Jul 18, 2023

7 Nintendo Switch Titles That Are Better With a Pro Controller

Get the most out of these Switch games by using the Pro Controller.

The Nintendo Switch provides access to some of the best games of its generation. And because the Nintendo Switch supports motion control and multiple controllers there are many ways you can play these games.

But having a variety of ways you can play Nintendo Switch titles isn't always a good thing. Some games require too advanced a control scheme for Joy-Cons, making a Pro Controller the best way to experience them. But what Nintendo Switch games play better with a Pro Controller, and why? Let's find out.

One of the best examples of a Nintendo Switch game that plays better if you use a Pro Controller is the fifth installment of the mainline Metroid series, Metroid Dread.

With the Metroid series having a longstanding reputation for platforming puzzles and intense bosses, Pro Controller-like pads best suit the Arm Canon aiming gameplay of Metroid.

The biggest drawback that can hold back past and current Metroid games is out-of-touch controls. And while you can remap your Nintendo Switch controllers when playing Metroid titles, Joy-Cons remain restrictive.

This trend continues if you play Metroid Dread with Joy-Cons: having to aim, dodge enemy attacks, and platform all at once is quite a lot for the small Joy-Cons to handle.

Above all, Joy-Cons drastically hold back Shinesparking in Metroid Dread, a mechanic that allows you to solve jumping puzzles if timed correctly. Because of a reliance on quick analog stick movements for Shinesparking in Metroid Dread, the shorter analog sticks of Joy-Cons leave you disadvantaged.

Using a Pro Controller when you play Metroid Dread not only enables clean directional jumps and Shinesparking but also allows you to have more accurate button inputs and feels intuitive to Metroid.

For hack-and-slash games, a decent controller that allows for button combinations and easily aimed strikes is essential, and this remains the same with Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity.

With fast-paced gameplay and chaotic battles featuring hundreds of enemies, the button-mashing combos of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, can feel unresponsive if you use Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons.

Hopefully, your Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons are unaffected, but Joy-Cons can experience problems with joystick drift, an issue that causes analog sticks to move in a specific direction even when you don't intend to.

Joystick drift becomes particularly troublesome in Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, interrupting your combos and aimed attacks. And these issues only get worse if you want to play in co-op, with a single Joy-Con each.

But if you play Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity with Pro Controllers for both single-player and co-op, the controller feels accommodating of the experience with fewer risks of joystick drift and a well-sized pad to accommodate button-mashing combos.

While not as essential as some other games in this list, if you play Mario Kart 8 Deluxe more than just casually, using a Pro Controller instead of Joy-Cons could make the game a better experience.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe takes advantage of all the ways you can play games on your Nintendo Switch, even allowing motion controls.

You could argue that this makes the controller preferences for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe down to your style of gameplay. However, specific mechanics in the game are harder to pull off when using Joy-Cons.

Drifting, for instance, is a mechanic that can set you above other players and relies on holding the R button while turning. On Joy-Cons, the R button is hard to consistently hold down, whereas the Pro Controller has a much more prominent and accessible R button.

For casual players, this may not be a problem, but if you want to improve or further your experience with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, you may prefer the reliability of a Pro Controller.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe caters to many styles of gaming. You may prefer motion controls, and consider other factors when comparing Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons to the Pro Controller. But for a more consistent experience, using a Pro Controller guarantees your own skill level.

As one of the most competitive games on the Nintendo Switch, the controller you use to play Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is essential to the overall experience.

With most fighting games requiring intense button combinations and combos, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is uniquely placed in its genre, with fewer combo requirements and more special attacks.

Unfortunately, because most of the special moves for characters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate rely on analog stick movement, you'll find that Joy-Cons are more of a burden than a legitimate way to play.

Due to smaller and less maneuverable analog sticks for Joy-Cons, you are much better equipped using a Pro Controller for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Not only are the analog sticks for a Pro Controller more maneuverable, but it's also less prone to design issues related to Joy-Cons.

When you combine the natural benefits that come with the design of the Pro Controller with the competitive nature that can take over Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the need to use a Pro Controller over standard Joy-Cons becomes essential.

One Nintendo Switch title that plays better with a Pro Controller because of the legacy of the franchise, more than anything, is Bayonetta 3.

You'll find Bayonetta 3 to play better with a Pro Controller on Nintendo Switch for the same reasons as games like Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity: the gameplay is simply better suited to a console-like controller.

But Bayonetta 3 is better suited to a Pro Controller for a more specific reason. Bayonetta launched in 2009 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, consoles that could only be played with typical controllers.

The legacy of Bayonetta ensures that if you're a long-time fan of the franchise, you're used to vanquishing the denizens of Heaven and Hell with a classic Xbox or PlayStation controller.

With Bayonetta 3 launching for Nintendo Switch exclusively, you may feel disconnected having to adjust to a non-classic feeling controller with the standard Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons.

Playing Bayonetta 3 with a Pro Controller doesn't only accommodate the genre of the game, with more easily accommodated combos and reflexes, but also helps to maintain the legacy and feel of the franchise.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of the most celebrated Nintendo Switch games. That's not to say that every aspect of the game is perfect.

While providing a quintessential open world that allows you to craft your own story in the Zelda universe, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild also pushed for motion controls for gameplay and puzzles.

Unfortunately, with controls playing such a big part in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, especially for gyro motion controls for 3D puzzles and shrines, you may find motion features for Joy-Cons unnecessarily hard to use.

If awkward controls get in the way of your experience with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, you may want to disable motion controls and use a Pro Controller to give yourself more control over puzzle-solving and gameplay.

A final aspect of gaming on your Nintendo Switch that benefits from using a Pro Controller over Joy-Cons is the Nintendo Switch Online Emulation services for retro games.

If you have a Nintendo Switch Online subscription or the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack, you can play retro Nintendo games on your Nintendo Switch. Much like the original versions of retro games, you may still find the control schemes outdated and hard to grapple with, especially with Joy-Cons.

Classic games like Super Metroid or The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, available through Nintendo Switch Online, have control schemes that don't translate well to modern controllers. But, with button remapping, you can help bring retro games up to modern controller standards.

Even with Joy-Cons, you can uplift your retro gaming experience on Nintendo Switch. With a Pro Controller, however, you can turn retro games into a classic modern console experience with a controller that feels accommodating to the numerous control schemes of retro games.

Now you know some of the games you can play on Nintendo Switch that are best suited to a Pro Controller, you're ready to play at your very best when gaming on your Switch.

And with some adjustments, you can even substitute a Pro controller for whatever console-based controller you feel most comfortable with, whether the Xbox Wireless Controller or the PS5 DualSense controller. This way, you can ensure your skills on one controller translate across gaming platforms.

Josh Free has had a passion for gaming and writing since childhood. Securing a Master's Degree for his studies in creative writing, Josh has started a career as a gaming writer, using his passions and skills to produce articles on everything gaming related.