Ports… Ports Everywhere…

Infendo OpEd

A year ago I wanted Hyrule Warriors Definitive Edition baaaaad. I mean, I was jonesing hard, man. The first version for the Wii U was a fantastic experience, and Legends on the 3DS only added to the amazement. There were reasons to play both: from a gameplay perspective, Legends was the clear winner, but being on the 3DS certainly held it back from a technical standpoint. And so, my moments between play sessions were often spent pining for that perfect version of the game, something that would combine my two favourite games into… well, my new favourite game. Then the Switch came out.

To say there was a plethora of substitutes for Hyrule Warriors would be an overstatement. Upon getting my Switch, I quickly discovered Dragon Quest Heroes 1+2 and Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star, both excellent games that helped fill that Warriors void. A little while later, Fire Emblem Warriors was released, and suddenly I was right back in that Hyrule Warriors state; I had found an amazing game that did exactly what I wanted it to.

Fast forward to yesterday, Nintendo released a new mini-direct, and lo and behold, Hyrule Warriors is coming to Switch. All of the best features of both games, wrapped up in a neat little HD package and delivered with all of the DLC that gave me so much extra play time. And yet, here I sit, in a mix of confusion and ironic bewilderment. I don’t want this game.

Make no mistake, I would very much enjoy playing Hyrule Warriors some more. My 600+ hours of playtime combined speaks for itself. But I have zero desire to replay the game from point blank, and even less to pay for the experience.

Hyrule Warriors is a game that takes time. Unlocking all of the outfits, weapons and whatnot is a serious job, one that at 600 hours I’m not even totally finished with yet. And as much as I loved that game, it was as much an addiction as it was a pleasure. Entire days vanished for me under the guise of a simple play session. And while I loved every minute of those sessions, I really don’t want to get locked into that kind of cycle again. That aside, there’s a bigger issue here: How many times can one person buy what’s essentially the same game? Admittedly, many a Nintendo gamer has purchased Super Mario Bros. 3 on just about every system they own, but buying a $5 port is very different experience from buying a $60 one.

It isn’t just Hyrule Warriors that’s got me feeling iffy. Pokkén Tournament, Donkey Kong Country Returns: Tropical Freeze and Mario Kart 8 have all migrated from the Wii U to the Switch now. Each one of these titles has me feeling a bit differently, based on my prior experiences with them on Wii U, but there’s a definite tentativeness to all the ports being released lately. On the one hand, it’s wonderful to see people who might not have been able to play these games finally get the chance on a really well designed system. On the other hand, as someone who bought all of these games when they were initially released, I can’t help but feel like I choose poorly. When the Switch was first released, I felt just fine with my Wii U experience; it was nothing special, but it delivered some really good games and kept me entertained as I left college. These days, I’m finding myself regretting my purchase of the system. Sure, it was nice while it lasted, but what’s the point owning a system if everything is just going to get re-released a few years later on an even better one?

As someone who doesn’t make much money, I have to pick and choose how to best enjoy my gaming hobby. I personally think this helps keep me objective. Since I can’t just buy and consume everything that comes out, I have to make responsible choices and buy games that will keep me entertained or provide me with something new. As much as I loved these games when I first bought them, I can’t see myself paying $60, or even $30 for most of them again. I find Pokken Tournament particularly outrageous, as it’s the only title that actually has additional paid DLC for sale, bringing the current price up to approximately $75.

At the time of my writing this, I own one of the four games I mentioned above: Mario Kart 8. It was largely a circumstantial purchase, made when the Switch was young and there wasn’t much to play on it. And of course, that isn’t to say that I won’t end up owning one of these other titles in the future. Hyrule Warriors could announce some really amazing new content, or one of the games could significantly dip in price. There might even be a gaming drought later this year that has me looking for a game to play to keep me occupied. But at present, I simply can’t justify buying any of these games again.

This is an OpEd precisely because this is my own opinion. I don’t mean to suggest that these releases aren’t worth it, or that people who buy them are thinking wrong. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with buying a game you really love on a new system, especially if it offers something new or enticing to get you there. But all of these ports have me feeling a little uneasy at the start of the new year. The Switch’s 2018 line-up is looking robust, yes, but it’s currently primarily filled with ports from other systems. Other than the games I mentioned, we have Dragon Quest Builders and Dark Souls rounding things out. Skyrim was released a few months ago. And many of the games coming to the Eshop from indie developers have been out for years on Steam and other consoles. As nice as it is to have a lot of games to play, I would find 2018 much more promising if we were looking forward to a few games we’ve never played before, as opposed to a large collection of games we’ve already seen and played on other consoles. And while I expect those titles to make their way down the line as the year goes on, the first half of 2018 is starting to look like a rerun, rather than a blockbuster.

Gamer by day, game designer by night - Lukas studied Digital Arts in school, and grew up in the age of the N64 and Gamecube. He's the youngster of the bunch, but that doesn't keep him from shouting out at every available opportunity on Infendo Radio. He often finds himself at the edge of counter-culture (hates Metroid Prime, loves Other M), but isn't afraid to dive into the next big budget AAA title with the best of 'em. Favorite game: Sonic Adventure 2 Battle/Skyward Sword/Ocarina of Time/Zero Escape 2/You get the idea