Nintendo Direct (9/23/2021) Review
Contributed by DJMMT
Last week, Nintendo surprised us with an impressive 40 minute Direct. So as is tradition, let us discuss it in detail. The first thing that needs to be said and commended is that this was an extremely beefy direct. At just over 40 minutes, they showed well over 20 games, two new collections of games for Nintendo Switch Online, and key announcements for a feature length animated film. If you remember the PlayStation Showcase from a few weeks ago, that was 42 minutes with a total of only 19 games shown. And let’s not forget that Sony wasted more than three of those minutes to show a trailer for Gran Turismo 7 . . . Even if you didn’t like any of the games shown in this Direct, you have give Nintendo credit for using their time efficiently, and that’s while having real people on screen to introduce things. Sony doesn’t do that as much as Nintendo or Microsoft, which is my preference, but they still manage to use their time less efficiently than Nintendo. Microsoft is by far the worst about this though.
Before getting into the actual games, one thing that really irked me was that Nintendo went out of their way before the presentation to say this Direct would focus “mainly on Nintendo Switch games launching this winter.” Now they did show a number of games that would be launching this winter, but most of the really meaningful announcements were not for this winter. In fact, they started the presentation by showing an expansion pack for an already launched game that will be releasing in summer 2022. So literally not a game, because it’s an expansion pack. Not launching, because the game is already launched. And not winter, because the expansion pass is releasing in summer 2022. They went out of their way to open the presentation with a massive across the board contradiction. That being said, yes they did show some games worth talking about that will be launching this winter. But many of them are ports and remasters. So let’s get to the games.
Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak
Ignoring the fact that a presentation billed as focusing on games launching this winter started with an expansion pass launching in the summer next year, this was a very solid trailer. I’m not personally a fan of Monster Hunter Rise and hope they eventually make a Monster Hunter World 2, but I’m very happy to see this game continuing to get support and new content. It’s good for the franchise, good for the Nintendo Switch, and good for people who are enjoying this game. And it was a very strong trailer, even if it didn’t show any gameplay.
Mario Party Superstars
I really hate the fact that this is a thing. This content and these online features should have been a paid expansion for Super Mario Party. The things featured in this upcoming installment of the Mario Party franchise are basically all things that Super Mario Party players were asking for, due to the game’s lack of content and features. Now we have to buy an entire other game. But damn if it doesn’t look great. Mario Party Superstars makes me wish I had kids or better friends to play with locally. But I’m so happy to hear about all the online multiplayer features. I hope the ability to play with random players is as robust as it’s being made out to be. I don’t like it, but yeah I’m most likely buying this game.
Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars
This came out of nowhere, and really that’s what I like about Nintendo Directs. Not only do they announce new games, but they announce them with playable demos and release dates in the near future. This new IP that we had no previous warning about is a cross platform RPG from Square Enix with a playable demo and a $30 price tag launching in October of this year. That’s an amazing announcement for a Nintendo Direct. I wish all announcements were this relevant. I will admit that I was very reluctant when I first saw this trailer. Why are developers suddenly into cards? Marvel’s Midnight Suns is a turn-based RPG with cards as well. Cards aren’t a great mechanic. They almost never work successfully. But I’ll try any demo. To my surprise, Voice of Cards is actually really fun. The demo is great and sold me after only an hour, having not even finished the demo yet. The cards are really more aesthetic than anything else. This is just a turn-based RPG with a few dice roles. Or at least that’s how the demo presents it. Before I played it myself, I was extremely skeptical. But playing it firsthand completely changed my mind. And that’s exactly why every game should have a playable demo.
Disco Elysium – The Final Cut
I’ve heard a lot about this game and I’ve seen people praise it quite a bit. While I personally have no interest in playing it, I’m happy to see it made available on Nintendo Switch with both a digital and physical release. I do think it’s interesting that the digital release will be in advance of the physical release, but what’s most important is that more critically acclaimed games are making their way to Switch. I just wish they would launch on Switch like the other platforms.
Hyrule Warriors Age of Calamity - Expansion Pass
I have been waiting quite a while for this announcement. I’m not a huge fan of Musou games, but I did play the original Hyrule Warriors and I really liked the demo for Age of Calamity as well. But I knew there was going to be DLC and an expansion pass, so I've waited to buy the game. The wave 2 content looks good with additional fighters and missions. I’m hoping to see a bundle version of the full game and expansion pass at a discounted price before I finally buy it.
This is a game no one expected and no one asked for. Does anyone really have interest in a chibi Final Fantasy cart racer? This trailer made me laugh but I’d never consider buying this game. All it really did was show that we really need a Mario Kart 9 announcement. The one thing about this trailer that I really liked, and hope to see in the next Mario Kart, is 64 player tournament brackets.
