Like may of us, I made a lot of purchases on Black Friday and my one and only big ticket item was a Nintendo Switch. And yes, I picked up the one with the neon blue and red joycons cuz FUN!
Since the terrible handling of the NES Classic edition and the current mishandling of the SNES Classic edition I had written Nintendo off. No, not in that I believed they would die because of this as I am well aware they are making a killing with the Switch. No I just was unhappy about their blatant approval of price scalpers on their NES and SNES Classic. I had decided I would not buy another Nintendo product.
Well I caved on Black Friday. There was a $60 off promo on Ebay for new Switches so I picked one up. It arrived while I was on the road but I when I got home I quickly opened it up and began exploring the console.
The console is small. Can it still be called a console? I mean it really is a large handheld tablet with wireless controls that allows you to dock and play on a television. It’s got some weight to it but not overly so.
The interface is really easy to use. It reminds me a lot of the 3DS interface. The Eshop needs work as it is clumsy to navigate.
So I’ve had it for a couple weeks now and I’ve also picked up a couple other games besides some digital ones that I downloaded. Physically it’s the most unique console I’ve ever played on. In my case I often pop the kickstand out in my truck and let it rest on my steering wheel or desk and hold the joycons either independently or docked in their controller adapter to play. Using the joycons independent of the controller adapter is curious. It is simultaneously the most comfortable way to hold a controller ever while feeling almost entirely naked. I’m not sure how else to word it.
You can also use the console with the joycons attached to the Switch itself and while this works I find it’s almost too wide to play comfortably and over time it gets too heavy. Also of note is your joycons charge when connected this way.
The buttons feel very solid and are very similar to what you find on a 3DS. They have a clicky feel not unlike the Gameboy Advance SP. The joysticks remind me of the ones found on the Playstation Vita but just a bit bigger.
The screen is good. Very good. And this time around we have capacitive instead of resistive which is about time. Nintendo has been cheaping out on touch screens for so long it’s good to see them take it seriously this time around. In the hand the Switch with the joycons attached is pretty much the same size as the Wii U gamepad though I would say the Wii U gamepad feels nicer in hand even if it was a bizarre addition to the Wii U.
The dock is interesting. It’s build quality is cheap and feels almost like and afterthought. There is not padding to protect the screen when you slide it in and there is no locking mechanism to hold the Switch in the dock tightly. There are two USB ports on it however so you can plug in other accessories like controllers and such. The Switch itself and the dock are powered through a standard USB-C connector which is great. It’s great to see Nintendo use a standard connection for charging.
Speaking of charging, since the USB-C charge port is on the bottom of the Switch you cannot charge the Switch while it is standing independently on it’s kickstand. It’s not a deal breaker and I understand that’s really the only way you could do it but it is a bit of a bother sometimes.
I do wish the wall wort plug had a long cable on it but it hasn’t been inhibative yet. Oh and buy a tempered glass screen protector immediately. That screen can scratch unbelievably easy.
I have picked up several games on the Switch including Picross S, Monopoly, I am Setsuna (OH SO GOOD!), and just recently Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and Fire Emblem Warriors.
So we need to talk about graphics. Don’t expect a ton of realistic looking games on here. The Nvidia Tegra just can’t do something like Uncharted or the like. Where the Switch really excels is in games like Fire Emblem Warriors and such. They use a neat anime art style and are not nearly as detailed as games on the PS4 and Xbox One. And you know what? That’s fine. These types of games lend themselves well to a mobile style of play. And on those times you are at home you can enjoy slightly more impressive graphics channelled to you television. There are issues with performance on Xenoblade Chronicles which have been detailed on the interwebs but it’s still a beautiful looking game. Fire Emblem Warriors has great voice acting and the graphics are colourful and detailed and an anime sort of way. I Am Setsuna can be compared to the other consoles it has been released on and it does not run as smoothly. That said its not unplayable or anything and it’s style of gameplay again is great for the Switch.
I have been getting anywhere from 3 to 6 hours of battery life out of the Switch which is about what is claimed. One thing I can recommend to get a little better battery life would be to turn on airplane mode. This will save power when it comes to wireless connectivity. That said that will also disable the bluetooth connectivity for the joycons so you will have to play with the joycons attached to the Switch itself.
The accessories like extra joycons or the pro controller are incredibly expensive and I find really hard to justify. I will probably pick up a second set of joycons and even though I would love to have a pro controller, at $90 CAD I cannot justify it.
Overall I have been very happy with the Switch so far and with other games coming out (Redout is one I am really looking forward to) and already out (Super Mario Odyssey, Zelda Breath of the Wild) it promises to be a great console for the future as well. I am concerned though that it has already hit a wall in performance but hopefully the creative game designers at Nintendo and third parties can work their way around this creatively.