Some will argue Dragon’s Dogma was hardly a perfect game when it was first released, and the passage of time will have done little to pacify those naysayers. The world of Gransys may lack the epic, intricate lore of Lordran, Drangleic and Lothric, but it more than makes up for this shortcoming in sheer scope; exploring the landscape is addictive in itself, and there’s always some new nook or cranny to investigate, even when you’re many, many hours in. Add in some of the most enjoyable real-time combat ever seen in an RPG and it becomes easier to appreciate just why this game has become so beloved over the past few years, even though Capcom has done little to spruce it up. Dragon’s Dogma nonetheless remains a fantastically gripping role-playing experience that manages to straddle the divide between exhilarating real-time action and stat-based adventuring.
Given that we’ve only had SNES and GBA versions before, this new Switch port of Doom is the best version ever released on a Nintendo system by a country mile. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect, though: its smattering of small technical issues (some of which have been addressed in a subsequent patch) does dampen the entertainment somewhat. That aside, if you’re looking to slay hordes of Hellspawn on the move, there’s no better way.
Few would’ve guessed back in 2014 that Shovel Knight would still be going strong with brand new expansions five years later; it truly has been the gift that keeps on giving. King of Cards proves that Yacht Club Games has lost none of the zeal or talent that made the original release such a success, as evidenced by the tight level designs, excellent writing, top-notch presentation, and loads of replayability. It’s tough to say whether King of Cards is the best expansion yet, but it certainly meets the ridiculously high bar set by its predecessors. As a standalone release, King of Cards easily trumps most other retro 2D platformers on the Switch eShop at the moment, and you certainly can’t go wrong by picking it up, although you should really play it as part of the full Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove package. This is likely the last we’ll see of the ‘core’ Shovel Knight series for some time, and King of Cards acts as a worthy swansong for a now-legendary platformer. Bravo.
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is an experience unlike any other on the Switch, expertly blending standard RPG tropes with a heartwarming story, innovative art style, and an immersive soundtrack composed by some of the best in the business. In more ways than one, this is a ‘dream project’ that’s very existence is a gift to fans of the genre the world over. That said, it also notably falls short of being an undisputed masterpiece, as pacing issues and shoddy AI drag down an otherwise pitch perfect experience. Those issues aside, this still proves to be lightyears ahead of many other RPGs. If you consider yourself a fan of the genre – or even if you’re just looking to get your feet wet – you owe it to yourself to give Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch a shot.
Final Fantasy VII is the sort of game that speaks for itself, a touchstone of game design that played a large role in setting the standard of RPGs for years to come. It goes without saying that you should give Final Fantasy VII a shot if you consider yourself to be a fan of RPGs, as this is an experience unlike any other in many ways. With that being said, it’s also the sort of thing that has since been surpassed in almost every manner by games that took the concepts it introduced and expanded upon them in plenty of new and more interesting ways. Final Fantasy VII is a relic of its time, but that doesn’t mean it’s to be respected any less; if you can look past the obviously antiquated elements, this is a well-paced, engaging RPG that’s still fun to play today.
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is a great example of what developers should aspire to do with remastering old games; this is the best-designed and most enjoyable version of this RPG classic currently on the market, and it can all be played on the go, too. Though the story comes off as being rather disappointing and the visuals are a little dated, the Gambit-focused combat system still proves to be one of the best we’ve seen in an RPG to date, making it dangerously easy for hours to slip by as you work on min-maxing characters to the best of their abilities. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age may not prove to be the best Final Fantasy ever made, but it’s still a pretty darned great game in its own right and certainly worth your time.
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 (and 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 this yet, it’s certainly worth a download for the privilege to play 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. The bottom line is that, warts and all, Final Fantasy IX remains a great RPG to this day.
From its opening moments upon a prison ship bound for Fort Joy to non-stop adventures that take you across the high seas to the Reaper’s Coast, Nameless Isle and beyond, Divinity: Original Sin 2 simply dazzles. In its seemingly endless parade of well-written characters, hilarious narration, deep and rewarding physics-based combat and the myriad ways in which it allows to you to engage and toy and with its systems, this is a truly epic RPG that revels in choice more than any other that’s come before it. It takes the old-school isometric style of Baldur’s Gate, layers it with an unparalleled level of attention to detail and fuses it with a thoroughly modern take on meaningful player decisions, resulting in one of the greatest role-playing games available on any platform; and it’s all here, present and correct on a portable console.
With over 100 cars and more than 25 different racing venues set over five distinct disciplines (as well as bonus DLC ones like destruction derby and drag racing), GRID Autosport is that rarest of beasts: a jack of all trades that doesn't sacrifice quality as a result. The addition of all previously released paid console DLC – right down to the cynical XP boost – is extremely welcome, but the complete removal of all local and online multiplayer features means this a strictly solo affair, and that might be a turn-off for many. Still, that doesn't change the fact that this is one of the best racing games on Switch.
Cuphead was an absolute masterpiece when it originally launched on Xbox One and nothing has been sacrificed in its move to the Switch. A run-and-gun boss battler dressed up like a 1930s Fleischer or Disney animated short, it’s the same visually jaw-dropping, aurally delightful, knuckle-whiteningly difficult game it was on Microsoft’s console and the Switch’s library is all the better for its presence. Its focus on intense boss battles won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but as long as you know what you’re getting yourself into we can’t recommend it enough. Just look at it!