Gaming Editor James Law takes a look at the new nerfs Blizzard's Hearthstone has introduced. Will these changes shake up the meta game as promised, or are we stuck with Hunter hardships?Written by James Law on 14th February 2019
News: Nintendo Direct Recap
Sam Nason takes a look at the most recent Nintendo Direct, charting a number of exciting announcements but also a few online-related shortcomings
Originally scheduled for the week before but delayed after a massive earthquake shook Japan’s northern island Hokkaido, September 13th saw the airing of Nintendo’s latest Direct. It was packed to the brim with information surrounding the company’s next few months and beyond. It also provided information on the Nintendo Switch Online service, previously kept rather secretive.
For the sake of ease, our recap will be split between brand-new 3DS or Switch announcements and updates for released or already announced games.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 comes to the Nintendo Switch! A little gameplay footage was shown, however it remains unclear whether it will follow the original in exploring only one building or the sequel where there were multiple. If I were to speculate, multiplayer is probably a given a la Luigi’s Mansion 2’s Scarescraper mode, as well as plenty of spooky shenanigans.
The game looks to launch in 2019.
Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn jumps to the Nintendo 3DS! A port of Kirby’s Epic Yarn, the game includes every stage from the Wii version and has some exclusive features, for example abilities and a 'devilish mode' where you outrun a monster chasing you through the level. There are also new minigames featuring King Dedede and Meta Knight.
Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn will launch in 2019.
Mega Man 11 lands on Nintendo Switch! The game looks to take Mega Man back to his roots, defeating eight robot masters and acquiring each of their special weapons. A new Gear System also acts as general power ups, whether it be manipulating time or the power of Mega Man’s weaponry. You can also tap Mega Man amiibo every day for extra E Tanks or other useful items.
Mega Man 11 is out October 2nd, with a free demo out now.
Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle is a collection of Capcom’s most beloved arcade beat ‘em up games, including Final Fight, The King of Dragons, Captain Commando, Knights of the Round, and Warriors of Fate. Two other titles, Armoured Warriors and Battle Circuit, are also coming to home console for the first time. The game features online play and local co-op through use of individual Joy-Cons.
The game is available from September 18th.
New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe, aside from having the most jarring name of the Direct (seriously, that acronym is NSMBUDX), is a rerelease of the Wii U launch title with its DLC included. Play as Mario, Luigi, and Yellow Toad in multiplayer, as well as Nabbit (who was previously playable in New Super Luigi U and doesn’t take damage from enemies) and Toadette, who can transform into Peachette (?) and double jump and float. I am just as confused as you are.
A single Joy-Con controller is all anybody needs to play co-op when the game releases on January 11th.
Katamari Damacy Reroll is a high-definition remaster of the original Katamari Damacy, releasing for the Switch. The game sees you rolling over objects in order to create a giant katamari – a magic ball that allows anything smaller to stick to it and make it grow. Gyro controls, HD rumble, and single Joy-Con multiplayer battles are included in this HD Switch version.
Releasing winter 2018.
TOWN (working title) is an all-new adventure from Game Freak; the RPG sees the action take place in a singular town, with a turn-based battle system and full 3D graphics.
TOWN has a provisional launch date of 2019.
Cities: Skylines sees the popular city simulation game come to Nintendo Switch, with all previous DLC included.
Yoshi’s Crafted World, the newly renamed Yoshi game that debuted at E3 2017, looked beautifully rejuvenated in this Direct. The sprawling environments Yoshi travels through are made of arts and crafts in this inviting platformer. Two-player co-op is accomplished with a single Joy-Con each.
A release date of Spring 2019 was announced.
Asmodee Digital features full adaptations of card games The Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game, Pandemic, and Carcassonne in a table-top format. More games are to be added in the future, including hugely popular Catan and Steve Jackson’s Munchkin.
These titles will start to roll out in December.
Civilization VI was announced! A short trailer was shown providing an overview on the title – thus at this moment it’s unknown whether there’s any Switch-exclusive content or features. Nevertheless the game looks to be faithful to the PC version.
We’ll soon see when it releases November 16th!
Final Fantasy saw some huge announcements for the Switch – first came Crystal Chronicles Remastered, featuring new areas not found in the Gamecube original. The game will be available in 2019. Following this came Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition HD, available now from the eShop, which is essentially the story of XV without the side quests or open world. Announcements for World of Final Fantasy Maxima (releasing November 6th) and Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Everybuddy (coming 2019) came next, culminating in the announcement of Final Fantasies VII, IX, X, X-2, and XII: The Zodiac Age.
All releasing for Nintendo Switch in 2019, the latter three in their ‘remastered’ state.
Isabelle in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate came as a massive surprise. A separate fighter from Villager, Isabelle has a multitude of unique moves to set her apart and cement her as the second Animal Crossing representative. Speaking of which…
Animal Crossing was finally announced for the Nintendo Switch! Literally nothing was disclosed other than confirmation, but people have been waiting for this announcement for years and the subsequent freak-out on social media proved exactly why.
