I confess: I haven’t played more than 15 minutes of the entire BioShock series. I bought 1 and 2 many years ago on sale for the PS3, played it a bit and was impressed, but then… you know how it is; backlogs gonna backlog. Borderlands and XCOM too; both series I’ve never managed to find the time to play despite looking right up my street. It’s games like this that have a habit of always slipping through my fingers. When The BioShock Collection came to PS4 I thought; great! I can finally play these games that everyone raves about so much. But again, I never got round to buying it. If only, I found myself thinking, there was a more convenient way to play these games that fit around my busy lifestyle (you can see where I’m going here).
Enter the Switch.
The home console/portable hybrid that the whole world can’t get enough of (literally, Nintendo can’t make them fast enough), the Switch has built a reputation as a place for developers to sell games; lots of them. So it’s no surprise that 2K want their games to be on the platform. It truth, it’s a surprise it’s taken this long.
In the early gold rush days of the Switch, devs could find easy success with an audience hungry for games (even 1-2-Switch somehow sold over 3 million copies). Nowadays, games need to stand out in the eShop melee in order for players to buy them in large volumes. How better to do this therefore then releasing a total of seven games in one hit; all the BioShock and Borderlands games, along with XCOM 2 in one day! (We’ll never know what 2012’s XCOM: Enemy Unknown did to offend 2K so it was left out the party.) It’s undeniable that all of these games arriving together has created more of an event than releasing them all piecemeal would have done.
For the first time too, these games will all be properly playable portably (I’ll quickly gloss over Borderlands’ Vita release…), a fact that 2K knows full well will help people to justify the cost of entry. Lots of people will have played through these games once or even several times before, but there’s just something about being able to play games like these portably that turn us into crazy game-buying fools that’ll happily part with our cash.
Are the prices too high for games that are all quite old now? Quite possible, but 2K know their business and a lot of people will be excited enough to play these games on the go at any price, and those that aren’t can wait for their inevitable eShop sale appearances. While these are all old games, they are still new to players that only own Nintendo consoles. So people shouldn’t underestimate the number of people out there that haven’t had the chance or simply never got round to playing any of these games before.
The BioShock Collection is surely the crown jewel of these releases, given the awards and critical acclaim it picked up over the years. I’m a sucker for strong story-based narrative shooters and being able to get lost in the worlds of Rapture and Columbia is hugely enticing, so this will definitely be the first collection I’ll be playing out of them all.
XCOM 2 will surely find a big audience amongst former Mario+Rabbids: Kingdom Battle players. So many of us gave that game a try without any previous experience of the turn-based strategy genre. People told us it was an XCOM-like, but all we cared about was the Mario name. Of course, anyone who has played that game will know how satisfying and addicting its battles are. So the chance to play the series that invented the genre is very tempting, since there’s been nothing like it on Switch since (beyond Mario+Rabbids’ DLC).
Whereas BioShock and XCOM 2 are single player affairs only, Borderlands Legendary Collection demands to be played in multiplayer, and I’ve heard great things about its chaotic brand of four-player co-op. I can imagine my fellow Switch Islanders and I enjoying many a night of shooting and blowing things up while drinking too much, staying up too late and annoying our significant others with our rowdiness. It’s games like this that are proving to be perfect way to have a virtual get-together with friends during the current near-global lockdown, and given there’s nothing else like it on Switch, it’ll do huge favours for Nintendo in helping people to justify that Nintendo Switch Online subscription. Especially now we’ve all gotten bored of visit each others’ Animal Crossing islands to flog turnips.
I can’t wait to see how Switch owners take to these games, and I truly hope they find an audience. As PlayStation and Xbox transition to next gen and Switch gets left behind, I think most third party support going forward will be ports of existing current and last gen games that we still haven’t had on Switch (games like the Arkham Collection, or the Mass Effect series). Honestly, I’m happy about that – Nintendo is already home to some of the greatest retro content the world has ever seen via Nintendo Switch Online, and an incredible line up of newer first party games. If you add in a selection of the best multiplatform games from the last ten years then the Switch will end up with one of the best libraries in history. These games from 2K will all be a key part of that.