Our Top 5 Nintendo Direct Announcements
Hype levels reached fever pitch this week as Nintendo graced us with a slew of new announcements - not least a few surprises - in their latest, hotly anticipated Direct. From surprise remakes, longed for sequels and new franchises, to seemingly every JRPG that has ever existed, the Direct had it all (except Animal Crossing, sadly). We’ve wrangled some of our writers to give their personal top five picks from the various announcements. Check out our thoughts and leave a comment to us know what you’re excited for!
5. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
I never got a chance to play the original but the Link’s Awakening remake makes my top 5 because I’m down for any foray into the Zelda franchise. The top-down style reminds me of one of my favourite entries - The Minish Cap - so my hopes are high. Personal first impression of the art style is negative (IGN staff observed that it looks like claymation) but of course we need to see more.
4. Fire Emblem: Three Houses
I would say I’m a very casual fan of the Fire Emblem series. I dabbled in Fire Emblem: Awakening on the 3DS and enjoyed the combat, style, and character banter, but the difficulty spikes turned me away. The look we got in the Direct was very story-centric and I’m digging the Hogwarts vibe, but the most intriguing part for me is the art style and graphics while in battle. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see much of it in action. The delay from Spring to Summer has me bummed, but I’m still excited to give this new entry a try.
3. Yoshi’s Crafted World
I’m not excited for Yoshi’s Crafted World. It looks like another ‘hold-your-hand’ baby platformer to me. Fool me once with Kirby Star Allies jokes on me... Fool me twice... The point being, my first impression of the game isn’t good. That said, I’m excited to be proven wrong. I think giving the public a taste of the game with a demo is the best choice Nintendo could have made. Maybe going hands on will turn naysayers like me around. I’m ready Nintendo, change my mind.
2. Astral Chain
I’ve been digging Action-RPGs lately so the surprise announcement of Astral Chain had me interested. The futuristic setting/art style looked real good. The action got a bit too busy for my liking in the trailer, but here’s hoping we’re treated to both style and substance in the combat department. August 30th can’t come soon enough. Platinum Games have a great resume including standouts like The Wonderful 101, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Vanquish, NieR:Automata, and of course the Bayonetta series. We got a throwaway line about Bayonetta 3 devleopment progressing nicely, but I’m really looking forward to that one too. Hopefully that level of quality will be present in Astral Chain.
1. Final Fantasy IX
I’m a sucker for the ‘Available Now’ announcements during any presentation so the reveal that Final Fantasy IX would be available the same day as the Direct takes my top spot. I love Vivi and I love Final Fantasy - period. Even though IX wouldn’t make my top five entries in the franchise (the combat falls flat for me) I’m glad to have it to hold me over until Final Fantasy VII, FFXII: The Zodiac Age, and Final Fantasy X and X-2 arrive.
5. Daemon X Machina
Daemon X Machina was a weird opening to Nintendo’s E3 last year. Stylistically, the game looks rather impressive, but it wasn’t one that really made me sit up and take notice. We’ve not seen a ton on the game since then, despite it being scheduled for release this year. That said, slowly but surely, the game is starting to gain my interest. It looks like a fun Dreamcast area arcadey action game, and I think dropping a demo onto the eShop is the perfect way for people to get a little more familiar with this new IP.
4. Captain Toad Update
It seems so obvious now, but how on earth wasn’t Captain Toad already a co-op title? It’s the perfect game for some chilled-out couch multiplayer, and the fact it’s getting a slew of extra DLC puzzles is great news. It must have sold relatively well on Switch for Nintendo to throw additional resources at creating some add-on content, so that’s encouraging for the charming little explorer. I’m looking forward to playing through this with the girlfriend.
3. BoxBoy & BoxGirl
BoxBoy is a series that I’ve always liked the look of but for some reason or another, never got around to picking up for 3DS. I had plans to, and then the launch of the Switch made me hold off in the hope that all the previous games would be bundled together for the shiny new hybrid console. This isn’t quite that, but I’ll happily take this as a jump-in point for the series. Another co-op title that should make for some fun relaxing Sunday afternoons with the other half.
2. Mario Maker 2
Super Mario Maker was arguably the ideal game for Wii U. The gamepad was perfect for creating and tweaking levels, thanks to the touchscreen and stylus, and now we’re getting to unleash all the insanity again on Switch. There was no mention on whether or not Switch’s touchscreen can be utilised for level creation, but you’d have to expect that that functionality will indeed be present. The idea of concocting a few stages on-the-go and then heading home to dock the Switch and checking out one of the myriad of levels other players will come up with is incredibly exciting.
I’m hoping there’ll be a few quality of life improvements in this sequel. We’re getting slopes (whoever thought that would be exciting), as well as a new 3D World based skin featuring the Cat Mario power up, but what we really need is some proper categorization on the community levels to help us find those worth playing. It remains to be seen if the treasure trove of existing stages from the first game will be accessible through this new entry to the series, but if they are, there’s going to be absolutely shedloads of content available on day one. I can’t wait.
1. Link’s Awakening
So this is one that had been rumoured for a while, and yet I never expected anything like this. I’ve also got to disagree with Antonio, I think it looks absolutely gorgeous. It makes perfect sense to drop a 2.5D, top-down Zelda on us while we wait for the follow up to Breath of the Wild, and this is precisely what the doctor ordered. Link’s Awakening has long been a game that fans of the series have championed as being one of the best, and this remake should bring that magic to a whole new generation (the original game is 26 years old!) I never finished the GameBoy iteration, so I can’t wait to give it another shot on Switch. I’ll also take a Chibi-Link amiibo at the earliest opportunity Nintendo, if you please.
