The Kingdom Hearts Games Being on Switch Cloud Ruins Their Appeal and Chance at Expanding the Fanbase
The Kingdom Hearts titles have made their way to the PlayStation, Xbox, and PC platforms, with the only notable absence being the Switch. Well, that won’t be the case for much longer, thanks to news from last week. During the final Sakurai Presents for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, in which the final DLC character was revealed to be Sora from Kingdom Hearts, the collections, and Kingdom Hearts III + Re Mind were also announced to be coming to the Switch. Unfortunately, however, the methodology of these games’ arrivals on the Switch is a curled Monkey’s Paw scenario if I’ve ever seen one.
All 3 of these releases are confirmed to be Cloud only, meaning they will not be traditional Switch releases. For those unfamiliar with Cloud gaming, it consists of playing games on the appropriate platform via streaming, and it requires a consistently stable and robust internet connection to play without interruption reliably. Still, delayed inputs and occasional doses of lag are expected even with a strong internet connection. With all of the experiences in these packages being action JRPGs, except for the 358/2 Days, Re:coded, and χ Back Cover movies, the prospect of playing these games this way is alarmingly unappealing.
Further, not only is the sheer prospect unappealing, but this method of availability makes the titles straight up unplayable in regions with poor internet connection. I don’t think anyone desires to play these titles with the fear of random interruptions occurring, especially on greater difficulties where every second matters for success. On the topic of Cloud gaming, I find it only to be a viable conduit for turn-based titles, where split-second decision-making isn’t a factor. In the case of the Kingdom Hearts Cloud releases, officially titled Kingdom Hearts Integrum Masterpiece for Cloud (honestly a rad name), the idea of facing off against Sephiroth or Data Battles with lag feels like a forbidden, needless concern that should not exist.
At the very least, I believe everyone can agree that none of the older titles should be restricted to Cloud, as in every title aside from Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage and Kingdom Hearts III + Re Mind due to their increased need for optimization. The Switch can undoubtedly handle remastered PlayStation 2, PSP, and 3DS games, so there’s no excuse for why the 1.5 and 2.5 collections are Cloud only. Additionally, the Switch’s boon over other platforms, its handheld portability feature, makes Cloud gaming an even greater chore. I apologize if this entire piece comes off as a rant; this is all just wildly baffling to me.
Sora being the last Super Smash Bros. Ultimate fighter has placed hundreds of thousands of new eyes onto his series of origin, which is only magnified by these ports being announced during the same presentation of his arrival. Sadly, the titles making their way to the Switch in such an undesired way will deter prospective new fans from getting into the series. Cloud gaming is a fundamental and inherent turn-off for many, and for a franchise that has been so heavily desired to be ported to the Switch, this context is probably the worst way to bring them over.
It is forlorn, but at least all of the games can be enjoyed via less frustrating means on other platforms. Though, part of me finds it rather hilarious how Melody of Memory will likely be the best Kingdom Hearts experience on Switch. When it comes down to it, it feels like Square has missed a blatant setup for a slam dunk as the announcement of these Cloud releases from last week’s myriad of news is the only true misstep; it’s just regretful that this one misstep has to be such a major one.
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