A preliminary date of 2019 was announced, but I expect we can hear a lot more in the near future.
Phew! That’s all for major announcements, however the Direct also gave us lots of information and updates on games we already know about:
Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr’s Journey: This remaster features a side story complimenting the original game following Bowser Jr. and the Koopalings as they try and find their own solution to the Glorbs infestation.
The game releases January 11, 2019 for 3DS.
Luigi’s Mansion 3DS:This remaster features a new two player mode where both can explore the mansion simultaneously. Note that this mode requires two games; if only one person has the game however, you can still play boss battles together through download play. Tapping amiibo in Professor E. Gadd’s lab warrants different effects, for example healing Luigi or revealing hidden boos.
Bust some ghosts when the game comes out October 12th.
Yo-Kai Watch Blasters: Already out now, a free software update on September 27th adds new missions, new areas to explore, new Yo-Kai and a new big boss Yo-Kai.
Splatoon 2 v 4.0: This update features the introduction of new ‘designer’ weapons named Kensa and significant changes to Splatfest that are detailed at the Squid Research Lab. V 4.1 sees the release of the second Kensa collection (including new sub and special weapons) and a new stage, releasing early October – this is the last Splatoon 2 stage to be added, with the last weapons to be added in December and the last Splatfests in July 2019.
Mario Tennis Aces: In a new update Birdo, Shy Guy, Paratroopa, and Petey Pirahna are added to the roster, all of whom can be unlocked by playing online. More characters are to be added until next June. Also added is a new mode - Co-op Challenges are online challenges only available for a limited time; these can unlock new skins or costumes for characters when completed.
This update comes September 19th.
Nintendo Switch Online: Nintendo’s online subscription service begins September 18th. Obviously the service includes the ability to play online but any other incentives have been kept under Nintendo’s hat until quite recently.
The presentation detailed how 20 (initial) Nintendo Entertainment System games would be included, including Super Mario Bros. 3, Dr. Mario, and Ghosts’n Goblins. Multiplayer games are compatible with a singular JoyCon and some NES games can be played online, for example Dr. Mario. This library will grow and one will have access to it as long as they remain a member to the online service.
Also as part of the service, save data is automatically backed up to the cloud – though reportedly when you cease to be a member your save data is erased from the cloud with no way to retrieve it. Members also receive undisclosed special offers. I personally feel so-so about it; a year membership is £17.99, yet Nintendo don’t seem to be offering enough to justify this price tag. Sure, the 20 NES titles are nice – but these are games we’ve been spoon-fed for about ten years and are not as enticing as they used to be. With cries for a Gamecube Virtual Console being ignored and the main selling point of the service – online play – having been free for the last 18 months, it’s difficult to feel enthusiastic about the service.
Pokemon Let’s Go! Pikachu + Eevee: Pikachu and Eevee use secret techniques to navigate obstacles in the overworld - think HMs in previous games. Your partner Pokemon’s hairstyle can also be changed by grooming them when your Switch is in handheld mode a la Pokemon Amie.
Diablo III: Eternal Collection: You can explore the full story and play as various different roles with up to three players online, local co-op or couch co-op. Exclusive Ganondorf armour is offered in the Nintendo Switch version. All amiibo are compatible, and allow you to summon powerful enemies with valuable loot.
Diablo III: Eternal Collection launches November 2nd.
Super Mario Party: As previously revealed, character specific diceblocks have different numbers that could change the tide of the game. There are 80 brand-new minigames to enjoy and you can compete against people in the Online Mario-thon in a competitive minigame extravaganza.
Super Mario Party releases October 5th.
DAEMON X MACHINA: This game gives you control of your own personal power suit, named an Arsenal. Defeating enemies earns you their parts , with these being equipped on the fly or carefully put on before any given mission. You are also able to exit your Arsenal at points during battle to explore the field, ushering in a new style of exploration and combat.
The game also offers online 4 player co-op to take on massive bosses, and will launch in 2019.
The World Ends with You: Final Remix: New information was revealed about the game’s apparently epilogue – called ‘New Day’, this story scenario features ‘a remixed map of Shibuya’, as well as new monsters and a new reaper, Coco.
The World Ends with You: Final Remix will release October 12th.
Xenoblade Chrnoicles 2: Torna – The Golden Country: Xenoblade’s brand-new story expansion sees a refined battle system, allowing you to fight both as Blades and Drivers.
The DLC releases September 21st but is available now for those with the expansion pass.
That wraps up Nintendo’s latest Direct. Fulfilling and interesting in a sense with the wealth of announcement and updates, personally it left me feeling a bit underwhelmed regarding Nintendo’s online service. Asking for money for something that has been free for the last 18 months doesn’t feel right and I don’t feel they’re doing enough to entice anybody to want to take the plunge. Time will tell how the handle it, but right now Nintendo Switch Online does not look too inviting.
You can catch the Direct in its entirety below – let us know what you thought!