games / Columns

The Nintendo Switch’s Biggest Advantage: Ports

December 11, 2017 | Posted by Adam Larck

Third party developers had a right to be skeptic of the Switch before its release.

Nintendo never garnered any favors with them with the Wii and Wii U. The Wii became known as a system for mostly shovelware, and Ubisoft’s gamble on the Wii U was a bust, scaring other developers away.

So, when the Switch first looked like a glorified Android tablet with older graphic processing, it was surprising to see that Bethesda popped up with a Skyrim port on the way.

Now, we have two ports from Bethesda, a Rockstar port and even a port from Psyonix, all in the same month. Surprisingly, this has helped show that the Switch may find some of its best games in rereleases that you can take on the go.

With the Holiday season getting ready to be in full swing, I’ve looked at some of the ports below to see what you should take on the road to family gatherings, and what should be left behind.


Before I get to Skyrim, let’s talk about Doom, the reason I finally had to get a memory card for the system.

Doom is a faithful port of the 2016 remake. The gameplay is still fast and twitchy, and controls have transitioned well to the console, whether being played with a controller, the portable mode or the Joy Cons separated.

The multiplayer also transitioned over nicely. All the DLC and additions from updates are included here and, even though it did jump the game size up, is worthwhile for a good multiplayer shooter experience on the console.

However, Doom has the most noticeable downgrades to make it portable. There is a reduction in graphic quality, with the fog of war being used a lot more to cover up distances on Mars. Doing some quick spins will make the view blur and the text in portable mode is so small it’s basically worthless to read. So, if you’re bringing this on the go, make sure to have headphones to be able to hear some of the story.

Overall, Doom is the most affected by the portability. It’s worth checking out if you’re on the go often and never played the original, but if you plan to play docked, go for the better graphics on the PS4 or XB1 instead.

Next up is Skyrim. It’s worth noting that it’s a port of the original Skyrim, not the enhanced edition with mods available on other consoles. However, it does come with DLC.

Graphically, it’s identical to the PS3/XB360 version and looks great on the system. The controls also transition well, with motion controls for swinging weapons and shields.

What makes this great on the go is the scope of the game. If you focus on all the guilds and side quests and item finding, not just the main quest, there’s a lot to do here. So, being able to take it on the go, do a quest or two, and put it away is a great accomplishment. Plus, there is armor based on Zelda, which is a good Nintendo touch.

If you somehow missed out on this the first time, or just wanted an excuse to take on dragons again, the Switch version is worth checking out.


Honestly, I thought the PS3/360  version of GTA V would have been a better port, or even Red Dead Redemption leading up to next year, but LA Noire is a good Switch addition for short bits of story.

Like Skyrim, there really is no graphical downgrade here. There were some small changes to the gameplay, such as how you interrogate witnesses and using touch controls to investigate crime scenes if you want. Otherwise, it’s still the same game as years ago.

If you’re a fan of crime shows or detective novels, there may be enough here to make checking LA Noire out. However, issues with a relatively empty world to wander around remain, and the game can drag quite a bit at points. Like Doom, though, you’ll probably need to invest in a memory card for the larger download size.


Last, we get Rocket League. The game does have a bit of a graphics downgrade, but it isn’t nearly as noticeable as Doom’s downgrade.

Other than that, the game is just as fun as the other versions. In the online modes, I’ve had mostly good connections to other players, with the few laggy matches I’ve been in looking like others were having the latency issues. All the unique modes that have been released in recent months are in there, such as basketball, hockey and the testing grounds, so there’s already plenty to do besides normal 3v3 outside the gate.

For the times you’re traveling and have no net to connect to, the AI modes and season mode will help keep you occupied. Plus, except for the Mario car and a few other stock models, everything (including the Metroid car) has to be unlocked via matches. This means there’s plenty of play time ahead to get everything (something I forgot about after over a year of playing it on PS4).

Like Skyrim, I have to recommend this one for short play on the go. Matches finish within 5-10 minutes (depending on overtime), and no matter whether you’re playing with AI or humans, you’re always improving your skills, getting better and having a great time.

article topics :

Doom, Nintendo, Nintendo Switch, Adam Larck