Switch Online Is Better In Japan | Screen Rant – Screen Rant

The Switch Online game selection is better in Japan, with games like Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei that are not included in English territories.
The value of Nintendo’s Switch Online game selection is a matter of debate, but it is without question a better value in Japan. The service includes a few Japanese titles that were not originally released in the US, like Ninja JaJaMaru-kun for the NES and Super Puyo Puyo 2 for the Super NES in English territories, but several more games are included in Japan’s classic game selection, including the original NES Fire Emblem, early games in the Shin Megami Tensei RPG series that spawned the popular Persona franchise, and more. The gap in titles available extends to the Switch Online + Expansion Pack, with Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis titles that are exclusive to Japan’s version of the service.
Alongside the announcement that Nintendo is closing the Wii U and 3DS eShops, the company confirmed that the Virtual Console’s days are numbered, and Switch Online is the official successor for classic games. This puts more responsibility on the service, as gamers will have less avenues to legally purchase legacy titles on current hardware. Even considering the more robust game selection Switch Online provides in Japan, it still falls short of the Virtual Console selection available on Nintendo’s prior-gen hardware. Still, Japan’s selection at least comes closer to doing justice to the gaming history associated with Nintendo hardware, with formative titles in ongoing RPG series among its Famicom games, and quirky titles like Custom Robo and its sequel included in the Nintendo 64 selection.
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Many question why it took so long for EarthBound and other classics to make their way to Switch Online. The recent addition of EarthBound and EarthBound Beginnings is good news for fans of old-school RPGs, but more translated JRPG classics would present a better argument for the service. There is some rationale for a few of the games omitted from the Switch Online service. The originally Japanese-only released games currently available are not focused on text, with puzzle games like Puyo Puyo 2, and platform games like Psycho Dream. Text is crucial for RPGs like Shin Megami Tensei, and though some of the titles omitted from the US version of Switch Online have had fan translations in the past, most of them have never been officially localized.
Thanks largely to the success of the Persona games more attention has been focused on the series it branched off from, Shin Megami Tensei. The complete history of Shin Megami Tensei is complex, in part because entries prior to Shin Megami Tensei 3: Nocturne have never been officially localized. The Japanese Switch Online service includes three Super Famicom games in the series: The original Shin Megami Tensei, its sequel, and spinoff Shin Megami Tensei If… The latter of the three is especially noteworthy for Persona fans, as its school setting directly inspired the Persona spinoff series. English translated versions of these games would absolutely be worthwhile for RPG fans and bolster the value of Switch Online.
Less excusable than the absence of Shin Megami Tensei games from the English territory Switch Online selection is the decision to leave out the original NES Fire Emblem. Nintendo did complete an official English translation of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light which was available on the Switch. Fire Emblem’s limited release was worse than Mario’s, however, as it was only available for a few months. The game remains a part of Japan’s Famicom game selection for Switch Online, along with the Super Famicom Fire Emblem follow ups Mystery of the Emblem and Genealogy of the Holy War, none of which are included in English territories.
Nintendo’s subscription-based service continues to slowly build its library, with the recent addition of Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask to Switch Online + Expansion Pass, among others. Outside of Japan, the service still remains a step further behind. Translating more classic games and adding them to Switch Online could certainly help its perception, and it could help offset some of the issues it has faced which include the high price point of the Expansion Pass and struggles with Nintendo 64 emulation. Further adding to the gulf in value, the Switch Online Expansion Pass is cheaper in Japan, in addition to offering a better selection of games.
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Derek Garcia is a Game Feature Writer for ScreenRant. He lives with his wife, three dogs, and a likely excessive number of video game consoles. When he is not writing, playing video games, watching movies or television, or reading novels or comic books, he occasionally takes some time to sleep. Derek majored in journalism and worked for a print newspaper before discovering the internet. He is a fan of science fiction and fantasy, video game and tabletop RPGs, classic Hong Kong action movies, and graphic novels. After being immersed in nerd culture for many years, Derek is now happy to write about the media he enjoys instead of just ranting to his friends.


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