Staff Picks

Time for a Switch at Nintendo?

The time has finally come. After months of waiting and waiting, Nintendo finally pulled the NX out from behind its massive curtain of secrecy, and revealed the Nintendo Switch.

The upcoming console slated for release currently in March 2017 has had one of the most bizarre marketing strategies I've ever seen, and so far it appears to be paying off. By not talking about it at all for months, rumors theories have been flying around in their place, and resulted in the most talked about game system announcement I have seen in a long time.

Nintendo switch
The first thing I noticed as I watched the announcement trailer about the Nintendo Switch with a level of awe I've not felt since I was a child first seeing 3D graphics on the N64 for the first time, was the semi-nonconfirmation in apparent shift in focus Nintendo seems to be taking with the Nintendo Switch.

At least by appearances, it seems that they may no longer be looking at supporting dual systems any longer (home consoles, and handhelds), and might actually be looking to focus on a single dual purpose console going forward, or at least for this next generation. While this may seem a bit odd or gimicky at first, it would free up their resources to better focus on a single platform, as opposed to splitting their attention across two separate platforms.

What this means is more first party games for a single system, and potentially more third party games which in turn means a more desirable console for consumers, especially when compared to the current largely neglected Nintendo Wii U with its sadly lacking library of first and third party games.

Nintendo switch
Still, the prospect of being able to play something like the already announced Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild with its fantastically beautiful graphics on the go is practically unheard of outside of some select Android and iPad games which have had a long history of suffering from poor controls due to how tablet games generally having touch screen only controls.

Having a handheld system like the 3DS with the graphical power of a home console, could completely change the nature of handheld gaming, and finally have the long desired modern console quality games we've always wanted to be able to take anywhere.

Add on top of that how one of my favorite features from the Wii U is returning in the new console, Off-TV play. Want to play your game, but someone else wants to watch TV? No problem!

Man playing video games
I'm also pretty excited to see that Nintendo appears to be working on some new games for the console, including a new Splatoon, Mario Kart, and Super Mario game, as well as an unconfirmed report of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Remastered coming as well. And these are just games shown in the initial trailer.

The system has also been confirmed as supporting Unity and Unreal Engine 4, which means that there is a strong possibility that Nintendo will be welcoming Indie developers in with the new console as well.

Time will only tell though as to what the Switch will inevitably mean for Nintendo and the gaming industry as a whole going forward.  But I would like to think we will soon be seeing Nintendo once again being considered a serious contender in the ongoing console wars, instead of the butt of the current console generation's jokes.

Of course, since the system isn't coming out until at least March 2017, and solid information still remains to be released, this all remains to be seen.

In the mean time, seeing as how gamers gotta game, here's a few titles I would recommend that can hopefully tie you over until then.

Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D:

One of my all time favorite Zelda games, remastered and updated for the handheld Nintendo 3DS system, the game is still every bit as fun as the original, and controls even better with the added motion control option for aiming the bow, Hookshot, or similar items. Often used as a benchmark game for Zelda speed running, as only the best can complete the game in 6 (in-game) days without resetting to Dawn of the First Day more than the one mandatory time as a Deku Scrub.

Xenoblade Chronicles X

Xenoblade Chronicles X:

An unexpected gem, I was reluctant to try the game at first, being slightly put off by the character art style, but after playing it, I quickly moved past my initial concerns and realized exactly how massive and beautiful the game's environment is. The monster designs, while pallet swapped often, are top notch, and the different areas of the world actually feel like whole new separate ecosystems. Add on top of that, a huge number of side quests/missions, and engaging combat, plus a decently well written story, and the game is a very solid title for the Wii U, and one that I've spent more than 100 hours playing.



A breakout hit from Nintendo that no one expected to become as big as it did, Splatoon is a fast paced 3rd person shooter focused on online multiplayer 4 vs 4 team matches, where each team tries to cover as much of the map with their teams colored ink as they can, while blasting away the competition on the opposing team. Although the Splatfests have been discontinued, the multiplayer community is still thriving, the Miiverse art community is always posting amazing artwork, and the game continues to prove to be a huge success. If you're not a fan of multiplayer, there is a series of single player missions that can be played through as well, each focusing on gradually adding new obstacles for the player to overcome, and the boss fights are a huge splash as well.

