In a day and age where everyone is focused on 4k and 60 frames per second, it would seem weird to some to say that the Switch has become my primary console now. Furthermore, it may seem weird for someone that has been Playstation first and Nintendo as a complimentary system to say that. This year has seen my gaming preference shift drastically. As much as I love Uncharted and Horizon(which Horizon: Forbidden West is a fantastic game), Playstation just isn't hitting the same for me. I was definitely excited for the release of The Last of Us Part I on the PS5, however after starting to play the game, I have realized that the excitement might have been misplaced given the price. I am excited for God of War: Ragnarok, however even that excitement is waining a little for me. My PS5 is barely getting used over these last several weeks for many reasons, one of which is not wanting to be tethered to my desk in order to play it. As my boys have really started hitting there stride(one just started kindergarten and the other is two years behind), I have found myself wanting to be with them, regardless of where we are in the house. That big reason leads me to the first reason that the Switch has become my primary console this year.
One of the biggest upsides to the Nintendo Switch is its portability and flexibility. At any given time you can move from having the Switch docked and playing on a TV, and the next be sitting in the bedroom or in a car playing the game without needing to save and reload files. The same can absolutely be said from moving the Switch from one TV to another. This has allowed me to not only be playing on my 4k HRD monitor in the office(which the switch looks great on), but also move the Switch to the TV in the play room, or downstairs for game nights.
2. Local Co-op
In this day of graphical "wow", local co-op has been going slowly disappearing. This something that the Switch excels at. The console has a ton of games that can be played with multiple people at the same time. Sure the Playstation has the Little Big Planet series and Xbox has Halo(except Infinite has no co-op), but it does not compare to the number of games the Switch has that can be played together. Heck, right out of the box, the Switch is already to go for two people to enjoy a co-op game. There is no need to buy a second controller when you buy the console as each Switch comes with two joy-cons which just need to be turned sideways to be used as a controller. In this day and age of inflation, that is a huge advantage for consumers looking to maximize their money as best they can.
Yes, admittedly, the Switch does not have any games that can run at 4k 60 frames per second like the Xbox Series X|S or the Playstation 5. That said, the first party Nintendo titles are stunning. The Nintendo first party teams have always known how to take full advantage of the hardware to make the games look incredible. What is even better about this generation of Nintendo hardware vs the Wii U days, is that there is 3rd party buy-in. Whether that is a game like Kingdom Hearts or Resident Evil running via a "cloud" launcher or a game like MLB The Show, Fall Guys, or Skyrim running natively(albeit at a lower resolution than you would find on the PS4/5 or Xbox Series X|S), third party developers are putting games on the console. This commitment from companies like Square Enix, Capcom, etc is a testament to the hard work that Doug Bowser(President of Nintendo of America), John Vignocchi (Head of Third Party for Nintendo of America), and their teams are putting in. That hard work is really paying off and they continue to make the Switch as well rounded. Lets take a look at some of the first party games that make it well worth owning a Switch and are a staple in my household:
Mario Kart has been around since the days of the Super Nintendo, and it keeps getting better. Mario Kart 8 comes with a single player, multiplayer, and online options for players to enjoy. With single player and multiplayer, there are Gran Prix, VS Race, and Battle courses. Single Player does also get the ability to do Time Trials as well. The multiplayer can support up to 4 players at one time on the console. If online is more your thing, you can play with a second person in co-op on the console itself. There is now DLC available for Mario Kart. Once all the courses are released it will double the number of courses from 48 to 96.
Luigi's Mansion first debuted back on the Game Cube and allowed Luigi to be the one to save Mario and their friends. This iteration does not disappoint. As typical with Nintendo first party games, it is gorgeous. For those unfamiliar with the series, Luigi essentially becomes a Ghostbuster in an attempt to save Mario and their friends from the ghosts that inhabit the hotel. There is a campaign mode can be played solo or 2 player co-op and has a ton to find in both collectibles and unique ghosts. The game also comes with a multiplayer mode that can be played with up to 8 players with up to 4 players supported for local multiplayer.
