With Nintendo moving into a sort of mixed or hybrid arena of portable and home consoles with the Nintendo Switch, it makes sense that the folks at Inti Creates would carry on the independent development they began with the Nintendo 3DS there. And after two great showings in the form of Blaster Master Zero and Mighty Gunvolt Burst, it only stands to reason that they would bring their trademark series, Azure Striker Gunvolt, to the platform as well.
In doing so, Inti Creates is ensuring that no one misses a thing by kicking things off with a two-in-one release of both Nintendo 3DS games in one package deal known as the Azure Striker Gunvolt: Striker Pack. Back when the original came out, James reviewed the first one for me here, but for the purposes of this review, I've gained permission to share with you the reviews I wrote for each title in Nintendo Force magazine, as the games are for the most part functionallythe same:
As you can see in the Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 review, this isn't the first time that the Striker Pack has been released, but the Nintendo Switch version does bring some new changes to the fore.
Perhaps the most noteworthy change is in some of the visuals. Cutscenes, character portraits, and text are now rendered in high-resolution, and look fantastic on a large high definition television screen. The gameplay visuals, on the other hand, remain the same, and can present a bit of an odd contrast at times between the silky smooth and the pixelated, particularly when used in conjunction.
That does bring another issue to mind, however. I've noticed one grievance that Mega Man 7 detractors have is the size of the characters on the screen, and being a port of a Nintendo 3DS game, the characters on screen here tend to be on the larger side as well. For what it's worth, I never found this to detract in any meaningful way (but then, nor did I in Mega Man 7). The game also now runs at 60 frames per second versus the previous versions' 30, and while I'm hard pressed to be able to tell you what any game is running at (unless it's really low), I saw no issues with how it ran here. Everything seemed pretty much ideal for what you could expect.
Those who appreciate force feedback, aka rumble, will also be thrilled to know that the Nintendo Switch version adds the console's vaunted "HD rumble," allowing you to feel the buzz of electricity in the air as Gunvolt lets loose with his signature lightning moves. I haven't found any instances where it's used as practically as the dousing feature in Mighty Gunvolt Burst, but it's still a neat effect to have, and you can fine-tune it as desired.
Another feature Inti Creates has boasted about this release is "new gameplay balance and improvements," and this is where I have to confess: While I've played and enjoyed both prior entries on the Nintendo 3DS, unlike many Mega Man titles, I haven't played them so much as to know when something feels off, or at least different. With that said, I was scoring some A ranks that I'm not quite sure I was getting in the originals, so that could be taken as a plus.
Incidentally, one feature I'm unable to check as I write this is that I thought the original release of Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 had difficulty selection, but while I can find that for the first game in this release, the second doesn't seem to have it.
As for content, though it's not immediately accessible, Azure Striker Gunvolt: Striker Pack has it in spades -- literally, in one particularly noteworthy case, as the amiibo integration that allows players to take on the ultra-tough indie rival Shovel Knight is included here as well.
Plus, you should find that all of the downloadable content from the Nintendo 3DS version of the games are included as well, including new modes and songs, plus extra stages and bosses.
All in all, it's a pretty ideal pack, though I do personally feel that it comes up just a bit short in the area of controller customization. While you can play using Joy-Con controllers or the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, button mapping comes up just a little shy of what I would like.
Specifically, you're unable to map the ZL and ZR buttons, which I find my fingers more comfortably rest on, to use the basic L and R functions. I got used to it after a short spell, but at the same time, I felt a little like I was having to be mindful of where I allowed my index fingers to rest. It's a rather minor thing, but it still stuck out to me.
If you've played Azure Striker Gunvolt before, then you pretty much know what to expect, and if not, this is a great place to jump in (I'm particularly fond of the sequel between the two). In either case, this is pretty much the definitive version of the game at this point in time, and if you're a fan who wants to have everything at their fingertips on the newest console going forward, or are looking for an ideal place to jump in, then the Azure Striker Gunvolt: Striker Pack comes highly recommended.
Azure Striker Gunvolt: Striker Pack was released for the Nintendo Switch via the Nintendo eShop on August 31st, 2017 at a price of $39.99 USD/€34.99, with a retail release coming at a later date.
A download code was provided by Inti Creates.
Oh, and if you're interested in more reviews and other content like the ones posted at the top of the article, be sure to check out Nintendo Force magazine, which comes out bimonthly for just $2.99 USD per digital issue or $4.99 USD per physical issue!