The New Nintendo Direct (Or Christmas Part II)

I spent my lunch break yesterday happily watching the latest Nintendo Direct, rather like a Victorian child with his hands pressed against the window of a sweet shop, licking his lips in delicious anticipation. For a Nintendo fanboy like me, the range of wares on offer was intoxicating.

Mine in just a month...
Mine in just a month…

The biggest news was the announcement of a street date for the rather wonderful-looking ‘new’ 3DS, which will arrive in the UK on 13th February, along with Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and the 3D remake of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. Both games will have rather spiffy-looking special-edition 3DSs to go with them, and the Monster Hunter one in particular has stolen my heart – in fact, I’ve just got back from GAME, where I’ve already placed a preorder. I’ve been meaning to upgrade to a 3DS XL for a while now, and this seems like the perfect opportunity. Can’t wait to play MH4U either – the previous MH game has sustained me for the best part of two years.

Another reason to upgrade to the new 3DS XL is that it can read amiibos – and the wonderful-looking Code Name S.T.E.A.M. (which was announced at E3 last year) will be compatible with the Fire Emblem amiibos from the Smash Bros. collection. I already have Marth, and Ike’s on preorder, so now it’s a no brainer for me to get Lucina and Robin as well when the figures are released in March. Oh, and of course I need to get Captain Toad too, obviously. Dammit Nintendo, just take my wallet!

So, yeah, just put me down for all of these. Here, take my watch, too.
So, yeah, just put me down for all of these. Here, take my watch, too.

Another announcement that caught my eye was the release of Wii games as downloads for the Wii U, each at an introductory price of £8.99. I’ve already played most of the games listed, but one caught my eye: Pandora’s Tower. I’ve been on the hunt for this for a while, and it currently goes for silly money on eBay, so this will be a fantastic chance to bag it for £9.

Speaking of RPGs, Xenoblade Chronicles X looks amazing, although that running animation looks a bit weird to me, as if the characters are ice skating. Did that bug anyone else? Still, it feels almost churlish to point that out in the face of the rather stunning giant monsters that flip and jump about in the trailer. There’s a new Fire Emblem on the way too (hurrah!), and this time the writer will be Shin Kibayashi, apparently. Yes, I don’t know either. But I looked up his Wikipedia page, and among the many manga he’s authored is Sherlock Bones, in which the famous Victorian detective is reincarnated as a dog. Which sounds like the best idea for a comic I’ve ever heard.

Best, Manga. Ever. Probably.
Best, Manga. Ever. Probably.

Another highlight was a Mario version of the Japanese smash-hit puzzle game Puzzle and Dragons, which is being released in combination with Puzzle and Dragons Z. This cross between an RPG and a puzzle game looks right up my street, and I was pleased to see it was a boxed release rather than a ‘free to play (but we won’t ever stop bugging you for money)’ title (the original is an F2P mobile game). “Good old Nintendo,” I thought, “nice to see them holding out against the insidious free to play money trap.” And then straight afterwards they announced Pokémon Shuffle… a free to play game that looks very similar to Puzzle and Dragons. Ah.

Pokémon Shuffle. Cutesy? Yes. An insidious foreshadowing of what's to come? Almost definitely.
Pokémon Shuffle. Cutesy? Yes. An insidious foreshadowing of what’s to come? Almost definitely.