Nintendo Direct 2.17.2021 Impressions

I’m running a bit behind, but still want to post something about Nintendo’s first Direct of the year. Not to mention their first big one for some time now (COVID-19 sucks). I was originally going to setup a link for the video and break down the announcements. Fortunate for me, Nintendo did a much better job then what I was likely going to try putting together.

If you happened to have missed Nintendo’s Direct they hosted on February 17th, here is a link to their site that has the video and a very nice break down of all the announcements below it: Nintendo Direct 2.17.2021.

Now, what are my thoughts. Having been a bit devoid of major announcement for a while, I think it was a decent Direct. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m slightly bummed that they had nothing new to announce for The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild 2 and they didn’t even hint at anything Metroid. However, I think they did what they needed to do and had a little of something for everyone. So here are my big highlights:

  • Pyra/Mythra from Xenoblade Chronicls 2 will be the newest fight/s added to the Super Smash Bros Ultimate roster. To be clear, they are technically the same fighter in the roster. Similar to the Dragon Quest Warrior, you can switch between the two characters during a fight fairly seamlessly, and form the looks of it, intentionally to string together some interesting combos. Seems really interesting.
  • Mario Golf Super Rush has been announced for the Switch. I love me some Mario Golf and so excited I’ll be able to play it on the TV again.
  • Splatoon 3 has been officially announced and is giving me a Wastelands/Borderlands vibe. Should be interesting. Might be time I finally pick up one of a Splatoon game.
  • Project Triangle Strategy (working title) is a new tactical RPG being worked by Square Enix. While still very much a work in progress, Square Enix released a playable demo for the game already. I already downloaded it to give it a go. First off, don’t expect the game to go easy on you and don’t expect to understand what is going on. Damn near messed up my first encounter getting used to the mechanics; but even with me fumbling around, I definitely see potential here. Also loving the art style reminding me of very much of Octopath.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD is going to release on the Switch soon. While not one of the best Legend of Zelda games in my honest opinion, it does have it’s moments and I think it is very much worth playing for LoZ fans who haven’t yet played it. If you were a huge fan of it and plan on getting again, more power to you. Now, they did mention they did work on improving the motion controls to fit the regular Switch side controllers (hopefully this improves the sword combat response which never worked well for me); but they also mentioned adding full button control support for Switch Lite players, so motion controls aren’t required! Woot!
  • Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity DLC releasing this year. Included in the Expansion Pass DLC will be a purchase bonus that will add new weapons and outfits for Link, there are two bigger releases that will spaced out throughout this year. Across each wave they will be adding some new playable characters (no details yet who), skills for existing characters, stages, weapon types, and challenges. While I’m still working through Age of Calamity, I’m looking forward to seeing what they add as I’m getting close to full completion at this point.
  • Animal Crossing New Horizon Super Mario Themed decorations and outfits are coming soon in an upcoming free update. I’m not one to really decorate my island yet, but I thinking it is time to make an exception. And yes, there are enough items to basically make your own Mario course on your island complete with warp pipes, coins, blocks, and flag pole, all while looking like a Mario character.
  • Plenty of new third party title announcements. To many for me to really dig deep as I don’t have much on them yet. However, I do want to call out the Ninja Gaiden Master Collection. Includes Ninja Gaiden 1-3, need I say more. I’ve already beaten the hell out of all three, but if you missed these and are looking for challenge, highly recommend checking it out.

So yeah, no BotW 2 or Metroid Prime 4 news, but I think an overall solid Direct. Definitely giving me some good vibes about 2021 for Nintendo. Just remember, it is still February, so there is plenty of time for Nintendo to drop some more big news. Heck, for all we know, BotW 2 and Metroid Prime 4 could be launch titles for Nintendo’s new system I keep hearing about. Either way, this is already shaping up to be a nice year for Nintendo.

Nintendo’s New Timed Releases, Why?

After Nintendo announced the Super Mario 3D All-Stars and that it will only be sold up to March 31, 2021, including digitally, I figured this was a one off to hype up the 35th anniversary of Mario. I mean, I’d understand them not selling physical copies past that date, but digital copies also? I’m honestly not thrilled about this and can’t figure out what their game is with doing this. Maybe they just wanted to maximize their sales by encouraging those on the fence to buy it sooner rather than later. Another idea I had is that they have something in mind after March 31st next year to enhance the game. Possible that Nintendo is planning to add additional 3D Mario games to the collection that weren’t included. Those that bought the game “early” will just get the extra games for free. Those that didn’t already buy it could then buy a Super Mario 3D All-Stars “Deluxe” edition, much like Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World for the SNES. That last idea is very much wishful thinking on my part. Either way, I ended up buying it. I planned to get it regardless because I never played Super Mario Galaxy and I never finished Super Mario Sunshine. Super Mario Galaxy is so much fun!

However, Nintendo threw a monkey wrench into my last idea after announcing Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light as another timed release until March 31, 2021. Now I’m just thinking they are trying to maximize the number of people who are buying these games by giving an artificial limited window. I just can’t think of a good reason as to why they can’t just continue selling the digital copies. Not like they have to manufacture digital copies. It honestly makes me feel like Nintendo is pulling a Disney on us. Nintendo is creating its own Vault and I don’t like it. There is still plenty of time between now and March 31st, so maybe they do have something planned around that time that could explain the timed release. I just really hope this isn’t a new trend for Nintendo going forward, especially if they are just trying to create artificial demand. As for Fire Emblem, I do think I’ll pick it up though. I’m a Fire Emblem fan and have never played this one; and for $5.99, why not.

