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Big N Breakdown: Nintendo Direct 2016-03-04 Part 1

2016-03-04-01

Now I understand why I’m here,
I made a promise and I intend to keep it.
-Shadow The Hedgehog

Brothers and Sisters of the congregation of the Game, welcome back. This week, I have something a little different for you. Long-time readers will remember that I previously had a series of news updates that only focused on Nintendo, every time there was a new Nintendo story, rather than posting it under Let Us Play, I would post it under Big N Breakdown. As a part of the simplification process of my projects, I decided that Nintendo News would be folded into Let Us Play, so I didn’t feel like I had too many obligations for weekly updates. I think this has been a good move for me, because if I were producing both Big N Breakdown and Let Us Play, I would feel like I have to produce around five news stories for each project, every week, and I can be pretty hard on myself if I don’t make the deadline.

However, despite folding the Nintendo news stories into Let Us Play, Big N Breakdown is not dead, it’s simply being held for special occasions such as this.

Today saw the release of the Spring/Summer (Autumn/Winter here in Australia) Nintendo Direct, which is one of two things that I will be focusing on in Big N Breakdown, the other being Nintendo’s E3 weekend.

Nintendo Directs (when done well) tend to last for around 30-50 minutes, sometimes there’s a lot of information about a few games, sometimes there’s a little information about a lot of games, and that’s going to determine how I’m going to approach this project. I want to focus on what I feel is some of the most exciting information from all three Nintendo Directs. Yeah, that’s right I watch all three US, European and Japanese Nintendo Directs to collect my information, though the bulk of my article will be based on the European/Australian region’s Direct, I will also be inserting information from the other directs as well, where applicable.

First of all here’s a list of links for the Nintendo Direct for your region:

So without further ado, welcome to the Big N Breakdown!

(Please note that the videos that are attached to each segment are not necessarily clips from the Nintendo Direct.)

 

Star Fox Zero

With delay after delay concerning Star Fox Zero, it’s great to see that the game is finally complete, and ready to ship. Like I’ve said in the past, in regards to Star Fox and Legend of Zelda, as a fan of the series I am far more interested in them getting this game right, and revealing the information to us as they have it, rather than making lofty predictions of release dates that will eventually make us disappointed, when they can’t live up to their promises. I hope that Nintendo learn the lesson from Legend of Zelda for the Wii U and keep their secrets until they have something to wow us with.

As it is far too many companies are content to release an unfinished game and then either fix the game with patches, or charge for the removed content as additional DLC, or you know don’t bother doing either. Nintendo are holding strong to the philosophy of having a good and complete game on release is better than having a glitched up mess released before it’s ready.

In this segment, presented by Shigeru Miyamoto, we are told about the structure of the game, some new mechanics, cooperative control scheme, and a second related game, that I’ll go into next. The structure of the game is going to be a return to form, similar to Star Fox 64/Lylat Wars which has become the baseline for this series of games, but the story and the map have received an overhaul. The overall plot seems to be as basic as ever, you start on Corneria and make your way to Venom through the Lylat system to defeat Andross’ forces along the way, before a final confrontation with Andross himself. While the map structure looks very similar in these shots to Star Fox 64, Miiyamoto-san says it has been overhauled in the way you progress with alternate routes, meaning that the progression through the map, may be far more extensive than ever before, with the addition of the Teleporters to take you to new areas, and what seems like the possibility to unlock even more routes after defeating Venom the first time. With that in mind, it seems to suggest that the game will not end when you defeat Venom for the first time, and may have a sort of new game plus built directly into the main plot, similarly to Bravely Default.

One of the most interesting new mechanics in my opinion is the cooperative mode, in which two players control the same Arwing, one as the pilot, and one as the gunner. This seems like a really cool way to integrate a multiplayer mode, without removing that brand new gameplay style, which I know is going to cause my unco self, endless issues, but I still think the system is pretty sweet. Additionally, it’s a great way to get kids into the game, who may not be quite as capable of manoeuvring the ship and firing at the same time, with the high learning curve control scheme.

