Direct Rundown: 2013 December

Initial opinions on the NA Nintendo Direct for 2013 December 18. Notable announcements: Hyrule Warriors, Sonic Lost World DLC, NES Remix, Dr. Luigi, and Rosalina in Smash Bros. 4.

  • Hyrule Warriors: I like the branching out to third-parties, though I do with they’d have picked a lesser-known series than Zelda. We already had a Wii U remake and a 3DS sequel in the last few months, so I imagine this is being announced now (and in such an early-looking state) because the actual, EAD-made Zelda is taking longer than expected. As for the game itself, I’m not too keen on it (mostly due to not knowing much about Dynasty Warriors et al.) but maybe it could be cool if there was more combat variety.
  • Kirby Triple Deluxe: Argh, why didn’t they make this a Dedede game and use that as the pun? In all seriousness, this looks pretty cool, like an evolution of the Wii title (that I missed). The beetle and bell powers look kind of cool, and the circus power was something I’d expected since I saw Super Star’s boxart. Both sub-games look pretty nostalgia-heavy, though the limit of only 10 copy abilities to Kirby Fighters seems odd.
  • Yoshi’s New Island: I think this was presented to allay some fears about the game being low-quality, as the art style and the history of Yoshi games recently. Mentioning Tezuka by name was pretty strange, but probably part of trying to make sure the game wasn’t framed as a quick-buck kind of title. I’m not too sold on it yet, if only because they use the “New” term in the title. Again.
  • Chibi-Robo! Photo Finder: Looks like a cool idea, and I’m all for using lesser-known series. Not anything particularly ground-breaking, but could be a cult hit, like the GameCube original.
  • Pokémon Bank / Poké Transporter: They didn’t really note anything new about these tools, just that they’re coming out soon (they didn’t even mention Brigette’s re-appearance from the obscure Pokémon Box). The Celebi offer is surprising, though! He was the rarest of the Western event distributions for the longest time, so maybe he isn’t as rare as I think he is? Still cool.
  • Bravely Default: Ugh, they must call them Sleep Points because I’m falling asleep with these explanations. I do like that Reggie quickly defended the idea of the microtransactions, expecting backdraft otherwise. I don’t think they should have used the term “Demo” to refer to the extra campaign.
  • Oh my god Reggie Mii
  • Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze: Rewind effect and “Kong Pow” were kind of funny. I’m still bummed that the secondary Kongs can’t be used alone, but Cranky (the original Donkey Kong) having a Scrooge McDuck-like cane is great.  I’m looking forward to this, though I fully expect it to break me, just like its prequel.
  • Sonic Lost World DLC: ?!? Yoshi and (apparently) Zelda levels for a Sonic game? Whaaaaa…? I was going to pick up this game at some point, but this (and the patch to make 100 rings give a life) might just make it impossible not to.
  • Wii Sports Club: I tried the current games for a bit, and I think it’s a neat idea, but they should’ve had this out earlier to launch, and better-publicized. Glad the GamePad as floor screen idea wasn’t abandoned since the Wii U reveal trailer.
  • NES Remix: I realize not all NES titles spawned multi-million dollar franchises, but I’m saddened by the lack of games like Metroid or Kirby’s Adventure in favor of a bunch of sports games. Based on early impressions, it doesn’t sound like there’s many “remixes” in comparison to more standard-fare missions. $15 is also a bit steep.
  • Dr. Luigi: “Dr. Luigi is in the house.” 🙂 This is also $15, but it looks like it has a lot more features, and isn’t just a reskin of Dr. Mario (like the version from the first WarioWare), featuring other variations on the game.
  • Super Smash Bros. 4: I should really watch the Directs live, so I can be surprised by trailers like this. You think it’s a Kirby Air Ride sequel at first, then Mario Kart (with Kirby as a guest star?), before it’s revealed as Smash Bros. (BTW, more Nintendo characters in Mario Kart would be genuinely awesome). As for Rosalina, I’m glad we finally got a new character! Shame that it’s a Mario character, but still, she looks pretty unique, even compared to the Ice Climbers, which she most closely resembles.
  • Mario Kart 8: Looks good, but nothing really ground-breaking from what I was expected. The “buggy” design Iwata mentioned doesn’t really excite me, and I kind of know what we’re getting into from past experience. Still, we ain’t getting an F-Zero anytime soon, so I’ll take what I can.

In short, my prospects for the Wii U are higher than previously, but from a business evaluation, there’s not much here that suggests growth of the market or of third-party support. It’s a shame, and perhaps a chicken-and-egg problem of Nintendo, but I at least feel like they’re trying now.

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