Yesterday, Nintendo presented a long-overdue Nintendo Direct outlining their game lineup for the next few months. While the main focus was on its upcoming Switch titles ARMS and Splatoon 2, the company also released a ton of information on other games and hardware. Here are my early impressions on the presentation:
- Overall, I really liked the format of the presentation. The outlines gave people an idea of what to expect, the games were grouped into logical categories, and the time was divided up to keep the focus squarely on the major titles. However, I wish the general 3DS and Switch sections had been a little slower and less rapid-fire, as I had trouble keeping up with all the announcements and vitally lost some of them in the shuffle. Expanding the presentation to 40 or 45 minutes and slowing down at those points would have helped a lot.
- I mentioned in my E3 post that Nintendo needed to lay out the future of the 3DS, but instead they decided to do it here…and honestly, I was really surprised by the amount of content coming to Nintendo’s older handheld. In particular, it’s a good time to be an RPG fan with a 3DS, as no less than six role-playing games were discussed in the 3DS portion of the Direct (and a seventh had a new DLC announcement). As someone who likes as many customization options as possible in a game, I was most intrigued by Miitopia (because everyone’s boss deserves to be a pop star) and RPG Maker Fes (Super Mario Maker on steroids!), but the new Monster Hunter, Yo-Kai Watch, and Ever Oasis had their moments as well. (I’m a bit concerned for Ever Oasis, however: It was billed as an exciting new IP not that long ago, but it failed to stand out in the Direct’s crowded field.) With these announcements, Nintendo made an emphatic statement that the 3DS is alive and well, and won’t be going away anytime soon.
- The non-RPG 3DS titles were less interesting to me:
- I’m not terribly excited by Hey! Pikmin, especially given the other 2D platformers already on the 3DS (Kirby: Triple Deluxe, Kirby: Planet Robobot, and Poochy and Yoshi’s Woolly World), but the Pikmin at least allow for some interesting mechanics.
- Speaking of Kirby…while his 25th anniversary looks to be more promising than Sonic’s, the games they discussed were mostly expanded versions of minigames, and thus the reveals were a bit underwhelming. We’ll see what the third game they mentioned turns out to be, but it doesn’t sound all that intriguing just yet.
- Getting Minecraft on the Switch is a huge deal for Nintendo. This is a hugely-popular game, and it old-school graphical style means that unlike Overwatch, the Switch’s technical specs are not an issue. Having Minecraft is not sufficient to make the Switch successful, but it’s definitely necessary.
- I’m not as bullish on the rest of the Switch’s third-party announcements. The Sonic games and Disgaea 5 look interesting, but otherwise it’s a bunch of older games that I wasn’t interested in playing when they originally came out (much less now), and smaller games that don’t appear to have a lot of replay value. It looks like Nintendo will be fighting the image of “the system with no good third-party games” for a while longer. Still, the fact that there were so many games discussed certainly counters the notion that the Switch library is too thin to warrant buying one.
- Fans of fighting games will find a lot to like about ARMS. Nintendo showed off some interesting new content (I fully support a character based on ramen noodles), and discussed how character and weapon choices introduce a lot of strategy into the game. While I’m personally not interested in the title, I think people who enjoy these sorts of games will find ARMS to be a worthy title.
- Of all the things I mentioned that Splatoon 2 could learn from Overwatch, a horde mode was not one I had thought of…but It. Looks. Awesome. I love the idea of being able to resuscitate splatted teammates, the enemy designs look unique and challenging, and I think teaming up with your friends to gather golden eggs would be a really fun time. My hope is that a) the special gear you wear is also available to use in Turf Wars and Ranked Battles, and b) you’re not locked to specific weapon choices in Salmon Run (if I’m fighting an endless horde of enemies, I want my .96 Gal, darn it!).
Overall, I think the Direct was a net positive for Nintendo and will help keep momentum for both the Switch and the 3DS going for the foreseeable future. The company probably still has an ace or two in the hole for E3, but this was enough to get people’s attention.
Now, if people could only find a Switch to buy…