Soapbox features allow our individual writers and contributors to voice their opinions on hot topics and random topics they’ve been working on. Today Gavin takes a look at some hot takes from 2022 and instantly transforms into this confusing John C. Reilly gif…
As a Nintendo-focused site, we’re naturally going to be more Nintendo-friendly than, you know, other websites. We are made up of Nintendo enthusiasts, and as fans with a long history of covering and appreciating the company’s production, Nintendo games and hardware will resonate with us. That doesn’t stop us from being disappointed or downright angry at some of the platform holder’s more confusing choices at times – often the missteps just piss us off even more! – but just as you’d expect PlayStation and Xbox sites to be excited about #content from Sony and Microsoft, we like some Switch games here. Crazy, huh?
And there were so many last year! We’ve managed to review over 300 of them in 2022 and there are plenty more beautiful ones that we’ve had to overlook, unfortunately. To me, it looked like a busy year of wall-to-wall belts, so I was a bit confused to see headlines like “Without Pokémon, 2022 would have been a sad year for Switch” and “Chess 2022: The Nintendo Switch really showed its age when year-end recaps started popping up on the game’s web in December.
That’s not to say the premise of articles like the ones above isn’t understandable, and many other commenters shared similar sentiments. Of course, Pokémon Legends: Arceus and Scarlet and Violet were the heavy hitters, and yes, the material is getting long in the tooth – we’re nearing the end of its sixth year-round on store shelves, after all. However, while it might be the most obvious thing in the world to see Nintendo Life “defending the honor” of a Nintendo console, these arguments strike me as odd given the brilliant games we all enjoyed in 2022. .
Let’s take Pokémon out of the equation for a moment. That leaves a first-party list that includes Xenoblade Chronicles 3, Kirby and the Forgotten Land, Splatoon 3, Nintendo Switch Sports, and Mario Strikers: Battle League. Nintendo also released Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes, Bayonetta 3, and the Strategy Triangle developed by Square Enix and Live A Live. Say what you like about the individual games in this range – and hoe the latest that haven’t been developed in-house if you like – but it’s an eclectic bunch of quality-crammed software. And that totally ignores all the games published by third parties, of which there were many. At the time of writing, Scarlet and Violet didn’t even make the top 50 of our reader-ranked list of the best Switch games of 2022.
No, 2022 didn’t bring an all-new Mario or Zelda, but with Tears of the Kingdom needing a bit more baking time, it was Pokémon’s turn to support Nintendo’s release schedule with the tent poles of the year. To say the year was a disappointment if you don’t like Pokémon is like saying the PS5 would have had a downside if not for Sony’s big exclusives. “Without Horizon and God Of War, 2022 would have been sad for PS5.” Um yes ? Is there still time for another Last of Us re-release? And did Microsoft release anything in 2022!? “Without Game Pass, 2022 would have been a Boo Boo for Xbox.”
Maybe it’s just me. With young kids enjoying my free time like two super cute and insanely expensive sponges, I’m not playing 24/7 like it used to be anymore, and Switch is just right for my lifestyle. 200 Hours of Elden Ring, the most obvious crown jewel of 2022 that was denied to Switch players, just isn’t an option right now.
I also completely understand, as for anyone who has already bought and played elsewhere, the excellent ports received by Switch – Persona 5 (finally!), NieR: Automatas, No Man’s Skys, etc. – the selections were a little thinner. But I’d still say the sheer variety of games that came to Switch in 2022, old and new, exclusive and otherwise, was sensational. There was just an absolute treasure trove of titles to enjoy. There’s nothing wrong with just playing your favorite genre or buying a system just to play a specific series like, say, Call of Duty or Fifa (in which case Switch definitely isn’t the console for you!), but I find it hard to understand how anyone who loves video games could call last year disappointing for the system. Even though we bombarded Pokemons for discussion’s sake.
Given the Switch’s age, it’s been a problem since 2017. From almost the very beginning, we’ve seen calls for updated hardware with a little more power to run bigger games better. Yes, it would be great to see more titles hitting frame rate and resolution targets more consistently, and new hardware is surely on the horizon over the next year, but as a platform form is maturing, developers are improving accordingly to get the most out of it, and that was certainly in evidence in 2022. We’re seeing calls from developers for Microsoft to stop crippling the most powerful consoles by making it mandatory to take support for the less-specified Xbox Series S, so it’s odd to single out Switch when its limitations are so well documented and 30fps caps have started appearing for big games on PS5 and Xbox (looking at you, Gotham Knights). And so many Switch games – against all odds, as always – have run flawlessly!
Apologies if this comes across as a “failure”, but honestly, it puzzled me to see gamers and YouTubers label 2022 as a dud for Switch owners. Imagine “Only Three Marvel Movies Released, What a Terrible Year for Movies” as the title. Same energy! Each month brought a new wave of must-have pieces for me. I’m not going to draw comparisons to The Lean Wii U Years™ or the convenience of handheld play or the price of first-party titles versus the competition, because none of that is really relevant. In terms of quality games launching in 2022, pound for pound, I’d say Switch easily held off the PS5 and Xbox.
With Nintendo likely having shifted internal resources and attention to its next console and prioritizing a proprietary software release schedule to echo the once-a-month cadence that placed Switch so well in its year of launch, it’s likely that 2023 could be an equally “quiet” year, with Zelda: TOTK doing the heavy lifting for the current system. I look forward to new hardware reveals along with all fellow Nintendo fans, but we shouldn’t let the lack of hot “Switch Pro” or “Switch 2” announcements or the delay of a highly anticipated game throw a shadow of a truly excellent year.
Will we see similar “Sans Zelda…” titles in December, then? Probably. Here’s hoping 2023 turns out to be as wonderfully disappointing on Switch as 2022.
What do you think? Was 2022 a sad year saved only by Pokémon? Let Gavin know if he should quit crazy pills by voting in the poll below and leaving a comment if you feel like it.
And make sure you have a good year, too!
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