Nintendo Direct Roundup November 2015
Yeah, it’s took a while to put together due to time zone related issues, but we’ve now got all the media from yesterday’s Nintendo Direct and can share our thoughts on all of it. So what game should we start with?
Well, how about the one everyone’s excited for and the one Nintendo themselves decided should open the video? Yes, it’s the Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess HD! Here’s the first footage of the game, direct from Nintendo of America’s version of the presentation:
So what can we see here? Well, for one thing, it does seem to be a whole different from the original in terms of graphics. Oh sure, the textures are quite a bit better (which can be seen in some of the following pictures), but compared to the somewhat huge upgrade Wind Waker HD got, it’s still a tad underwhelming.
It’s also compatible with a special Wolf Link Amiibo, as well as Amiibos for the other Zelda characters from the Smash Bros line. This is a pretty cool touch, although Nintendo is somewhat vague about how they’re actually going to factor into the gameplay (and whether they have more of a purpose than unlocking a few random extras in the game world).
Also of note is that the game is partly developed by Tantalus as well as Nintendo. Who are Tantalus? Well apparently, they previously worked on a bunch of licensed games, Funky Barn and the Legend of Spyro. It’s an interesting choice of developer for a Zelda remake, that’s all we’ll say.
Finally (for this game), here are the different box arts. One is the normal edition, one is the special one with the included Amiibo. Both look pretty good:
Moving on now, Splatoon had some DLC announced in the Direct. Admittedly, we don’t really play much of this game ourselves, but we’ll leave you with Nintendo’s videos of the upcoming new levels and costumes instead, since they can probably explain the changes much better than we can:
Either way, it looks pretty good. Now, onto Super Mario Maker. Unlike the last update, this one isn’t getting any new level features like slopes or extra enemies or items. But what it is getting (and what is arguably long overdue by now), is a decent search system.
You see, previously, Mario Maker had no real easy way to find levels in game. You could see popular levels, you could find levels by a certain creator (if you had the code to at least one of their stages) and you could manually try and type in the codes. None were particularly easy, all opened up a market for online databases and forum topics where levels were posted and curated.
This is changing. The game is getting a decent database system where you can find levels by a whole variety of factors such as the theme, the art style, the ratings, when it was posted, the difficulty, the region of the person who made it and what it was tagged (like say, ‘automatic level’). You can also view the portal on a phone, and tag levels in a list that you can play later. Here’s a video explaining the system by Nintendo:
They also posted some of their favourite levels:
Enough with Mario Maker, now onto Tri Force Heroes. As pretty much everyone predicted (thanks to the DLC functionality being leaked by hackers long before yesterday’s Nintendo Direct), the game is getting DLC in some form. However, this time it’s a free update that gives you an extra gauntlet/Savage Labyrinth/Cave of Ordeals like side dungeon where you have to kill all the enemies to progress.
There were also costumes based on Linebeck from Phantom Hourglass and Fierce Deity Link from Majora’s Mask. Both looked pretty cool, and both were described as overpowered:
It’s fairly forgettable as an announcement, but given that the update is free, why bother to complain?
Pokken Tournament also featured in the Direct, with a short trailer and presentation featuring the new Mewtwo form. Here it is to see again:
There was also the announcement of a special Amiibo that let you unlock said character right from the start.
Xenoblade Chronicles X was also featured in the Nintendo Direct, and looked just about as good as ever. Here’s the video for it:
And here’s another trailer posted by Nintendo straight afterwards:
Yeah, it looks fantastic. That said, it’s a tad more difficult to get hyped for this game than it could have been, since the title already came out in Japan back in April of this year. As a result, it’s a bit less mysterious than it could have otherwise been, and the hype is less as a result.
Various lesser known games followed it. Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival, Mario Tennis Ultra Smash, Pokemon Picross… these were so uninspiring that even Nintendo had no enthusiasm for them in the Direct. In Europe (at least) they didn’t even bother giving them a decent explanation, it was all ‘here you go, who gives a damn’. So uninspired in fact that no one bothered to upload the videos to Youtube, at least not on their own. So no embed here.
Their edited Mario Tennis Ultra Smash trailer is even shorter, but they at least tried to add a bit of enthusiasm in with this one:
Mario & Luigi Paper Jam also got a bit of coverage in the Nintendo Direct. Okay, when we say ‘a bit’, we actually mean ‘a whole lot’. The game got a fairly long trailer, a decent European presentation explaining the features and a whole ton of artwork which can be seen below:
There are also some new videos, in case the above wasn’t enough Mario & Luigi Paper Jam for you.
