As the Nintendo Switch approaches its sixth birthday, it’s natural to start thinking about the end of its lifespan. When looking back at consoles, there’s always a game that serves as a swan song, a final impactful release before moving on to the next generation. Since the GameCube, Zelda games have fulfilled this role for Nintendo generations. Now, as we near the end of the Switch’s run, “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom” is the perfect game to wrap it up.
When we look back on the Switch years from now, we want to remember it bookended by two of the best Zelda games ever made. As Switch sales decline and production capacity begins to meet demand for competitors, it’s time for Nintendo to call it a day on publishing and development. “Tears of the Kingdom” is one of the Switch’s best-looking games and a technological marvel given the constraints of its platform. It’s a bar that no other upcoming title, certainly third-party games, can reach.
While the Switch is Nintendo’s best-selling console after the DS, it lags behind its contemporaries in terms of raw power. The hardware is pushed to its limit by Nintendo, and even “Breath of the Wild” dropped frames in certain areas. We can’t help but dream about how much better new, innovative ideas like the Ultrahand would run on more powerful hardware.
Despite the lagging technical performance, the sparser amount of must-own titles probably played a larger role in the Switch sales slump than anything else. Even upcoming first-party titles like “Pikmin 4” and “Metroid Prime 4” won’t define the end of the Switch’s life. “Tears of the Kingdom” is the perfect finale, a glorious and triumphant sequel that will be our playground for years to come.
There’s a good chance that some games will straddle both the Switch and the rumored Super Switch HD Pro. Samus could take on the cross-gen mantle from Link. The thought of playing the next lineup of Nintendo games on hardware that could output higher-res visuals and run at a standardized 60 FPS would make upgrading well worth it.
In the end, it’s time to move on from the Switch on the highest note possible. “Tears of the Kingdom” is the perfect swan song. No later game will look better, be more imaginative, or run as well. As we look back on the Switch, we want memories of the awe of exploring above and below Hyrule, not a slow, drawn-out decline.