What does Alan Wake Remastered, Destroy All Humans (2020), and Sonic Colors Ultimate all have in common? They all have horrid Nintendo Switch ports. However, there could be a solution for this: porting the games’ older versions instead.
Admittedly, we don’t blame developers for trying to bring the best-looking versions of games to Nintendo’s console/handheld hybrid. Factors like time constraints and crunch culture are likely to blame for the way that bad ports have played out over the years. After all, the Switch has put out some gorgeous games. (Xenoblade, anyone?)
Due to the Switch’s hardware limitations, publishers and developers have put in less effort to port their remakes and remasters to the system. After all, it’s “just the Switch,” so they think the benefit of playing their games in handheld mode is enough to ignore how rough some of these ports can be.
But if that’s the case, why not just port the older games instead? It would be better than a buggy “new” game filled with pop-in and slowdown.
How much better would the Wii version of Sonic Colors run on Switch than its buggy remaster? While Ultimate is playable enough, the original Wii version would have none of the worthless unlockables, nor that disgustingly shiny version of Sonic we’re being forced to play as. If Skyward Sword HD on Switch is any indication of Wii games on Switch, Colors would have also been given a framerate boost and higher resolution.
The same can also be said for Alan Wake Remastered. Why the developers decided to downgrade a port meant to run on current-gen systems and bring it to the Switch is just weird. Making this even more infuriating is that a perfectly good Xbox 360 version exists and would have run just fine on the handheld/console hybrid.
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is a great example of last-gen ports working on Switch. Bandai Namco remastered the game for PS4 and PC with a higher resolution, alongside better framerate. For the Switch port, they simply ported the PS3 version with all the DLC, looking amazing and running perfectly.
Saints Row: The Third is another good Switch port. Yes, it is prone to slowdown here and there but that’s just how the original PS3 and Xbox 360 versions were. While some would prefer to see Saints Row: The Third Remastered, which has improved visuals and framerate, we respect publisher PLAION for going with the version that runs better on weaker harder.
Compare those games to the Destroy All Humans remake that made its way to the Switch. While it does “look better” than the PS2 original, the constant pop-in and fuzzy visuals make it a mess on the system. Why they didn’t port the original PS2 and Xbox game instead is confusing, to say the least.
Honestly, if the publishers insist on porting the newer version of these remakes to Switch, the least they can do is include the original titles as well.
Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX and Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap let players switch between the remakes and the originals on the fly. Diablo 2: Resurrected does this as well. Of course, it’s worth noting that all of these remakes look and run really well on the Switch.
Sure, Diablo 2: Resurrected doesn’t run as well as the PC version but it’s still a really fun and playable action RPG on the go.
Having the original versions would have made the Switch remasters of Sonic Colors Ultimate and Spongebob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated better for Nintendo fans. Even good ports like the Spyro and Crash collections could have benefitted from having these PS1 versions as it would provide a nice contrast while also ensuring these older versions don’t get lost to time.
One option that’s proven to be popular with publishers, unfortunately, has been cloud versions. These ports need a constant internet connection, completely negating the handheld aspect of the Switch. Games that have followed this trend include the modern Resident Evil titles, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, and all of the Kingdom Hearts titles.
Switch fans hate cloud ports. Don’t do cloud ports. If you can’t make these games run natively on the Switch, just don’t bring them at all - at least, that’s this humble author’s opinion on the matter.
That’s not to say all multi-platform remakes/remasters are bad for the Switch.
PAC-MAN WORLD Re-PAC, Klonoa Phantom Reverie Series, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered, and Persona 5 Royal are all quality Switch ports that play really well. Dragon Quest 11 and The Witcher 3 are also impressive on the system, though both games did need a ton of work from the developers. Square Enix even delayed the Switch version of Dragon Quest 11 and made up for it by adding extra content.
Overall, there are plenty of positives to bringing the original versions of remakes to the Nintendo Switch, maybe even other systems. An older port of a game on Switch can run at a higher resolution, have better framerate, and take less time for development since it’s basically just emulation.
Don’t get me wrong, it would be great if the Switch could have the same powerhouse versions seen on PlayStation and Xbox systems. However, most people play the Nintendo Switch for the fun portable games, so if you can’t port over the titles with prettier graphics, just leave them for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series systems.
In conclusion, please stop giving us buggy remasters of classic games. Switch owners have accepted their lot in life and are willing to wait for a port that runs well, as The Witcher 3 and DOOM Eternal have shown. A Switch Pro would be nice too, but beggars can’t be choosers.