Many developers have been going darker with the tones of stories lately. It's time we stop asking definitively if this is a good or bad thing and consider the artistic value at hand.
Recent Nintendo Direct Lineup Proves Their Worth
With Nintendo’s very recent profit loss, some fans may be wondering if they can come back. The Wii U and 3DS have not sold as many units as they would have liked. In the Wii U’s case, this is most likely the fault of its lackluster library. The 3DS, while having more worthwhile titles, could still use another kick to help it sell more. Luckily, I do no not think anyone has to be too worried if Nintendo’s recent Nintendo Direct meeting is anything to go off. This meeting focused mainly on the 3DS library, announcing release dates for a variety of first-party games, as well as a few new one. Those are what we will focus on first.
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team
Mario first entered the RPG realm on the SNES with Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. From there, the series performed a split, creating two different series: Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi. Paper Mario was originally made for Nintendo consoles while the Mario & Luigi games focused on the handheld systems. It seems their tradition will continue with the announcement of Mario & Luigi: Dream Team.
According to Nintendo, this game will take place in Luigi’s dreams – a part of Nintendo’s “Year of Luigi” strategy. Although only a few snippets of gameplay have been released, the game seems like it will provide the same fun and humor as the rest of the series has so far. Concepts that have been shown include the ability to roll around on a ball made out of several Luigi’s, and it seems that Luigi’s sleeping face will mostly always be visible on the top (or bottom) screen.
The game is to be released in early August for the Nintendo 3DS.
Donkey Kong Country Returns
Donkey Kong Country first appeared as a trilogy on the SNES. After that, (and after the Nintendo 64 entry Donkey Kong 64), Donkey Kong games took an odd turn on the Gamecube with games such as Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, and did not see another entry until the end of the Wii’s life cycle, with Donkey Kong Country Returns. A platformer in the vein of the original trilogy, DKCR received critical praise and good sales, showing Nintendo that the lovable ape still has a following.
Recently, Nintendo unveiled a “remake” of the game for the 3DS. In the most recent Nintendo Direct, they announced that it would include a new mode to make things slightly easier if need be, as well as a few new levels. This way, fans of the Wii version still have incentive to buy this version, while it opens up the opportunity for newcomers on the 3DS.
This game is set for release on May 24th, 2013.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past 2
Something is causing Nintendo to look back on their SNES days, and it is fantastic. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is one of the most critically acclaimed games in the world, and with good reason. It created the formula that most Zelda games afterwards followed. Collect three items, get the Master Sword, collect several more items, win. Perhaps the most shocking announcement from Nintendo in a while was the reveal of a sequel for Link to the Past on the 3DS.
Features that have been announced include the ability to turn into a 2-dimensional figure and walk along walls. Also, a dungeon that was seen heavily resembles a dungeon in the previous game. Hopefully, Nintendo does not simply recycle environments we saw in the first game, and instead just includes homages. Either way, the game looks gorgeous, and I personally cannot wait.
The game is currently set for a release in around Holidays 2013.
Bravely Default: Flying Fairy: Another game by Square Enix, billed as a spiritual sequel to 4 Heroes of Light, that has been highly requested from overseas fans of the genre. It should arrive in America in early 2014.
Shin Megami Tensei IV: Announced during the Nintendo Direct, the fourth installment in the heavily appreciated Shin Megami Tensei series will launch on the 3DS in July 2013.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf: The next installment in the Animal Crossing series promises to be just as addictive as its predecessors, releasing on June 9.
Pokemon X & Y: While not highlighted in the Directs, I cannot fret enough that there are new Pokemon games coming in the Fall that will definitely sell some systems.
Wii U Titles:
Oh, the gigantic blemish on Nintendo’s publishing history that is Earthbound. Originally released in America in the 90’s for the, you guessed it, SNES, Earthbound has always been at the top of JRPG fan’s lists for SNES games they want re-released. The reason it has taken so long for the game to be re-released has been chalked up to licensing issues. However, the fact that Nintendo thought Earthbound was important enough to include characters form the game in their Super Smash Bros. series makes it hard to imagine why it took so long for them to figure out the licensing.
Earthbound will be launching on the Wii U Virtual Console in America in late 2013.
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
You know Nintendo is in a good mood when they announce two new Zelda titles in the span of a year. Nintendo announced during an earlier Nintendo Direct that The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker would be receiving an HD remake for the Wii U during the fall of 2013. Nintendo has released a few comparison screenshots, one of which can be seen above. Fans of the Gamecube game will not have to wait terribly long, and either way, I believe it will be well the worth the wait.
Those who played the original version of Wind Waker know that the game is a hulking beast of content…one can only imagine what else Nintendo may want to add to it with the Wii U’s improved hardware over the Gamecube.
Fire Emblem X Shin Megami Tensei: SMT is getting a lot of love recently, and that is a great thing. In what was possibly the weirdest announcement out of a Nintendo Direct, Nintendo revealed a crossover game between the Fire Emblem universe and the Shin Megami Tensei universe. Neither of these series have much in common, and it will be interesting to see what the developers have in store for us. The game currently has no release date.
X (Working Title): A sequel or spiritual sequel to the Wii game Xenoblade Chronicles. The trailer that was provided in the Direct showcased a gorgeous looking world with large monsters – the same aspects that were in Xenoblade. The game has no official name or release date as of yet, but it will be interesting to see where it goes.
Pikmin 3: Pikmin, one of my favorite series of titles on the Gamecube. The Pikmin games are odd, strategy heavy games developed internally at Nintendo. The first relied heavily around a time limit, pressuring the player to do well enough not to die, while the second added some leeway and a co-op feature. Pikmin 3 is revealed to include new types of Pikmin and of course, gorgeous HD graphics. Gamers should be able to play the game starting August 4, 2013.
Well, that’s it for me. I don’t know about any of you, but I still have a ton of faith in Nintendo to make this one of the best years to be a Nintendo fan. Everything from a Link to the Past sequel to the Earthbound re-release, Nintendo seems to know what their fans want, and hopefully they come through with these promises. What do you think? Did I miss a game that you are excited about? Please, let me know below, and thanks for reading!