So what to say about it? Well, it looks graphically impressive, it sounds great and the gameplay in general looks pretty damn solid. But the characters and world just look so damn boring. It’s like after Sticker Star the series has been set on a ‘no creativity or else’ route, with this game being right in the middle of the crossfire. Mario & Luigi meets Paper Mario is a concept that could have had so much potential, yet we get one of the least interesting cast lists in the series.
Still, it looks like the best Nintendo game for Christmas 2015, if that matters.
We also got some video footage of Hyrule Warriors Legends. For the most part, this was qute underwhelming, since it was just Toon Link, Tetra, the King of Hyrule and Skull Kid, all of whom had been seen before in past Directs and trailer releases. And then…
We got this:
Named ‘Linkle’, this is basically a distaff counterpart to Link, for all the people whining about ‘diversity’ in the Legend of Zelda series. She looks like a pretty cool character with the whole crossbow and martial arts thing going on, though the name is pretty damn terrible.
Either way, the female Link complaints should have stopped, right?
Hah, you must be joking. Ten minutes later, people were already whining about how it was a new character instead of a literal female version of Link.
Moving on from the unpleasable nature of gamers, SJWs and the internet, the focus of the Nintendo Direct quickly shifted to indie games. Well… sort of.
In North America, there was a huge showcase of indie games with tons of titles being seen with full length trailers.
In Europe… they showed Neo Racing, one other game and that was about it.
A large focus on Pokemon came afterwards. Pokemon Picross was boring enough, but then…
Pokemon Red, Blue and Yellow were announced for the 3DS Virtual Console complete with trading via the 3DS wireless multiplayer capabilities! A pretty nice surprise, given how lacking most VC ports of games are.
In Japan, these are also apparently getting ‘boxed’ releases. Well, a box with some extra goodies and an eShop code anyway, but a box none the less:
There was also a new trailer/presentation for Star Fox Zero, which focused on the Landmaster’s new flying capabilities and a stealth vehicle called the Gyrowing. An interesting new concept (especially with the ROB like drone you can use to activate machines and disable security systems), but perhaps still nothing too special.
The trailer for it is below:
Fire Emblem Fates was another game featured, and it came with the announcement of a third storyline called Fire Emblem Revelations. This was yet another mode you could buy, and a special edition of the game was also mentioned where all three parts were included in one.
For other parts of the Direct… it varied depending on region. In North America, double game bundles were announced where you could get two vaguely similar games along with a 3DS or Wii U. Like Mario & Luigi Dream Team and Mario Kart 7 both in the same bundle. Or a similar thing for Animal Crossing New Leaf and Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer.
This bit was absent from the European Direct, implying that these bundles wouldn’t be released in that region.
A few third party games were also included, like Mega Man Legacy Collection, Final Fantasy Explorers and various Dragon Quest games. They looked decent enough, though how much of a focus they were in the Direct was again very region dependent.
And then… there was Nintendo Badge Arcade, that weird app where you can get virtual badges by winning in game activities… that are used by spending actual eShop funds. Thanks, but no thanks. We’re not wasting our time on a virtual claw machine equivalent, and nor should anyone else who actually values their money. Again, the trailer is here:
Last (but definitely not least), was the inevitable Super Smash Bros announcement. Sakurai had hinted at it. Rumours had been posted about it. Everyone was expecting it.
This was the ballot results, right?
Well… not quite. Instead, we got this:
By some miracle that nearly no one would ever have predicted, Cloud from Final Fantasy VII was actually going to be making it into Super Smash Bros 4 as a playable character! Complete with a stage based on Midgar from his debut game! So we didn’t get a ballot result, but we did instead get another major third party character in the game.
So what was happening to the ballot stuff? Well, the video ended with a prominent announcement that another special Smash Bros Direct would be coming in December. This is presumably going to be the one which announces the ballot winner, and shows a short clip of their playable status in the game. A bit disappointing (given that there was room after the Cloud reveal for a second Smash Bros announcement), but at least it’s not been forgotten about.
Either way, that was it for yesterday’s Nintendo Direct. It was a pretty long presentation, and the amount of games covered was absolutely staggering in general, but we’ve covered most of it to at least some degree now.
What did you think of the Nintendo Direct video yesterday?