Starting the year off strong: Nintendo Direct take aways and stand outs

Starting the year off strong: Nintendo Direct take aways and stand outs

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By: Johnny Marcondes

For the first time in quite some time Nintendo had a really strong year with it’s latest console the Nintendo Switch. The writers here on Pixelated Rampage, including myself have written quite a few articles talking about Nintendo’s current wave of success and exactly what their new console means to the gaming industry. It seems like Nintendo has focused all of it’s energy capitalizing on the potential of their new handheld which gave them not only one of the most enjoyable and frankly revolutionary consoles to date, but some of their best games in quite some time. Now as a self proclaimed and shameless Nintendo Fanboy I always look forward to these Nintendo Direct presentations.

Before I get to the breakdown of this latest Nintendo Direct, there is a little bit of an issue I’ve noticed people having online. While the games announced honestly all looked great, the lack of “new” titles on the Switch have many feeling a little down or disappointed. If you ask me, it’s justifiable to feel upset at the lack of new or first party/third party games. Having too many ports on a new console can leave more than a few people with a bad taste in their mouth but it shouldn’t. The games that Nintendo have both first party or third while ports of previous gen games they don’t exactly feel desperate or watered down. Everything Nintendo has shown thus far in terms of ports of older titles gives them enough new features to feel like more than just a port, there hasn’t been game they announced at this or any other event that was a port where I felt like yeah they were just cash grabbing.

Every title they announced seems like they did with purpose, they picked games that weren’t just fan favorites but games that the Switch needs. Skyrim, Doom and the ones you read in this article all have a part to play. Those ports while older games that many have already played completely fill a void in the Switch and that is with the “core” gamer. When Nintendo first announced the Switch they said that they would work more with third party devs to bring back those gamers they lost with the Wii U. Games like Skyrim and Doom while scaled down slightly in specs never feel like a true downgrade to original. Each port that Nintendo announces and releases fills a void in the genres of games they currently struggle to hit, from FPS games to RPG titles each port has a purpose other than making money. Nintendo want’s to prove that they’re not shying away from their initial promise of not only expanding their audience but making the Switch a legitimate next gen console for themselves.

Ever since the release of the Switch, Nintendo hasn’t missed a beat as they continuously move forward in the direction that the company needs while living up to some of their more ambitious promises like third party support. Games like Skyrim while mocked online for being an old title getting yet another remastered version of itself serves a larger purpose to Nintendo. Skyrim is seen as the make or break port for the company, it’s a massive title that has a lot of demand and really opened many peoples eyes to the Switch. Even though many are fearing Nintendo may soon take on too many ports leaving buyers with a little bit of an uneasy feeling I encourage you to take any ported title you see announced seriously. Nintendo seems very keen on the Switch and offering us more than just something familiar and as long as there are new features to these ports there really shouldn’t be any uneasy feelings keeping you from enjoying them. The Nintendo Direct presentation that took place today on 1/11/18 was just what the company needed to usher in the new year. From big first party reveals to a few surprises nearly everything they announced seemed to get me excited for the upcoming year.

Running it back: Old favorites on a better platform. 

 The Nintendo Switch is simply an amazing home console that’s much more than just a “home console”. Having a portability option really adds another layer of depth to the console, taking some of your favorite games on the go is for a lack of better words a game changer. We’ve seen how smoothly the system runs while docked with 1080p and 720p while portable so things like graphics and frame rate really don’t seem to suffer when playing one way over the other. It’s the best feature of the Switch and as we saw in today’s presentation it’ll really be a selling point to those who may have waited up until now. Nintendo has some of the most beloved first party games and as we all know, nostalgia sells when it comes to games. No other company capitalizes on nostalgia quite like Nintendo and today we’re reminded of that once again as they announced a few games coming out this year that are old fan favorites.

Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition

The Dynasty Warriors version of a Zelda game that was previously released for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS back in 2014 is making it’s way to the Switch. Honestly, this is kind of a match made in heaven, for those who played both the handheld and the Wii U version of the game there was little to no difference in controls or overall experience. Bringing the game back with a few enhancements, every map, mission and character ready at launch on the Switch is going to be both a great introduction for new comers and a great welcome back to seasoned players. Hyrule Warriors is a great spin off to the LoZ series where it’s main goal is to just give players wave after wave of enemies to defeat (like any typical Dynasty Warrior game) and some great special moves.

While Hyrule Warriors isn’t renowned for it’s narrative the gameplay is still fun and the over the top nature of it all is something that will give you hours upon hours of fun, especially when you look at the long list of playable characters and unlockables to obtain it’s easily a great distraction from more demanding or intense games.  Along with returning familiar faces, Link will have a new outfit in which he’ll sport his tunic from Breath of the Wild as a little nod to the current LoZ title on the console. Hyrule Warriors the Definitive Edition is set to launch this spring.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze 

Yet another Wii U title being ported over the Switch but with no complaints from anyone and here’s why. The Donkey Kong series is one of Nintendo’s best platforming first party titles in their long catalog of games, while we wait for a current gen Donkey Kong game bringing back on their older ones on their new flagship system is more than enough to hold anyone over. Donkey Kong COuntry: Tropical Freeze for the Wii U was was of the systems best games that’s also one of their most underrated. When Tropical Freeze game it out it was around the time where the Wii U was already sinking in the eyes of many fans and while essentially a great game it didn’t really get the time it deserved. Bringing it back to the Switch, Tropical Freeze will finally get the credit it deserves as a solid entry into the Donkey Kong Country series.

Being a massive fan of the franchise, Tropical Freeze felt like a love letter to me. There were so many great nostalgic moments in the game that truly felt a love letter to fans and reminded me why I love platforming games so much. From the genuine challenge in loves to the colorful characters and music it all just clicked and hit the right spots. Personally speaking I can’t wait to get my hands on this game once again. For those who missed out on Tropical Freeze the first time around it should be noted that this isn’t your typical Nintendo game. Tropical Freeze is notoriously difficult at times, so much so that the Switch version will allow a “beginners mode” where the games difficulty is changed. In true nostalgic spirit the difficulty of the game is easily it’s best aspect as Tropical Freeze can be challenging but extremely rewarding when you finally get into the groove. Look for Tropical Freeze to hit the Switch on May 4, 2018.

The World Ends With You: Final Remix Edition

The World Ends With You (TWEWY) is perhaps one of the most beloved and well received game on the DS. Back in 2007 there wasn’t anything quite like it anywhere, from it’s unique character designs to it’s music and battle system the game was a standout among it’s piers. While this is a port of the DS game to the Switch it should be noted that the use of touch screen controls will still be there but players will also be able to use the joy-con as well. Not much is really known about the port like when it’ll come out other than “later this year” but what we do know is that it will feature the original story as well as a new exclusive feature to the Switch. A feature called “new scenario” which will add to the games overall story.

TWEWY became a bit of a cult classic on the DS having been released a few other times through mobile devices but nothing on this scale. Being a game developed by Square Enix we’re really seeing the relationship between Nintendo and Square Enix grow during the Switch life cycle. With Square Enix already planning a few big releases on the Switch bringing back one of their classics could be a sign of bigger things to come.

Dark Soul. 

The original Dark Souls is making it’s way onto the Nintendo Switch so now you can dodge, roll and die anywhere either at home or on the go. Dark Souls Remastered is just that, a remastered version of Darksouls on the Switch that honestly looks to be the best version of the game to date. Including the DLC Artorias of the Abyss, improved frame rate, improved graphics and for the first time being able to be played on the go with the consoles portable features. This is a huge announcement for Dark Soul fans, even though the game originally came out nearly seven years ago a lot of fans still consider it one of their favorites in the franchise. This is the first time we’re seeing a remastered version of Darksouls appear on a current gen console and Nintendo being the first to not only announce it but show it off also gives them a huge advantage over others as well as shows how serious they were when they stated they would be more open to third party developers.

While Dark Souls remastered has been officially announced for all platforms following Nintendo Direct, it was still refreshing to see Nintendo take initiative and put something like this out there first. Dark Souls Remastered will hit the Switch on May 25th, 2018 running on 1080p docked, and 720 portable both at 30 fps. It should be noted that Dark Souls Remastered for all other platforms will run at 1080p and 60 fps.

First party gold

It wouldn’t be a Nintendo presentation without everyone’s favorite little plumber Mario. With Mario Odyssey being critically acclaimed on many peoples best games of 2017 list, it’s no surprise that we’re going to be seeing a lot more of his this year. During the Nintendo direct we found that Mario Odyssey will getting some DLC in the form of bringing in his brother Luigi and balloons? This Mario Odyssey DLC focuses on online competition in a way as players are able to play a game of hide and seek with ballons leaving them lying around for others online to seek out and claim. It’s a fun little addition to the game that while not adding anything to the narrative or single player aspect of the game, it does add enough fun elements to make you want to spend even more time exploring each level.

The upcoming Kirby entry got a moment to show off a lot of the new abilities we’ll be able to use as the pink ball of death as he inhales anyone and anything that stands in his path. Having new power ups/abilities in the classic side scrolling platform really makes the series seem new and fresh again. While each new ability looked fun the co-op feature looks to be it’s biggest draw as it makes this Kirby adventure feel more like party game than straight forward platformer. Besides the new features it should be noted at how gorgeous Kirby on the Switch looks, from the character designs to the water and level designs everything just pops like only a Nintendo game can.

Mario Tennis Aces

It’s been long over due ever since the Switches announcement but we’re finally getting the first new (Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is debatable as it’s a port) Mario “sport” game for Nintendo’s latest console. Mario Tennis is among one of the most beloved entries in the sport titles and after three years since the last release we’re getting a new one, this time with a twist. For the first time since the Game Boy Advance Mario Tennis will feature a story mode filled with boss battles, objectives and mini games making the series feel as nostalgic as ever while showing off some the Switches new features. Mario Tennis is simply a great Mario spin off game that I’ve personally spent hours upon hours of my childhood putting into and I can’t wait to see where the series goes comes spring of 2018.

SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy

As a massive fan, follower and enthusiast of fighting games SNK Heroine tag team frenzy was the biggest stand out to me from this Nintendo Direct. There is a huge gap in the fighting genre on the Switch which desperately needs to change. In 2017 there were announcements regarding a fight stick coming out for the Switch, while nice it made me realize how empty their fighting genre really is. With only ARMS, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, SF II and a few other retro titles on the eShop there really isn’t a lot of diverse options in terms of games let alone ones that demand a fight stick. SNK Heroines tag team frenzy offers a 2v2 fighting game that could potentially be Nintendo’s next big fighter.

With games like Dragon Ball Fighter Z right around the corner the demand for fighters is going to be even higher this year and SNK hops on the 2v2 fighting format to give us something filled with content and flashy moves to hold Nintendo fans over. Having about 14 characters from King of Fighters and the Art of Fighting franchises this women’s filled roster is sparkly, fierce and pretty smooth from what was shown. There haven’t been a lot of women centered fighting games lately with the exception of Arcana Hearts and Nitroplus Blasterz, so it’s always refreshing to see games like this. What sets Tag Team Frenzy apart from the rest however isn’t it’s roster but the actual gameplay.

Using what SNK describes a “one button fighting mechanic” the way each battle works isn’t like your typical fighter. Instead of rush downs and chaining combos together the use of items special items, special attacks and more are what really help level the playing field. There’s almost this Power Stone meets Skull Girls like element to the game that’s pretty interesting. From what was shown so far, Tag Team Frenzy is colorful, cute and pretty interesting given their unique mechanic and finishes known as “Dream Finish”. With a unique fighting system and points to earn the game has a very large customization feature that’ll surely keep SNK fans happy for a long time. Even though it was first revealed by Nintendo, SNK’s latest fighter isn’t an exclusive title as it’ll hit the PS4 as well later this year.

 

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