Nintendo meh-rect: maybe a better direction next time

Hattie Metcalfe breaks down the first Nintendo Direct of the year

Harriet Metcalfe
28th February 2021
It's the first Nintendo Direct of the year!

With no warning, we were thrust straight into the first trailer for what looked like a Xenoblade Chronicles instalment. Instead, it was a new feature for Super Smash Bros Ultimate, as Pyra and Mythra from Xenoblade Chronicles 2 are set to join the game as interchangeable characters this March. With moves like Flama Nova and Prominence Revolt, we saw Pyra fighting Link and the pair raising chaos. Super Smash Bros Ultimate has been on my to-play list for ages and this update might be the final bit of encouragement I need to splash out on the physical copy.

I know we're all bored right now. But are we really bored enough for another Mario Golf instalment this June? Nintendo apparently thinks we are, since we can't visit the "lush, natural scenery" (an actual quote from the presentation) of the real world. The game is introducing something called "speed golf" which looks like one of the most anxiety inducing things that should never be in a game of golf, and even a story mode for your Wii so you can live out all your wildest... golfing fantasies.

I wish I was joking!

Long rumoured but seemingly not fully confirmed until last night were the 35th anniversary Super Mario themed items coming to Animal Crossing: New Horizons this March. Items include the traditional brown blocks (that you seem to be able to jump into and collect coins) and iconic functional green pipes that allow you to teleport from one area of your island to another - a godsend for a lazy player like me.

Nearing the end of the presentation was the time we thought they might finally announce Breath of the Wild 2 - and we were ready to throw all our money at them. In fact, when Eiji Aonuma, producer of The Legend of Zelda series came on screen, I may have even yelped a little. But here, unfortunately, was what he said:

"I'm sure a lot of you saw me and thought there might be news about the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild game. Unfortunately, we don't have anything to share right now. We apologise. Development is proceeding smoothly and we should be able to bring you some new information this year. For now, we'll have to ask you to wait just a bit longer. While you're all waiting, however, this Legend of Zelda game will be coming to Nintendo Switch".

When you're expecting a sequel to what has probably become one of the most beloved and popular Nintendo games in history, a remastered version of an old game can seem like a bit of a disappointment. But, releasing The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD on Switch does have its merits. 

The controls have been updated to feel more natural - with one Joy-con able to control the sword and the other the shield.

Originally released on Wii, the game inspired many of the same features seen in Breath of the Wild, such as the stamina wheel and paraglider. The controls have been updated to feel more natural - with one Joy-con able to control the sword and the other the shield. In handheld mode, this translates into the joysticks, so nothing is lost for us Switch Lite folks. It's definitely one to tide us over until BOTW 2, and Nintendo are making a pretty big deal out of it, with special edition joy-cons available to buy. With the game releasing on July 16th, we should be able to work through a fair chunk of it before we hear anything more about the sequel.

Oh, and Splatoon 3 is coming and looks just as insane as usual. But not until 2022, so still a little while left to wait for that one.

All in all, the first Nintendo Direct of 2021 was a mostly decent one. There was just so much stuff - Legend of Mana, Monster Hunter Rise, Tales from the Borderlands available for purchase again, Star Wars: Hunters, Knockout City and Apex Legends are all notable mentions, hell, even the Plants vs Zombies first-person shooter made an appearance.

You'd think this would be the one place where they Covid could just lay off for once but no, the first thing we actually saw was a warning that release dates are subject to change - so that's something to keep in mind if you're thinking about pre-ordering. Thanks again, corona.

I have to say that at the end of the day - this Direct was ultimately a little disappointing. Whilst it's no question that we're getting a lot of new content - whether that's original, remastered, or even new consoles (is that a Monster Hunter Rise system and pro-controller I see before me?) - it was all very anti-climatic. Better luck next time, Nintendo.

[Featured Image: @NintendoAmerica on Twitter]
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AUTHOR: Harriet Metcalfe
English Literature BA student. Loves film, TV, books and coffee. Thinks "Thor: The Dark World" gets too much hate. Twitter: @hattiemetcalfe

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