Switch Sports is a continuation of the series first started on the Wii. Up to 4 players on the console can compete in Bowling, Tennis, Soccer, Badminton, Chambara (sword dueling), and Volleyball. There is also an online mode that will allow players to compete with others online simultaneously. It was also announced during a recent Nintendo Direct that Golf will be added as a free download targeted for Holiday of 2022.
Metroid Dread continues the story of Samus Aran that started back on the original Nintendo. The game is stunning in either handheld mode or running on a TV. It has a fantastic story that is also challenging. For those that have played a Metroid game before, you will feel right at home with the exploration mechanics and leveling up Samus' weapons and armor.
Animal Crossing launched at a perfect time for Switch owners in the beginning of 2020. Since then, the game received new updates culminating with one big final update November of 2021. The game is a laid back life sim where players design how they want their island to look. Once you unlock the necessary tools, players can terraform their island to add or take away mountains and rivers, plant trees, decorate it with items they have unlocked, and interact with the inhabitants that move to your island over time. There is also the addition of Happy Home Paradise which allows players to design island getaway homes.
The Switch is currently home to multiple Zelda games. For those that prefer the classic style there is Link's Awakening while those that prefer the Ocarina of Time style, there is Skyward Sword. Then there is Breath of the Wild, as well as its forthcoming sequel, Tears of the Kingdom. Breath of the Wild is a true open world Zelda game where you can travel all over the map. If there is a mountain that you want to climb, and you have the gear to climb it, you can do it. The game is also incredibly beautiful on Switch and long time fans of the series will no doubt find locations that were visited in games' past.
Whats a Nintendo console without a Mario game? Well the Switch is home to multiple Mario games. The ones that are in heavy rotation in my household are Super Mario Odyssey(plays very similarly to Super Mario 64), Super Mario 3D Land/Bowser's Fury, and New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe(A pure 2-D side scrolling Mario game). All these games get played regularly in our household, especially New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe as it allows us to play 2+ players simultaneously on one screen. Each of the Mario games that I mentioned can be challenging but they are great at teaching younger kids the mechanics and allowing their skills to grow as they progress through the game.
4. Nintendo Switch Online
Currently in the gaming environment you have multiple online subscriptions services. Xbox has Games with Gold and Game Pass while Playstation has 3 tiers of Playstation Plus. Both Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and Playstation Plus Premium will run approximately $120 a year without any discounts. Enter in Nintendo Switch Online. There are two tiers when you look at both single and family plans. The family plan allows up to 8 different accounts to be linked together. There is the standard Nintendo Switch Online($19.99 USD for individual and $34.99 USD for a family plan) which allows you to play multiplayer games online, allows for cloud saves and provides several games with the NES and SNES virtual consoles.
The second tier is the Nintendo Switch Online with Expansion Pack ($49.99 USD for individual and $79.99 for family) provides all the benefits of the standard plan but also adds on the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass, Animal Crossing Happy Home Paradise DLC, Splatoon 2 Octopass Expansion, and a virtual console for both the N64 and Sega Genesis. Nintendo has slowly been adding new games to the N64 and Genesis Virtual Consoles.
When looking at the comparative cost, the Nintendo Switch Online service (with or without the expansion pass) is a great value for the money. There are a ton of classic games on the NES and SNES that definitely hit the nostalgia feelings. The only downside is that there can be instability at times with the connectivity, but also, due to the design of the Switch, you will have to use the Switch mobile app to have a party chat.
5. Family and Friends
As the world returns to a new normal after two years in lockdown due to a panic, there is something be said about sitting around with friends & family. Laughing and spending time together in person instead of hidden behind a headset and mic. Yes the pandemic taught people how to exist without a lot of human interaction. To see one's kids growing up while playing games, feeling accomplished as they beat a new level, is a great thing to experience.
Given the amount of great games that are on the Switch, the games that are coming out over the next 6 months and beyond, it is a good time to be playing on Switch. Over the course of the last year, as the Xbox and PS5 struggled to meet demand, the Switch variants have been readily available. It doesn't go without saying that the Switch is entering into year 6 of the platform, and outside of the introduction of the Switch Light, Switch OLED and a minor hardware upgrade to the standard Switch, the platform has remained the same. It will be interesting to see where the Switch goes from here. As we continue the journey along with Nintendo, just remember to keep calm and save the princess.