Rundown (9/01-9/07) Natalie Must Remain Enigmatic

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Something that might not be obvious from the deluge of personal information and historically hued anecdotes I offer throughout this jolly old website is the fact that ‘in real life’ I tend to be immensely reserved around others.  As in, I like to give as few personal details as possible, and only share said details when prompted. This applies from co-workers to classmates to even my immediate family, and my justification stems from a deep fear of rejection or being misunderstood by others.  I mean, I could tell them that I enjoy writing and video games, but those things could be wildly thrown out of proportions, and saying that I write novels and review games for a small website sounds a trifle bit bizarre to some people. So the way I view it, there is no winning and I ought to keep my mouth shut, lest I accidentally spew something problematic.

Kicking open the proverbial door after this sleepy Labor Day weekend was Nintendo, with their latest Nintendo Direct offering, a truncated bombardment of announcements that, based on recent data, are only held three times a year, in the spring, at E3, and during late summer or early autumn, barring the occasional game-specific Directs.  As per usual, I won’t be covering everything, especially incremental announcements pertaining to games already shown in detail, and I will be bouncing around with my summary, as I feel that the way Nintendo airs these things is not necessarily the best way to report or discuss them.  

Firstly, back in 2017 Hal Laboratory took a mini-game from Kirby Planet Robobot and turned it into a free-to-play 3DS title by the name of Team Kirby Clash Deluxe, a co-op boss gauntlet of sorts where four players each with their own copy ability would ban together to try and take down assorted foes, while dealing with the expected power creep endemic to these sort of free-to-play titles.  And seeing as how the game was either a success, or Hal Laboratory took a fancy to it, the standalone title is getting a successor in the form of Super Kirby Clash, which released on Switch after the Direct concluded.  I’m not personally all that interested in getting into another free-to-play title at the moment, but I am always happy to see more Kirby in any shape and form, because Kirby makes me happy.  Yes, I am quite the simpleton at times, but there’s nothing wrong with being easy to please in highly specific instances.

Game Freak’s latest IP, previously entitled Town, was given the delightful moniker of Little Town Hero along with a new trailer that further goes to depict the game as an appealing and experimental RPG that requires players to use the town and its assorted features as part of their battle strategies.  This interesting idea combined with a charming presentation makes the game look rather promising as far as I can tell. But the actual quality of the game will be widely assessed after it launches on October 16th!  Oh, and most of the music for this game is being done by Undertale’s very own Toby Fox… I can’t say I expected that.

Speaking of Toby Fox, beloved contemporary pop culture icon Sans from Undertale was finally given his very own place in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, being released shortly after the Direct as… a Mii Fighter costume, and not a full fighter as some fools predicted.  Instead, the leak from Nintendo UK’s website that mentioned an SNK representative wound up being true as a beloved face of an entire era of fighting games will be duking it out with the best of them.  Yes, the face of the long neglected Fatal Fury series, the only returning character in the much beloved Garou: Mark of the Wolves, mainstay of the unofficial fighting game series of Latin America, The King of Fighters, and an unwilling participant of a female only Tag Team Frenzy, Terry Bogard, is coming to Smash this November.  

Like all Smash character announcements, this naturally upset a large number of people, but if Sans, the immediate release of Banjo-Kazooie, and the return of the home run contest were not enough to quell these individuals, it was announced that more new fighters will be coming to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate beyond the initial five detailed in the fighters pass.  No number was given, but I’m hoping that Smash Ultimate simply never stops receiving DLC, and the game lives on forever.  Kind of like Everquest.  …What, you didn’t know that 1999’s Everquest still receives annual expansions?  Pfft, and y’all call yourself real gamers.

Moving on, Pokemon Sword and Shield are due out soon, so more details were shown in the form of extensive trainer customization that allows these characters to better resemble the avatars they ought to be, rather than a predefined character whose skin tone you can change.  The previously leaked Pokemon Camp feature was revealed, serving as a replacement of Pokemon Amie and Pokemon Refresh that allows for players to play with their party of Pokemon, join in with the parties of other players, and also prepare curry for your Pokemon to eat in exchange for unspecified stat boosts.  Lord do I say Pokemon a lot when talking about Pokemon.

But in addition to features, two new Pokemon were revealed in the form of the teapot ghost Pokemon Polteageist, who is a purple little spooky creature that is actually a sentient glob of purple tea that can be consumed by humans.  Because there are not enough Pokemon that you can eat, and that’s just terrible. There are also not enough Pokemon that eat other animals, which Cramorant seeks to solve, being this freaky looking water bird that can summon waves of water via moves like surf, and in doing so summons a fish from the ether, which they stuff in their fat beak.  Then, if another Pokemon tries to hit them, Cramorant will spit the fish back out at them, dealing significant damage as per their ability. Yeah, okay, these new Pokemon are getting bloody wild with their gimmicks at this point, but I’m not complaining… at least not yet.  

