Soapbox features allow individual writers and contributors to express their opinions on hot topics and random things they’ve been chewing on. Today, Gavin takes a quick look at some hot 2022 snaps and instantly transforms into a bemused John C. Reilly…
As a Nintendo-focused site, we will naturally be more positive about Nintendo than you know, else websites. We have a team that works with Nintendo fans, and as fans with a long history of covering and enjoying the company’s products, Nintendo games and hardware will resonate with us. That doesn’t stop us from being disappointed or downright angry at times when it comes to some of the more bewildering choices of our podium stand – often the pitfalls annoy us the most! — but just as you’d expect the PlayStation and Xbox sites to be excited about the Sony and Microsoft #content, we’re here to love some Switch games. Crazy, right?
And there have been a lot over the past year! We’ve been able to review over 300 of them in 2022 and there are so many great photos we had to get through, unfortunately. For me, it felt like a year full of wall-to-wall fun, so I was a bit confused to see headlines like “Without Pokemon, 2022 Will Be a Sad Year for the Switch” and “Failure of 2022: The Nintendo Switch really showed its age when the recaps started.” End of the year by appearing across the gaming network in December.
This is not to say that the premise of articles such as the one above is not understood, and plenty of other commenters have shared similar sentiments. Sure, Pokémon Legends: Arceus, Scarlet, and Violet were the big hitters, and yes, the hardware is getting old — we’re coming to an end VI A full year on store shelves, after all. However, as much of a revelation in the world as it might be to see Nintendo Life ‘defend the honour’ of a Nintendo console, these arguments seem outlandish to me given the great games we’ve all enjoyed in 2022.
Let’s, for a moment, remove Pokemon from the equation. That leaves the first-party list that includes Xenoblade Chronicles 3, Kirby and the Forgotten Land, Splatoon 3, Nintendo Switch Sports, and Mario Strikers: Battle League. Nintendo has also published Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes, Bayonetta 3, the Square Enix-developed Triangle strategy, and Live A Live. Say what you like about the individual games in this collection – and stock up on the latter ones that aren’t in-house developed if you like – but this is an eclectic collection of software packed with quality. And that completely ignores all third-party published games, of which there were plenty. At the time of writing, Scarlet and Violet isn’t even in the top 50 on our reader-ranked best Switch games of 2022 list.
No, 2022 didn’t bring an entirely new Mario or Zelda, but with Tears of the Kingdom needing more time in the oven, it’s Pokémon’s turn to shore up Nintendo’s release schedule with this year’s pillars of support. Saying the year was a disappointment if you didn’t like Pokémon is like saying the PS5 would have been a disappointment were it not for Sony exclusives. “Without Horizon and God of War, 2022 would have been a sad year for PS5.” Erm, yeah? Is it time for The Last of Us to be re-released again? Microsoft did release anything In 2022!? “Without Game Pass, 2022 would have been Boo Boo for Xbox.”
Maybe it’s just me. With young kids enjoying my free time like some incredibly cute and expensive sponge, I don’t play 24/7 like I used to, and the Switch fits my lifestyle to a tee. 200 hours of the Elden Ring, the most visible jewel in the crown of 2022 that has been denied by Switch gamers, is simply not an option right now.
As I fully understand that for anyone who’s already bought and played elsewhere, the Switch has received the excellent ports — Persona 5s (finally!), NieR: Automatas, No Man’s Skys, and the like — the picks are much slimmer. But I would still argue that the sheer variety of games coming to Switch in 2022, both old and new, exclusives and otherwise, was exciting. There was just an absolute selection of titles to enjoy. There is nothing wrong with playing only your favorite genre or buying a system just to play a certain series like, for example, Call of duty or FIFA (In which case, the Switch definitely isn’t the console for you!), but I struggle to understand how anyone who loves video games could call last year’s release such a disappointment for the system. Even if we nuke Pokemon for the sake of argument.
According to the Switch’s age meter, this has been an issue since 2017. Almost from the start, we’ve seen calls for updated hardware with a bit more power to run bigger games better. Yes, it would be great to see more titles hit the frame rate and resolution targets more regularly, and new hardware is certainly on the horizon over the next year or so, but as the platform matures, the developers correspondingly get better at squeezing the best out of this, And that was certainly evidence in 2022. We’re seeing calls from Microsoft developers to stop holding back more powerful consoles by making support for lower-spec Xbox Series S hardware mandatory, so it seems odd to single out the Switch when its limitations are so well documented and caps are starting to 30fps in the renders for big-name games on PS5 and Xbox (looking at you Gotham Knights). And many Switch games – against the odds, as they always have – performed stellarly!
I apologize if this comes across as ‘reckless’, but it was frankly baffling to see gamers and YouTubers describing 2022 as useless for Switch owners. Imagine “Only Three Marvel Movies Coming Out, What a Terrible Year for Cinema” as a headline. Same energy! Each month brought me a new wave of indispensable plays. I’m not going to make comparisons to The Lean Wii U Years™, the ease of handheld gameplay, or the pricing of first-party titles versus the competition because none of that is really relevant. In terms of quality games launching in 2022, sterling, I’d argue that the Switch easily held its own against the PS5 and Xbox.
With Nintendo potentially diverting internal resources and attention to its next console and prioritizing its first-party software release schedule to repeat the once-a-month Switch cadence that put the Switch in such good stead in its launch year, 2023 is likely to be a similarly “quiet” year, With Zelda: TOTK doing the heavy lifting for the current system. I’ll be looking forward to revealing new hardware along with all the other Nintendo fans out there, but we shouldn’t let the lack of “Switch Pro” or hot Switch 2 ads or a long-awaited game delay let us down. He stayed on for what was a really stellar year.
Will we see headlines similar to “Without Zelda…” in December, then? potential. Hopefully, 2023 will be just as wonderfully disappointing on Switch as 2022.
What’s your opinion? Was 2022 a sad year only for Pokémon? Let Gavin know if he should splurge on the crazy pills by voting in the poll below and leaving a comment if the fancy takes you.
And be sure to have a Happy New Year too!
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