Feature Article

5 Things We Learned from the February 2014 Nintendo Direct

Direct to our hearts.

by

Nintendo certainly wasn't shy this afternoon. As if it heard people muttering that there aren't enough 3DS and Wii U games, Nintendo unleashed a torrent of information on its upcoming plans. Was any of it mind-blowing? No, not even close. But there were still a few nuggets that caught my attention.

Nintendo has lots of characters

Yeah, but can the Koopa Kids go upside down? They can? Oh, nevermind.

Never doubt Nintendo's ability to embrace its history. Little Mac comes swinging into the Super Smash Bros. ring and is bringing the motivational styling of Doc Louis with him. When the mighty bounty hunter Samus Aran dared to scoff at Mac's diminutive size, I could only laugh. Mac has felled bigger opponents than you, Samus, and apparently isn't scared to hit a girl.

Of course, Smash Bros. isn't the only franchise where Nintendo's beloved congregate. CEO Satoru Iwata teased the trailer for Mario Kart 8 by saying we wouldn't expect who was stepping behind the wheel now. My mind shot toward the likes of Link, opening the door for characters beyond the Mario universe, or maybe the long-forgotten Wart, who would show that dreams really do come true. Well, I was wrong. It's the Koopa Kids! All seven of them.

Finally, a question: Which Nintendo franchise has the most characters? If you said Clu Clu Land, you're wrong. It's Pokemon! And now every pocket monster is being crammed into one game, Pokemon Battle Trozei. Can you distinguish between the likes of Charizard and Charmeleon during a heated puzzle-matching competition? Now's your chance to put your encyclopedic knowledge to use.

Nintendo digs free-to-play

Paying for a video game is so yesterday. If you want hours of entertainment but don't want to pay a red cent, you're in luck, because Nintendo has jumped on the free-to-play train. And don't expect microtransactions to haunt your every waking hour, either. Nintendo has taken its own direction, and it might just be crazy enough to work.

Soon, you too can man a submarine.

No one quite knew what to expect from a free Steel Diver, considering the first entry sunk like a stone. Well, now (as in, right this second) you can download a hefty demo for the first-person sequel for free. If you want more than two subs and a couple of single-player missions, then you can shell out $20 for the whole game. If not, you can still sink your buddies in multiplayer torpedo wars.

Rusty's Real Deal Baseball is the experiment that has me particularly intrigued. It's a minigame collection that supposedly feels as much like the real sport as a handheld game possibly could. The catch is how you accumulate new activities. Rusty sells new modes for real money. You can pay face value or bargain for a lower price. It's a fascinating concept, and one that could cause a ripple in the free-to-play scene.

Nintendo has a sense of style

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is pretty nice looking, too.

I think we can all agree that Miis could use a serious wardrobe overhaul. Who wears monochromatic shirts anyway? Chefs and prisoners, that's who. Well, Mario Golf: World Tour's hook isn't putting greens or sand traps; it's the behind-the-scenes fashion show that every golfer secretly longs for. Chipping in birdies earns you mad cash that can go toward a new pair of pants, which gives you plenty of incentive to improve your short game.

If only that style editor could be used in Bayonetta 2. Sure, the sharpshooting heroine doesn't need any help in the looks department, but the unnamed teenager who made his debut in the latest trailer sure does. That's a nice yellow hoodie there, kid, but why don't you show us your lovely locks? Oh, it's because you have silver-blue cornrows? Yeah, better just keep that hood on.

Need some eyewash after gazing upon Bayonetta's companion? Steer your peepers toward Yoshi's New Island. Now here's a game with style. That coloring book aesthetic that looked so pretty a couple of decades ago still looks so darn enticing. And it will be even prettier to behold if you can mute the shrill wails of Baby Mario.

Nintendo loves minigames

"By jove, I think he's got it!" That's something Layton would say, right?

