In recent weeks, the Internet-based rumour mill churned out some very juicy ‘information’ regarding a then-reportedly-upcoming, Switch-centred Nintendo Direct. Shockwaves of excitement perforated amongst the fanbase, as promise after promise was made for this uncomfirmed event.

There was unanimous agreement of a January 11th broadcast date, so it was taken as irrevocable gospel. There were plenty more idealistic assurances; Animal Crossing would be announced, along with a Smash Bros. port. There would be some details on the much-anticipated Switch edition of Pokemon. We would even get some info on the ever-elusive online infrastructure for the Switch, including Virtual Console.

Anticipation reached fever pitch, as some lunatics even stayed up through the night, certain that something was coming. The date arrived, still with no official confirmation to be seen. But then, out of nowhere, the Big N posted what we’d all been waiting for. Well, sort of.

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Fake News

And so it came to pass that just about the only thing Reddit’s expert analysts got right was the date. Even that looked extremely unlikely until Nintendo emerged unexpectedly from the shadows. Everything else was just absolute toffee.

The presentation was appropriately branded a ‘Mini Direct’ by the company. Running a total of 11 minutes, the event was certainly not the extravaganza of shiny new first-party titles that was promised. Were we not filled with all of this senseless hype beforehand, I’m sure it would have felt far less disappointing than it did.

There’s no denying that without all of the hysteria beforehand, things would have felt a whole lot better. Indeed, if you try to ignore the feeling of being let down, the announcements made were actually pretty strong.

The Dark Souls remaster was arguably the biggest and most thrilling of them all. Yet another huge step in the reformation of the company’s third-party alliance, the inclusion of such a respected studio as FromSoftware in the Switch’s portfolio is fantastic news.

Ports for the Portable

The confirmation that two more Wii U games are being ported to the system is also nothing but positive. Hyrule Warriors and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze both did pretty well critically, but never had a chance to achieve similar success commercially.

This strategy of bringing over titles from the previous generation is an excellent one for Nintendo. Despite its failings as a console, the Wii U still had some great games which many didn’t get to play, myself included. Plenty of Switch owners will be very much looking forward to jumping into both of these games for the first time when they arrive.

The updates announced for already-released games also looked very promising. I didn’t enjoy Mario + Rabbids, but if you did, then great, you’ve got more gameplay coming your way.

The addition of Luigi into Super Mario Odyssey, probably due to the incessant outcry from fans, looks fairly decent too. While the gameplay doesn’t look all that substantial, at least it paves the way for DLC to potentially arrive sometime later. Plus, the addition of Mario’s outfit from Super Mario Sunshine has to be some sort of tease for a GameCube VC on the horizon, right? Please?

There were plenty more cool announcements, too, but I’m sure you already know what they are. The fact of the matter is that overall, this was not a weak presentation for what it was. It managed to adequately fill the upcoming months which previously looked worryingly barren and empty.

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But that’s probably our lot for a while now. The fact that online still hasn’t been discussed at all is deeply worrying. I’m sure they’re saving it for a bigger event, to allow themselves breathing room to discuss its idiosyncrasies in depth. Because, let’s face it, there’s going to be a lot of them. Even so, I and many other fans are verging on if not already firmly at the point of sheer frustration at the complete radio silence on the subject. Just give us something.

It definitely doesn’t need repeating, but as countless others have said countless times, 2017 was Nintendo’s year. 2018 is going to have a hard job beating the likes of Mario and Zelda whatever the company’s plans are. What we need more than ever, though, is reassurance that it will still at least be a strong one. So far, things aren’t looking great on the first-part front.

Sure, we have Kirby and Yoshi coming up, and now Mario Tennis, but they aren’t exactly targeted towards the ‘hardcore’ player base. Personally, I have next to no interest in either of the first two. This Direct has gone some way towards remedying the issue, but as positive as Wii U ports are, they aren’t quite new games.

If the event had been allowed to be what was intended – that is, very much a Mini presentation – I’m sure it would have flourished. The announcements made weren’t underwhelming in and of themselves. Compared alongside all of the fever dreams of online forums, however, they absolutely were.

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