January 24, 2021

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The Best Nintendo Switch Ports of 2020 – SwitchArcade Special

The Nintendo Switch lets you play a game at home on TV and then just...

The Nintendo Switch lets you play a game at home on TV and then just pick up your system and carry your game with you seamlessly. It is a huge selling point for the platform in general and has let many developers and publishers find a lot of success bringing older and newer games to the system over time. In many cases, games that would’ve never been on a portable have been faithfully brought over like with The Witcher 3 in 2019. 2020 has seen loads of great conversions to the Switch but here are the top 10 Switch ports of 2020 in no particular order.

Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition (Capcom)

Capcom’s Devil May Cry and Resident Evil releases on Nintendo Switch are almost all more expensive than other platforms and not as good technically despite the games themselves being from older consoles. Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition is the exception here because not only is it a great version of Devil May Cry 3 on a technical level, but the Switch port has some exclusive features. Style and weapon switching lets you change Dante’s playstyle on the fly as opposed to between levels which is a massively great feature. I can’t believe Capcom didn’t implement this into other platforms. The Switch version of Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition also has a local co-op mode. My only real complaint with Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition on Switch is that you can’t buy it physically. Even without the exclusive content, Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition would’ve been an excellent port. With new features however, Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition on Switch is an essential purchase.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps (iam8bit / Moon Studios)

The original Ori and the Blind Forest was a huge surprise for most people on Nintendo Switch. When the sequel was announced for Xbox and PC platforms and it finally released earlier in the year, I was very disappointed by the abysmal performance on Xbox One X. Barring the performance, Ori and the Will of the Wisps was a massively improved sequel that was better in almost every way. Since that rocky launch on consoles, the game has improved a lot in that aspect but the announcement and release of the Nintendo Switch version was a shock to me. I couldn’t imagine how it would run on Switch given the performance on a much more powerful console but Moon Studios delivered. Ori and the Will of the Wisps is an absolute joy to play on Switch and it definitely is a miracle of a port given how it looks and runs on any system.

Streets of Rage 4 (Dotemu / Seaven Studio)

Some might argue that it isn’t fair to call Streets of Rage 4 a port given it was announced for Switch and released on Switch at the same time as other platforms. The reality is that the Switch and PS4 versions of Streets of Rage 4 were done by Seaven Studio and this isn’t a game that was built for Switch and then scaled up so it is a port in the end. A damn fine port as well. Streets of Rage 4 is already one of the best beat-em-ups in years and easily one of my favourite games of 2020. While it is available on just about every platform, it is awesome to have a perfect conversion ready for me to pick up and play at any time on Switch. The only downside to this port in my experience is the online being laggy compared to other systems regardless of connection type.

Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late [cl-r] (Aksys Games / Arc System Works)

Fighting games are usually a mixed bag on Nintendo Switch. While the likes of Mortal Kombat 11 and Samurai Shodown offer serviceable experiences for those looking to play on the go, very few fighting games have managed to transition perfectly to Nintendo Switch. Thankfully, Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late [cl-r] from Arc System Works and French Bread is just about a perfect port to Switch. It looks and runs great both docked and handheld and only really suffers from delayed updates compared to PS4. It is a great way to experience Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late [cl-r] if you’re in it for the offline content. Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late [cl-r] is one of the best fighting games you can play on Switch and a superb port.

No More Heroes (XSEED Games / Engine Software)

No More Heroes is an interesting game and an interesting port. If you’ve never played it before, No More Heroes is a fun action game with some filler content and great music that is complemented well with excellent characters and great boss fights. While it does have some filler content, it remains a game worth experiencing. No More Heroes on Switch is the best way to play the original game by far. It runs well and looks excellent. In a lot of ways, Engine Software did more to make No More Heroes look and run good today than other big publishers do for their own flagship releases. The low asking price also helps in making this release of No More Heroes more welcoming to newcomers to not just the No More Heroes games but also to Suda51 games in general. I’m glad XSEED Games got this port sorted for Switch because everyone should play No More Heroes and the sequel before No More Heroes 3 hits next year.