Who has time for maxigames? Even the term is kind of gross. Well, stop thinking about that genre I just invented and instead focus on the small joy of playing in short bursts. If you've ever wanted to exist in a role-playing world but don't have the hours to grind, Weapon Shop de Omasse should tickle your fancy. Here, you man a weapon shop that world-saving adventurers frequent. Forge a strong sword so you can stay in your cozy home and let everyone else battle the monsters.

Want more variety? Five months after NES Remix condensed Nintendo's history into miniscule bites of fun comes a sequel with slightly more recent games. And if you have a particular fondness for Mario, you've downloaded the right game. Not only are both the American and Japanese versions of Super Mario Bros. 2 included, but there's a vertigo-inducing remastering of Super Mario Bros. in which you control Luigi and run to the left. Good luck keeping your lunch down.

And then there's Professor Layton. Sure, Azran Legacy isn't a traditional minigame collection, but that's only because we're so stringent about using that terminology. The puzzles can be solved in the blink of a cat's eye, after all, so the sharpest tacks know full well how mini these games truly are.

Nintendo is going digital

When a mommy sunbeam and a daddy sunbeam love each other very much...

You're not pedantic, are you? Because sticklers for definitions would cough and squirm as they argued that every game is downloadable in today's connected world. But we all know there's a difference between the likes of Shovel Knights and Super Mario 3D World, and Nintendo has shown it has fully embraced the downloadable revolution.

Granted, I did chuckle when a gaggle of indie developers happily stated that their upcoming games have an 8-bit aesthetic, but I can't argue with fun. 1001 Spikes looks particularly interesting. Nothing gets me more excited than punishing difficulty, so you can be sure that I'll be smiling happily as I become impaled on each and every spike.

Do you wish the major studios would emulate their independent counterparts? Look no further than Ubisoft's downloadable journey in Child of Light. Gorgeous, enchanting, and oh so cheap, this role-playing game should enthrall every Wii U owner until the next big release hits.

It's the 3DS that should see the most diverse offerings, though. From the role-playing soccer of Inazuma Eleven to the first-person shooting of Moon Chronicles, the smaller games have the biggest variety. If you're not excited for Treasurenauts, you better get your greed examined, because hunting for gold is the foundation of every capitalist society.

Discussion

76 comments
Super_C
Super_C

Tom, your writing style is a pleasure to read.

chyng85
chyng85

Nintendo is not dying~

translucent17
translucent17

looks like Nintendo has some nice products coming to the table.  could've waited to buy my wii u till fall 2014 though

b74kd3th
b74kd3th

X looks good the rest is Nintendo garbage

baral-o
baral-o

is it my idea or is the battle scene from X online mode? (player 2,3 and 4 in the right up corner) if it's online only or something like monster hunter, then there is one less reason for me to buy a wii u this year, because from the announced games, only mario kart, X and lego city look interesting to me (from what I seen so far)

shinjuki
shinjuki

Why don't they have a link to it?

WolfgarTheQuiet
WolfgarTheQuiet

"Paying for a video game is so yesterday. If you want hours of entertainment but don't want to pay a red cent, you're in luck, because Nintendo has jumped on the free-to-play train"


Free to play is not free LOL... it actually ends up costing you more then to buy a game at the full AAA price. people really fall for this crap

RAD_RADIO
RAD_RADIO

Is it weird that the ONLY thing I even cared about in ALL of this stuff was Little Mac in Smash brothers?

That's literally I could could give a crap about.

GIVE ME ZELDA, GIVE ME METROID, or I DON'T CARE! Hell, don't give me either of those, just give me something NEW that's worth while and I'll bite.

Bowser05
Bowser05

You know...I never thought I'd hear myself say this...but I actually LIKE Nintendo's idea for F2P and microtransactions. They have all the right ideas...let's hope that they execute them correctly.

YearoftheSnake5
YearoftheSnake5

Bayonetta 2 looks crazy. I didn't understand what was going on, but at the same time I didn't care. It looks fun, and I'll probably going to buy it. Smash and Mario Kart tend to look better ever time I see them, and X looks badass. Xenoblade with buffed graphics, mechs, more guns, and the possibility of online co-op. This year looks niiice.