5. Chocobo’s Mysterious Dungeon Every Buddy
Chocobo’s Dungeon 2 was my first official PlayStation game. I purchased the console late in its life cycle but had previously played games like Final Fantasy VII and VIII on PC and at my friend’s house. When I picked up my PS1 during Christmas ’99, I saw this new game called Chocobo’s Dungeon 2, and given my fondness for all things Final Fantasy and Square Enix, I jumped at the opportunity. It was certainly fun for its time but I’m not sure how well this type of game will hold up 20 years later, or if the gameplay style will even appeal to me anymore. To be determined, but I’m excited to find out.
4. Captain Toad’s Treasure Tracker DLC
I cannot rave about this game enough. One of the most underrated Wii U games that I loved to pieces. I was thrilled to hear about its port to the Switch last summer. For anyone who hasn’t yet explored this game, I implore you to play the demo and form your own conclusions. I was disappointed when some of the Super Mario 3D World levels were removed in the Switch port, but hearing about the new DLC pack has me excited to explore the world of Captain Toad again. Now we just have to get Sakurai on board with Captain Toad in Smash Bros. Ultimate!
3. Fire Emblem: Three Houses
To date, I have never played a Fire Emblem game – ever! I’ve only ever heard Peer Schneider from IGN rave about it. The story of the three houses and the hero taking on the role of a professor preparing his students for battle intrigues me – it must be the educator in me. I’ve longed for a game that brought back my fond memories of Final Fantasy Tactics and this game reminds me of that tactical RPG style. The anime art style holds up very well so I’ll be keeping an eye out for this game as we get closer to its July release date.
2. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
Not at all the Zelda game I was expecting. It was a pleasant surprise as I never owned a Game Boy Color, and have only heard good things about this game through others. I love the art style and how Nintendo continues to experiment with various aesthetic directions for one their most iconic franchises. I was caught off guard when I saw Goombas and a Chain Chomp during the reveal so my interest has certainly been piqued. Deep down I was hoping for a Wind Waker HD port from the Wii U, but given the news of Link’s Awakening, I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect another Zelda game of any sort in 2019.
1. Super Mario Maker 2
This was one of the big announcements I had been waiting for. I admit, as much as I love having the ability to create my own Mario levels using various styles, I didn’t end up creating as many levels as I thought I would. Super Mario Maker did give me newfound appreciation for game design though. My hope for this game was that it would be announced as a sequel and not a straight port. In my heart, I needed this game to be a refresh with new additions and hopefully some 3D aspects. Seeing the game style of Super Mario 3D World makes me wonder whether the game will have 3D design aspects and what does this mean for a possible port of Super Mario 3D World?
5. Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night
There was once a sacred time where Castlevania games were released almost annually between the GBA and DS, with each title being not only fantastic but a step up from the previous in some way. Fans like myself have been starved for a new entry in the series since Order Of Ecclesia, but this spiritual successor from Castlevania producer Koji Igarashi seems to scratch that itch with the ferocity of a werewolf. This Direct footage showed more of the new enemies, traversal around the castle and even gravity defying mechanics, showing that this love letter to a beloved series isn’t just an homage but possibly a glimpse into a future franchise that gamers will hold dear.
4. Yoshi’s Crafted World
I will still defend the beautiful Yoshi’s Woolly World to the death. A gorgeous return to form for Mario’s dino pal, it was one of the very best platformers the Wii U had, and was a blast in co-op. Yoshi’s Crafted World seems to be the next logical step for this beautiful style, while adding enough to the gameplay to test veterans. My time with the demo only confirmed that exploring levels back to front was as fun as it sounds, and now the time between now and release is only more painful.
3. The Legend Of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
New Zelda game announced? Check. People complaining about the artstyle? Check. Well here we go again with the normal cycle, but I am firmly in the camp that thinks this game looks incredible. Link’s Awakening is the first Zelda game I ever played and is one of my earliest gaming memories. It was too much for my growing child mind, but the idea of revisiting it now to fully explore that world is so appealing. The toy box art direction seems to bring this world to life and pull this old game beautifully into the modern world, while still maintaining the nostalgia that fans expect. I can’t wait to finally complete this one.
2. Fire Emblem: Three Houses
After playing Fire Emblem Sacred Stones when it was included in the 3DS ambassador program and it getting it’s claws into me, Awakening and Fates absolutely blew my mind. These stunning strategy games take so many things I love about the genre and wrap them in deep and satisfying gameplay with a huge wealth of interesting characters. I can’t wait to experience my first home console Fire Emblem and sweat over losing beloved characters forever once more. Plus the new title’s greater scale on the battlefield, as well as the great focus on story, looks like it’s going to enthral me all over again.
1. Super Mario Maker 2
I love Super Mario Maker so much it hurts. Ever since its release, my buddies and I have held a frequent Mario Maker & beers night where we find the toughest levels we can and spend hours agonising over tiny improvements before we eventually (maybe) manage to defeat them. This sequel looks like everything I could have asked for and more. The addition of slopes, Super Mario 3D World content, different level styles and more, seems to say that the creativity is going to be pushed so much further, and I cannot wait to see what the world delivers.