The Nintendo Switch has been out for almost 2 months now and we’ve seen gamers playing in many different settings due to how versatile the hardware is; however should you dive into Nintendo's latest console offering? Or SWITCH to a competitor?
After the failings of the Wii U, the Nintendo Switch was released this past March and up until now, the console/handheld hybrid has been selling like hot cakes, to the point that finding a unit in stock has become increasingly difficult. This was cemented further by the fact that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on Switch has somehow managed to outsell the hardware itself.
This kind of showing is super important after the massive failings of the Wii U and in a way, the Switch Is everything is was meant to be just significantly better. It’s more powerful than its predecessor, although still lacking compared to the competition, however where it wins is what you can do with it rather than being able to see environments and characters being rendered in 4K.
For those of us who don’t know what it can do, simply put the Nintendo Switch is a hybrid, mixing both elements of a console and a handheld with the tablet being the main device in which you can mix and match play styles to suit yourself. Want to play on the big TV? No problem, simply insert it into the dock, slide off the Joy Cons and you’re ready to go. The main aspect here is being able to play without any sort of road blocks; for example if you are travelling, you simply take the main tablet and controllers with you to play with them attached on the side or separately.
I’ll admit that when I saw what it could do during the initial announcement trailer, I was blown away, however my biggest worry were how comfortable the controllers or Joy Cons were going to be. I couldn’t have been the only one who thought that they looked like they were made for people with tiny hands, like Nintendo were targeting a group that no one really knew about. Thankfully that wasn’t the case as they ended up being pretty comfortable to use.
In handheld mode, the Switch itself is pretty comfortable to hold and although it was slightly heavier than I originally thought it would be, though it’s nothing to the point of me getting an arm workout every time I lift it up.
Of course for those of us who still prefer the feel of an actual controller, the Joy Con grip replicates that, but also a Pro Controller was released alongside the console. Just another way Nintendo is trying to cater to everyone as I’m sure some individuals weren’t too comfortable with the initial control scheme.
Another thing I adore about the Switch is how fast it loads up. It’s pretty much instantaneous and this also applies to when you take it out of the dock, as the picture is moved over just as quick. The UI is clean and really easy to navigate and the important bit as mentioned above is that it works fast so you are getting into the games you want to play quicker.
If there is one thing that has been plaguing Nintendo’s console releases is the lack of support from developers, which is one of the major reasons the Wii U fell flat so quickly. They addressed this during the Nintendo Switch event they held which showcased the developers that were making content for the system, however even at launch, the only major game that was available was The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and luckily the latest iteration of Link and his adventures did so well; well the numbers speak for themselves.
Since then there have been two Nintendo Directs, one dedicated to the Indie developers and all the great content they were bringing to the console; and the other looking at other releases leading up to E3 and beyond, showcasing that Nintendo has a much better grip on 3rd Party than they’ve had in the last decade. We’re not talking about games that have been on other platforms for 3 years, but upcoming releases such as Sonic Mania, NBA 2K18 and others with more announcements coming at E3.
One side consumers may find as a downside is that fact that the online will now be a paid service, with the first month being given for free. Now Nintendo have not had the best online structure when it comes to their platforms, so it can be one of two things here. Either they’ve invested heavily in rebuilding their online infrastructure to compete with or go beyond what is being offered by Sony and Microsoft; and therefore the fee compensates that, or they saw their competition charging for it and thought “hey why don’t we charge for it too”? Only time will tell as not much info has come out about it, but I expect to hear more come E3.
Beyond this the Switch itself does currently include the eShop to download titles and updates for the console and games are done automatically, so long as you’re connected to the internet. At this moment in time there is no web browser or other apps such as Netflix available, something that a select group felt was a big negative, however I believe that Nintendo marketed it as a games console first and therefore are more focused on that rather than adding a bunch of extra applications. Although I would have to say that I did find it very strange that there was no built in app for party chat on the console, instead Nintendo opted for a smartphone app instead for you to handle that side of things. Oh yeah and friend codes came back too… oh my god why?
So when it comes down to it, is the Nintendo Switch actually worth it? In my personal opinion, a big fat yes! I’ve currently put in over 100 hours in Breath of the Wild and thanks to being able to move the Switch around, let’s just say that it’s been very difficult to put down.
Yes there will be a fee for the online going forward and there is no built in app for party chat, however the stream of games coming through are looking very healthy in both the 1st party and 3rd party departments.
All I’m saying is that Nintendo can really turn it around this time and making Breath of the Wild a launch title surely helped with that. Seeing as we are ending the year with a brand new-full-fledged Mario title, let’s just say that it’s a good time to be a Nintendo fan.
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