Super Mario Maker

Super Mario Maker:

One of the oddest games Nintendo has released in recent memory. Inspiring some players to impressive levels of creativity, while instilling unending rage in others, Mario Maker has become something of a YouTube sensation, where gamers film themselves playing through some of the most innovative and difficult levels that Nintendo has never made. Not good at Mario games? Try a trivia challenge. Looking for something creative? Try a "musical" level that pays tribute to video game music. Looking for something challenging? Mario Maker's community of creators has got you covered.

Pokémon Alpha Sapphire

Pokemon Alpha Sapphire:

A remake of the original Game Boy Advance game, Pokémon Sapphire, this updated version features Primal Evolution for a different spin on Mega Evolution, updated 3D graphics, online trading, wireless link battles, and an updated story to fall inline with more recent generations. Continuing in the long tradition of Pokémon games, you can focus on either progressing through the story and Gyms, catching them all, or simply becoming the very best, like no one ever was.

Pokémon Omega Ruby

Pokemon Omega Ruby:

Like Pokemon Alpha Sapphire, Pokemon Omega Ruby is also remake of the original Gameboy Advanced game, Pokémon Ruby, this updated version also features Primal Evolution for a different spin on Mega Evolution, updated 3D graphics, online trading, wireless link battles, and an updated story to fall inline with more recent generations. Like its Sapphire twin,

Mario Kart 8

Mario Kart 8:

The fastest and most death-defying Mario Kart game yet, Mario Kart 8 features its standard online or local multiplayer game modes, and with DLC you can extend that even further, it's sure to get your motor running as you race through each course while bobbing and weaving through green shells and banana peels. Just remember that coming in first place isn't for the faint of heart, especially as you're driving upside down, under water, through erupting volcanos, or around a tight turn on the infamous rainbow roads.

Dragonball Xenoverse

Dragonball Xenoverse:

Ever wanted to make up your own character in the Dragonball universe? Well this game is you're chance. Available for both Xbox One and PS4, and featuring a robust create-a-character system, customizable skills to suit your style, and fast paced combat, Dragonball Xenoverse is a solid fighting game. that rewards quick reflexes, and punishes mistakes. Xenoverse also has one of the most interesting original storylines to be presented in a Dragonball game in years, and is definitely a lot of fun. Definitely worth checking out on its own merits, even though Dragonball Xenoverse 2 was just released. Just watch out for Super Saiyan attack spam when playing online, and a few sudden difficulty curve spikes playing through the story... note that if you play this and Dragonball Xenoverse 2, you can transfer your character from this game into the sequel as a non-playable character who will have a giant holographic statue in the center of town celebrating his or her's greatness, and will appear occasionally in the second game's story.

Sunset Overdrive

Sunset Overdrive:

There's a lot of graphic imagery and inappropriate language in this game, so this one is definitly not for the kids. Sunset Overdrive is by far one of the wackiest, funniest, and most entertaining video games I've played in a long time, the cutscenes had me laughing to tears, and some of the levels had me outright dying from how hard I was laughing at their utter absurdity.The story is hardly serious, and almost an homage to internet memes by its level of ridiculousness, and there are moments when I just wasn't sure what to expect next. Death is not the end, it just means a cool respawn animation.

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster:

The last core Final Fantasy game that I truely enjoyed, Final Fantasy 10 is updated to run on your PS4 and plays just as good as you remember. The voice acting may be kind of bad at times, but the story was still a wonderful emotional journey from beginning to end, and the combat and leveling system was the last and most idealized version of Square Enix's turn based combat before everything became "action RPGs" instead. There's also Final Fantasy 10-2 on there, which I've never played, but I've heard from some folks that it was good, so there's that.

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