The Nintendo Direct that aired today had a lot of hype from the community with an expectation that Nintendo might show off what they plan to release beyond Early 2018, at the latest. While they might have missed that mark, there were still plenty of exciting and disappointing announcements. Let’s take a look at what hit the mark and what fell flat.
Might as well get the bad and boring out of the way first, Mario Party: The Top 100 feels out of place and misguided in a number of ways. It’s no secret that the Mario Party series has struggled for iterations now, so tapping into the well of nostalgia makes logical sense. The problem then is that Nintendo chose to only pull out the microgames when arguably the best part of Mario Party was the large board game mode. While reserving total judgment, The Top 100 gives off a sense that the overall experience will be disjointed, but only time can tell when the game launches on November 6th. The fact that this title is skipping the Switch to be relegated to the 3DS is really just salt in the wound.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is by most accounts a weird, yet grandiose adventure that will likely last for dozens upon dozens of hours. We also got a release date within 2017 (December 1), which is relieving because if any title was going to fall into 2018, it likely would have been Xenoblade. Why it makes ‘the bad’ list though is because of how it was presented. The nearly 5-minute long look started interestingly and enticingly enough, but by the end, it felt like we were being shown everything we will be shown in the tutorial in a few months anyway. Yet even though viewers were run through the tutorial, I still have a hard time understanding how the game is going to play, let alone be fun. Still sold on the title itself, but Xenoblade’s outing took a lot away from the Direct as a whole.
Perhaps the largest slap in the face of the Nintendo Direct was the announcement of the Arcade Archives series. I’m sure it will tickle some gamer’s fancy, but the Arcade Archives come off as a watered-down version of the Virtual Console, which already wasn’t robust to begin with. The attempt feels misguided, but again probably reaches the interest of retro gamers, so good on Nintendo, but the half measure hardly feels adequate when any sort of Virtual Console is MIA on the new hot hardware that is the Switch.
But enough with the negativity, Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon look like quality follow-ups to last years Sun and Moon. As of now, it is hard to tell how much of a rehash the titles will pan out to be, but I like that Nintendo and Game Freak have been relatively quiet about the titles, especially compared to all the information that was revealed before the release of Sun and Moon. Whether the titles are able to capture the magic of their predecessors or not, I appreciate that most of the mystery will be left for the players to decide on November 17.
It is clear as the day is long that Project Octopath Traveler isn’t coming out anytime soon, but having its lid blown off at this Direct was one of the highlights all the same. Beyond the charming aesthetic that fans already fell in love with back in January, dubbed “HD-2D”, the new and fresh take on the job system and how it will effect overworld gameplay is an incredible variation that will likely validate multiple playthroughs. Octopath Traveler being a third-party Switch exclusive is the exact feather in Nintendo’s cap that they need to prove the Switch has legs. And there’s a demo, so go check it out!
The biggest bombshell of the Direct, without a doubt, was the announcement of Doom and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus coming to the Switch. Getting these two titles on the home console is great for a number of reasons. First, and most obviously, Doom is a well-received game and Wolfenstein has been previewing well, so to get two AAA shooters in an already solid library of games is exciting enough. Secondly, these two titles show that Bethesda is committed to Nintendo. There had been some speculation that Skyrim for Switch (which also got a release date of October 17), would be a one-off Switch title from Bethesda. The announcement of two more titles shows that Bethesda believes in the Switch and is in it for the long haul. Finally, Wolfenstein II hasn’t released yet, meaning it is likely on the cutting edge of console gaming, but can still run decently enough on Switch to justify a version on Nintendo’s hybrid. If it runs well remains to be seen, but this should hopefully be a call to other major publishers that Switch is a viable option for AAA third party games. One can at least dream.
Overall, the Nintendo Direct was a tad underwhelming, but there likely was a few titles for everyone, which has become Nintendo’s prerogative with the Switch lately. I’m still holding out for a blow out Direct where we find out what else Nintendo’s internal studios are working on, but for the moment, this Direct was more than enough to whet my appetite. But what did you think? Let us know in the comments below!