Smash Bros. Ultimate Final Fighter Announcement
It’s kind of funny, and very Nintendo, to announce an announcement. They didn’t actually tell us who the final Smash Bros. Ultimate fighter will be, but they did tell us when they will tell us. I’m happy to know that after October 5th we won’t have to hear about Smash Bros. Ultimate or all the whiners begging for (insert whatever character you want here) anymore after next month. This is probably one of the most impressive fighting games ever made when it comes to rosters, but it needs to end. I only bought the first fighter pack and haven’t played the game in over a year. I’m angry we’ve gotten to a point where Nintendo is charging us for fighters in a fighting game, but at least it’s over for several years, as there won’t be another Smash Bros. for some time. Probably not until the next Nintendo home console.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land
This is the kind of announcement I’m hoping for when I go into a Nintendo Direct. It’s way past time for another single player Kirby adventure. And in 3D environments! This game looks awesome. I can’t wait to play it. But once again this Nintendo Direct announced a must play title for not this winter.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons Direct Announcement
The next Animal Crossing Direct will also be in October with the promise of new free content launching in November. I’m glad to see this game getting continued support but honestly I don’t think I can go back. I played Animal Crossing: New Horizons for hundreds of hours. It’s my most played game on the Nintendo Switch. I’m glad to have escaped that time sink, because I have so many other games on my Switch to play. I personally hope I can resist whatever new content is being added.
Mario Golf Super Rush Additional Free Content
I have this game and haven’t played it enough. It’s fun and quite challenging. I’m glad to see additional characters and courses being added for free. This is the kind of support I like to see from developers.
Disney Magical World 2: Enchanted Edition
Why? I’ve never even heard of this franchise before but apparently it’s a beloved game from the 3DS where you can play through Disney movies as a Mii. So basically Kingdom Hearts with no combat but Sora is customizable. Whatever floats your boat I guess.
Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic
It’s a pretty hollow move to announce a port of KOTOR to Switch just a couple weeks after the remake was announced for PS5, and the game was already available on every other platform including mobile for years. I’m glad to finally see it on Switch but honestly who is going to buy it? At this point if you haven’t already played Knights of the Old Republic you might as well wait for the remake.
Dying Light 2 Stay Human
This is another game made playable on the Switch via the cloud. I’m not a huge fan of how the business model for cloud play works, I am happy to see more games made available on the Switch. While I’m personally not a fan of this franchise and have no interest in this, it’s nice to see announcements like this.
Dying Light Platinum Edition
Tagging this on at the end of the Dying Light 2 announcement was a good move by Nintendo. I wish all ports had the entire franchise made available on the Switch. This makes all games in the franchise more marketable and it’s a much better motivator for people new to the series to jump in on Switch. It’s also cool that they made the first game available some months prior to the sequel, so people have time to play Dying Light before jumping into Dying Light 2.
How in the year of our Lord two thousand and twenty-one is Square Enix actually calling this game Triangle Strategy? Imagine if you wrote an epic novel and the publisher decided they wanted the title to be Fantasy Adventure. Garbage title aside, I was very pleased to hear that they tweaked the game in a number of ways since the demo, based on user feedback. And a lot of the things they claimed to have changed were things I personally complained about when I took the survey, which tells me that my opinions were shared by many who tested it.
This was yet another strong trailer to promote this game. The marketing has been extremely effective for Metroid Dread, even though it really didn’t have to be. People have waited forever for another Metroid, so the game was bound to sell no matter what the marketing looked like. My only real complaint about Metroid Dread is that it continues the trend of not allowing an older franchises to evolve with the times. Why is this Nintendo first party title a 2D side scroller like the original game from decades ago? Kirby, Mario, and Zelda franchises have all managed to make the jump into 3D but Metroid isn’t allowed to do that. I played and enjoyed Metroid Other M but it was panned hard for trying to evolve the franchise to modern times. Metroid Dread looks great, but I’d like to see Samus Aran make the successful and ideally permanent jump into 3D gameplay.
Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack
Nintendo announcing that both N64 games and Sega Genesis games will be added to the Nintendo Switch Online service was amazing. Even if the list of games being added at the start was very limited and contained literally nothing I hadn’t already played back in the day and was actually interested in, I appreciate the additional content to the service. What I don’t appreciate is Nintendo charging more money to access these additional games. Nintendo Switch Online is a junk service that I honestly wouldn’t pay for if it wasn’t mandatory to access online multiplayer content. And even then, my use of it is limited. Increasing the cost of that service in its current form is ridiculous. They need to do a lot more than add old games to it before I’ll agree that the subscription price is justifiable to raise. I can understand that adding Sega games may have added licensing fees that Nintendo doesn’t want to eat, even though they can afford to. But that shouldn’t affect N64 titles. Those are still Nintendo. So really the N64 content should be added at no cost but Sega Genesis games could demand an additional cost. This would also open the door for other games from Sony and Microsoft to make their way to the Switch. We don’t actually know the pricing yet, so maybe it won’t be a huge increase, but knowing Nintendo I assume we’re about to be taken for a ride.
While I won’t be playing these on Switch, because I’ve had them on PC as free giveaway titles from GOG for years, I appreciate their inclusion on the platform. That’s really all that can be said about this particular set of older games at this point.
