Nintendo Direct Highlights
All the best bits from the September Direct
Phew! Only days before the latest Nintendo Direct, I noticed countless nonchalant tweets implying that there was probably nothing to see here — yeah, maybe we’d get some release dates for games we’re already aware of, but that’s about it. Right?
Wrong! It’s becoming something of a Nintendo habit to drown us all in new game reveals on a regular basis. Those of us with video game backlogs to rival only the most tragic cases from Hoarders were no doubt wincing as we watched the latest Direct.
In any case, there’s a ton of stuff to break down — but I thought I’d go a different route. Now that the Direct is over, let’s take a step back and look at the major highlights from the event. If you don’t feel like watching nearly 40 minutes of trailers, here are the key takeaways.
SNES comes to Switch
The elaborate naming convention is really being stress-tested here (Super Nintendo Entertainment System — Nintendo Switch Online, ahem). But putting that aside, we’re finally — and expectedly — seeing SNES titles added to Nintendo’s online services.
What’s nice, of course, is that we get the same lovely enhancements that we have seen so far with NES titles — online multiplayer, the ability to rewind, and multiple suspend points are all here. Even better, the service (which will be live by the time you read this) is debuting with no less than 20 classics, including beauties like Super Metroid, Super Mario Kart, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and many more. Oh, and just like the NES service, you can pick up a nifty wireless SNES controller if you’re a Nintendo Switch Online subscriber.
Now the online masses can really wind up the demands for Nintendo 64 games. Yay!
Overwatch Legendary Edition
This port may be no huge surprise, but it represented a strong opening for the Direct. Now that Fortnite is a runaway success on the Switch, it only makes sense for Activision Blizzard to follow suit and port Overwatch, its very own hero-shooter-juggernaut.
There’s not a whole lot to say about this port; it’s Overwatch on Switch. But there are a couple of notable little tidbits. For one thing, you’ll be able to play the game using gyro controls, which will no doubt appeal to some. And for another, it looks like we’ll be getting a pink-and-blue Overwatch-themed Joy-Con set (these appeared in the trailer, although I haven’t seen anything further mentioned about them).
Overwatch Legendary Edition launches on the Switch on October 15th.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 Definitive Edition
Now this, folks, is a pretty huge announcement. In case you forgot, Divinity: Original Sin 2 was on many folks’ game of the year lists back in 2017 (remember, too, that 2017 was an unusually-stellar year in terms of game releases). And although the title has been available on other platforms since then, I think it’s pretty remarkable to see this epic RPG arrive on the Switch.
One ultra-cool feature of this new Switch edition is that it supports cross-platform saves with Steam. So now you’ll be able to play the game on your PC, progress your save file on the go on Switch, and then keep playing again on PC. Very cool. Oh, and the game’s available now on Switch. Nice.
Just in case you needed even more reason to be gobsmacked at the Switch’s rapidly-expanding library, Doom 64 has you covered. It’s a shame that so many people likely never played this — but for what it’s worth, Doom 64 is often considered to be something of a gem in the Doom franchise. It’s a thoroughly unique experience, built specifically for the Nintendo 64 back in 1997. It features thirty levels that are exclusive to this specific title, as well as a moody, atmospheric soundtrack that is quite different from its predecessors.
And really — other than through emulation on PC — we’ve never seen a genuine port of the game, until now at least. Doom 64 launches on November 22nd.
Trials of Mana
Okay, so this isn’t exactly a major highlight in the sense that it isn’t a big new announcement. But I’m beyond excited for Trials of Mana, which is a full, glorious remake of the legendary Seiken Densetsu 3 (itself finally released outside of Japan in June as part of the Collection of Mana).
And I really do mean remake. The entire game has been rebuilt in 3D and many aspects of gameplay have been completely revamped including the battle system, and the skill and levelling up systems. We now know the game is due for release in April 2020, which can’t come soon enough as far as I’m concerned.
Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition
This enormous, open-world RPG ended up being one of the Wii’s defining games. It’s easy to forget that this game received numerous perfect scores from a wide variety of gaming publications when it was first released.
There were so many unique aspects to this game at the time, including its dynamic day/night system, which significantly impacted gameplay (including everything from quests, item availability, enemy strength, and much more). The memorable Affinity system and the dynamic, real-time battles were defining elements of the original release.
The remaster looks pretty darn good, and it’s just another big Switch release to look forward to in 2020.
Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
Here’s one that I simply wasn’t expecting. Remember this game? The Jedi Knight series has always been legendary; this particular iteration launched way back in 2002. The original game was pretty well-received across all platforms back in the day, and it’s another great classic to add to the growing Switch library. The Switch version launches pretty soon — September 24th, to be exact, and this edition even features updated controls.
Little Town Hero
This was a pleasant surprise. Developed by none other than the Pokémon people (Game Freak), Little Town Hero promises something refreshingly different as far as an RPG experience goes. What’s interesting here is that this is an RPG experience which isn’t at all about grinding your way through levels to best your foes. Rather, you’ll undertake one-on-one battles with a variety of monsters and the key to success is “ideas” — that is to say, unique (and seemingly fairly detailed) strategies required to defeat each enemy.
The novel take on combat combined with the delightfully-colourful art design and the quirky sense of humour all seem like pretty strong ingredients to me. Little Town Hero is due for release on October 16th.
A New Fighter Appears: It’s Your Mum!
Well, maybe not quite — but it sure seems like every notable video game character in existence is now confirmed for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, right? In this most recent Nintendo Direct, we learned that Terry Bogard of Fatal Fury will be joining the roster.
Terry will be with us in November, while Banjo — already announced — is available right now. Interestingly, Nintendo apparently have even more fighters to reveal. I wonder, who else is left?
There were a ton of other notable and interesting announcements in this latest direct. Nintendo revealed a ton more info about Luigi’s Mansion 3, which looks to be a far more expansive game than previously revealed. They also delved into further details about Animal Crossing: New Horizons and The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (including the fact that you can store your Chamber Dungeons on Amiibo so that your friends can download and play them; pretty cool, no?) And of course, even more wonderful indie titles — like the much-celebrated Return of the Obra Dinn — are coming to Switch. Happy days.
Oh, and I still can’t wrap my head around the idea that The Witcher III and all of its expansions are somehow appearing on the Switch in a way that is even remotely functional (and that actually looks quite solid).
It’s remarkable to step back and consider that E3 occurred not all that long ago, and even then, there were plenty of announcements and reveals. But here we are, only a couple of months later, with a massive new list of cool stuff to look forward to. The Nintendo Switch is really on fire, and over time, it feels like the platform is gathering more and more momentum — it’s clearly the place to be. And for Switch owners, that’s a very good thing indeed.