Nintendo’s latest console is both amazing and puzzling, wonderful and frustrating. Clearly, the Nintendo Switch is filling a market gap – as an evolution of the Wii U, it’s essentially a really remarkable handheld console, with the added bonus of hooking up to your TV or monitor. It’s not as powerful as the Xbox One or PS4, but Nintendo got out of that arms race years ago. The more I play with the Switch, the more I realize it could become my go-to console.
Its portability and shared gameplay friendliness make it the ideal system for on-the-go folks, parents, kids, and even parties. But there’s certainly no denying that it feels rushed out the door to hit the Spring release window, when its it features for online and sharing seem a tad limited. Still, even with Horizon: Zero Dawn, my standby MMOs, and Ghost Recon: Wildlands itching to be played, I keep coming back to the Switch for its ease of use and of course… Zelda.
Our own Rob Lashley penned the above Switch review and video.
The Games So Far
But Zelda alone cannot be used to give the Switch a “Must Buy” review. If you’re a Nintendo fan, you’re going to get one no matter what. It’s the place you’ll get the next Mario, Zelda, Splatoon, and more. But its third-party support, as always, is a question mark. There are already a strong number of Indie titles – Shovel Knight, Fast RMX, and more coming soon. But Bomberman from Konami and Snipperclips from Nintendo (or 1-2 Switch) won’t sell systems. Zelda alone does that for launch. There’s an impressive lineup for spring and summer, and 3rd parties have said they plan on supporting the system. But will we get the next Tomb Raider? Assassin’s Creed? Call of Duty? These AAA franchises need to come to the Switch too, to keep everyday gamers interested.
The Feel of the Thing
The Switch is tiny. It’s also the perfect size. Its Joy-Con controllers are a marvel to work with, even if they’re small and the left one rarely syncs right with the system for some. The Pro Controller, sold for an extra $70 (yikes!) is probably my favorite controller of the three core consoles now. It fits the hand perfectly, has great tactile response, and is the ideal way to play Zelda. But there’s something amazing about pulling the Switch out of its docking station, plopping down in bed at night, and continuing to play your console like nothing changed. Yes, streaming to the Vita has been a thing for a while on PS4, just as the Wii U let you stream to the controller. But the Switch is an actual grab-and-go portable system. It just works.
Online But Still With Friend Codes
Nintendo is getting better about the use of the much maligned Friend Code system on its devices. But don’t think you’re getting away from them here. While the Switch can let you find and add friends for online play via mobile games (like Mario, MiiTomo and more), you can and will sometimes need to share friend codes to add new people. So beware of that. Also, there’s no built in voice or chat on the console yet, and it’s something that should be addressed in a firmware upgrade post-haste. These are necessary components of online play and social systems, and Nintendo can easily monitor them with the intuitive and ingenious parental control settings.
That said, online multiplayer has worked well in Fast RMX, and being able to make meme screen-grabs and share them quickly from the device is fantastic. If they add the ability to share Forge-like quick video clips, I’ll be happy. Streaming from the Switch to YouTube, Twitch, Beam, or anything else would be grand too and would only help Nintendo’s reach in the mind of gamers. The system also only comes with 32GB of storage, which can be expanded by buying MicroSD cards, but it’s really not a lot of space if you like to collect digital games.
Final Nintendo Switch Review Thoughts
The Switch feels like a bargain at $300, but on deeper rumination – $300 without a lot of storage, controllers that cost $70 to $80, and no free games with the console – suddenly that $300 feels a bit rich. For fans of Zelda without a Wii U, there’s no reason not to pick up the Switch. If you’re a gamer who’s always on the move and wants a high fidelity console to play games on, the Switch bests both the Vita and the 3DS, even if it doesn’t have a lot of games yet. For those who have plenty of games on PC, console, and whatever else? I’d say wait a bit and see if the 3rd part support and games keep coming. If they do, and if Nintendo can right a few online wrongs, the Switch could be a massive hit.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to Breath of the Wild.