GAMING REVIEW: Nintendo Switch

While the Nintendo Switch is a great piece of hardware, it may be wise to hold off for now.

| March 10, 2017

The Nintendo Switch is a true successor to the Wii U in every sense, it accomplishes everything the home console tried to do on a much larger scale even. It may be a bit bare-bones and seem rushed out at this point, but the console achieved everything that Nintendo advertised it as. Even the first day I sat at home playing and had to go somewhere, the switch to portable mode was simple and just as instantaneous as shown in its trailers. Even though it does everything its presented as, it still may not be the best time to pick up the console.

Hardware

Image courtesy of Nintendo

In the box you get the dock to plug your Switch into for TV mode, the left and right Joy-Con controllers, straps to extend the Joy-Con’s size when playing individually, the Joy-Con grip for a more traditional controller and the Switch itself which is essentially a very powerful tablet. The first thing I noticed when opening the box was just how slim and compact the Switch and its accessories were, which I didn’t truly realize until I was holding them in my own hands. As someone with long fingers, I was worried that the Joy-Con controllers would be a bit too small, but they really do fit well in your hand, as well as in the Joy-Con grip.

The console’s screen is great in portable mode, but it features a plastic screen making it prone to scratches, so you may want to pick up a screen protector if you get the console. While in portable mode you can either attach the Joy-Cons to the side like a traditional handheld, which is much better on the hands than the 3DS was for longer play sessions, or set the console in tabletop mode with the kick stand and play with the Joy-Cons in both hands or in the grip. Speaking of the kickstand, it also cleverly hides the micro-SD card slot there for extra storage if needed. The Switch also made the change back to cartridge-based games as opposed to discs, which helps in keeping the system compact and amazes me on how small they actually are.

Battery life is a large concern for portable devices and I got about 3 hours with “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” with mid-screen brightness, which is decent, especially for the quality of the game. You should be able to get more on other games, up to about 6 hours on some even. The Switch uses a USB type-c connection which means faster charging even on portable battery chargers. The Joy-Cons last around 20 hours and can be charged by simply attaching them to the Switch.

Software

Screenshot courtesy of Nintendo

The home menu for the console looks very clean and minimalist, featuring your games and everything you’ll need like the E-Shop, settings and album for screenshots right below them. One thing I do miss about the previous consoles are the background music, a minor complaint but something that just makes it feel a bit empty. Also lacking from the console at the moment are streaming apps such as Netflix and Hulu, although Nintendo has stated that they are coming in the future. Virtual Console is also not available at the time of this review, but Nintendo has announced that it is on the way as well.

Something to note about how the Switch handles users, instead of signing in when you start the console, you simply pick what user to be before starting a game or app like the E-Shop. The Switch also features 32 gb of internal storage, which should be fine for physical users, but if you plan on going all digital for games you probably want to get a micro-SD card to expand the system’s memory. You also have the ability to add friends by recent players or with the use of the outdated system of friend codes like on previous systems.

Final Thoughts

The Nintendo Switch may not have the same technical specs as the PS4 or Xbox One, but it makes up for it with the portability factor. The future third-party support is also limited to “Skyrim,” “Fifa” and “NBA 2K” as of right now; although the console is set to get a wealth of awesome indie titles such as “Stardew Valley” and “Yooka-Laylee.” I would not recommend the console at the moment, and would advise getting it with a likely bundle later this year once more support comes with first-party games like “Splatoon 2” and “Super Mario Odyssey.” The only reason to get the console now is “Breath of the Wild” and if you are a big Zelda fan, than I’d say pull the trigger because the game is really something else. We still don’t know much about what the online service will cost when it launches this fall, though it thankfully is rumored to be half of what Sony and Microsoft charge at around $25 a year. In the end, the Switch is a fantastic piece of hardware and will certainly be worth picking up once more support comes in the form of games just like the PS4 and Xbox One at launch.

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Category:Arts and Entertainment, Gaming

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