A Switch in Time…
The Nintendo Switch has been out for nearly three weeks, launching after a remarkably short build up to some positive but reserved critical opinions, one or two hardware issues and generally solid sales with a promising future. Some of us here at NGB towers waited for midnight openings and wayward couriers to get our hands on Nintendo’s latest shiny. Here are our thoughts from the time we’ve spent so far…
As someone who was far from enamoured with the Wii U, I was very impressed when Nintendo announced the Switch with a video that didn’t have a single spoken word in it, yet perfectly conveyed what it was. I put my preorder money down as soon as I could, and I was eagerly awaiting March 3rd. After a couple of weeks with the system, I’m delighted with what Nintendo have created. A piece of hardware that feels premium (Joycon sync issues aside), that functions like you’d expect, and most importantly, shakes off the feeling of confusion that hovered over its predecessor. Everyone that’s seen it has been suitably impressed, with multiple “Ooh, that’s Cooooool!” comments from work colleagues.
Whilst the launch lineup is understandably anaemic given the Wii U’s catastrophic commercial failure, I can see third parties getting their toes wet going forward, whilst not jumping in completely. Launching with Zelda was a fantastic win for Nintendo, and will no doubt see the system’s darling end up on multiple GOTY lists come December time, and with the likes of Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart and Splatoon 2 hitting before the year’s out, it’ll be interesting to see whether this takes on the mantle of “A Nintendo console for Nintendo games” again, or if the horizons will broaden to become the system that, honestly, I think it deserves to be. Whilst I can’t see the Switch taking precedence over my PS4 for most games, I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on what features get added to multiplatform games in the future.
It may seem hyperbolic to say, but the Nintendo Switch is my VR. I’m less interested in the current, admittedly impressive, technological advances in wearable gaming and, as a busy parent, more interested in being able to sneak in as much game time as I can. Switch allows me to do this with its pick up and play design and I’ve already managed to put nearly 50 hours into the gorgeous Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, an achievement I wouldn’t have come close to had I been restricted to playing on Wii U. Being able to play a fully fledged AAA console title not only on my TV but also on the bus, sat at work or in bed with no change to the experience is the kind of thing I’ve been after for years and, to me, it feels genuinely progressive. While it’s never going to square up technologically to the big boys from Sony and Microsoft, I’d genuinely consider taking a fidelity hit in games over the ability to take them on the go with me.
The launch line up may have been slim and not as boombastic as most console launches, it was at least solid and, with a steady stream of games hitting the eShop weekly and some tremendous looking titles such as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2, Super Mario Odyssey and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 all due in 2017, as well as any potentially unannounced extras that we may find out about come E3, the first 12 months of Switch seem to be bright. If Nintendo can cut through some of the controversy caused by the small number of launch hardware issues, get a solid stream of first and third party titles out and maybe make good on the much rumoured Pokemon Stars as well, then Switch should fly off the shelves come Christmas.
Two things made me sceptical about the Nintendo Switch. Firstly, the Wii U. Secondly, yet another Nintendo experiment in their never-ending quest to separate themselves from the ongoing power-war between Sony and Microsoft. However, once I got the system in my hands it just… made sense. The design is sleek, controllers are practical for mobility and the transition between console and handheld just simply works – far better than I thought it would previous. Granted, it’s early days and there’s bound to be teething problems, just like every new system, but I have to say I’m largely impressed with the unit. Of course, we once again find ourselves at that crossroad with Nintendo – content will be paramount. But, they’ve smashed through the gates with the new Zelda game, so if they can get the next 12 months right, then the sky’s the limit.
While the launch line-up is a little sparse in terms of software and arguments aloft regarding pricing of accessories shower the internet, as a piece of hardware, the Switch is phenomenal. Not only has Nintendo upped the stakes going from the toy-like look and feel of the Wii U, they’ve managed to make the Switch a desirable looking piece of hardware with solid construction and a premium feel that the hybrid console/handheld provides along with a slick interface and a system that works how it should out of the box.
One of its marquee features is the ability to switch (excuse the pun) from handheld to tv mode and it’s done instantly with no delay between the tv screen and the tablet screen on the Switch. Brilliant and quick are the words that I would use to describe this feature.
Another thing that’s super speedy in terms of its execution is the speed of which games loads thanks to Nintendo going with a similar format cartridge media that we’ve seen on the 3DS previously. Game software loads very quickly with no waiting for installs and huge updates frequently. The Nintendo Switch is a marvel in design and functionality and it personally surprised me as to how slick the device is.
I loved the Wii U when it launched back in 2012. A new Mario Kart meant it was an instant must have, and the Amiibo…well they certainly knew how to get me hooked. Sadly my love for the Amiibo quickly outgrew the console itself, where only a handful of games ever made my collection before gathering dust. Don’t get me wrong, I love Nintendo, but the Wii U just never seemed to catch on.
The Switch instantly had me hooked! Finally a machine to rival the attention of my PS4. It is everything I wanted for Nintendo, the power and graphics to bring it up to date with home consoles and the portability to take handheld gaming to the next level. It ticks all of my boxes. My family love to play games and the Switch allows us to do that wherever we are and Bomberman R revives those fun times I spent as a kid challenging my parents. When they’ve had their fun, I can take my experience off the big screen and carry on. As bad as it sounds, when I travel I miss my games, and whilst my 3DS sated that to some degree, it was never quite the same experience. The ability to seamlessly take that quality experience from my home to the train on a trip away is simply marvellous. I love how innovating it is, and the joy-cons are much more adorable. With a great line up of future releases and quality on the go, I can defiantly see my Switch taking as much attention as any stationary console, if not more. It’s the best handful of fun!
Switch is good. Like a handheld but also on the TV, yeah? Powerful.
So there you have it, the collective thoughts of the NGB crew now we’ve had our mitts on them for a while and formed an opinion. You can’t rush into these things, can you?