The Five-Year Switch RPG Tour – Part Two
Over the course of March, The SwitchRPG team will be sharing their five favorite Switch RPGs – one per year – in honor of the console turning five. Next up, Rich’s picks!
Favorite: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Honorable Mentions: Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King and Golf Story
The Switch has been a monster success, but it all started in 2017 with the perfect alignment of new hardware and a new Zelda entry that was released together. The debate over if the series or this entry is an RPG can rage on, but if Nintendo didn’t have this title ready to go with the Switch launch, would the Switch have been such a success?
There were many notable releases during 2017, but none were bigger than Breath of the Wild. Not only was it a new Zelda game releasing on new hardware, it also took the tried-and-true formula fans have been accustomed to for decades and turned it upside down. The traditional linear and dungeon-focused formula was ditched for an open-world design that is still inspiring games today.
Favorite: Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom
Honorable Mentions: Octopath Traveler and The Messenger
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom was a surprise hit for me. I am a big fan of the Metroidvania genre, and having never played any of the games in the series that inspired this entry I was shocked to discover just how great this game was. Monster Boy was able to perfectly balance keeping inspiration with its roots and capturing what a modern game in this genre needs to have, both in terms of gameplay and quality-of-life features. I hope we eventually get a sequel to this fantastic game.
Favorite: Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition (Switch)
Honorable Mention: Astral Chain
Having not played a Dragon Quest game since Dragon Quest III on the SNES, this ended up being the perfect entry to get back into the series. While the game didn’t launch on Switch with the other platform releases, Square Enix really put in the effort to make the port well worth the wait. Not only did this version have exclusive content (which later came to other platforms), it also was one of the best ports of a PS4/XB1 game on the Switch (and remains so to this day). I really enjoyed my 80+ hours with the game; its attention to detail has made me excited to see what is next for Dragon Quest. Hopefully we get a date soon for the HD-2D remake of Dragon Quest III and an update on Dragon Quest X: Offline for the West.
Favorite: Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Honorable Mentions: Immortals Fenyx Rising, Crosscode, and Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore
Ori and the Blind Forest, Moon Studio’s first game in this series, is one my favorite games of all time, and one of the best examples of what a modern Metroidvania experience should be. When it came to Switch, it was an instant buy and I was so glad to see its followup make its way to Switch as well (I also bought a physical copy of both games). While I still prefer Ori and the Blind forest to Will of the Wisps, I can see why some might prefer the sequel as it focuses more on combat and draws a lot of inspiration from Hollow Knight.
Favorite: Death’s Door (Switch eShop)
Honorable Mentions: Bravely Default II, Persona 5 Strikers, and Eastward
Death’s Door was my favorite game of 2021 even though it didn’t come to Switch at launch. I like 2D action-adventure games and Death’s Door took inspiration from the Zelda series and added their own twists to make it feel unique and stand out. Death’s Door may turn some players away with its heavy focus on combat, but the combat is fair and fun once you get the hang of it and have some upgrades under your belt.
2022 (So Far)
Favorite: Pokémon Legends: Arceus
Arceus has surprised me and has exceeded all my expectations. While there are complaints about the visuals, to me, gameplay will always trump it and that’s where Arceus truly shines. This has been the best Pokemon game I have played so far. I’ve felt like many past entries eventually become a slog and I find myself dozing off. Arceus ditches a lot of the battling for a focusing on exploration and catching pokemon, and that is what I really enjoyed about it. Traversing the world, hunting alpha versions and trying to catch them without being spotted was a blast. I look forward to how the Pokemon company builds on this series and uses concepts from this game in other games in the future.
Speculative Favorite: Live A Live
This announcement was a shock in the latest direct and instantly became one of the games I am most interested in this year. It’s another HD-2D game, which we need more of and it’s a remake of a game we never got here in the West. So between the couple of trailers Nintendo has released on the game and a great thread Peer Schneider from IGN posted on Twitter, I am really looking forward to playing this game come summer.
Speculative Favorite (If Released): Breath of the Wild 2
I am still skeptical that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 will actually release this year due to the general lack of information we have about it. We still don’t have an official title for the game, but when and if this game gets dated, it will easily become my most anticipated release. Hopefully we don’t have to wait too much longer for more information!
That’s it for this list! What did you think about my picks? Stay tuned in the coming weeks for even more content surrounding our Five-Year Switch RPG Tour!