The Nintendo Switch, this gaming generation’s biggest hit, hosts some fantastic original games. Undoubtedly, without games like “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” “Super Mario Odyssey” and “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate,” the hybrid system wouldn’t be the smash success it is.
Still, most Nintendo systems have a handful of great original games and it doesn’t always add up to a successful console (cough … Wii U … cough).
But the Switch is different. Fans were immediately attracted to the mighty might’s portable features, and game publishers discovered early on that these same fans would pay to play older games on the go.
This has led to successful ports of games both recent and long-in-the-tooth, indeed giving new life to some games. And while the success of these ports has been mixed, the overall success cannot be denied.
Recently, Square Enix has released five “Final Fantasy” games on the Switch. Those who know the history of the premier console RPG series know the first six titles appeared first on Nintendo systems.
However, when the developers decided to explore new technologies with “Final Fantasy VII,” they choose Sony’s new PlayStation because it had a CD-ROM drive with its additional storage.
While “Final Fantasy” games have appeared on various Nintendo handheld systems, no mainline title has been released on a Nintendo primary console since the SNES. Until now.
In the last couple of months, “Final Fantasy VII,” “FF IX,” “FF X/X2” and “FF XII” have all appeared on the Switch, as has the newer “World of Final Fantasy Maxima.”
All of these except “Final Fantasy VII” turned out fantastic, with top-notch graphics and smooth gameplay. “FF VII” suffered from a few bugs that plagued the recent PC update but has since been patched and is working well.
It should be noted that all of these titles have been enhanced to take advantage of modern systems, so the Switch versions look and play even better than the originals. This is especially true for “FF X/X2” and “FF XII.” Both are gorgeously realized and represent high points for the series.
The re-release wagon doesn’t stop with “Final Fantasy” however. Games like “Dragon’s Dogma,” “Assassin’s Creed III” and the upcoming “Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening” show the diversity of games coming to Switch from all kinds of past systems.
It’s important to remember, though, that success hinges on the quality of the port.
Games like “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” and “Doom,” really have no business looking or playing as well as they do on Switch. But “Assassin’s Creed III” plays sluggishly and features less-than-ideal graphics. Given how good other last-gen games look and play on the system, it makes one think poor conversion is to blame.Sometimes, a game ends up receiving its definitive edition on Switch, as is the case with “Diablo III.”
This 7-year-old action/RPG has never looked or played better than it does on the Switch. In addition to containing all of the DLC accumulated since the original release, it happens to be a perfect choice to play on the go (though it will still look glorious on the 65-inch LCD in your living room).
Like previous Nintendo systems before it, the Switch also offers a back catalog of past Nintendo games. While the selection isn’t nearly as robust as the Virtual Console of days past, the titles you get as part of your annual Nintendo Online subscription (thus far only NES games) are truly excellent.
And then there is “Fortnite.” Perhaps the most popular game in the world right now, “Fortnite” plays flawlessly on Nintendo’s latest. Plus, it allows cross-play with PC, Mac, Xbox One and even notorious cross-play holdout PS4.
The fact that the Switch can keep up with these other, technically more powerful systems is a testament to the system’s capabilities and overall potential.
Most gaming consoles offer backward compatibility in some form or another, and the capabilities of the Switch gives players everything they could want — the ability to play their old favorites in the living room and on the go.
At the end of the day, this may be what pushes the Switch over the top of the pack.