The Nintendo Switch is out, and it is in my living room. Yeah, it’s neat, but what can we really say about it that has not been said? Well, with this I hope to say, in my own words, my opinions on this new system both good and bad. Yes, I said bad, because frankly one should endeavor to always find the bad in a situation for the purposes of improving the future. Keep in mind I have the launch system, Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and 1-2-Switch. Without further babbling, here is what I thought.
Now you are playing with Power, Nintendo Power!
The system is surprisingly small. I know I am a big Celt, but seriously, the entire thing is scary small, smaller than my Asus Transformer in fact. The base, cords (HDMI and USB-C), controllers, and even the comfort grips that come with it, can fit within a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. Portability was the goal, and Nintendo nailed it. The Switch can be played as a portable system on your way to your buddy’s house, and then once you get there it takes less than three minutes to plug in and be playing on his TV screen. Seriously, plug-plug-play is as hard as it gets. I have had more issues getting Dungeons & Dragons stuff out of my bag and set up the way I like. To add to it’s portability, the system in mobile mode has a built-in kickstand to make it easy to play anywhere you happen to be.
That being said, the Nintendo Switch is more powerful than the Wii-U, and it shows it beautifully in the launch title Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Though we are not talking 4k here, I did see that the 720p screen in handheld mode did a wonderful job without taxing the system. Not to mention that when docked, it jumps up to 1080p, making the bigger screen of your TV show off the system’s beautiful abilities all the better. I have heard debate about if this system runs at 30fps or 60fps, and if I had to put my opinion on the matter, I would say 60fps unless you are doing ANYTHING over WiFi (see later for details). It’s not your PS4 Pro or Xbox One S, but it will do the job and do it well. Especially with that smooth 60fps, something lacking with a few (not all) PS4 launch titles and most (all?) Xbone launch titles.
Did I mention it is capable of and compatible with 5.1 Surround? Yeah, that is fun stuff for you audiophiles out there. I am not one, mind you, but surround sound is a nice thing to have in any format. Personally, I plugged in my Turtlebeaches and oh, boy, does the Nintendo Switch rock the Zelda Soundtrack.
User interface is an important factor in console gaming, and in my opinion was one of the reasons the PS3 lost to the Xbox360. The Nintendo Switch has one of the easiest interfaces I have dealt with. If you can get your iPhone or Android up and running, this system is well within your capabilities. My adorable daughter was able to set herself up (because she just couldn’t use the profile daddy made her) and got running in about 12 minutes. If that does not speak to the genius of Nintendo, I don’t know what does.
There’s No Play Like It
Okay, the Nintendo Switch is full of innovation, but these controllers are something else entirely! I have big hands (See big Celt comment earlier) and these things are tiny when used like the old Wii-Mote, a function they do frighteningly well. The button layout is very ergonomic despite the small size, and each game seems to play to holding it in a certain way. Nothing feels forced or like it would hurt my hand to do. On a personal note, some button presses were impossible for me as I am missing a portion of my right middle finger, thus the name Nubz. My daughter Lucy, who is six, was able to use the controller fully and without much of a learning curve either. Really, Nintendo knocked it out of the park with this controller.
Worth note, the small size is completely countered by attaching the Joycons to the comfort controller included when you buy the Nintendo Switch system new. There is also a pro level controller available that feels amazing, but to be honest, I don’t know if it’s for me personally (as I am very happy with the one that came with the system). I actually like the way this feels in my hand, and it even allows my nub to hit the RZ button, one that occasionally is an issue on my PS4 (R2 in that case). I hope they come up with other controller add-ons, like a “light gun” type.
If I had to complain, I will say it was rather tough to remove the wrist strap units from the Joycons. Removal of the Joycons from the Switch or the comfort controller was easy and smooth. Those stupid straps, though, almost felt like it was gonna break the Joycons.
My Switch, as far as I can tell, did not have the bug of stuck or dead pixels, but many are experiencing this. If it is a truly dead and black pixel, I am certain Nintendo will offer something for it eventually, but in no way shape or form is said statement obligating Nintendo or promising you of such. If it’s a software issue, there are lots of ways to unstick the pixel, and the Switch should be able to do so, no problem. Said pixel problem would not be an issue when the Switch is playing on your TV.
Furthermore, I have personally experienced the issue with the left Joycon disconnecting randomly if there is not a clear direct line between it and the Switch. Not a huge issue, but one worth noting as it made for some creative language spouted at loud volumes. I did experience one issue that I had not heard of yet; while my system was downloading from the Nintendo EStore, my controllers became spotty at best in their response to anything. It was enough that I had to turn it off and walk away until it finished, which leads me to my next point …
Nintendo is stating these are non-issues and are not offering much in the way of support beyond acknowledging they exist as hardware issues.
