The remastered Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age on Switch is a great version of a great game; the Gambit-focused combat system is still a triumph and although the visuals are showing their age a little these days and the story doesn't knock it out of the park like some other series entries, this remains a Fine-al Fantasy in our book.
See what we did there? It's a very fine Final Fantasy, so we combin— hello?
Despite the sheer volume of solid gold hits in the series, Castlevania Anniversary Collection is a somewhat mixed bag from Konami in terms of games you'll actually play, as stone-cold classics share the spotlight with a couple of undead clunkers that should remain dead and buried. Still, from a completionist and preservation standpoint, the inclusion of Castlevania: The Adventure is appreciated and the 'highs' on offer are among the highest points in the entire franchise, with a Western debut for Kid Dracula being a particularly lovely treat for retro gamers looking for something new. As long as you’re willing to ignore the lesser titles in this package and you're not too bummed out by the omission of other classic entries, you’re going to have a very good time with what’s left. Best paired with Castlevania Advance Collection.
The original, and the best. Well, up there with the best, at least. It might be tough to go back to if you're used to the modern Resident Evil games, but this one birthed a genre and if you've avoided this in the past, you owe it to yourself to give the tank controls a chance and let the dread of the Spencer Mansion really soak into your soul.
This remake — known colloquially as REmake — launched first on GameCube (it got a Wii port, too) and offered a revamped, reimagined version of the PlayStation original that transformed its look to bring it in line with the tone as established from the sequel onwards. The original deserves utmost respect as the progenitor of the series, and this version of the Spencer Mansion is built on the same foundation, but this is the optimal way to experience a survival horror classic.
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, although the complete removal of all local and online multiplayer features meant this was strictly solo affair at launch. Pleasingly, developer Feral Interactive has since patched in local multiplayer and online multiplayer. Even without that feature, though, this was still one of the best racing games on Switch. Now it's easily the best 'sim-style' drive in Switch's garage.
Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout lifts the series to new heights with a reinvigorated, newcomer-friendly alchemy system and an excellent combat overhaul. The new graphics engine looks glorious and runs beautifully on Nintendo’s console, the story is thoughtfully paced and heartfelt and the traditionally slow early hours do a fantastic job of detailing Ryza’s journey from complete beginner to master alchemist. Gust has done a brilliant job of taking this long-running franchise and making it appeal to the mainstream more than ever here and, if you’ve ever been tempted to give the world of Atelier a try, this is a perfect jumping-on point.
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.
While it’s a shame that there are fewer games here than in other Konami collections – we’d have loved to have seen NES title Contra Force or the now-extinct WiiWare title Contra ReBirth – the ones included in the Contra Anniversary Collection are universally brilliant. The 8-bit and 16-bit Contra games are among the finest examples of the run ‘n gun genre, and to have almost all of them included in a single release and emulated flawlessly is an absolute treat. Whether you’re a fan of the series or a curious onlooker who’s always wanted to see what the fuss was all about, this is essential.
AI: The Somnium Files starts out slow but once you've traversed a few of its delightfully surreal Somnium dreamscapes and got to an ending or two, working your way back through your flowchart and striking out in different directions, it becomes an engaging and tense affair. Fans of the Zero Escape games will feel right at home here, and director Kotaro Uchikoshi’s talent for putting the player into increasingly unsettling circumstances ensures everything takes flight in a very satisfying way as you work your way through the many strands of the loopy central mystery towards its various different endings.
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.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy is a wonderful love letter to a classic series, keeping everything that made the original games what they were, but slapping on a fresh coat of paint for the HD era. There are a few creaking bones showing their age here and there, but only due to the developers’ desire to keep things as accurate as possible. The Switch version looks absolutely stunning and runs surprisingly well, so if you’re looking for a classic 3D platforming experience, you should definitely give this a look-in.