Back in 2017, the idea of console-quality gaming from the comfort of your bed or your car that can seamlessly go from portable mode to TV display took the gaming industry by storm. Almost 5 years after the launch of the Nintendo Switch, it’s not hard to admit that Nintendo did an exceptional job in delivering that promise.
But 5 years later, things are also a lot different than they were before. As next-gen rolls around consumers expect better performance alongside better or at least decent visuals. Yet sadly even after multiple new iterations of the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo has failed to meet these expectations even halfway.
Many of the recently released AAA titles on the Nintendo Switch push the boundaries on what can be accomplished on the system.
Coming close to the quality you’d expect from a modern title, but the concessions that are made for high fidelity come at the great cost of extremely poor performance or some particularly drab and empty-looking environments.
The most recent example of this is the latest Bayonetta 3. While I’m only halfway through it so far, it’s an insanely fun balls-to-the-walls action game that captures what makes every game by Platinum Games so damn fun to play through.
Even newcomer Viola presents a fun new playstyle with a personality that feels right at home with the utterly absurd cast of characters that you’ve come to expect from Bayonetta.
Couple that with some of the most jaw-dropping set pieces you’ll find in any action game, and you have a sequel that feels like an extremely satisfying love letter to a beloved franchise.
Yet despite all that the game is utterly plagued with technical issues due to the system it’s running on, looking not only worse than the first two games a lot of the time but also having even worse performance than either of them. The game just came out and it already feels like it needs a remaster.
A rapidly aging piece of hardware holds Bayonetta 3 back from reaching the potential it reasonably should. This leads to many of the levels in Bayo 3 feeling drab and empty and makes the combat feel particularly inconsistent. Especially when it gets in the way of clarity during combat, which is a big issue while playing Bayo 3.
Usually, in slow-paced games, poor performance isn’t that big of a deal, but in games like Bayonetta that require fast reaction speed and proper input timing, inconsistent performance is poison. So, while a game like Shin Megami Tensei V can mostly get away by running even below 30 FPS, inconsistent framerate in fast-paced action games can hurt the overall enjoyment of the experience.
Speaking of Shin Megami Tensei V, that’s another game that does the best it can to push the Nintendo Switch hardware to its absolute limit, resulting in one of the most technically impressive games on the system. Yet the game struggles to even maintain its target 30 FPS making for a very uneven experience across the board.
Up until recently, many had accepted that such weaker hardware was going to be the norm for handheld devices, that is until Valve released the Steam Deck. A handheld portable PC that could run almost your entire steam library including behemoths like Elden Ring and Cyberpunk 2077.
This coupled with the Steam Deck’s strong emulation support leaves the Nintendo Switch at a weird spot where its weaker hardware holds it back drastically while the Deck can run Switch games better than the actual hardware.
This is why many fans of Nintendo games have chosen to instead just outright emulate Nintendo games. Hell Bayonetta 3 already runs and looks better on an emulator than it does on the actual hardware.
As more and more boundary-pushing games come out on the Switch, so does the demand for that shiny new “Switch pro” increases.
It has become abundantly clear over time that the Nintendo Switch is holding back its games and I think that Bayonetta 3 has made it apparent that Nintendo needs to announce a vastly more powerful model for the Switch very soon that can…actually handle the games that are made for it.
I think Nintendo will have to pick up their slack pretty soon, and the current release of Bayonetta 3 has made that more than clear to everyone.
As time goes on the need for a newer, much more powerful version of the Nintendo Switch has only increased and with the release of a brand-new Zelda game, Nintendo possibly couldn’t be in a better state to announce a new iteration of the Switch.
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