Nintendo Direct 2.17.2021
After over a year of waiting, a new, full-length Nintendo Direct finally aired yesterday. For many, expectations were sky high, and afterward some people were probably disappointed because of this. Personally, I think it was a good Direct. Not fantastic, but there were definitely some significant new announcements, and a quite a few things I’m excited for! Here are my personal highlights from the February 17th, 2021 Nintendo Direct.
New Smash Bros. Ultimate Fighters: Pyra and Mythra
When the Direct opened with this announcement, I thought it was going to be 1 of 2 things: either new Xenoblade Chronicles 2 DLC, or a Xenoblade Chronicles 2 character would be heading to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It turned out to be the latter!
Pretty much no matter who the characters are, I always get a little pumped when new fighters are announced for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, even though I haven’t played the game in a long time. It’s a huge roster that’s becoming even bigger, and that’s exciting!
Pyra and Mythra in Smash makes sense to me, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 has done well on Switch, and Monolith Soft is an important partner for Nintendo. The timing of their release is a little weird though, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 isn’t exactly a recent game. My only thought is that they are releasing Pyra and Mythra now to bolster interest in both XC2 and Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition, or maybe (and this is a big maybe) a new XC announcement is coming somewhat soon.
Maybe this is a good reason for me to finally open and play my copy of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, it’s just been sitting on my shelf for years now. Not because I’m not interested in it, just more that I have so many other games to play.
Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir & Famicom Detective Club: The Girl Who Stands Behind
Here’s a series I had never heard of it before, and most of the non-Japanese audience watching the Direct probably hadn’t either.
These are 2 remakes of games in the Famicom Detective Club series. They originally released for Famicom (go figure) in 1988 and 1989. These remakes mark the first time the series will be localized internationally, and that’s exciting enough to warrant an inclusion in this post! On top of that, the animation looks quite good too. Also, I’m definitely curious about murder mystery adventures games like these after playing Danganronpa, though I realize the 2 series likely very little in common when it comes to tone and overall atmosphere.
Legend of Mana
I’m not very familiar with the Mana series, having only played Children of Mana on the DS (though I did enjoy that one as a kid). As such, I had to look up what console Legend of Mana originally released on, and learned it for the PS1.
So, this is a remastered port of the PS1’s Legend of Mana for modern platforms, including Switch, PS4, and PC via Steam. It looks intriguing enough, but I think if I’m going to play another game in the Mana series it should probably be Secret of Mana. Still, the 2D spritework and background art here got my attention, and I’ll keep an eye on this one after it launches, watching for a nice Steam sale.
Neon White is a card-based first-person action game. The mechanics seem pretty unique, you collect cards on the map to gain attacks, and you can discard them to gain new movement options. The minimalist visuals and character designs are interesting. This was a pretty short segment in the Direct, so I honestly don’t know anything else about this game, but it gave me a good impression of it.
It’s coming to Steam as well, and if I get it it’ll probably be on Steam.
Splatoon isn’t a series I’m personally interested in, since I’m just not big on competitive multiplayer games. But I just had to include it here because it was a very interesting and unexpected announcement, and the one they closed the Direct with. I mean, Splatoon 2 is already on Switch, did anyone expect another Splatoon entry to be released in the Switch’s lifetime? Well, someone more well-versed in Splatoon and its sales numbers probably did, but that someone definitely wasn’t me. For fans of Splatoon, this is huge!
Mario Golf: Super Rush
I had seen a few people talking about wanting a new Mario Golf game with HD grass prior to the Nintendo Direct premier. They were likely very happy about this announcement! It’s cool to see the series return in the first place, but bringing back the Story Mode with RPG elements that hasn’t been seen since the 2004’s Mario Golf: Advance Tour on the GBA is extremely cool!
I enjoyed the little I played of Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour on GameCube, but other than that I really haven’t played any golf games. I might pick this up at some point though, because the Story and Speed Golf modes sound pretty cool!
Also, I love Mario’s new golf outfit. Well, all of the new golf outfits really. It’s oddly amusing and endearing seeing the denizens of the Mushroom Kingdom in golf attire.
World’s End Club
This one’s from the creators of Danganronpa and Zero Escape, which definitely piqued my interest! Rather than a visual novel, it’s a side-scrolling action game but seems to have a substantial narrative as well, and with the creators at the helm of this one, I’m sure it’s chock full of suspenseful twists and turns.
Apparently, it actually released in September 2020 as an Apple Arcade exclusive. That’s an odd platform to be exclusive to, but hopefully developer Too Kyo Games got a nice payday from it and it helps them continue making games. I’m definitely going to keep an eye on it when it releases on Switch!
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD
So at the beginning of this trailer, I actually thought they were announcing Wind Waker HD coming to Switch, and I was still pretty excited for that. But after about 2 seconds, I realized I was wrong!
An HD remake/port of Skyward Sword, this is pretty cool because I never played the original on Wii. It’s nice to see another Zelda HD remake, now the game isn’t locked on 1 console and more people (myself included!) can experience it for the first time. Sounds like the motion controls should work well on Switch, possibly better than they did on Wii. They’re including button only controls too though, for those times when you can’t swing your Joy-Cons around wildly, or if you’re playing on a Switch Lite.
Project Triangle Strategy
The next game in Square Enix’s HD-2D series after Octopath Traveller, Project Triangle Strategy (working title, thankfully) was the highlight of the entire Direct for me. It looks awesome, I love the aesthetic of 2D pixel art over 3D backgrounds! It’s a strategy RPG, potentially a spiritual successor to Tactics Ogre or Final Fantasy Tactics depending on the specifics of the gameplay, and it looks really cool. It appears that facing direction matters, so you’ll get some sort of bonus attacking characters from behind, and you’ll want to protect your own characters’ backs as well. There also appear to be the terrain effects, like you can burning grass and then freeze it for extra damage, or something like that? Additionally, there’s a morality/alignment system of some kind that they call “Conviction,” and this will affect which characters join you, and probably the story as well. It all sounds extremely promising!
As the cherry on top, a free demo is already available, and the developers plan to gather feedback from people who played the demo in order to fine tune the game. That’s so cool! Hopefully the game will be every bit as good as I imagine it could be when it releases. I definitely want to try the demo myself!