Every time I see new information about Star Fox Zero, its looking better and better, and if this truly is the beginning of a more focused and filled out Star Fox universe, then this looks like it could be a very good start. I noticed a lot of side characters showing up in the clips, like Bill and

This announcement did reveal some Amiibo compatibility and suggested that there would be more to uncover. When you tap the Star Fox Amiibo from the Smash Brothers line, you will unlock the low polygon Arwing from the Super Nintendo’s Star Fox game. There is no information as to what Falco may unlock, if anything, and there’s been no info regarding a Star Fox line of Amiibo, that many people were anticipating with this announcement.

Before I get into release dates, there’s another game I want to talk about…

 

Star Fox Guard

Additionally, Miyamoto-san also revealed Star Fox Guard, this game was first revealed back in 2013 at E3. Back then though there was no connection between Star Fox and the Guard game with the working title simply being “Project Guard”, but now it’s confirmed that the game is in fact a tower defense-like spin-off from the Star Fox series, where you play as Slippy, attempting to protect his Uncle Grippy’s rare metal mine, defending it from waves on oncoming robot attacks. One can only assume at this point that they are sent by Andross. Out of the two projects that Miyamoto revealed at E3 2013, “Project Guard” and “Project Giant Robo”, I really took a shine to this one, so I’m glad that it’s finally gotten a release, and that it’s a part of a beloved franchise.

Both of these games will be released at the same time, on April 22nd in all regions. The games will come separately, or as a package for a reduced price. In the EU/AU regions there will also be a “First Print Edition” which will also come with a collectors steelcase.

The games can also be bought digitally on the same day, either separately, or like the bundle, you can buy both for a reduced price.

I think I know which version I’ll be getting.

 

Mario and Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

I wasn’t originally going to talk about this game, but I remembered that I talked about it a little when it was announced at E3, and figured I’d better do a follow up.

I’ve seen Mario and Sonic at the Olympics getting a fair amount of criticism, but none the less the games never fail to sell well, and this one in particular may actually get one additional sale, from me. I have never owned a Mario vs Sonic at the Olympics game before in my life, but my sister bought the first one, and it was… ok. It wasn’t particularly riveting, it had it’s issues, but at the same time, the game wasn’t bad or broken either. Since then a lot of events have been added, it’s not something I would normally buy, but it looks genuinely fun. So why do I want it? The reason makes no sense. Out of everything it offers, I really like the look of the Rugby 7’s minigame, and I don’t even like rugby!

Here’s an inside scoop for you Nintendo, take a game I don’t buy, add a sport I don’t like and suddenly: 10/10; perfect game design! I can’t explain it.

There was a little concern regarding this game seeing as the 3DS version has had a release date for a while now, but we had barely seen any footage of the Wii U version, since last year’s E3, thankfully Olympics fans, you can breathe a sigh of relief, it has finally been confirmed. It’s two months after the 3Ds release, but at least it’s coming to home console.

Mario and Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games will release for 3DS in US on March 18th, in EU/AUS on April 8th, while it’s Wii U counterpart will release in JP on June 23rd, and in all other regions on June 24th.

 

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE

You may recognise this as Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem, or Genei IbunRoku FE in Japanese. This is a new JRPG game from Intelligent Systems and Atlus, drawing on elements of the Shin Megami Tensei series (or some might argue Persona series) and the Fire Emblem series. The game looks and sounds absolutely beautiful, and I have to get my hands on this game since it was first revealed. The game is very Japanese, and a lot the cultural elements in games that are heavily Japanese themed, are often localised into oblivion, or removed entirely, to make it more palatable for a western audience, much like how Fire Emblem: Fates was recently at the centre of controversy. Additionally, something about this game has told me to remain cautious, and not get my hopes too high, that this may be the sort of game that will end up being cancelled for the west, because of perceived cultural incompatibilities. Still, I’ve been optimistic, and to an extent that has paid off.

While for a split second I thought Nintendo had learned their lesson from the Fire Emblem Fates debacle, it turns out that moves have already been made to start censoring this game, with additions cover up the cleavage of the character Tsubasa during her introduction song. Her costume goes from a bikini top with a sheer shirt over the top, to a white, possibly midriff t-shirt, with an opaque maroon shirt over the top. A strange change, seeing as he battle costume hasn’t changed and yet shows more cleavage.