Ys Origin (Dotemu / Falcom)

Falcom licenses out its games quite a bit for different platforms and regions. Ys Origin debuted on PC before it saw a PS4 and PS Vita release through Dotemu. I was glad to have Ys Origin on a portable but the conversion wasn’t perfect. Dotemu then brought it to Xbox One but a Switch port was still missing in action. Thankfully, that got sorted this year when Ys Origin finally arrived on Switch. Ys Origin is one of the best action games you can play on Switch and the best entry point to the older style Ys games with the best entry to modern ones being Ys VIII. Ys Origin on Switch is exactly what I wanted with much better performance both docked and handheld. I had already played Ys Origin on everything before but it never hurts to have a game you love on Switch. If you’ve never played it before, this is easily the version to get.

Hades (Supergiant Games)

Hades is a game you will likely see on many end of year lists. It is a superlative roguelike action RPG from Supergiant Games that debuted on PC in early access before finally hitting Switch this year. What makes Hades so good on Switch is that it looks and runs great for the most part and it has cross save with the PC version. This lets players who own the game on both systems play on PC when at home and pickup and play on Switch on the go without any trouble. Over the months since launch, Hades on Switch has also seen multiple fixes and it is basically a game I can recommend to anyone on Switch right now. It isn’t just a great roguelike, it is a great roguelike that has the superlative polish you’d expect from Supergiant Games with a soundtrack that is easily among the best this generation.

Trails of Cold Steel III (NIS America / Engine Software)

After Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA was announced, it was just the start of modern Falcom games hitting the Switch. While Trails of Cold Steel and Trails of Cold Steel II were on PS3 and PS Vita initially, Trails of Cold Steel III debuted as a PS4-only game in Japan. It is a good entry point into Falcom’s long running Trails series and a massive game in its own right. NIS America and Engine Software brought it to Switch earlier this year with all content included and it is an excellent port for play on the go. When played docked, it looks just about the same with no real visual improvements. If you want to play Trails of Cold Steel III on TV, you’re better off playing it on PS4 anyway if you have that option. On the Switch, Trails of Cold Steel III gives you a great portable version with the ability to play on TV as well without any friction. I can’t wait to play Trails of Cold Steel IV on Switch when it arrives in 2021.

Doom Eternal (Bethesda / Panic Button)

Just like Ori and the Will of the Wisps, I just couldn’t imagine a situation in which Doom Eternal would look and run good enough on Nintendo Switch given how demanding it is on other platforms. I played a ton of Doom (2016) on Switch and enjoyed my time dipping into arcade mode often. It didn’t look as good as other consoles but got the job done. Doom Eternal felt like a massive step forward on all platforms when it arrived earlier this year and I couldn’t resist checking out the Switch conversion. This might be Panic Button’s best work so far because Doom Eternal runs even better than Doom (2016) for me on Switch. It has taken a big visual hit compared to other systems but is a great conversion that only needs a few more control tweaks to feel perfect. I’m not sure how I will fare on Switch when the DLC arrives next year but the base game is well worth experiencing on the go if you’d like to play it on Switch. If you’re considering it for TV play though, literally every other platform is a better option.

Burnout Paradise Remastered (EA)

Burnout Paradise Remastered arrived on Nintendo Switch earlier this year and delivered in every way. The open world racer plays and looks great both docked and handheld with the developer going the extra mile to even include touchscreen support for the interface. Burnout Paradise Remastered on Nintendo Switch is content complete with the other versions and is the only platform offering portable play. The only downside is the asking price which is higher than other platforms but on its own, Burnout Paradise Remastered is essential for racing fans on Switch and one of the best ports of the year.

With the PS5 and Xbox Series X and S having just come out, the Nintendo Switch is still very much in its prime with a plethora of original games and ports hitting it. 2021 is going to be interesting for sure but what was your favourite Nintendo Switch port of the year?

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