Talking About Switch Ports

in hive-140217 •  14 days ago 

Well, hello there! Today I'll ramble about games which have been ported over to the Nintendo Switch and why I think this is a pretty awesome thing to be happening.

There are three big categories when talking about these ports, namely: ports from the ill-fated Wii U, ports of older games and ports of new games (at least the same year they have actually been released)

I. The Wii U Ports

I'll start with the least impressive category of ports. Those games ran on very inferior hardware, but they had a gimmick: dual screen interaction, well, at least some of them. That has been reworked into having the game and the touchscreen elements merged into a single screen in the handheld version and having the touch interaction mapped to the controller in the TV mode. The main example of this practice I can give is Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, which, in classic Nintendo style, has that cheerful attitude about it. Other great ports are the Bayonetta series (I know Bayonetta 1 also came on Xbox 360 and PS3, but I'll give it a pass because the second game was a Wii U exclusive) and also Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze which consumed more of my time than I'd like to admit.
One good reason to love these ports is the fact that they were stuck on something that is considered a failed system until they got a Switch release, but there is a glaring issue: they are pretty expensive.

II. Older games ports

In here we will nominate stuff like Bioshock: The Collection, The Witcher 3, Assassin's Creed 4 and Rogue, Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen and Rocket League. Those are amazing achievements on the hardware they originally came on, but to squeeze them into a handheld format is very impressive. I have two points to make about these: The Assassin's Creed games are the PS3/Xbox 360 versions of the games and Black Flag comes without the multiplayer component and The Witcher 3 suffered a notable downgrade in textures and resolution but comes with all the DLC and has a cross save functionality. This kind of ports is delightful to me, as I can play some of my favourite games on the go (laptop doesn't count, if I put it into performance mode it's dead in a maximum of two hours if not plugged into a wall socket). Just imagine going through Toussaint , exploring, doing side quests, while you are sitting in a train. Or exploring the bowels of Rapture, scrounging for supplies while in the backseat of a car. Starts sounding pretty good, right? The apex of this: playing a match of Rocket League while using the bathroom (actually please don't do that).

III. New games

These are the cream of the crop. I'd like to nominate a porting studio for an award, and that is Panic Button. These guys managed to get the aforementioned Rocket League to work pretty nicely on Switch, but their magnum opuses are Doom(2016), Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and Wolfenstein: Youngblood. Yes, they run at a lower resolution and are capped at 30 fps, but they are incredible feats of engineering and they are more than playable. They are also working on porting Doom Eternal over, so we might have a new king in the ring. There is also Assassin's Creed 3: Remastered, which was released a month after it's console and PC counterparts and it is closer to the last gen version from a technical standpoint, lacking most of the graphical improvements from the remaster. Another great port was Outlast 2. Although it isn't a really good game, from a technical standpoint the Switch version is quite good, offering some impressive visuals, which of course are not on par with its bigger brother on PC and other consoles.

All in all, the Switch is basically the little box that could and although it isn't a graphical powerhouse, it makes up for it in the portability segment. Now, if only the games weren't as expensive, maybe I'd have a bigger collection.

Images: cover, 1, 2, 3


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You don't need multiplayer in old Assassin's Creed games simply because it has been dead for years on PC. Not sure if they even work at all anymore. If they don't because servers were taken offline, then it surely wouldn't be a good idea for the developers to include multiplayer again. There wouldn't be enough players.

The apex of this: playing a match of Rocket League while using the bathroom (actually please don't do that).

Play scary games instead. :D

Well, Alien: Isolation is also on Switch, so that's a good laxative.
Also, I really love the multiplayer of the older Assassin's Creed games, it's a stabby version of hide and seek and I'm all for that. The PS3 servers seemed to still be online last time I checked.

I didn't get to play them but AC multiplayer looks like something I would have enjoyed! Hmm, summer sale is on but Idk anyone in my country who would like to play so nevermind. :P

Well, if not for the multiplayer, the singleplayer is pretty dope too (this coming from an addict who loves most of the games in the series)

+1 for its return on newer games...

I've never seen a Switch in person, not even close. But still, I'm super curious (and excited) about it. Seeing all these neat games, and in a cute little package that you can take with you... Awesome! It's getting even more exciting now that I'm seeing some of my favourite games coming across, from the PC side of things.