Nev3rtime
Nev3rtime

Steel divers seems great so far and premium was only £8.99.

They include a store where you can buy extra subs, which is the kind of micro transaction I'm generally hostile to, though the subs they sell don't seem over powered. It seems more pay for custom options rather than pay to win. Still, not a road I wanted Nintendo to go down.

jaimenm
jaimenm

I would love to have Mario Kart 8 and Super Mario 3D World on my PS4!

daikkenaurora12
daikkenaurora12

Interested in Bayonetta 2 and Super Smash Bros to play as Little Mac and a few others.  This doesnt really get me to want to buy a Wii U though but atleast they are trying to put out games.  I'll just play it on my friends system.

AmbiguousAlias
AmbiguousAlias

I just watched it... Honestly, I was hoping for more on the Wii U side. The 3DS has plenty of coming attractions, but I don't have a 3DS.

bunchanumbers
bunchanumbers

Loved it! Little Mac and gameplay footage of X? Not only that TF looked really good too. Haters are gonna hate but  I'm looking forward to these games. 

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

I remember when Nintendo was king shit.

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

So as of nintendo direct, Nintendo still gives 0 damn about trying to dig themselves out.

chev7781
chev7781

Anyways, if Tom Mcshea is reviewing Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, I fully expect a 4.0 or 8.0 from him and then the game turns out to be better than what he's making it out to be (Bioshock Infinite review).

chev7781
chev7781

"Oh my god, there was some good announcements made, but as a troll that wants to see Nintendo fail even though they're nowhere near it, I'm going to say that the Nintendo Direct is boring because I'm a troll that lacks a sex life."


That's what the trolls are really trying to say.

adsparky
adsparky

It was a Meh nintendo direct, little mac was leaked before e3 along the wii fit trainer and the mii; rosalina was a surprise btw. I'm kinda interested in the NES Remix, but I already have practically almost all the games in it, so... In my opinion they should add bayonetta to the new Smash it could be good for both games.

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

OMG so many announcements, such list, here are 5 things about what Nintendo likes. This is a joke. You've learned nothing, Tom. You're blinded by your love for them that you can't see that they had nothing of importance to say. They have lots of characters? Really? They dig free to play? What is this? I love Nintendo too, but come one, when they're done, they're done. That's it.

divinejester
divinejester

I can honestly say there was nothing say reading this article I flat lined out of boredom. 


I mean the best game coming to the Wii U is probably Child of Light and guess what its coming to pretty much every system.


And touting Bayonetta 2 at this point is becoming a joke, as good a game as it was, it ultimately moved to the Wii U because it did not sell. Nobody is really missing out on much with this one.

translucent17
translucent17

@WolfgarTheQuiet I have about 20 free to play games on my phone that ive never paid a single shiny penny for,  so um ok.......

amk11
amk11

@RAD_RADIO  Those arent Direct announcement titles.... THey are E3 titles

WolfgarTheQuiet
WolfgarTheQuiet

@Bowser05  Free to play is not free LOL... it actually ends up costing you more then to buy a game at the full AAA price. people really fall for this crap

RoOhDiNi
RoOhDiNi

@Nev3rtime I feel the same about this. I can understand why you'd want to keep the multiplayer part of the game accessible for free to all players and have Singleplayer and the rest of the content come as a PREMIUM version. But having you to pay for the single ships is crossing the line for me - this is where things literally start going overboard...

adrdeju
adrdeju

Of course you do. There aren't any games worth playing on your PS4 right now. At least you can use it to watch blu ray movies. That way you'll get some use out of it, for now.

rIVAL_sWORD84
rIVAL_sWORD84

@bunchanumbers  I am excited about X it will be countless hours of fun,DK tropical freeze is  very much anticipated game. bayoneta 2  looks good and i am excited to see the co op play bayoneta 2 has.