Reports have came in that the base of the Switch can damage the mobile screen. I have not seen this, and cannot confirm nor deny it personally. That being said, screen protectors are available, and I suggest picking up an officially licensed Nintendo one.
Dear … Fusajiro Yamauchi … this thing downloads slow. We are talking “Moooooooommmmmmm get off the phone … I need the internet!” type of speeds. Yeah, I know 56k is a bit of an exageration, but it seriously was on 0% for over an hour. I have a 26mbps download speed and it took from 1900 to well after midnight (I went to bed, so I don’t know exactly when it finished) to download 1-2-Switch. I don’t know if this will be an issue when multiplayer games such as Mariokart are available, but I did notice the Switch had severe issues with this. Felt a bit like when I was downloading onto my 3DS to be honest, but it affected EVERYTHING I did while it downloaded. It even needed to download an update for Breath of the Wild (which took multiple hours), which I have a physical copy of.
That being said, I feel the system as a handheld is kinda fragile. I am not going to test it by chucking it off a bridge, but you ever hold something and know it would break if one move goes wrong? Yeah, the Switch is like that. Probably as vulnerable as your average tablet, PS Vita, or other electronic. More durable than the glass iPhones and PSP, though. You should not be playing hackysack with any of these, but still. What concerns me is that the cases and skins that can protect it are actually being reported as damaging the finish or the screen of the Switch. I am not sure at this time if these products were made by dubious third parties, but needless to say at this point I would stick strictly to Nintendo-only products for at least six months to a year. Looking on the net found many major retailers such as Target, Kroger, and others are selling them at a reasonable cost. If you plan on being mobile, I’d plan on getting this just in case. Better safe than sorry.
It’s Dangerous to Go Alone, Take This …
Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a system buyer. By this I mean I could see buying a system just for this game. It is everything one ever hoped for and dreamed of in a Zelda game. I dare say this will be the best game this year for any system, and the reviews placing it as the best game of all time are well deserved. As I will be doing a separate review of this game, I will refrain from going into detail, but I will say I have put in over 30 hours and feel like I have touched maybe 15 percent of the game at this point. It is big, the artwork is beautiful, the lore is rich, and the story engrossing. My daughter even loves it, chanting various things she wants to see me do. Man, I must have spent an hour cooking alone! Granted, I may be biased. After all, I do have the crest of Hyrule tattoo’d on my back.
1-2-Switch is the other game I have gotten to play and it feels like the newest version of WiiSports. Between the quickdraw game, the samurai training, dance, ping-pong, and yoga, you will find many hours of fun alone (I believe you can solo this, but admittedly have not tried) or with a friend. Combined with the portability, this game can easily be a feature at your next party, no matter where it may be. The Joycons are super responsive in this game, and as such will make for some fine friendly competition.
On the Nintendo E-Market right now is all of the Nintendo Switch’s launch titles, and many classic titles from the Neo-Geo days. A few games are new ways of feeling approaching nostalgia, such as the new Bomberman title. Not to mention independant games such as Shovel Knight and Binding of Isaac. More than enough to tide us over til more exclusive (and non exclusive) Switch Titles drop. I look forward to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe dropping April 28th, and Splatoon 2 looks to be right up any family’s alley for good family fun. Skyrim on the Switch could be an amazing experience, but time will tell. Dragon Quest has many titles on the way, and I look forward to playing every single one of them. Though it hints at a MMO-style Dragon Quest as well, I truly am curious how that will play out.
Whatever games come out, it appears the Amiibo will continue to be useful and functional with the Nintendo Switch, as they have been for the last few generations of products.
That being said, I would LOVE a return to the Metroid series on the Nintendo Switch, especially if it is an open world like Breath of the Wild. Come on, Nintendo, make it happen. Mega-Man would be amazing, but I know it might be too much.
In closing, I think the Nintendo Switch is not only amazing, but I think it has room to grow. Not often do I not have “buyer’s remorse,” and this is one of those times. The price is steep at $360, but you will find this system will become part of your entertainment paradigm in no time. The bugs are hefty, but not insurmountable. I wish it came with a game, but it’s fine as-is when you consider how doing it the way it is keeps the cost down. If you are not a hardcore gamer, the Switch has you covered. If you are a hardcore gamer, Nintendo has your back. If you play solo or with people, the Switch can handle “couch multiplayer” and online multiplayer. This is the system that can handle it all and keep on going. Gimmicks aside, it is powerful enough to satisfy, but easy enough your grandma could hook it up.
Play on PS4 or PS3? Did you know Nerdarchy has a community that plays together often? Go ahead and search in the community section for Nerdarchy and for the player Nubz_The_Zombie!