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Nintendo Direct February 2022 round-up: Mario, Xenoblade, Fire Emblem, and more

Whether you're after more Mario Kart 8 content, a massive new Xenoblade Chronicles RPG, or just some retro JRPG goodness, last night's Direct had you sorted.

Last night's Nintendo Direct will surely be one for the ages – as well as some new arrivals, we also saw Nintendo cast a loving eye backwards, reintroducing some cherished games to the Nintendo Switch system in the form of remasters and Nintendo Online additions. For gamers new and old, then, the February 2022 Nintendo Direct was definitely one to remember.

Granted, we didn't see some of the big games that many people were expecting; there's still no solid Breath of the Wild 2 release date, nor is there new information about Metroid Prime 4. And we're still waiting to hear more about the long-awaited Bayonetta 3.

But we did get a lot – and I mean a lot – of other games to keep us ticking over. Let's run down the extensive, and frankly exhausting, list:

First up, we saw Fire Emblem Warriors – Three Hopes, a follow-up to the Musou game Fire Emblem Warriors that brings the beloved Three Houses heroes back to Nintendo Switch on June 24. It's set in the same universe as the mainline game, and will follow Edelgard, Dimitri, and Claude as they battle it out in hopes of achieving their own (sometimes nefarious) goals.

Following that, we got an update on Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp, which hits the Nintendo Switch on April 8. If you find these games sort-of hard and finniky, don't fret – this new one lets you reset turns, speed up gameplay and battle in exhibition matches (not just in the campaign). It's a different art style to the originals, sure, but it still looks nice!

Next up, Nintendo announced that No Man's Sky is heading to Nintendo Switch this summer. The game will feature five year's worth of updates, which means you can expect the Foundation, Pathfinder, Atlas Rises, Next, and other content drops to be included. In the game, you not only fly through the universe and explore new planets, but you can also build everything from small outposts to complex multi-planet colonies on them – it's an ambitious title, so we're intrigued as to how well it'll work on Switch hardware.

Then came a brand new announcement: Mario Strikers Battle League, which hits the Switch on June 10. In this 5v5 soccer-like sport, you can tackle, use items like bananas and shells as well as activate special shots, just like in the original Mario Strikers. Pre-orders are open now on the Nintendo eShop.

Staying with the Nintendo exclusives, we saw some Splatoon 3 next. We didn't get a proper release date for Splatoon 3 the Nintendo Direct, but we did see some monstrous salmon (!?) and some new gameplay for the title. And whatever the hell is going on with that music, I never want to hear it again.

We went modern-retro, after that with the announcement of Front Mission 1st: Remake and Front Mission 2: Remake. The first game will launch on Switch in the summer, but the second one has a more dubious "coming later" release date. "In this tactical RPG, you’ll pilot weaponized machines called Wanzers and lead your battalion to victory. Gain the upper hand in battle by aiming for enemy parts to destroy and uncover the great storyline of this classic game," says a press release.

Disney Speedstorm came next; a free-to-play, cross-platform Disney/Pixar that'll act as a game-as-a-service and drop more Disney-themed racers and tracks as seasonal updates come down the pipe. Monsters Inc., Mulan and classic Disney characters like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck were all included in the trailer. It's coming in 'summer'.

The Disney block continued next with the surpirse announcement of a Switch port of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed – albeit, it's a port of the Wii version, so don't get too excited. The game – in which you play as Vader's apprentice, Starkiller – will hit the console on April 20.

Assassin's Creed: The Ezio Collection was next in line for a good showcase – and you know what? It looks really good on Swithc, if this trailer is anything to go by. If you want to jump back into some classic Assassin's Creed with everyone's favourite stabby Italian, you don't have long to wait; it arrives February 17.

Next up, there's Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Editiona remaster of the original, coming to Nintendo Switch on April 7. You will be able to turn off enemy encounters in the game, as well as play that eponymous Radical Dreamers portion of the game – a side story that connects both Chrono Cross and Chrono Trigger. Until now, we've not been able to play this game outside of the SNES adapater that was only available in Japan. So that's a pretty good excuse to jump back into the game!

We got a new trailer for Kirby and the Forgotten Land next. The trailer debuted the worryingly-titled 'Mouthful Mode', which lets Kirby gobble up cars, vending machines and more in order to take on their, err, properties. It's fairly harrowing, seeing Kirby exist in a grim world much like our own. We get to explore this odd concept on March 25.

Then we heard about Klonoa 1 and Klonoa 2 , which are coming to Switch on July 8. The games will be collected under the 'Phantasy Reverie Series' moniker, and will also launch on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S at some point 'soon'. Brace yourselves for more info in due course.

Coming to Switch later this year is Portal: Companion Collection which features Portal and Portal 2 from Valve. The games will be available worldwide for Switch later this year through the Nintendo eShop for $19.99, or your regional equivalent.

If you're a fan of fairly obscure Japanese role-playing games that have never made it west before, you'll be pleased to know that a remake of Live A Live is due to hit our shores on July 22.

Next, we got the announcement of Nintendo Switch Sports – a follow-up the madly popular Wii Sports – that will feature volleyball, bowling, badminton, and more when it releases on April 29. There are six sports included such as soccer, volleyball, bowling, tennis, badminton and the swordplay sport chambara. You can even use a Joy-Con with the Leg Strap accessory included in the physical version to kick the ball in a Soccer Shoot-Out. A seventh sport, golf, will be added to the game in the fall.

Triangle Strategy got its own spot during the Direct, too, as Nintendo announced a new demo for the game, as well as the news that any progress you make in the demo will carry over into the final game when it launches later this year.

There's a free update – out now! – for Metroid Dread. This new patch adds the Dread mode one-hit difficulty (think Heaven & Hell from the Devil May Cry series), as well as the Rookie difficulty, for players that are having trouble with the game's combat. The trailer also shows off a boss rush mode, coming in April.

Mario Kart fans, eat your heart out: one of the major, headline announcements of this first Nintendo Direct of 2022 was the introduction of paid DLC courses for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. The Booster Course pack includes courses from past Mario Kart games and we're going to get eight courses at a time over six waves by the end of 2023, which can all be played locally or online. Park your hopes of Mario Kart 9 any time soon, then.

Phew. Finally, we have Xenoblade Chronicles 3. The game has a release date set for September 2022 on Nintendo Switch. "Players will step into the roles of protagonists Noah and Mio amid turmoil between the hostile nations of Keves and Agnus," says a press release for the game. "Six characters hailing from those nations will take part in a grand tale with 'life' as its central theme." You can read more about the title at the link.

About the Author

Dom Peppiatt avatar

Dom Peppiatt

Features Editor

Dom is a veteran video games critic and consultant copywriter that has appeared in publications ranging from Daily Star to The Guardian. Passionate about games and the greater good they can achieve, you can usually find Dom listening to records, farting about in the kitchen, or playing Final Fantasy VIII (again).

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