As disappointing as this is, there is at least some upside, maybe it’s due to Atlus, a non-Nintendo development team’s involvement, or because the game heavily revolves around music and singing, but it’s been decided that this game is not going to get the hard localisation treatment that Fates did, and will be retaining its original Japanese voice track, with the inclusion of English subtitles. This is good news because it means the Treehouse will have to keep their translations as close to the speech as possible (If they are even the ones translating it), and if they don’t, it’ll be obvious.

I like the way this game looks, I really think it’s something that I can enjoy, but it’s annoying as all hell that they once again cater to a minority rabble, that don’t care about artists’ integrity. Right now only time will tell, but I tell you something, I’m looking into learning Japanese for future JRPG releases…

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE will be released in US and EU/AUS on June 24th, and is already available in Japan.

 

Paper Mario: Color Splash

Paper Mario: Color Splash was newly announced in the Nintendo Direct, following information that was leaked on twitter just a week or so previous. This is the next game in the Paper Mario franchise, and follows the action adventure style of gameplay introduced in Super Paper Mario for the Wii, unlike the original two games in the series that were more RPG focused. Mario, Peach and Toad find themselves faced with a disaster when they discover the colour is being drained from Prism Island, and with the use of his new Paint Hammer, Mario is able to restore the colour to the island. Already that sounds hilarious, the sheer absurdity, of hammering Toads back to life. Love it.

As of right now, this is the sum total of what we know about this game. Yet, less than two minutes worth of divulged footage seems to be enough for the vast majority of people to decide this game is awful.

Let me absolutely clear here, I have NO personal investment in this game, or this series for that matter. I played Paper Mario on the Nintendo 64, and Super Paper Mario on the Wii. I finished neither, and have no loyalty to the series. I had no anticipation for this game, nor am I particularly excited to see it.

However, and this is a big however, I find it entirely irrational to bitch and complain about this game, before we know anything about it. Yes, it has similar mechanics to Sticker Star a game that is universally agreed to be a terrible entry in the series, however, the complaints I see go beyond that, into people saying it’s going to be bad because it’s not an RPG, or it’s definitely going to be bad because it IS, not “is similar”, it IS Sticker Star with new Graphics.

While some mechanics can be gleaned from the ONE MINUTE FIFTEEN SECONDS, as I have been told by multiple people it was the story and the characters of Super Paper Mario that made it shine despite not being an RPG, and we know NOTHING of the story after that trailer. People have already started complaining that Bowser is the villain, again, it’s going to be about saving Peach again, and all of this is completely made up. People are getting pissed off at things they assume is going to be in the game, because next to no information has been given about this game. As Satoru Shibata said in the European/Australian Nintendo Direct, the game is currently in development.

As for the game itself, the only thing I can comment on, because it’s the only thing we are privy to, is the graphics, and the concept. As I said above the gimmick is actually kinda hilarious when you think about it, smacking something or someone with a giant mallet, until their colour comes back. One thing I will say for certain the game looks spectacular! Paper Mario isn’t just flat, no no, everything really looks like paper craft, and cut outs. Mario and friends flap slightly in the wind, everything looks like it has a rough paper texture, almost like you can reach out and feel the game.

However, I’ll be reserving judgement until I’ve seen at least three minutes of gameplay.

As I said above, the game is currently in development, but is slated to released 2016.

 

Hyrule Warriors Legends

Hyrule Warriors Legends is a port and kind of an “ultimate edition” of the Wii U game, Hyrule Warriors, with all the DLC to date included, alongside new characters and some new mechanics. Hyrule Warriors Legends better utilises the touch screen, to allow you to switch between characters on your side during a battle, rather than being locked to the character you chose from the start.

The news from the Nintendo Direct though is in regards to DLC and characters. Hyrule Warriors Legends, will introduce five new characters: Toon Link, Tetra, King of Red Lions, Skull Kid, and the new original character for this series, Linkle. When you purchase a copy of Hyrule Legends for 3DS, you will receive a code to unlock those five characters for download to the Wii U version of the game, plus Ganondorf’s new weapon, his classic Trident.

