Two weeks ago Nintendo announced an expansion to their Switch Online plan that added N64 and Genesis games to the library. it had been anticipated for a while, but most people assumed the price increase would be negligible, or even free. When it was revealed to be a heavy $50 — a $30 increase over the base price — the reaction was almost universally negative. However, judging by last night’s social media activity, there were still quite a few Switch users who paid the fee anyway. …..They regretted it quickly.
Turns out the N64 emulation on Nintendo Switch Online is plagued with issues that you’d think $50 would be enough to solve. The inputs have latency issues where characters take entire frames to move after you press the button. Ocarina of Time is missing graphical touches like fog, making for ugly visuals. Nintendo has already offered these games in the past, on Virtual Console for Wii and Wii U — and in the case of Zelda, all the way back to the Gamecube with the Zelda Collectors Edition disc. These issues were not present there.
The games have no Controller Pak emulation and beg you to stick one into your nonexistent controller port for things like ghost save data in Mario Kart 64. Though not many first-party games used the Controller Pak, a lot of third-party games did….this is going to become a real problem. N64 emulators, by the way, have been able to mimic the Controller Pak for decades.
The button mapping is hideous, assigning half the C buttons to X and Y instead of the right stick like every other N64 port we’ve ever seen. The button placement cannot be remapped, even though this was doable on Virtual Console. And keep in mind this costs MORE than buying them there would.
And while online play has never been Nintendo’s strong point, the online multiplayer in Mario Kart 64 is some of the worst anyone has ever seen, choppy to the point of being unplayable. It’s rather shocking to see something this bad from a company that prides itself on creating the most polished and enjoyable video games in the industry.
Worse yet, we have no idea if Nintendo is even considering fixing some of these issues. Their behavior is rather unpredictable when it comes to things like this. They fixed some problems with the Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection, even though it was meant to be on sale for just a year. This is a more permanent product, but we can’t promise they won’t just yawn and ignore the yelling. Our best advice is to NOT BUY the expansion if you haven’t already. There are plenty of other, better ways to play these games.