I’m also not the sort to complain about ports or remasters, and boy howdy, two of the finest RPGs from Nintendo’s recent history are getting just that.  From the Wii comes Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition, an immensely thorough looking remaster of the original Xenoblade that overhauls just about everything visually, taking the ambitious SD offering and giving it a coat of paint comparable to that used in the Xenoblade Chronicles 2, amounting to an RPG that I would love to get back into… if not for the repetitive quest structure of the game, and the fact that I already put two 70+ hour playthroughs into the title years ago.  Still, super glad to see the game given an overhaul like this, and I hope it delights a new audience once it releases in 2020.  

Meanwhile, the Wii U is losing one more of its noteworthy exclusives, as Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE Encore was announced as an expanded version of the 2016 Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem crossover that bombed commercially and thoroughly salted the sodium intolerant SMT fanbase with a bright and bubbly idol RPG that was, from what I heard, basically a Persona spin-off.  Still, everything I have seen about this game looks amazing, as it has pomp, vibrant colors, racism, spades of Japanese cultural nods, and ticks off so many of my boxes that I just might pick up the game shortly after it releases on January 17th, 2020.  Well, probably not, because I need to save up money for surgery, health insurance, and self-employment taxes. Oh the joys of living in America… 

But one game I will certainly hop on day one is the sequel to one of my favorite games of all time.  A title that, while technically inept in many ways, nevertheless exemplifies the sheer level of enjoyability and delight that media may embed someone with.  It is a title I only experienced once, yet resonated with me and helped inform my preferences going forward. I am of course talking about 2010’s Deadly Premonition, which is, against all reason, getting a sequel dubbed Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise.  A supernatural mystery adventure game with shades of survival horror that boasts dual protagonists, and will indeed be written and directed by the enigmatic darling that is SWERY 65Deadly Premonition 2 is due out in 2020, and a port of the first game, entitled Deadly Premonition Origins, released on the eShop after the Direct and considering how not-good the PC version is, I’ll probably pick it up when it first goes on sale, because I’d love to revisit Greenvale.  

That was the peak of all announcement for me, but there were some other notable ports announced for the system, further establishing the Switch as a port powerhouse, and I should probably go over the notable ones.  After the announcement was leaked via a carrying case whose Amazon page went live prematurely, the Direct opened up by declaring that popular online hero shooter Overwatch will be coming to the Switch on October 15th.  Similarly after being leaked from a variety of sources, it was announced that 1997’s Doom 64 will be coming to the Switch on November 22nd, thereby making the Switch the Doom-iest console in existence between the ports of Doom (1993), II, 3, 2016, and Eternal.  

It is also going to be home to a gimped single player version of Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, on September 24th, which would be exciting except for the fact that the only thing people like to discuss with regards to this game is playing multiplayer with the dismemberment feature turned on.  But screw all this noise, because Devil May Cry 2 is coming to the platform on September 19th, bringing the most notorious and neglected entry in the illustrious series to a new audience!

Those are just a few notable titles, but showcases like the one seen in this Nintendo Direct really do go to paint the Switch’s library as being the stuff of legends given the sheer breadth of games that are rapidly plopping onto the system’s storefront.  A far cry from the supposed droughts the system was affiliated with early on, and an amazing testament that, knowing Nintendo, will be forever locked to aging hardware while they go on to do something quirky instead of iterating on something that worked, like everybody else.  Seriously, everybody likes the Switch aside from performance snobs, so please do not try and revolutionize everything like you always do… 

Same thing with classic game distribution because, being honest here, I love the fact that I can now play Super Nintendo games on my Switch, and between games like Kirby’s Dream Land 3, Kirby’s Dream Course, Super Metroid, and A Link to the Past, I am not mad with their initial offerings, not at all.  But I would rather just be able to buy and own these games.  Instead the only legal and convenient way I can get my grubby little nubs on these games is via these ethereal digital rentals.

Okay, am I forgetting anything else?  Because I think— Oh my stars, that’s right!  In the Japanese Nintendo Direct it was announced that the seminole PS1 classic, Moon: RPG Remix Adventure, a surreal genre deconstructing cult classic, will be released on Switch by way of independent studio Onion Games, who shall bring this unlocalized game worldwide!  That is incredibly fortunate, but that’s all I have for this week, since nobody else bothered revealing anything.  So for now kids, have fun with these newfangled video games, and don’t play in traffic or the grass lion will steal your kidneys.  

Header image comes from Taishou TS Otome Soushi by Kouji and Amulai Sweet Factory.  Yeah, second Kouji image in a row, but what can I say?  Expressions are their forte.  

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