It was also revealed that like Hyrule Warriors on the Wii U, Hyrule Warriors Legends will also be updated with additional content. At the moment four DLC packs have been confirmed, and the season pass for the DLC will be available on launch day, though it has not been confirmed when the DLC will actually be released.

Anyone who buys the season pass, will also receive an exclusive Wind Waker costume for Ganondorf.

A new character that is not featured in either of the games will become available for both Wii u and 3DS versions after the Legends release date, and that character is the Rito Sage, Medli from Wind Waker. Medli will be available to download for free.

Finally, following the Nintendo Direct, the Hyrule Warriors Legends demo became available for download on the 3DS eShop.

I must admit I am a little disappointed. I haven’t played the demo yet, but I will be getting to that soon, but I’m going to assume that it’s going to have some population issues. The Wii U version, has some population issues, and the 3DS is nowhere near as powerful as the Wii U. As such, I don’t particularly want to get the 3DS version, and really, I’d just be buying it for the new features that I can transfer over to the Wii U. I personally would have preferred to have had the option to pay for the new characters and chapters as DLC for the Wii U version, or you know, not had a 3DS version at all, and spent more time on regular new Wii U content.

Then there are the four new DLC packs. Normally I would be against day one DLC, and I can imagine that you will start to see people complaining about it, however, it’s important to remember that this game has already been out since January in Japan. My problem is the 3DS version already has all the Wii U DLC included, so these four new DLC packs will be all new content. Is that going to be available for the Wii U too? Really it should be, but it doesn’t seem like it will. It’s like Nintendo have dropped all support for the Wii U version now that the 3DS version is on its way.

I’m going to be keeping an eye on this game, I still really enjoy Hyrule Warriors, it’s just, looking back now, I feel like they should have put more effort into the Wii U version. With all the new mechanics and features, I realised how much the Wii U was missing.

 

Mini Mario and Friends Amiibo Challenge

This article is starting to get a bit long, so I’m going to wrap it up with one last segment, and will come back to this Nintendo Direct in the future.

Mini Mario and Friends: Amiibo Challenge is a new game from the fun and cute, Mini Mario or Mario Vs Donkey Kong series of puzzle games. In these games rather than playing as Mario, you have to manipulate the environment around the clockwork Marios to get them from their starting location to their goal safely. It’s similar to Lemmings in many ways. Mini Mario and Friends: Amiibo Challenge, will be free to download, but will require the ten compatible Amiibo to unlock levels.

This game is already out in Japan on both Wii U and 3DS, and I’ve seen a few people playing it on YouTube. The game has a main road which you can play through with any character of the ten compatible Amiibo, they are: Mario, Luigi, Peach, Yoshi, Rosalina, Toad, Bowser, Bowser Jr., Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong. Each character has their own special ability, like Mario’s wall jump, Peach’s hover, and Bowser Jr. hovering over spikes. This means that the worlds on the main road will have to be attempted in different ways with each different character, due to their different abilities. In addition, there are a series of off-shoot worlds, that are only accessible, and specialised specifically for each of the characters.

I personally am a fan of the Mini Mario series of games. No matter how many they crank out, I really enjoy them. I wish I could spend more time on Tipping Stars, and create some of my own levels. However, having a game like this that is free and also gives me a use for my Amiibo, I’m in 100%!

I also can’t help but wonder if they’ll be adding more characters to the game in the future.

As I said above, this game is already out on the JP eShop, but is only available for download with a special code that will be given out with new purchases of Amiibo. This is a little silly, but I can understand what they are getting at, pushing this at THE Amiibo game, and free with an Amiibo purchase. The deal will be the same in the US at first, with early access to the game granted as of March 25th if you buy an Amiibo at Best Buy, GameStop or Amazon, and will become available for general download a month later on April 28th.

At the moment there is no release date for the EU/AUS region. Here’s holding on to hope!

 

And Finally…

That’s all for today’s update, but it isn’t over here, I have part two of this article coming out to you very soon. What games have you got your eye on from this list? Let me know in the comments below, or follow my updates on Facebook or Twitter! Please note that my Twitter account has more of a political bent, so be warned, I may say things that you disagree with. If you can’t handle people with different opinions to yourself, please find your nearest exit from the internet.

I shall be back very soon my siblings!

Peace and High Scores!