Best of Both Worlds
Now that I can finally break myself free from Breath of the Wild's grasp - and I'll be providing my thoughts on that game soon - I can finally play some other games on my shiny new Nintendo Switch. I decided to go with I am Setsuna, and I'm very glad I did, as it's the perfect sort of game for the Switch's key gimmick.
I already own I am Setsuna on the PS4, as a gift from a friend, but I didn't get through very much of it. I found that I had to be in a particular "mood" to be interested in playing, and wouldn't play for very long before being drawn to some of the more bombastic titles on my PS4. The reason for this is that I've become accustomed to playing JRPGs on handhelds like the Vita and 3DS. These types of games just seem more suited for portability. The repetitive nature of battles that are rather similar to one another lend themselves to a mobile system, letting me grind out a few levels or clear a dungeon while on my commute, or watching a show or movie on TV.
At the same time, portability can undo some of the narrative impact of a JRPG. An important betrayal or action-packed cutscene can feel stuffed within the confines of Vita screen. It's this sort of balancing act that makes me both sad and relieved that Persona 5 is going to be a console game. On the one hand, I'd like to get through some of the more repetitive moment-to-moment gameplay on the go. But on the other, I'd like to see those stylish cutscenes on my TV.
Which is what makes the Switch so JRPG-friendly. In the past week, I've been able to grind through dungeons in I am Setsuna while in the system's portable mode, during lunch breaks or while watching a movie. Then I dock the Switch and go through more important story moments and boss battles on my TV. It's quite literally the best of both worlds, and I think Nintendo should focus on providing more experiences like it, either by creating those experiences themselves or making a big push for JRPGs on their system.
This big push will more than likely happen - though Nintendo says that the Switch will not be replacing the 3DS, I can see some of the companies that provided low-to-mid budget JRPGs on that system moving to the more powerful but still portable Nintendo Switch. I think that would be a great move on their part, because I am Setsuna and JRPGs like it could make a great home on the Nintendo Switch.