When Nintendo announced earlier this week that a new Nintendo Direct would finally be airing, I was pumped to see what would be announced. It had been since June that we last had a presentation, which is a very long time to wait when I had become accustomed to having one every month or two. Obviously, the unexpected passing of Nintendo of Japan’s president (and host of Nintendo Direct), Satoru Iwata, was the main reason for the hiatus, but the longer it was absent the more I became concerned that it possibly may not return. Luckily, today proved that to be false, and to be sure, Reggie Fils-Aimé announced in today’s video that the Nintendo Directs would continue on a regular basis.
So, to say there was pent-up demand for a new Nintendo Direct would be an understatement. To simply come back after almost 6 months and not show some good stuff would have left many people, including myself, disappointed. Luckily, a ton of stuff was shown in the 45-minute video, and lots of information was relayed. For a rundown of every single game and news announcement, you can check my play-by-play on Twitter, or be sure and read Nintendo’s official press release. I’m going to discuss a few of the announcements that had the most impact on what I’m interested in.
The single biggest piece of news that made me squeal like a little girl was that both Dragon Quest VII and Dragon Quest VIII are releasing in the U.S. for the 3DS. I’ve been wanting to play through part VII for a very long time. I had played quite a bit of it on the PlayStation, but even when it released back then the graphics were hard to swallow and the PS2 was a new shiny object to play with. A game that commands 100 plus hours of my time needs to keep me captivated, and the visuals of that game just didn’t do the job. That aspect has been completely overhauled for the 3DS release and I’m pumped to finally get to play through it. I’m also excited for Dragon Quest VIII, but that game still manages to look great on the PS2, so a remake wasn’t needed quite as much.
Speaking of RPGs and adventure games, I must say that the next few months and going into 2016 are going to be crowded with them on Nintendo systems. This is a good thing! Take a look at this list:
- Xenoblade Chronicles X
- Fire Emblem (title pending)
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD
- The Legend of Zelda (title pending)
- Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon
- Stella Glow
- Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam
- Final Fantasy Explorers
- Return to PopoloCrois
- Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest
- Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright
- Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow
- Project X Zone 2
- Bravely Second End Layer
- Dragon Quest VII
- Dragon Quest VIII
And these are just the ones we know about! More could be waiting in the wings, and we know companies like Atlus tend to have three or four RPGs per year on the 3DS. Needless to say, if you want to play some Japanese-style RPGs, Nintendo’s got you covered.
One of the brightest spots of the Direct was right at the beginning with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD. It comes out March 4 and Wolf Link amiibo is packed in for $59.99. The amiibo is highly detailed and will allow you to save certain data from the game that can then be later used in the brand new Wii U Zelda game coming later in the year. The soundtrack will also be included as a preorder bonus at participating retailers. Visually the game looks better than it ever has before. I think some of the environmental geometry is a bit rough looking, but the textures are vastly improved. Twilight Princess remains one of my favorite 3D Zelda games of all time, so you can bet I’ll be getting this on day one.
Also exciting is that Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow are all being released on the 3DS Virtual Console on February 27. You will be able to trade monsters with a friend via the local wireless connection. I expect 2016 to be a big year for the franchise as it turns 20.
Perhaps as a nod to gamers wanting there to be a female hero in Zelda games, Hyrule Warriors for 3DS introduces us to Linkle. She’s dressed similar to Link, but possesses some awesome ass-kicking moves, like the ability to wield two crossbows and a kick-attack that takes out all of the enemies around her. It’s nice to see this game adding characters and features not seen in the Wii U version.
Splatoon fans get 40 more pieces of gear starting tonight! Plus, there’s a brand new stage that goes live tomorrow: Museum d’Alfonsino. Expect new updates to hit from now through January, including more levels.
Last, but not least, I have to give a mention to Xenoblade Chronicles X. You can now pre-purchase the game through the eShop if you want to go digital. If you are buying the retail release, there are special digital packs that you can download today to be ready. They help lower the load times, and improve things like textures and pop-up. These aren’t required, but are highly encouraged if you have the space on your Wii U to download them. It will give you a better experience when the game released on Dec. 4.
Overall I was very happy with this Nintendo Direct. I had wanted Dragon Quest VII to be announced for so long that I had pretty much given up hope of it coming over to the U.S. In addition, new information on Fire Emblem Fates, a Star Fox Zero release date (April 22), and a plethora of RPG news as well as Zelda: Twilight Princess HD, this presentation delivered. It was well worth the wait, and I can’t wait for many of these games to come out. While no news on the NX or mobile was to be expected, Nintendo has shown that it has a pretty solid first half of the year lined up. Really the only game that’s been announced that should come out in the latter half of the year is Zelda for Wii U. This leaves the door open for an NX release next fall, which is something many of us have been saying for a while now.
Next month Nintendo has a special Smash Bros. video planned, so don’t expect another Nintendo Direct until late January. So, put away those countdown clocks for the time being and enjoy the rest of your year. For now, if you haven’t done so already, watch the full Nintendo Direct below: