Was This Week’s Nintendo Direct A Success?

Super Mario Odyssey

On Wednesday, Nintendo aired a Nintendo Direct, a 45-minute long showcase of upcoming games for Switch and 3DS. As a big Nintendo fan, I was definitely excited to see what Nintendo had to show us. So here are my thoughts on what I saw.

Let’s get the big one out of the way first: Super Mario Odyssey looks more and more amazing and ridiculous every time they show it off. The game is weird and wild and full of surprises. Looking at the gameplay footage just made me smile with childlike wonderment.

The Super Mario series has been playing it somewhat safe as of late with its 3DS and Wii U entries. And while Super Mario 3D World was a great game in its own right, it doesn’t hold a candle to the sheer creativity and fun Nintendo has shown off so far in Odyssey.

Mario games have always had a focus on presenting you with a fun, whimsical world, letting you run free and jump around to your heart’s content. And Mario Odyssey takes this core essence and expands it in every single direction all at once. It looks brand new and exciting, more so than any Mario game has looked for a long time. This might be the most anticipated Switch game for me and many other fans – and it will definitely be one of the Switch’s biggest hits all throughout the system’s lifetime. I can’t wait to play it when it releases Oct 27.

The Direct spent an unusually long amount of time showing off Xenoblade Chronicles 2. I played about halfway through the original Xenoblade Chronicles on Wii, and I haven’t yet played Xenoblade Chronicles X for Wii U, so I’m not exactly an enthusiast for the series, but I am at least a little bit familiar with the setting and gameplay. I might get this one, because it looks well-crafted and interesting but it’s not a high priority at the moment. The Direct spent a great deal of time explaining the combat system, but I had a hard time understanding it. I can never really get to grips with a JRPG’s combat system until I get to play around with it myself, so that part of the Direct was not useful to me at all. It looks really good nonetheless. Definitely a good one for the JRPG fans looking for something cool for their Switch. It releases Dec 1.

Talking about JRPGs, though, Project Octopath Traveler from Square Enix really caught my attention. It has a unique graphical style that reminds me of Paper Mario, except with 16 bit-era Square RPG-style sprite artwork rather than paper. It looks great.

The game itself seems really interesting, too. It has eight different playable characters, each interacting with the world and the NPCs in their own unique way. As of late, I’ve been lamenting how many RPGs have been trending towards becoming more and more grandiose, yet in order to facilitate this, they’ve become more and more linear and railroaded as a result. Octopath Traveler being more subdued and open-ended definitely got my attention. As far as JRPGs on Switch go, I’m much more interested in this one than I am in Xenoblade 2.

We don’t have a concrete release date for this game yet, but a demo is currently available for download in the Switch eShop.

One surprising announcement Nintendo made was for a series of releases called Arcade Archives.

The Wii, Wii U and 3DS have a platform called Virtual Console that allows for users to buy old games from old systems and play them on their more modern machine. The Switch doesn’t have anything like this, though, and Nintendo have been very quiet about whether the Switch will ever get its own Virtual Console. Many people have been wondering if it will ever be possible to play their favourite NES, Super NES, N64 and GBA games on their Switch.

Well the status of Virtual Console is still a mystery, but Nintendo did announce Arcade Archives, which seems to be the same thing as Virtual Console, but instead it’s just for their old arcade games, all of which have never been released outside of arcades before. It’s great that these old releases are becoming available on Switch, but it’s kind of odd that we haven’t heard anything about the proper Virtual Console yet. It’s very peculiar that the arcade-ified ‘Vs. Super Mario Bros’ will be on Switch, while the actual, proper original version of Super Mario Bros for NES is completely absent.

The only games announced for Arcade Archives thus far are just Nintendo’s really really old stuff, which is a bit of a shame – I really hope that this range expands to more modern arcade games as well. I’d definitely be interested in downloading Mario Kart Arcade GP, Rhythm Tengoku, and F-Zero AX to my Switch, definitely more so than Vs. Balloon Fight or Vs. Ice Climber, which just aren’t that worthwhile.

Minecraft game
Source: VentureBeat

The Direct also announced some cool games from other systems that are being ported to Switch – DOOM, Skyrim, L.A Noire, Rocket League and Dragon Quest Builders are all confirmed as Switch releases. These games were all widely popular when they were originally released, so bringing them to Switch can only be a good thing for everybody involved. Interestingly enough, they also said that the immensely popular Minecraft is coming to 3DS, which to me feels like it’s a bit late, but the game is popular enough that I suppose it’s not too bad of an idea.

There were a few other miscellaneous announcements for both Switch and 3DS: There was more info on some previously-announced Kirby games, a Mario Party compilation game, a showreel of upcoming indie games, and some info on upcoming updates to games that are already released, such as ARMS, Splatoon 2 and Snipperclips.

The Direct was a good showing – while there were no real groundbreaking announcements, we did learn a lot about many upcoming releases. Switch owners now have a lot more to look forward to as these release dates get closer.

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