Time to Hunt Monsters

I know I’m a little behind; but my wife and I finally got around to playing Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on Wii U and 3DS. To be honest, I did play a little bit of Monster Hunter Freedom Unite when it came out; but it just wasn’t the type of game play I was interested at the time. This go around, we are both really getting into it and have been playing for a few weeks now.

Yes, I know we could be playing Monster Hunter World; however, we already owned Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate when it first came out. Just took us this long to finally playing it. Considering World is also supposed to be easier then previously releases, we figure once we get our fill with 3 Ultimate, we will be more then prepared for World. Case in point, I so hope the controls, namely with respect to swimming and camera are much more fluid. Good lord is swimming and managing the freaking camera annoying. I purposely try my best to avoid underwater battles if I can.

Now, excluding the camera controls (and yes I’m using the monster cam on feature to lock onto the larger monsters, still sucks) and swimming, there is just something about this game that keeps us playing. The fun of going out on the hunts, fighting larger and more dangerous monsters, and crafting insanely cool gear (switch axes are the best), the core of the game is just a blast. There is a story to help guide you into how the game plays, but it isn’t the deepest and that is perfectly fine with me. The variety of monsters, how much they differ with their behavior, attacks, and movements, keeps me wanting to fight that next large monster and figuring out how best to handle them. It is that right amount of fight/reward that makes me keep playing. Really looking forward to fighting the much larger and far more intimidating monsters.

If you haven’t played a Monster Hunter and don’t mind extended boss like fights. Kind of like Dark Souls but much more forgiving, less stressful, and more exciting (I loved Dark Souls, but that game took no prisoners with me). Likely going to look out for a good deal on World once the expansion releases and get both in one go.

Xbox Live on Switch?

Okay, I have to admit, the first time I saw someone comment on it, I figured it was just a rumor. Finally got around to looking up what had been mentioned online and looks to be real. Granted, not just Switch, but also iOS and Android. With how much Microsoft has been trying to push cross platform, I can say I’m not entirely surprised about this.

While details of how Xbox Live will work on these platforms compared to PC and Xbox haven’t been released yet from what I can find. No surprise since I’ve gathered Microsoft plans on discussing this further at this years GDC (Xbox Live: Growing & Engaging Your Gaming Community Across Platforms (Presented by Microsoft)).

Very much looking forward to what exactly Microsoft is planning, let alone how Nintendo plans on incorporating it. Kind of curious if Nintendo might be planning on incorporating Xbox Live with their own online service as a way to enhance it. Case in point, multiplayer chat. Yes, I know, Nintendo has their Nintendo Switch Online app for voice chat. Would be nice to have voice chat with just the Switch though without needing my phone. Plenty to speculate on at this point, so I’ll just have to hold tight until Microsoft releases more information.

Ultimate Smash is Here

It isn’t often that I get games when they release anymore; but had to make an exception for Super Smash Bros Ultimate. I’ve been a Smash Bros fans since the first one released on the Nintendo 64 and have played every release since. Something about getting to have my favorite Nintendo characters duke it out.

Ultimate is no exception to that rule, but definitely sets a new bar as far as scale. Every Smash Bros game has introduced new characters, but each of them have also excluded some characters from previous games. This usually included whichever character I seemed to play the most. With Ultimate, not only did they add new characters, but they brought back every character ever released in previous games. Can’t tell you how bummed I was when Mewtwo was missing from Brawl and Snake was missing from the Wii U version. Now I can finally have Mewtwo fight Snake!

Not only is the character roster impressive, but so is the stage selection. While they don’t have every stage every introduced, they seem to have pulled together every iconic stage I can think of, include some classic stages from the 64 version (Peach’s Castle was on of my favorites). To top that off, every stage can be used for 8-player Smash. While it is impossible for me to keep track of everything going on, this was one of my favorite features introduced in the Wii U version. Was just a bummer that not every stage supported 8-players in that one. So much fun trying to play through the chaos and usually spending most of my time trying to spot my character.

They have also revamped Classic mode so each character has their own unique fight ladder. Each leading to a boss fight that isn’t necessarily with Master Hand. Wasn’t expecting to fight a dragon as the boss for one of the Fire Emblem characters. They also have a new story mode called The World of Light, where you start off with only one fighter. As you progress, you unlock Spirits to help your fighter get stronger; and you will also fight other Smash fighters who you can unlock in the story mode if you beat them. I haven’t played this mode that much yet, but liking it so far. As a final mention, they have included a very impressive music library from all the game series covered in Smash Bros. So much music that they setup a media player feature for you to create custom playlists and listen the music on the go.

The developers definitely put their all into this game and it shows. In my opinion, this is a must buy for any Smash Bros fan. Even if you aren’t a big fan of fighter games or are just a big Nintendo fan, I’d say to give it a try. While it is a fighter, it stands apart from most fighters so much that even if you aren’t great at it, you can still have a blast. Even in the matches I lose, I’m still having fun. Heck, if you have a Switch, just get it.