Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! are beautiful reimaginings of a video game classic, updating a 20-year-old game in ways which make it infinitely more accessible and user-friendly for a modern audience, while keeping the magic first discovered all those years ago. On the downside, the newly-introduced motion control mechanic is fun but flawed, forcing us to shift from one play style to another to get the best experience, and while efforts have been made to bring the game up to the standard of more recent entries when it comes to depth and complexity, hardcore fans may consider the whole experience too much of a cakewalk.
Still, the game does a superb job of striking a balance between being an easy route of entry for newcomers to the series and offering just enough post-game challenge and competitive play elements (and nostalgia, of course) to please series veterans; as a result, these new titles really do offer something for everyone, which can't always be said of the mainline Pokémon entries. They might not be an absolute masterpiece, but we’d urge any Poké-fans out there to give these ones a go – if a Let’s Go Johto sequel is on the cards, we’ll happily be there waiting in line.
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Valkyria Chronicles 4 takes place at the exact same time as the events of the original game, focusing on the Federation's Squad E. You'll control Commander Claude Wallace as he and his childhood friends strive to win their freedom against a frightening war.
It's is an intriguing blend of turn-based strategy RPG, and third person shooter, with a watercolor-inspired visual design unlike anything else we've seen. This entry introduces bigger maps, a new unit, and new defensive and offensive options. The engaging, character-driven plot, third-person action, deep customisation options, and high replayability make this one an easy recommendation, although pacing issues and cumbersome menu management may make it a little more intimidating to newcomers to the genre.
Honourable mention: Valkyria Chronicles 4 proves as a great jumping off point you haven't played a game in the series before, but the original Valkyria Chronicles is now available on Switch if you'd like to start at the very beginning.
Darkest Dungeon is as grim as the title suggests; its affliction system causes characters to become increasingly stressed as they battle and witness a variety of horrors, making them paranoid, masochistic, fearful, irrational, and more. Managing your party's well-being is as important as levelling up, gathering new equipment, and battling. It has always been an RPG that finds ways to make life uncomfortable for the player, and although this Switch version manages to add a couple of usability issues to that list, it remains a dauntingly deep, thoroughly absorbing dungeon crawler that will swallow you up for hours at a time.
West of Loathing is not your average RPG; in fact we’d go so far as to say you’ve probably never played anything quite like it in your life. Its combat won’t blow you away but don’t be lulled into believing that’s what this game is about, as really the whole thing is an adventure in exploration and interaction with a bit of fighting sprinkled in. It can occasionally be a little bit difficult to decipher, but the satisfaction felt upon working out a problem totally makes up for it. The humour is as wonderfully dry as the desert you’re traversing and the writing is some of the best you can find on the Switch. Unless you’ve not got a humorous bone in your body, this is one RPG you can’t risk skipping.
Final Fantasy has been an institution in the JRPG genre for decades now, and Final Fantasy IX acts as a good reminder of why. Memorable characters, a wacky (if somewhat meandering) story, deep character customisation, and plenty of incredible environments certainly help make a case for why Final Fantasy IX deserves a spot on your Switch’s SD card, even if some elements of this game’s design have aged like milk. If you’re a fan of RPGs and somehow haven’t played Final Fantasy IX yet, it’s certainly worth a download for the privilege of playing this classic on the go. On the other hand, if you’re just getting into RPGs, Final Fantasy IX may be a little too obtuse and archaic to recommend when compared to more modern releases. Whichever camp you may fall in, the bottom line is that, warts and all, Final Fantasy IX remains a great RPG to this day; you likely won’t regret picking this one up.
YIIK: A Postmodern RPG is a dazzling explosion of stylistic presentation and compelling strangeness. This might go down as “EarthBound for a new generation,” and while some gamers may not see anything special going on here, YIIK will likely really resonate with others. If a Weird Stuff RPG appeals to you, strap in and prepare for a wild ride. Surreal themes aside, if you’re simply looking for an RPG experience on the Switch with far-out visuals, YIIK should satisfy your turn-based desires.
Golf Story is a Switch exclusive RPG that borrows liberally from Mario Golf on the Game Boy Color. It's absolutely bonkers and you should be prepared to put your golf skills to use in a variety of contexts, including feeding hungry alligators and knocking things off high surfaces, plus winning the occasional round of pitch 'n' putt.
With a hilarious script and a wide variety of activities, it remains fresh throughout and will have you coming back for many hours in the Story mode alone; the multiplayer offers decent replayability, too. We would highly recommend Golf Story to anyone looking for something a little different. There’s a whole lot to love here, and if you’re a fan of RPGs or golf games, this is a must buy.
Octopath Traveler is a Nintendo Switch exclusive developed by the Square Enix studio behind Bravely Default, and boy does it live up to those high expectations. From its dazzling art style to its mechanics, it's the kind of game that keeps an eye on the past while walking bravely into the future. All elements link together perfectly to make for a harmonious and immersive experience that you’ll find difficult to put down. We’d recommend Octopath Traveler to both fans and newcomers of RPGs; it does a fantastic job of straddling that line of accessibility and depth, satisfying both camps with its dizzying amount of content. Classic-inspired gameplay, an orchestrated soundtrack, and a unique approach to storytelling make this a game that you won’t want to miss. This is an absolute must buy.
Diablo III: Eternal Collection is a lovely port of a classic RPG loot-a-thon that keeps its feet firmly in the past. The execution is wonderful, but its gameplay is not something that will appeal to everyone due to the high level of repetition. Its visuals are clear and functional if not especially interesting, but performance is top notch to make up for it. If you’re looking for a loot-driven grind-a-thon with more explosions of viscera than you can comfortably discuss with your mother, this is the game for you.
Not a bad ol' collection, is it? Think there's something missing? As always, share your thoughts in the comments.