As you say, it's pretty impressive that they've managed to optimise heavy games like Witcher 3, and even AC 4 for the Switch. I expect it to a bit low-res, but I guess it's a trade-off worth having, eh?

I also failed to mention there are ports of arcade Nintendo games like the arcade version of Super Mario Bros. All in all it is a pretty neat package indeed. To be honest, I'm just glad Nintendo is different in their approach, because I already have a PC (well laptop which is not that portable anymore) and a PS4 for the rest of the video games spectrum.

Agreed, it's a unique approach, and somewhat old-school from Nintendo in bringing good ol' gaming to us all. No need for a lot of fancy tech, or massive amounts of horsepower and graphics fidelity, but just something approachable and fun. I'm excited to see those old arcade games make it to the Switch.

I believe the last Nintendo device I owned was an old Gameboy Advanced Colour, while my lucky little brother had a 3DS. Such good times, and all those hours spend on Mario and that old bike racing game :-D

Excite Bike?

Yes, that's the one! Simple, but I spent quite some time on that, as I recall. Mostly on Mario games though, and a couple of Need for Speed games. Such fond memories :-D

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A lot of people crap on Nintendo product but somehow they continue to sell tons of them. I understand that people want the latest and greatest tech and all that jazz but there is something unique about how Nintendo operates. It is sustainable for one.

When programmers are just getting used to a certain level of tech it is time to upgrade to a new platform. Nintendo on the other hand is coming out with that older tech and these programmers can move over rather easily. Sure, what is produced could be considered underwhelming compared to the latest greatest.

I personally care about the games themselves. I still play Atari 2600 and Nintendo NES games for instance. The NES games just happen to mostly be Nintendo created properties as well.

Not saying you were crapping on the Switch, or Nintendo hardware in general. You picked some good games to discuss here - I did not know that there is a version of Doom Eternal being worked on. My current computer can only play it at 30 FPS at a lower than "optimal" resolution, at least according to other PC gamers. I may or may not grab it while on sale on Steam.

I do plan on getting a Nintendo Switch someday, just not right now. They are selling at a premium since the quarantine situation started. I just hate having to repeatedly buy classic games with each iteration of their digital store platform - could you imagine Steam if you had to buy the games again each time you upgraded your computer?

Don't give them ideas with the PC upgrades.

Also, I am a fan of weird stuff when talking about tech and especially video games. Hell, I tracked down a Sega Saturn just to experience stuff the glorious games made by Lobotomy Software, more specifically their remakes of Quake and Duke Nukem 3D on the platform and their own first person kinda metroidvania game, Powerslave/Exhumed. I also jumped on the VR bandwagon due to the same reason!

The Switch is another example of this fascination for me, because it is basically a tablet which runs some pretty graphically impressive games, while also giving you a few ways to go about it, whether docked, handheld or simply putting it on a table, using classic controls or motion.

I know Microsoft wants you to re-register Windows if you "significantly change" components in your PC. That is just stupid to me but whatever, they are the #1 operating system at the moment and if you game, there are not many options on a computer.

I remember those days of Lobotomy on Saturn. For the life of me I do not know why Sega never bought the company made them first party only. I remember picking up all three games at Electronics Boutique back in the day. I never really got into them but they were the closest I could get at the time. My computer around that time was a Color Computer II I used to write chapbooks and short story collections I sold at local gas stations. I did not get a proper computer that could play modern games till around 2000 or 2001 and even then it was "new" three years prior.

Have you checked out the NVIDIA Shield brand? I have a Shield TV and love it. The Shield Tablet and portable are very similar in tech under the hood to the Nintendo Switch. Unfortunately, neither have the same library of games as the Switch does, particularly the first party Nintendo games.

NVIDIA did go out and get some exclusives though - most of the big name games on PC are on Shield and apparently are just as good looking, if not better, than the PC version. Obviously that is in comparison to hardware that was available at the time. Nowadays, I am sure PC's can blow the Shield brand out of the water with those same games (but the price to do it is much higher too).

I will probably end up getting a Switch sooner than later. There are a lot of games, particularly indie, that are only on Switch or Steam - no PlayStation or Xbox release (and no Android one either). While I have a computer that will play them just fine, there is something to say about the portability of the Switch itself, like you said.

I personally like locked down hardware like the Switch. Developers are coming into their groove with that hardware before it was released. That leaves them to push the hardware even farther than thought.