A bunch of gamers gathered around EB Games last night starting at 11:00pm waiting in line for the highly anticipated Nintendo Switch, formerly known as the NX with only a few games on launch including the highly anticipated Zelda : Breath Of The Wild, a lot of curiosity about the console and exactly how it works was discussed up and down the lines with discussions of did you get the neon or grey joy-con’s and wtf is HD rumble. We all waited eagerly for the launch of the console and with out stores allocation sold out, the line gradually grew and grew the closer we got to midnight.
So what is the Nintendo Switch and after the disappointment of the Wii U, why should I shell out $469.95 for a new Nintendo console? Well put simply it is a culmination of all of Nintendo’s previous consoles packed into one system that can be played at home on a TV while also on the go. The portable console tablet sits at 6.2 inches with 720p display touchscreen with discrete speakers. It also includes a headphone jack, MicroSD card slot, game cartridge slot as well as a single USB-C port on the base.
On each side of the tablet are rails to slide the joy-cons on and off when transferring from portable to TV gaming. The JoyCon controllers include advanced motion sensors including a HD rumble that allows players to feel a range of subtle tactile sensations rather than just the standard vibrations. It also includes an IR camera that can detect movements and shapes as well as NFC reader for Amiibo figures. The JoyCon on the left has a capture button allowing for screenshots to be saved and added to the players album.
The console converts seamlessly from portable console to TV with the dock connected via HDMI. The tablet itself when taken on the go does work well in most situations, don’t expect to get much joy out of the screen in direct sunlight though. Apart from that the screen is bright and the graphics are astoundingly beautiful (tested on Zelda: Breath Of The Wild) and the stereo speakers work much better than they should. The tablet also has a kickstand on the back and well as tabletop mode for gaming on the go
If you want to play multiplayer on the go, you can connect up to 8 JoyCons to the console. They also come with cute little Wii style straps that make the game style more comfortable for gentlemen like myself with man paws. The JoyCon turns sideways for multiplayer games like Mario Kart & Splatoon 2 and having the console in tabletop mode or tilted on the kickstand delivers a quality mobile multiplayer gaming experience.
When docked at the TV, the joycons connect to a wireless controller to enjoy a more traditional console experience, you also have the option to purchase a Pro controller. This controller incorporates larger buttons, a great ergonomic grip with incorporated HD rumble, motion controls, capture button and NFC reader for Amiibo scanning. It is a much nicer feel for gaming at home.
The other advantage to the dock is the upgrade on the graphics to 1080p and deliver 5.1 sound. You can really see the difference in the upscale and connected to the right home theatre system or soundbar will show you the difference as well. If you want to switch between controllers, the smart and intuitive system will acknowledge if you pickup a new controller and prompt to turn the old one off and use this one as the primary controller.
Memory wise this could be the killer, so I would recommend getting an SD card to extend the memory out. The Kingston 64GB cards are recommended for best performance on the Switch system.
The UI is simple and clean and the quick swipe menus to adjust screen brightness, volume and Airplane mode is similar to the Iphone.
The only thing letting this system down is the games. We were excited for a large lineup launch but Zelda : Breath Of The Wild and 1,2 Switch aren’t appealing enough titles for everyone to want this console on launch. The impending release of Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon 2 should help sell a few more consoles and full Switch fever should hit when Super Mario Odyssey hits the console later this year. A lot of big AAA franchises from 3rd parties haven’t been confirmed on the console yet apart from Skyrim. The ability to take this game on the go may usher gamers to want to pick this up again.
Overall my first few days with the Nintendo Switch were positive. Zelda had me wowed at the beauty of this system (review coming soon!) 1,2 Switch is fun to play on multiplayer and I am looking forward to taking this to a gathering to watch non-gamer reactions to it. The smart and seamless transitions from TV to tablet are better than expected and having the controllers recognise and wake up when picked up is something out of a gamer’s dream. I personally have had a love affair with Nintendo since the original console and their top rating franchises to return in HD portable form over the next few years.
The Nintendo Switch is available in stores now