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Top Five Games From This Week’s Nintendo Direct

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Nintendo Direct Top 5 February 2019

Yesterday’s Nintendo Direct featured several game reveals and new information. Some announcements stood out more than others, so OnlySP has compiled our top five announcements, and the exclusions we wished were present.

5. Super Mario Maker 2

Super Mario Maker took the gaming world by storm. Allowing players to create their own levels in one of the most popular franchises in the world was an incredible experience. Gamers who dream of being game designers got a chance to put their thoughts, skills, and determination to the test. A new sequel, Super Mario Maker 2, is coming to a much more popular system, the Switch, with updates to mechanics and the possibility of a plethora of new features.

Having the ability to put one’s creativity to the test with such a franchise is a joy and a dream come true to many. This opportunity gives gamers a whole new reason to get into the franchise as they now have an almost unlimited amount of stages to play. Super Mario Maker 2 is going to give a new way for Nintendo to take over the platforming genre for a long time.

4. Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Fire Emblem as a franchise almost died out until the 3DS games brought it new life. With the revitalization of the series, many people have been clamouring for a bigger and better title on console. Now, three console generations since the GameCube, gamers will finally be able to get the experience they have been wanting.

As a professor, players will be able to choose from three different houses at a school. The player will have to train their students by using drills and taking them into real combat situations. Building a cohesive team that gets along will create a stronger and more effective fighting force.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses will allow players to control large numbers of troops to create a dramatic battle scene. Fire Emblem is known to have a permadeath feature; if this mechanic comes back, as it should, gamers are going to need to take extra care that they have as few casualties as possible. Three Houses will release on July 26, 2019.

3. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was a risky game for Ninja Theory to tackle. Having a game deal with such a misunderstood and touchy subject is a huge risk. For the game to not portray properly the psychosis that Senua lives with would be a tremendous blow to the studio but in actuality, the development team took such care and research that Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice has claimed many awards. Hellblade was not developed as a AAA project but the title took the gaming world by storm, setting a new example for the AA games.

Hellblade coming to the Switch is a major deal, demonstrating that a game that deals with such a heavy topic is still relevant. Ninja Theory created a title that needs to be encountered by almost everyone as the experience is something that can make a real impact on someone, helping them grow their own understanding of mental illness. OnlySP ranked at eighth in our list of the top 50 single-player games; find out why here.

2. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

With so many high-quality games, The Legend of Zelda fans seldom agree on a favorite. Link’s Awakening, however, often tops the list. Some of the other highly regarded games, including Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, have been ported to more modern systems such as the 3DS. With the last major Zelda release being Breath of the Wild, having a remake of a critically acclaimed entry in the series will be a great way to bring nostalgia back to many who are waiting for the next main entry.

Nintendo is known for changing up Link’s look over the years and this time is no different, changing what was a 2D sprite game into 3D graphics while retaining the old gameplay. The game still holds true to gameplay and experience that fans would have had. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening will be a great addition to the Switch, providing gamers another reason to take Link on their own personal daily adventures.

1. Astral Chain

Astral Chain is the newest creation from PlatinumGames. Building off of the insane action that the developer is known for with supervision from Hideki Kamiya (best known for the Bayonetta games and The Wonderful 101) Astral Chain is looking to create a whole new experience. The game stars two police protagonists trying to take down what appears to be a corrupt conglomerate that deems civilization is driving humanity to its demise. As the police fight this major enemy, they will have a new humanoid machine that can transform into a multitude of weapons and creatures to face off against giant mutant monsters. Some of the examples shown in the announcement trailer include transforming into a large bow-style weapon that delivers large attacks and morphing into a wolf-like creature that can be ridden and used to attack. In addition, the humanoid weapon is shown doing tag team attacks against enemies, even wrapping them up in a special wire for follow-up attacks.

PlatinumGames’s last title, Scalebound, was a highly-anticipated Xbox One exclusive that was cancelled. While the studio works on the much anticipated Bayonetta 3, it has a new property that will also be exclusive to the Switch. Seeing a highly acclaimed studio such as PlatinumGames bounce back with a whole new idea and taking new risks is exciting.

What was missing?

Along with great announcements, many people felt that the Direct excluded some crucial titles or information. The biggest title that deserved some screen time was the new Animal Crossing title that many have been waiting for. The last release for Animal Crossing was the disappointing mobile game entry. A lot of the time in the Direct was taken up by new announcements, so one wonders why Nintendo did not at least mention Animal Crossing. Perhaps the answer will be found at E3.

