocked it out of the park. A decent amount of great surprises, a fantastic showing of third-party support, and of course, the penultimate teaser that was Super Smash Bros. coming to Nintendo Switch. In terms of the format, the new way headlines are done, which is akin to how the mini did them, is much welcomed. Not only does it bring a quick flow of announcements, but no longer do we have to get spoiled for what’s coming up in the near future. Anyway, let’s dive on in!

Nintendo decided to start with some headlines for the 3DS. WarioWare Gold seems like a fun collection of microgames from across the series, and it’s cool that Dillon’s Rolling Western is getting a new entry (although I’ve never been too keen on the series). Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story was the first game I played in the series, and I have been meaning to revisit it for a while. So a remake of the title, much like how Superstar Saga got the same treatment last Winter, was great news. I personally would have preferred it on Switch, as it is coming in 2019, and I’m not sure what state the 3DS would be in by then, but still good to see. The other surprise came in the form of another remake, this time being Luigi’s Mansion. I feel this is a missed opportunity for, yet again, a game to come on Switch, as I feel it could greatly benefit from HD visuals. But I did enjoy its sequel, so I wouldn’t mind picking it up when it does come out.

That was surprisingly all they had for the 3DS (apart from a quick mention for Detective Pikachu), and overall I think it had a decent showing. I am slightly worried about the performance of these games since they can easily be overshadowed by releases on the Switch. Even so, it seems 3DS will still be getting some small gems towards the end of its life. Touching upon some already announced titles for the Switch, there was some cool stuff. Kirby Star Allies showed off ‘legacy characters’ that can join Kirby, like Marx from Super StarSushi Striker: The Way of Sushido got some new info after debuting at last year’s E3, and has made the leap to the new platform. Octopath Traveler‘s release date was finally unveiled to be July 13th, which I think is a good time to release a game like this. I still haven’t picked up the demo, but it has already garnered a lot of praise, so I’d be lying if I said it was completely off my radar. The latest in the No More Heroes series, Travis Strikes Back, showed off some of its gameplay for this first time, and it looks like fun (although I still need to play the first two!).

Mario Tennis Aces got a healthy amount of time in the spotlight during the presentation. It’s still hasn’t won me over just yet, as I prefer Mario sports games to be a bit more crazy, like in the Strikers titles. However, it looks notably better than Ultra Smash on the Wii U which I feel was universally disliked, with a seemingly robust single-player campaign and a decent online mode. I did wish they didn’t spend too long on this game, but even saying that I was quite impressed with how deep each match could be. They talked about an energy gauge, which allowed you to either hit a really powerful shot or to slow down time in order to return the ball. Not the most exciting of additions, sure, but the introduction of new strategies is somewhat intriguing. I just hope they do add in some cool courts this time. Chuck in a nice surprise of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker getting a port with some new levels, and all in all, this would have been a pretty decent Direct already.

But then Nintendo just KILLED the rest of the show.

This Direct, in particular, showcased what a superb job Nintendo is doing at supporting third-parties on the Switch. The first shock was Okami HD arriving this Summer, an indicator that Capcom have finally gotten their act together since the title curiously skipped the system last year. Dark Souls, of all games, is introducing its own amiibo based off of the Solaire of Astora, and even looking at it now I’m shocked this is on an official Nintendo presentatio. We were hit with a wave of other crazy announcements, including Undertale, and indie classic, and South Park: The Fractured But Whole, a, well, South Park game. To top it off, Crash Bandicoot is making the leap to the Switch with his N-Sane Trilogy. This has been in the rumour-mill for quite some time, yet it was still a quite the surprise. They may be ports, sure, but the fact these type of games are part of Nintendo’s console is EXTREMELY promising. I find it to be undeniable proof that the big N has turned themselves around from the Wii U days. Combined with the Switch’s ability to be brought anywhere with you, it seems they have found another advantage over consoles offering the same games.

Splatoon 2 carried on the momentum with the unveiling of Ver 3.0, which will include tons of new gear, new maps, and a rank beyond even S+. It’s great to see a game continue to get so much support long after its initial release, and I hope it’s not the last. The real surprise here, however, was the Octo Expansion, the first batch of paid content for the series. This DLC seems to be a grand expansion of the single-player mode, with apparently 80+ levels. Lore is a mysterious feature of Splatoon, which has only ever been touched upon in Sunken Scrolls. Thankfully, the Direct states that this new content will have a focus that dives into more of the lore of Splatoon‘s world and characters, which I am very chuffed about personally. I imagine the pricing will be justifiable, as it does look quite meaty, but it’s gonna feel like a long wait until it launches in the Summer.

With all of that, this still would have been a great Direct. We got a healthy mix of old games, new games, third-party games, and a beefy update to Splatoon 2. Yet, Nintendo still decided to go all out in the last couple of minutes to announce one title: Super Smash Bros.. There’s nothing quite like the series, seeing as it brings beloved characters together for a fun fight or an exhilarating brawl. Rumours of the series coming to the Switch has been around for a long time; before the system was even launched. And now, it’s finally time to board the hype train once again.

First of all, I am so pumped to see Inklings in Smash. It was a given, no doubt, yet seeing the two squid kids battle it out in a well-choreographed battle, before being brought in front of a giant logo engulfed in flames was a sight to behold. I still get chills down my spine when rewatching it! We can make out a couple of other characters from their shadows, like Donkey Kong and Bowser. There was also a close-up of Mario and Link. The latter has caused quite a stir within the fanbase since he has donned the Breath of the Wild design, which is a great fit. Of course, the way the title came into place, alongside the 2018 release window, was a good way to end the teaser. Now comes the question of is this a port/’Deluxe’ edition of the 3DS and Wii U entries, or is it a completely new game? We have to wait for more info, but for me personally, I’m fine either way in all honesty. What’s important is that Smash hype is finally back and kicking, and I can’t wait to just be a part of such a crazy ride once more.

So overall, this Direct was great. If I had to grade it, it’d be an A. Super Smash Bros. was the obvious highlight, and I feel for good reason just for how well they pulled it off. Splatoon 2 getting more single-player stuff was fantastic and I’ll surely be picking that up day one. Other than that, there was a lot of quality games on display. I’m considering picking up Undertale again so I can play it with me on the go and maybe finish it properly this time around! And 3DS looks like it still has some neat titles on the way, even though I would have prefered the games to be on the Switch. My only complaint is the lack of Fire Emblem, but its absence means it’s almost guaranteed to be shown off during E3. Speaking of which, judging by the quality of this presentation, we are going to be in for one heck of an E3 this year.

What did you guys think of the Nintendo Direct? Did it have you shouting your head off so much to annoy your flatmates as soon as you saw the Smash logo? Or were you more on the mellow side for most of the show? Let us know down in the comments!

About the author /

Like many other game writers, Matthew was brought into the gaming world from a young age. He aspires to be a games journalist in the future. Oh, and he's from the UK, so there's that. He also does Nintendo Podcast System, just in case there isn't enough Nintendo on this site.

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