My thoughts on Nintendo Direct (02-08-2023)

My thoughts on Nintendo Direct (02-08-2023)

The first Nintendo Direct of the year has finally happened, and while I rarely pay attention to what Nintendo does outside of their big franchises, this year is already a massive year for games in general, so I wanted to scope out Nintendo’s offering. I was mostly in it for any and all info on the Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel titled Tears of the Kingdom, but I was pleasantly surprised about a few more things. Here are the few games that piqued my interest during the Nintendo Direct for February 8th 2023.

Samba De Amigo: Party Central

I was always a Dreamcast fan, but I never actually experienced Samba De Amigo till around 2008, when I was re-discovering the console and all the games I never played on the hardware. Thanks to an often overlooked game called Sega Superstar Tennis, I fell in love with the Samba De Amigo themed levels and soundtrack. Sega bringing back Samba De Amigo as a new party game seems like the out of left field announcement that would have me jumping up and down in my seat.

But, with the trailer looking like just a modern HD coat of paint with the same exact play style from its 2000’s original release, my excitement got a bit deflated. I’m still interested in it. But not as much as I want to be.

Dead Cells: Castlevania DLC

I played only around an hour of Dead Cells when it was still in Early Access but nearing it’s 1.0 release. I wasn’t a fan of the run-based genre that was really taking hold of gaming at that time either, so I was already not really interested in it to begin with. However, since I ended up playing through the Castlevania series back in 2019, I have fallen in love with everything about it. Seeing DLC for a different game incorporating the series that I love in such a no-brainer style seems like I might really enjoy the game much more now. So I’ll be giving this a fair shot, I just hope the difficulty isn’t as masochistic as I remember it being.  

Tron: Identity

I love all things Tron (even the CGI Disney cartoon where Pee-Wee voiced one of the villains). While the gameplay was almost all just in a visual novel style, I’m more than happy to see what this game is, and it being a “puzzle” type of game too, I’m interested in it for sure.

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective HD

I never played Ghost Trick before, and know absolutely nothing about it other than the fact it’s always in top DS games lists and it’s one of those cult classic games that I’ve never heard anything bad about. Again, something I’ll give a shot at, but not sure if it’ll keep my interest past a couple hours.

Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon

I was so burned by Bayonetta 3 a couple months ago, I really don’t have much faith in this game or the series. The fact that this is coming out within 6 months of the release from 3, a game that took 7 years to show up… I’m just kinda not interested. Pile on the fact that the art style pushes me away, I just don’t think I’ll play it. It’s a shame because I really liked Bayonetta 1 and 2 so much and thought it was one of the more interesting new series of games coming out for a while.

Disney Illusion Island

I’m a huge fan of the Sega Genesis Illusion games, and seeing this be a possible continuation is cool. While I’m not the biggest fan of the new art direction they have been putting Mickey and Friends in, I do think it works. It is consistent across their newer movies, shows and even theme park rides, so that itself is good. The one thing I noticed was how far away the camera was pulled out and how tiny the characters were. I’ve never been a fan of seeing so much of the stage in that sort of way. I also don’t think this game is really developed for someone like me, and skews to a much younger audience. I would have loved this game when I was a kid though I think.

We Love Katamari Reroll

Remastering is something I’ll get to a bit later, but more Katamari is always welcome. The often forgotten sequel to Katamari Damacy seems like a smart move to continue re-releasing older games to bring in some extra bucks. I’ll grab it on sale as I already went through the series in 2019 and I don’t see myself going back to it right away.

Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp

It’s about time.

Seriously though, I never played these games but always wanted to. If I knew the releases would have been held off for an entire year, I would have just played them when I was in the mood and not waited. But since it’s so close to release, I’ll try to get to them, but so many games are coming out this year… they really missed an opportune time to release last year when nothing was coming out. I’m sure it would have made it into many GOTYs just by existing.

Nintendo Switch Online GameBoy and GameBoy Advance

I don’t subscribe to Switch Online and I don’t see myself ever doing it again since my wife doesn’t play Animal Crossing online anymore. But for those who don’t know emulators exist and want a small selection of GameBoy and Advance games to be drip fed over the next two years, this seems like a good surprise.

I joke a lot, but it’s only because this stuff should have been there on Day 1 and with a much MUCH larger selection. You can talk about “licensing issues” all day long, but the fact is that these things have been available to play for decades for free in much more convenient packages. The switching color styles also have been integrated into emulators for a long time as well. It’s just like a “welcome to the party pal” moment, where we’ve been enjoying this stuff for decades. I played Mario and Luigi Superstar Saga on my Xbox back in 2003… that was 20 years ago.

Metroid Prime Remastered

It’s been rumored for a while, but seeing it actually get announced got an audible “woah” from me. I guess since we won’t see Prime 4 for another few years, this is a good way to shut fans up. As I only played Metroid for the first time in 2021, and played through all the main 2D games in a couple months, I couldn’t be more happy to see Metroid back in the spotlight. However, I have played a few hours of Prime 1 in VR. And experiencing that game in Virtual Reality is far superior than any remaster would ever be. I rarely ever re-play games, so I have to think long and hard about whether I want to play through Metroid Prime 1 as a flat screen experience, where the Samus model and Menus are nice, or in VR uprezzed to 8k. The choice is actually kinda tough.

The Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom

I kinda wanted to look away while this game was being shown. Only for the fact that I kinda don’t want to see any of it. I already know I’m gonna buy it and play it day one. But I wanted to watch it with my wife, who loves the Breath of the Wild. I think it’s gonna be just as good as Breath Of The Wild, but it won’t have the same effect of coming into something so totally new for the franchise. It’s like Bioshock. Bioshock 1 was so new and different, that when 2 did come out, it just wasn’t as interesting going back to Rapture when you already know what it’s like. The newness of the setting, playstyle and themes aren’t going to capture me the same way.

However, I do think this game will be awesome. But I think this is going to push the Switch past its breaking point. Breath Of The Wild already ran kinda lousy on Switch and that was a launch game. It’s a mobile console, and it just can’t do things very well. And now with it being a 6 year old mobile console, the games coming out are suffering for it. Tears of the Kingdom are suffering for it being on the Switch. It’s just not powerful enough to keep up. It’s a bummer knowing this game is going to be held back because of the hardware. But I don’t think it’s going to be that bad. This is Nintendo’s biggest franchise besides Mario and they won’t let it be terrible. It’s going to be good, it just might not run at an optimal experience. I guess that’s what emulators are for.

Final Thoughts

The long and short of today’s direct is that Nintendo showed off a lot of good looking games. Some are definitely not made for someone like me, and I don’t need to pay attention to those. Seeing a fair amount of games that I am interested in does excite me, as I felt Nintendo hasn’t been catering to a vast majority of gamers for a long time. It seems like 2023, or at least the first half is shaping up to be one of the best years for the Switch and Nintendo. Hopefully they have some big announcements and whatever we all collectively are going to call E3 this year and hope they finish out the year as strong as they started it.