Nintendo Direct February 2022 – Top 5 Picks

Nintendo’s first outlook for 2022 is a jam-packed reveal extravaganza

Oof. As I closed my laptop around 10:40pm yesterday evening, no other word entered my head. Nintendo’s latest in its outlook presentation videos, Nintendo Direct, had just finished, with over 25 different games/DLC revealed. Most of which are scheduled for release by September this year. As usual, the social media outcry was a mixture of positive, sombre and in some cases negative. There is no pleasing some people, especially when they expect BotW2/F-Zero/Metroid Prime 4 news EVERY SINGLE DIRECT. Nintendo owe us nothing guys, just leave it to the experts.

As a gamer now in my 41st year of life, I have as much an affinity with retro games as much as new sequels and intellectual properties. This direct was a fantastic mix of both. With that in mind, here are my top five picks, in no particular order, along with some honourable mentions, that I am most looking forward to.

Front Mission 1st: Remake

Front Mission 3 is one of my all-time favourite strategy RPG’s on the Sony Playstation. It was also the west’s first foray into the series, with it previous Super Nintendo entries remaining in Japan. For that alone this announcement, albeit a remake and not the original, is very exciting to me, and surely exciting for existing fans who will get their hands on a new version that looks fantastic. Plans are also in place to release a remake of the 2nd game also. Such releases would be unheard of in the 1990’s so for that reason alone these will be worth checking out.

Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition

From one previously unreleased game to another, with Chrono Trigger’s spiritual successor, Chrono Cross, finally getting a release in my native United Kingdom. The PS One original has been on the US PS3 PSN store for years, so even for US players its nice to see a touched up version being made universally available.

Originally released in 1999, Chrono Cross tells the tale of Serge, who after crossing into a parallel world where he drowned as a child, must find out the truth behind the accident. That path links to the fate of the world, encountering many followers along the way. In truth, there are so many companions in Chrono Cross that it’s new game+ option becomes an essential feature as you will want to see everything.

This new version incorporates the visual Chrono side story The Radical Dreamers, originally released on the SNES modem add-on Satellaview. Previously exclusive to Japan, The Radical Dreamers is effectively the origin of Serge and, ultimately, Chrono Cross itself. Additionally, and crucially, is the inclusion of an enhanced version of the soundtrack. A soundtrack which easily ranks among the best ever produced for the video game medium.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land

Released in just over a month’s time, the latest Kirby adventure looks to be a belter. Taking a leaf out of the Mario 64/Sunshine playbook, not only is Kirby and the Forgotten Land the first 3D Kirby game of its kind, but also includes a central hub that reflects your achievements in the separate stages faced and completed. But the real draw surely must be the reveal of Kirby using his new Mouthful Mode, which allows him to inhale not only enemies for their abilities, but also traffic cones, vending machines and even A CAR. Yes, Kirby can become a car. I am so in.

Live A Live Remake

One Japan-only SNES remake reveal is pretty special. Two is a delight, but THREE?! In the same presentation?! Madness. Wonderful, fulfilling madness. Live A Live was a 1994 JRPG, again for the Super Nintendo (you have no idea how many never made it to our shores), and is being remade by the Square Enix team that brought us the excellent Octopath Traveller.

Once again it may not be the original, as we had previously through the Saga Frontier re-releases, but this is looking to be another belter for the superb Switch catalogue of JRPG’s. More please.

Nintendo Switch Sports

Coming April 29th, Nintendo Switch Sports is a modern revival of the superb Wii Sports series. All the favourites will return, such as bowling and tennis, along with new additions Volleyball and Soccer (grumble, its FOOTBALL).

Whilst by no means a meaty new reveal, it certainly evokes memories of the Nintendo Wii’s illustrious launch title. Better still, the Switch could well provide the premium hardware experience Nintendo Switch Sports can truly thrive alongside the likes of Ring Fit Adventure. To be honest, I’ll take any excuse to partake in many hours of ten pin bowling with family and friends.

Honourable Mentions

With a Nintendo Direct with so many games to chew on, to just leave with just the above five wouldn’t do it justice. Not all the reveals were for me, and the same will no doubt apply to all of you, too. First up was Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes. Now, I can take or leave most games with the Warriors moniker as they’re pretty much all the same, but it’s the fact they’re so easily licensable that gives them their appeal. For Switch the high point has to be the Hyrule Warriors series, with its Breath of the Wild tie-in a super selling point. From gauged reactions so far, this new Fire Emblem title isn’t really stoking any fires, but I would counter argue that to expect an actual Fire Emblem sequel less than three years since the last is a tad crazy.

Contrastingly, the final big reveal of the presentation, naturally bringing the proceedings to a close, was Xenoblade Chroncles 3. It didn’t jump out to everyone, although still a welcome title to anticipate. Personally I currently have little stock in the series purely because I haven’t made the time to play it, other than Xenoblade Chronicles X on the Wii U. A port of that would have been welcome, and could still happen at some point. Regardless, it was a reveal that has my approval, and will certainly bolster the Switch’s reputation as the best JRPG machine on the planet.

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