Castlevania Advance Collection
I really like seeing newly announced projects being made available during the Nintendo Direct. That kind of thing always makes Nintendo Directs outshine the presentations from PlayStation and XBOX. I think it’s really cool to follow up the Castlevania Anniversary Collection with another collection of additional games from the franchise. I hope that eventually every Castlevania game is available on the Switch so you could play the entire franchise on one platform. That being said, the $20 price tag is too high. The first collection of games included nine titles. This collection includes only four titles for the same price. While yes they are later games on more advanced hardware, we’re still talking about the SNES and Gameboy Advance. This is still old enough hardware to consider the value of the games to be comparable to the Anniversary Collection titles. Once we get into the Gamecube era, then we could talk about increasing the cost per game. As always is the case with Nintendo, I love the concept and disagree with the cost.
I’ve honestly never heard of this game before. This remastered version looks really good. I don’t know enough about the game or its length to comment on whether it’s worth $30, but I do know that it’s an SNES game from Enix before the merger with Squaresoft. When considering that the Castlevania Advance Collection includes an SNES game that’s much more famous as well as three Gameboy Advance games for 2/3 of the price of this game, I can’t help but think that Square Enix is asking for too much money here.
Deltarune Chapter 2
I’m not a fan of Undertale and I have no interest in trying Deltarune for that reason, but I’m really happy for this developer and think it’s cool that Deltarune Chapter 2 is a free update to Chapter 1. I don’t expect a one-man team that does all the work by hand to give away anything for free, but he does anyway. I wish him all the best.
List of Random Announcements
One of the things that Nintendo does right with these Directs is tell you about games coming that you don’t really care about or need to talk about but do need to know about. This is how they include so many games in their presentations compared to PlayStation and XBOX. Nintendo treats the public with enough respect to not waste their time while still informing them about the future of the platform. In les than a minute, they dropped seven games into the presentation and told you exactly what you needed to know from the information that was currently available right now: title, release window, and preorder status.
Hot Wheels Unleashed
Surviving the Aftermath
Shin Megami Tensei V
Arcade Archives - PAC-MAN
Arcade Archives – XEVIOUS
Rune Factory 5
I’m not going to buy any of these games. And with the exception of Shin Megami Tensei V, that is probably true for most people. But these are still games being released to the platform and Nintendo does need to make sure the public knows about them. This was the most effective way to do that without extending the Direct to an unnecessarily long length. I wish Sony and Microsoft would take some notes instead of wasting several minutes showing driving games that have fixed audiences. Yes, I am going to keep complaining about those Gran Turismo and Forza Horizon presentations.
Super Mario Bros. Animated Movie
Since the internet has already debated this to hell, I’m not going to spend a bunch of time going over it. In short, Miyamoto is directly involved with a Hollywood produced animated Mario film that’s using famous American actors to voice the characters. It will be released in the 2022 holiday season and a lot of the casting decisions are questionable to actual fans of the franchise. That being said, the movie is going to make a ton of money, thus leading to more movies being made in the exact same way leading to Nintendo making a ton more money and continuing not to listen to their fanbase. Yay late-stage capitalism.
I really liked this presentation for Splatoon 3 because it took the time to focus on the single player aspect of the franchise. Splatoon has always been seen as a multiplayer franchise first, but I actually really like the story campaigns. I like that Nintendo is taking the time to make sure that single player gamers can enjoy this franchise as well. They’ve even given the single player campaign a separate title: Return of the Mammalians. My one concern is that I never played the DLC from Splatoon 2, because of how expensive it is, so I don’t know how that connects to the story of 3. The multiplayer does look good as well, of course. The new weapons look cool and their decision to not deviate from the core multiplayer formula is a good thing for this franchise.
I can’t really think of a stronger way to end this Nintendo Direct than with an update for Bayonetta 3. It’s kind of criminal that this game was announced in 2017 but at long last we have a release window for 2022. What I found most interesting about this trailer was that it was really slow to reveal that it was Bayonetta but I immediately knew it was Platinum Games as soon as it started. I was thinking it was an update for Project G.G., which we haven’t heard about since 2020. But an update and release announcement for Bayonetta 3 is much better for the fans. And it’s a great trailer. It has all the things necessary to hype up a Bayonetta game, assuming it needs hyping up at all. Sexy new hairstyle, fan service shots, multiple giant monster summons, kaiju battles, bullet time, and QTEs. My only complaint is that the graphics looked a little sub-par in this trailer but not enough for me to consider not buying the game. I’m just hoping they release a Bayonetta trilogy pack on Switch.
Putting aside the fact that they didn’t really focus on “Nintendo Switch games launching this winter”, this was a great Direct. There were meaningful updates and announcements, multiple new IPs announced, important updates to several currently live games, new demos launched during the presentation, and a Bayonetta 3 release date. While you may not prefer the Nintendo platform, neither PlayStation nor XBOX topped the execution quality of this presentation with their recent showcases. Nintendo just knows how to do it right. They use their time efficiently, they announce things late so that when they announce them they can accompany them with actual dates and playable demos, and they respect the viewer’s time. Solid Nintendo Direct. Quite possibly the last one we get this year other than the game specific ones like Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct and Animal Crossing: New Horizons Direct.