Many were disappointed not to see the new Pokémon game from Game Freak. Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee are successful titles but they are still far from being a core entry that has the depth of a standard Pokémon game. Hopefully with the new title being the first core entry on console, Game Freak has some special plans. Fans have many questions, including information about the regions, generations, Pokémon, size—hopefully these can be answered at E3.

Nintendo recently announced that Metroid Prime 4 will be restarting production from scratch with the original Prime team, Retro Studios. With the recent setback, fans desperately want to get their hands on a new Metroid game. A Switch remaster of the original Prime trilogy may be announced at E3, but only time will tell.

What are your top five games from the Nintendo Direct? Let us know in the comments and on social media.

For more on Nintendo and single player gaming, be sure to follow OnlySP on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

A graduate of Game Development with a specialization in animation. A true love for all things creative especially Game Design and Story.

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Editorial

Three Single-Player Games to Watch Out for in May 2019

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May

May offers no respite from the big, bold games that have released so far in 2019, bringing with it a host of games almost certain to appeal to gamers of every stripe.

Close to the Sun

Release Date: May 2, 2019
Platforms: PC, consoles later in the year

May’s first major release may also be its most intriguing. Close to the Sun has regularly attracted comparisons to BioShock for its art style and premise, though the relationship between the two titles is, at best, spiritual.

Players take the role of journalist Rose Archer as she steps aboard Nikola Tesla’s ship, the Helios in 1897. Like Andrew Ryan before him (or after him, depending on perspective), Tesla has created a microcosm in which scientific freedom is unrestricted, with disastrous outcomes. Rose’s first impression is of a quarantine sign at the entrance to a still, dead ship, but she presses on regardless in search of her lost sister.

With Close to the Sun, developer Storm in a Teacup aims to provide an intense horror experience. The Helios holds none of BioShock’s shotguns or Plasmids. Instead, players have no means to defend themselves, with gameplay focusing on hiding from and escaping the threats on board.

Check out OnlySP’s final review of the game here.

RAGE 2

Release Date: May 14, 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

For anyone to whom the slow, meditative approach does not appeal, Bethesda is busting out the big guns with the long-awaited, little-expected sequel, RAGE 2.

This time around, id Software has tapped Just Cause and Mad Max developer Avalanche Studios for assistance in developing an open-world game. The result, if the trailers are any indication, is a breakneck, neon-fuelled experience that focuses on insanity and ramps up all the unique aspects of the earlier game.

One focal point of development has been ensuring the interconnectedness of the game’s structure, and the teams have promised a greater focus on narrative this time around. Perhaps in keeping with that, RAGE 2 is being distanced from its predecessor, taking place 30 years later with a new protagonist and a whole new story, though some callbacks will be present.

Although id’s legendary first-person gunplay is a driving force throughout the game, it will be supplemented by some light RPG elements, robust vehicular combat, and post launch challenges and support (though the developers deny that RAGE 2 is designed with a games-as-a-service model in mind).

A Plague Tale: Innocence

Release Date: May 14, 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Out on the same day as RAGE 2 is the vastly different A Plague Tale: Innocence. A historical adventure, the game challenges players with overcoming obstacles with brains rather than brawn.

Players become Amicia, an orphan girl struggling to survive in a plague-infested medieval France while also keeping her younger brother safe. With the landscape rife with rats and members of The Inquisition, one of the core tenets of gameplay is reportedly the need to use these threats against each other. As such, though Amicia has a sling to use, the gameplay is designed more as survival puzzles than combat ones.

Developer Asobo Studio is not a household name, though it has a lengthy history of adaptations and support on major titles, including Quantum Break and The Crew 2. Furthermore, even though A Plague Tale is yet to release, publisher Focus Home Interactive has displayed remarkable confidence in the project by extending its partnership with Asobo.

Honourable Mentions

Although RAGE 2 is the incontestable action-blockbuster of the month, gamers in search of another kind of frenetic may want to wait until May 21, when Curve Digital drops American Fugitive, which has a more than passing resemblance to the earliest Grand Theft Auto games. Alternatively, PlayStation VR owners may want to look into Blood and Truth come May 28.

Sega also shines this month, dropping Team Sonic Racing on May 21 and Total War: Three Kingdoms two days later.

Anyone looking for an RPG has indie’s answer to The Outer Worlds, Within the Cosmos, to look out for on May 30, while those looking for slower stories get the latest episode of Life is Strange 2 on May 9, Observation on May 21, and the fjord-noir Draugen at a yet unspecified date.

Have we forgotten anything that you’re excited for? Let us know down below or on our Discord server.

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