Many fans were excited about the prospect of the Nintendo Switch Online + expansion pack, but then hesitated when they found out about the pricing structure. Now that the service is here, what value does it really bring? In review, Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack features a modest collection of Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis games and adds some nice modern upgrades like portability, local and online multiplayer, save states, and rollbacks. However, online gaming issues and the quality of the emulation are notable shortcomings of the service. Combine that with frustrating issues like the inability to remap controls, and the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack becomes a service that can only be recommended to the most dedicated fans of Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis.
A nice addition to your collection?
The Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack includes access to a collection of Nintendo 64 games, Sega Genesis games, and the Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Happy Home Paradise DLC. Specifically, it includes nine Nintendo 64 games such as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Sin and punishment, as well as 14 Sega Genesis games with Castlevania: Bloodlines and Surveyor. Depending on your region, you can also choose between North American or European versions of certain games, which is a good idea for those with a particular preference. Modern features of the basic Nintendo Switch Online service are returning, such as save states, rewinds, and display options like pixel-perfect or the CRT filter. Coupled with Switch’s inherent portability, these features represent much-loved feature enhancements for every game.
While a large number of these games have been sold in collections or as individual ports and remasters over the years, Nintendo 64 games were mostly not playable on modern platforms. With that in mind, there are some really exciting and classic games to explore here, and they are just as fun as ever. However, the current selection seems limited in the amount paid for the Nintendo Switch Online + expansion pack. Nintendo has already confirmed that more games will be added such as Paper mario and Banjo-Kazooie, and a recent datamine suggests that many more go beyond those advertised. Still, right now it’s hard to recommend the service over options on other competing platforms, unless Switch is your only console.
Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack is a mixed bag
The majority of games in both collections perform well and without any noticeable issues, especially on the Sega Genesis side. Resolutions are generally sharp, frame rates are stable, and I didn’t notice any input lag (but your mileage may vary). That said, some more basic issues quickly got boring. The service does not use the Nintendo 64 Controller Pak, which means that features like saving ghost data in Mario kart 64 are not possible. Likewise, the game descriptions for each title are interesting, but adding digital manuals would have been much more helpful for players new to any of these titles.
On all Switch controllers, the N64’s C buttons are mapped to the right analog stick, and since the buttons cannot be remapped, this leads to awkward control layouts. The lack of customizable controls also meant it was frustrating not being able to change the default reverse first person aim in Ocarina of time. Unfortunately for Ocarina of time fans, it was also the only game in which I found substantial issues. While the frame rate and resolution were great, emulation-based bugs resulted in inconsistent fog effects, a worse water appearance than in previous versions of the game, and noticeable differences in coloring. Compared to Ocarina from Timeemulation on Wii and GameCube, as well as the higher version of Nintendo 3DS, it’s a disappointing effort. It might be the only game I’ve had issues with, but it’s always disappointing to receive an inferior version of one of Nintendo’s biggest hits.
Those who have purchased the now depleted Nintendo 64 Controller will have fewer issues with the game collection offered in Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack, as it provides control schemes that more closely match the original games. It has a nice rumble effect and even some extra features thanks to the Switch buttons on the top, like a screenshot button. It can be as awkward to hold the controller as ever, but being able to use the Z button to target in Ocarina of time or to keep an object in Mario kart 64 definitely looks more natural than Nintendo’s contemporary control schemes.
Nintendo 64 fans will remember how much of a part split-screen multiplayer was in what made the system so fun. This remains true with Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack, but with a few caveats. All types of Nintendo Switch compatible controllers can be connected for a party of up to four people to play on the same screen when supported, and there were no noticeable input lag or bug issues. in my playing time in these modes.
Meanwhile, the new online multiplayer component is a little different. Playing N64 and Genesis games online with friends is a really cool new thing that breathes new life into titles like Mario kart 64 Where Streets of Rage 2. It’s a welcome perk to bring these titles to the Switch. However, as you would expect from any Nintendo game with online functionality, the connection is not always consistent. Cases of lag and disconnection during matches are not uncommon, and it’s part of a pervasive problem Nintendo must resolve.
The Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack is only for the most dedicated Nintendo and Sega fans
There is definitely fun to be found in the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack thanks to the quality of the titles on offer and contemporary quality of life improvements. Being able to play classic games like Streets of Rage 2 Where Star fox 64 portable and with modern perks like save states and rollbacks, as well as local and online multiplayer options, add fantastic new value to these legacy titles. Still, a limited selection of Nintendo 64 games combined with awkward control schemes, issues with online connectivity, a lack of Expansion Pak support, and emulation-based issues make it difficult to recommend Nintendo Switch Online +. Expansion Pack to anyone except Nintendo’s most dedicated. and the audience of Sega.
A review code for Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack has been provided by the publisher.
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