The Nintendo Switch is only weeks away and many are excited to see a grand ‘switch’ for the company. Coming off the Wii U and 3DS, it’s a console that is a celebration of everything Nintendo accomplished over the years, but hardware is nothing without the software. The Switch will be launching with a number of games and I will be detailing my impressions of every game releasing at launch through analysis done utilizing footage online, playing other versions of games, and looking into information we covered in the past.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
This is the ‘big’ one, the must own for Switch buyers……if you don’t have a Wii U. Similar to Twilight Princess back in 2006, this is a cross-generation release for Wii U and Switch. While the former looks playable, many will likely find the Switch to be the best playing version through smoother frame rates and higher resolutions. But what about the game itself? Does a single game warrant you shelling out 300$ for a new system?
It depends but based on released gameplay footage, I cannot help but feel happy about the series. My favorite Zelda game of all time is Majora’s Mask but I appreciate open world adventures a lot. They allow the player to have an unbound experience venturing across grand landscapes. Nintendo is infamous for offering depth that is both hidden and visible. That seems to be present with Breath of the Wild as visible changes to tried-and-true Zelda mechanics (combat and physics system) and new systems that offer insidious features (stamina system, armors, weather/day-night cycle) are present.
Story is a big unknown though, as it does something never done in the series (no, the CD-i games don’t count); offer full voice acting. While the fact it doesn’t support dual audio is a shame, having voice acting shows Nintendo is serious in offering a grand story with production values modern gamers expect this day and age. With the series lore and more open nature being present, it has potential to be an engaging narrative.
Zelda Breath of the Wild will clearly be a solid game based on the series history but the bigger question is if the title will be an ‘amazing’ game. In other words, will it be the Mario 64 or Wii Sports for the Switch? Nintendo having a ‘huge’ game at launch to help sell the hardware and say ‘THIS is game changing’ is important and with Zelda, they could have that again.
We will see for ourselves March 3rd but I’m hopeful Breath of the Wild will be a fun game many will enjoy.
Ah party games, the ice breaker for social gatherings. These games are important to every console, as they bring in non-gamers into the fold. Nintendo has this down pat with releases like Wii Sports and Nintendo Land being solid experiences, so they are trying to capture that magic again with 1-2 Switch. The gimmick for the game is that you use the Joy-Con’s as motion controllers for various mini-games.
So you can play a few rounds of Quick Draw with a buddy to see who has the best shot or literally milk a cow for some reason. They range from promising to strange, but the main feature for the title is HD Rumble. This stimulates various effects when holding the Joy-Con controller and is something you need to experience to appreciate.
This makes 1-2 Switch a difficult game to talk about, as you have to play it to fully discuss it. As I never played a Switch, I am not fit to discuss the game much sadly. However, I will say that from watching impressions of the game online, many seem to have fun with the game even when it gets weird.
It’s that ‘Nintendo Charm’ present making people considering giving it a chance, but with a high price point and it not being a pack-in title, some will not give it a chance. I feel not having it as a pack-in is a poor move personally but if the 25+ included games are quality, then the price point should be a worthwhile launch game to get with Zelda.
Super Bomberman R
Talk about a surprise! Former Hudson Soft developers are working with Nintendo and Konami to bring Bomberman back to cause an explosive launch for the console. After Konami’s past actions and deeds, I’m happy to see them working with Nintendo to create a promising title.
Offering many multiplayer modes the series is known for, a single player campaign where you can play with buddies in co-op, and even online support; Super Bomberman R is going to have a lot of content to blast through. Sadly some issues might be present at launch with a capped 30FPS and visuals that many are a bit torn over. But I’m happy to see Bomberman back and hopefully it finds success being present at the Switch launch.
Skylanders Imaginators was a solid experience that is a quality family adventure all can enjoy. With the Switch launch, Activision is bringing Imaginators to the platform with some extra features.
The main new feature is having a ‘Digital Skylanders Collection’ where you scan Skylanders into the game via Right Joy-Con and they are locked to your save file. So it’s a matter of pressing a button to swap characters on the fly. This is a feature many have wanted for years and seeing it finally happy is quite nice.
One downside to this though is that the Traps and SuperChargers Vehicles are not being supported, though it could be a case for the later being completely ported over to the game. In the base release of Imaginators, you have access to digital Vehicles of all types (one flying, boat and car) and every single race-track is playable (even ones needing expansion cups in SuperChargers). I feel maybe the Switch version of Imaginators not only has the race tracks but also every car/plane/boat usable, but we will know for sure March 3rd.
The game will continue getting supported throughout 2017 with expansions similar to LEGO Dimensions, so you will have plenty to play after the main story is finished.
I Am Setsuna
Square Enix is having a large JRPG ready for launch through I Am Setsuna which is inspired by classics like Chrono Trigger. It was a game many enjoyed when it released and I feel it will find a good home on Switch. This version of the game will contain new features like a peer-to-peer multiplayer mode and giving NA/EU gamers a chance to play the game on the go.
When it originally released, the PS Vita version was not localized, so with this Switch release, people can finally play the game on the go.
Indie Game Support
The round out the launch line up is smaller titles that are releasing throughout the month of March. Confirmed for launch are games like World of Goo and Little Inferno, with games like Shovel Knight & Fast Racing will release later in the month. Towards the end of the month, we will also see the release of Snake Pass from Sumo Digital (Sonic Racing Transformed) which will be a huge release for the system.
This sector of Switch support seems to be the most secure and I’m happy to see a wealth of indie developers making software for the Switch.
Japanese-Exclusive Launch Games
Japan is getting two games only releasing in that region for the launch. They are NIS’ Disgaea 5 Complete and Square Enix’s Dragon Quest Heroes I & II. While the former is confirmed for a western release, the later is not. What is interesting is that Dragon Quest Heroes I & II for Switch is like a middle-tier version of the PS3 and PS4 version regarding visuals and will contain balance fixes for Heroes I. It seems to be a good version of a quality game, that is great to see.
The Virtual Console’s Absence
Contrasting with the Nintendo Wii Launch, the VC service is oddly missing for the Switch day-one. Little mention has been made for the service outside of a promise for VC releases late this year with Nintendo’s paid online service but outside of that, we know nothing about the Switch VC.
Rumors indicated that GameCube VC is happening and Mother 3 (a GBA game) will be releasing on Switch. We will most likely hear about the Switch’s VC service closer to E3 2017 and I expect Mother 3 to be one of it’s first titles for NA/EU.
I hope Nintendo does a good job with emulation quality on the Switch version of the VC service and they get a lot of partners on board to support it.
I feel the Switch as a value proposition heavily depends if you own a Wii U or not. Zelda is the star of the show with the Switch, as that will be the best version and taking a massive game on the go is a great experience. But if you own a Wii U, you can just play the game on that and avoid shelling out over 300$.
Nintendo has an uphill battle with the Switch coming off the Wii U but I feel with a promising line up of games and rumors indicate it will get strong support, we are in for a fun Nintendo console.