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@chev7781  Tom McShea has no idea what he's talking about in the BSI review so it isn't a matter of "the game turns out to...", it's a matter of "Wow he absolutely missed the mark."

rIVAL_sWORD84
rIVAL_sWORD84

@megakick  i would say they both are good in their own way. WiiU is appealing for gamers who had played and sucked the life out of previous NES consoles and another category is young gamers. Ps4 is only appealing to mature gamer's and gamers who prefer gore and violence in games. but they both have good qualities of their own. Sadly people nowadays prefer only bloody and gory games and platformers are not that popular.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@divinejester  

"The game didn't sell, so it's a joke and there's no point to it even if it's an awesome game." What the f**k kind of logic is that? The first game actually sold around 2m units, which isn't bad for a new IP, and they're not pushing it as some kind of system seller, just another great game that you can only experience on Wii U.

Bowser05
Bowser05

@WolfgarTheQuiet @Bowser05  I don't know how to break this to you buddy, but free to play IS free to play. There are always going to be examples of companies abusing this principle, but I can give you many examples to the contrary. I play Star Trek Online, Plants vs Zombies 2 and Hearthstone currently. All of these games are free to play. I have put countless hours in and enjoyed the games thoroughly. You know how much money I've spent on the games? NOTHING. In fact, none of the things that they are charging money for attract me in any way. So nobody is falling for any 'crap' except for you here. Perhaps you should be a little more knowledgeable about a topic before you decide to start spewing out nonsense.

Nev3rtime
Nev3rtime

@RoOhDiNi @Nev3rtime  I did buy the game and it is good, though I'm having some reoccurring connection issues.

Premium does supply you with a good range of ships to unlock so there's no need to spend additional cash. The multiplayer is the main part of the game, I'd imagine anyone who plays much of it is going to end up buying the game. It's not expensive.

jaimenm
jaimenm

There's more than what I have the time for atm... Not to mention the whole backlog of PC games I have and for my PS3 that I've not got around to playing... So many games, so little time!

jaimenm
jaimenm

@Sharkspawn80 @jaimenm  The Wii U itself and all the other games for it don't personally appeal to me or are just half-assed versions of games you can get elsewhere...

NimbusStev
NimbusStev

@rIVAL_sWORD84  You're clearly not looking hard enough if you think the PS4 only has games full of blood and gore. The ESRB has rated 41 PS4 games, and only 10 of them received a Mature rating. 

Also, I don't know where you got the idea that platformers aren't popular anymore. The LittleBigPlanet series has sold over 8 million copies, Donkey Kong Country Returns sold over 6 million, and Mighty No. 9 managed to raise almost $4 million on Kickstarter. I'd say the genre is alive and well!

guardianofhonor
guardianofhonor

@abHS4L88

How do you know its great seeing as how its not even out yet?  and most games you can only experience on Wii U are not great, the WiiU has the lowest average review scores of any console.

amk11
amk11

@jaimenm @Sharkspawn80  Lol where? 

The charm of Mario Kart 8 and Super Mario 3D world is unique to Nintendo hardware.. you wont find that anywhere else... sega almost got there with transformed but it didnt

rIVAL_sWORD84
rIVAL_sWORD84

@NimbusStev @rIVAL_sWORD84   Yeah but those platformers dont sell like GTA, Last of US, Mass effect,  COD, battlefield. I love platformer's and i dont see WiiU selling that much as it should which has so many platformer's on it plus the Wi games as country returns etc. sony has little big planet only and rayman origins/legends and some indies as  platformer games. If platformers  were selling so hot than WiU wouldn't be struggling  as it is. these days people prefer Gore and sex in games like Gears of war, GTA, mass effect, god of war, Dead rising, FPS games. Regarding the ESRB rating those mature games are more popular among gamer's.than the platformer games. Platformer lovers  have become minority.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@guardianofhonor

Bayonetta was a superb action game and Platinum has one of the best track records of any developer out there, pretty much every game they've made in the past decade has been decent at worst (Anarchy Reigns) but typically amazing. 


So it has the lowest average score, so that means no great games exist? There are plenty of great games, there's also plenty of crap. Using the average review score to determine the strength of a console's library is stupid because that average takes all of the shovelware.