This Week in Games, July 5-12
By Hunter Heilman
Okay, let’s forgo pleasantries and discuss this new Nintendo Switch iteration and how it’s pretty okay, but also incredibly indicative of consumer disappointment when rumors and leaks are reported as fact by reputable sources.
On Tuesday, July 6, Nintendo announced the newest premium iteration of the Nintendo Switch, aptly and so creatively titled the Nintendo Switch OLED Model, it presents a few notable upgrades from the standard Nintendo Switch model, including a 7-inch OLED screen, improving upon the standard model’s 6.2 inch LCD screen, and the Nintendo Switch Lite’s 5.5 inch LCD screen. Also included is a dedicated LAN port on the dock for improved connectivity for online play in games like “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.” Also included is an exclusive new color in White, which now includes both the Joy-Con controllers and the redesigned dock in white. The physical console itself now also includes an entirely revamped, adjustable kickstand for improved tabletop play, and enhanced speakers. The internal storage has also been doubled from 32GB to 64GB, with availability still for an external MicroSD card of any size.
At $349.99, the Nintendo Switch OLED Model runs $50 higher than the standard Switch model, and many gamers are saying the OLED Model does not mark enough significant improvements to market itself as a premium model. While the screen is updated to an OLED display, the resolution in handheld mode is still capped at 720p, and docked mode still at 1080p, a far cry from the rumored 4K support spread through the trade publications. On the inside, the OLED Model is identical to both the standard and Lite models in terms of RAM and CPU, offering no major boost in graphical fidelity or smoothness. Many of the rumors circulated around failed to come to fruition in the OLED Model, with many decrying it simply as an updated version of the standard model, not a “Pro” device they believed was coming.
But here’s the thing…Nintendo never once offered up the idea of a “Nintendo Switch Pro” ever even being considered. The disappointment comes from outside, incorrect reporting about what Nintendo’s next move was to be. While some elements of its manufacturing proved to be true, some of the biggest new claims that really would’ve boosted it to a “Pro” status are missing. Complaining about its lack of 4K support or improved internals is both a bit misguided, and also fully oblivious to the place in which Nintendo stands in the market. Nintendo has never been striving for having the most powerful, graphically intensive systems, and everyone who has one pretty much knows that. Nintendo prides themself on unique innovations to the way we play video games first, and their wonderful IP catalog is simply the cherry on top. Expecting them to change now was simply blind optimism for something newer and bigger from an already rapidly changing console ecosystem.
For what it’s worth, I also believe that this OLED Model should’ve simply acted as a replacement to the standard model, as it remaining at a 720p handheld resolution and lack of any other major improvements should’ve simply been treated as a facelift, as opposed to a “premium” model, but it doesn’t really change that I never expected Nintendo to offer anything more simply because I heard someone tell someone tell someone who told a news organization that this would be coming. I think it’s still a fabulous piece of hardware that is deserving of its place as one of the most successful console ideas ever, and this simply acts as an improvement upon that. Would I get it if I already owned a standard Switch? Absolutely not, but for those looking to bust into the world of the Switch really should consider the improvements this will offer to the experience when it drops on October 8.
As it comes with games this week, there’s really only one major release, which also is available on the so heavily aforementioned Nintendo Switch.
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin
I love “Monster Hunter.” I’m certainly a newer convert to the world, but everything I’ve experienced in “Monster Hunter World,” “Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate,” “Monster Hunter Rise,” and honestly…the “Monster Hunter” film adaptation starring Milla Jovovich, has me completely hooked. It’s a deep, vast world of grandiose action and complicated gameplay, but when you finally get things right, and the hunt goes well, it’s truly one of the most satisfying feelings in video games…even if the wannabe vegan in me sometimes feels guilty about killing these monsters.
“Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin” on the other hand is an entirely new experience for me. Following, but not connected to the first Monster Hunter Stories, this separate series of games transforms the action-heavy “Monster Hunter” world into a more lighthearted JRPG featuring turn-based combat and a deeper, more involved story. Many compare the “Monster Hunter Stories” games to that of “Pokémon,” and while I agree from a gameplay perspective they are similar, I’d almost argue the new style of “Pokémon” on the Switch resembles the first “Monster Hunter Stories” as much as it does “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” and you can quote me on that.
“Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin” drops on July 9, 2021 for the Nintendo Switch and PC for $59.99.
With the Steam Summer Sale coming to a close and the PS Store Mid-Year Deals Sale in full swing, it’s not a terrible week for game sales, though it’s not one to fully write home about either.
Persona 5 Royal: $26.99 (MSRP: $59.99)
Mortal Kombat 11: $14.99 (MSRP: $49.99)
Yakuza Remastered Collection: $25.99 (MSRP: $39.99)
Outriders: $38.99 (MSRP: $59.99)
Stranded Deep: $11.99 (MSRP: $19.99)
Maneater: $13.99 (MSRP: $39.99)
Soma: $2.99 (MSRP: $29.99)
The Sinking City: $9.99 (MSRP: $49.99)
Stardew Valley: $8.99 (MSRP: $14.99)
Mass Effect Legendary Edition: $49.79 (MSRP: $59.99)
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice: $29.99 (MSRP: $59.99)
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: $14.99 (MSRP: $59.99)
Celeste: $4.99 (MSRP: $19.99)
Lego Harry Potter Collection: $12.49 (MSRP: $49.99)
Resident Evil 4: $14.99 (MSRP: $19.99)
Quiplash: $4.99 (MSRP: $9.99)
The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa: $8.99 (MSRP: $14.99)