Square Enix should be ashamed of Kingdom Hearts releasing on Switch

At last, Kingdom Hearts Available at changeYou can now experience the adventures of Sora (you know, the last character added in Smash Bros. Ultimate) on Nintendo’s beloved hybrid console. But you know what? It sucks.

The game is good, don’t get me wrong. The Kingdom Hearts franchise is in many ways an important one, breaking new ground in helping the company that made Final Fantasy master live-action RPG combat, while aligning with arguably the world’s most important intellectual property owner. cooperation. The games tell a puzzling but ultimately endearing coming-of-age story that just about anyone can relate to — and if you have a nostalgia for Disney’s biggest movie, you’ll love at least a couple of the game’s worlds. So what’s the problem?

Well, it’s all about the cloud. Not the one in Final Fantasy, who appears as a brooding mercenary in the KH series. This is the cloud that runs the game. You see, the Kingdom Hearts games on Switch don’t run locally on the machine – they’re a cloud-only version. You buy games, but every time you launch them, they’re streamed to you over the internet from some centralized, more powerful hardware that runs it remotely.

On paper, there’s nothing wrong with cloud gaming. We’ve been very impressed with Microsoft’s Xbox ‘xCloud’ service, and I’ve had a lot of time with Nvidia’s GeForce Now. PlayStation also has its version. But there is a difference here. These services are all available as an option; squeeze in some Sea of ​​Thieves exploration while you wait in the doctor’s office, or stream Evil Genius 2 to your TV instead of your PC. You still have the option to jump back to native hardware and enjoy all the benefits it brings.

That’s not the case with the Switch’s cloud-based version of the game. Kingdom Hearts isn’t the first Control, Hitman 3, and a few others to release on machines in this way, as is Square Enix’s own Guardians of the Galaxy game. However, these games are different: they’re all full-fat, next-gen games that would otherwise be impossible or very, very difficult to narrow down to the Switch.

This is where I hang up on Kingdom Hearts. The collection includes a ton of Kingdom Hearts games, but all but two of them are basically…well, they’re PlayStation 2 games. Or collectively, they’re PlayStation 3 remakes of PS2 games. These things work natively on the Switch.them should Run locally on Switch.

Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD remix is ​​a remaster first released on PS3 in 2013, which includes the first Kingdom Hearts and the spin-off Chain of Memories. The PS4 version was released in 2017, but features the same. Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix came to PS3 in 2014, following the same port trajectory. That one includes KH2, as well as a remake of the PSP title Birth By Sleep.

These games are the ones that should run natively on the Switch. no excuse. The others, I know — Kingdom Hearts 3 and 2.8 (its prologue) are PS4 versions — and look extra lavish. It might not be possible to get those down to the Switch, and even if they were, it might be too much work to be profitable. So I’d even make the 3DS’s HD Remaster title Dream Drop Distance go away, since (though it should work on Switch too) it’s part of the 2.8 package. So — let’s put those games aside for now. I’m still mad at KH 1.5 and 2.5. This is ridiculous.

The most ridiculous thing is the price. These are full price games. They have a 20% pre-launch discount right now, but once they release these games will be £33 (KH 1.5 + 2.5), £40 (KH2.8) and £50 (KH3), and are truly insane £5 included The entire KH saga’s “Masterpiece” collection sells for $80/$90. Unless it’s not a masterpiece; it’s a slap in the face.

On PS4, you can buy the “Kingdom Hearts All-in-One Package” on disc for £45, which includes all the same games, but in a format that runs natively on your console. That’s the MSRP, by the way; deals on it are commonplace.

This PS4 package also offers games in an undeniably better format. It can be played without an internet connection and continues to work even after the server is down. In charging £80 for these Cloud versions, Square Enix is ​​basically charging almost double the price of the PlayStation version, which ends up being leased. One day, the servers running these versions of these games will be terminated, and that’s it.

The game isn’t out yet, but Square Enix has put out a playable demo, presumably to appease those who might be concerned that cloud computing isn’t working. And, well, I don’t know what to tell you; the cloud stuff works, but it has drawbacks. A lot of times, it’s like watching a “Let’s Play” game on YouTube, with noticeable compression artifacts, black smashing, and inconsistent pacing as the stream goes back and forth. Switch OLED users or those using an ethernet adapter will have better results when playing wired games, but I’ve had stutters on the gigabit connection – with the Switch wired connection – whatever.

Mileage also varies by game. Simpler, cleaner (pun intended) PS2 games perform better than the KH3, which with its added detail and complexity more easily gives way to the chaos of streaming. But for games that are simply impossible to run on the Switch, it’s something you can live with and understand. This is simply not the case with most of these games. If the package included native ports of the first two games, but the others included the cloud, I would understand, and even accept that price. Instead, all games are compromised and still expensive.

I don’t know why this is happening, but I can guess. I think the actual Kingdom Hearts team in Osaka is probably going all out on the next Kingdom Hearts title, though hoping to port the game to the Switch, but for some reason either doesn’t have enough bandwidth internally to do it, or is willing to put the It is outsourced to an external studio. So we got this bad, messy compromise. I know porting games is a tough job, but there’s clearly a market for these games on Switch; Sora’s excitement in Smash proves it. There’s little reason not to natively port PS3 games to the Switch — let alone PS3 ports of PS2 and PSP games.

Anyway. Game is playable on Switch; congratulations to all involved and well done. Still, this isn’t the version anyone should be aiming for. You can’t even take Kingdom Hearts on a plane or train – which is a big joy of the Switch port – because you need a constant, stable and fast internet connection. It feels almost pointless. Maybe people will get a portable KH fix via Steam Deck and other portable PCs once the game’s Epic exclusivity ends on PC. If you just want to play these games, you can get better versions with no streaming artifacts and for a lot cheaper. Streaming is a great tool when games are fundamentally incompatible. For these PS2/3 games, that excuse doesn’t hold up.

I’m guessing it’s about the same as Square Enix’s class. I’m tired of flipping coins on their important legacy games, guessing whether a given re-release will be gold or a complete legacy chaos disaster. However, please write another one in the latter column here. This re-release is not so much a triumph for streaming as it is for fans who want Kingdom Hearts on the go. nice one.