First Impressions: Nintendo Switch

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I’ve been a gamer since I was 3 years old and the company that welcomed me into the world of video games was none other than Nintendo.

Naturally, over the years I came to love other gaming companies as well, such as Square Enix, Bandai Namco and Naughty Dog, but none of them have ever quite managed to capture my heart like Nintendo did.

It’s been over two decades now since I first fell in love with Nintendo, and to this date they remain my favourite gaming company. They’re the home to a large chunk of my favourite gaming franchises and their games always have this unfathomable kind of magic to them and give me a feeling that games from other companies just aren’t able to provide.

But of course, I’m well aware of the companies flaws over the last generation or so, to the point I’d began to lose faith in them as a diehard fan.

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I loved the Wii when it was first released. The motion controls were fun and innovative and were used in some incredibly ingenious ways. But despite having a lot of excellent games such as Super Mario Galaxy and Xenoblade Chronicles, the console began to rely far too heavily on its central idea, and by the end of its lifespan it felt a little tired, with games like Skyward Sword being a tad disappointing (I still like the game a lot though).

Then came the Wii U, a console which aimed to bring back the “hardcore” demographic and failed miserably due to poor marketing and a lack of content, both third and first party wise. I liked the Wii U. I liked it a lot. But I was still rather disappointed with the systems lack of games and while its tablet controller gimmick was really neat and cool, it just wasn’t used enough. I have some very fond memories with my Wii U and some of my favourite games of all time are on that console, but comparing it to the likes of the Gamecube and the Nintendo 64, it just wasn’t as exciting for me.

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Sorry Wii U!

And now we have the Nintendo Switch. It’s Nintendo’s latest console, and I’ve been incredibly anxious since the concept was first revealed about how much I’d enjoy it.

I was so anxious in fact, that I bought the console on launch day, something I haven’t done since the Gamecube.

And I have to say I’m far from disappointed and that the Switch might just be the best home console since the Gamecube.

For those living under a rock, the Switch is both a home console and a handheld console. It’s a hybrid system that can either be hooked up to your TV or taken out and carried around as a tablet sized handheld with detachable controllers on the go.

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It’s not exactly a new concept, but it’s a gigantic leap forward in terms of progress. The Switch is what the Wii U should have been. Off TV Play, anywhere I want, any time I want. I’m able to play current generation home console video games on the go, with no noticeable compression or anything. It’s a dream come true!

That being said, as incredible as the idea of taking a home console anywhere you want with you is, that’s not even why I love the console so much. I just love that aside from the portability, there’s no other “gimmick” to it.

Sure, there’s the option to use motion controls or to use the accelorometer in the controllers to point at things, but unlike past gimmicks, these aren’t forced. If you want to play the Switch as a regular home console, like the Gamecube, you can. And that’s what excites me the most about the thing.

The controllers that come with the console are pretty great and can be used in a multitude of ways. They can be used with one in each hand, similar to the wii remote and nunchuck set up. They can be used sideways for multiplayer games, which is a tad uncomfortable, but still relatively decent to play with. They can be attached to a grip that helps form a more traditional styled controller, which is an absolute joy to use and feels great (despite how bulky it looks). And of course, they can be attached to the console itself, which can then be lifted out of the TV dock and played as a handheld device anywhere you want.

There’s so many ways to play the Nintendo Switch and every single one of them offers a fairly comfortable and unique experience. There’s a playstyle for everyone.

And if neither of those tickle your fancy, there’s also the option of buying a Pro Controller which is more or less Nintendo’s answer to Microsoft and Sony’s recent controller efforts. It’s sold separately and it’s rather pricey, but for all the technology that’s packed within it, and for the added comfort it provides, it’s absolutely worth it.

Another great thing about the Switch is the seamless transition between docking and undocking the console. There’s a mere delay of around half a second, but the transition between TV mode and handheld mode is more or less instantaneous, something I thought would require waiting at least 10 seconds for, or needing to press a button or something. It’s so damn good.

The portable mode also runs very smoothly. While the screen is only 720p compared to the TV modes maximum 1080p output, due to the screen being relatively small, it’s impossible to notice the difference anyway and the games look just as beautiful on the tablet as they do the TV. Something I could never say about the Wii U and it’s rather ugly glossy images.

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The console does have a few issues though. The screen is shatterproof, which while good, also means it’s prone to scratching. I’ve yet to scratch my screen at all because I’m super careful, but there have been several reports of screens getting easily scratched by simply taking the console out of the dock. I question the validity of these stories however, as I’ve pulled mine out of the dock at least 50 times and have yet to see any damage to the unit.

Then there’s the online service, which is currently up in the air and incomplete. You’re required to use the dreaded Friend Codes from the Wii days and there’s no real unified account system yet, although it’s coming eventually. There’s also no virtual console yet, and it’s unclear whether we’ll be able to transfer our old purchases to the Switch. The virtual console is coming however, and Reggie from Nintendo has openly stated that they’ve “heard” the comments about transferring purchases. I hope they act on what they’ve heard.

However, that’s all fairly minor to me. I don’t particularly care for social gaming anyway and I have very few virtual console purchases to my name.

The only real issue I have with the console is it’s measly 32GB storage space. Yes, it can be increased using an SD card, but 32GB is ridiculous for a console in 2017. The average iPod has more storage space than the Switch does. What’s worse is that save data can’t be transferred to an SD card from the console, meaning if the space gets filled up, you’re basically screwed and need to delete stuff.

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Why?

There are other issues that have been reported, such as the Left Joy Con controller disconnecting regularly, dead pixels on the tablet screen, Zelda crashing 19 hours in, the kickstand breaking easily, and many other things, but I’ve yet to encounter any of these at all and believe these are simply happening to a minority of unfortunate users.

So how is the Nintendo Switch overall? I’d say it’s the best console purchase I’ve made in years. The concept is phenomenal, the console is an absolute joy to use and there’s a steady line up of fantastic games due to come to the system throughout the year, with a tremendous amount of third party and indie support to fill in the gaps between big Nintendo releases.

Zelda is awesome by the way. I’ll talk about that tomorrow.

Nintendo are finally listening and for the first time in years, they’re doing just about everything I could ever want them to do as a gaming company. They’ve clearly learned from their mistakes in the past and are moving forward and back to throne of quality that rightfully belongs to them.

Playing the Switch makes me feel that Nintendo magic that I haven’t felt for such a long time. It feels nostalgic, yet fresh all at once and it just feels so damn good.

Nintendo are back in the game and there should be much rejoicing.

Welcome back Nintendo. I’ve missed you.

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A happy Leth is off to go play more Zelda!

 

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13 thoughts on “First Impressions: Nintendo Switch

  1. This is great stuff and you really capture the essence of what makes the Switch great, namely that the portability is a great feature of a console that is the most traditional Nintendo has released in over a decade. There are really no “gimmicks” here, only features and useful ones at that. Being able to play Zelda on my TV and then take it into bed seamlessly has been a massive “ah-ha!” moment for me, and at the end of the day it’s just a normal game.

    Also, yeah, I think the issues being reported are anecdotal and overblown. There will always be hardware defects (and hopefully Nintendo can replace them) but also people who mishandle the hardware and will play it off as being faulty. The only big issue I’ve found is the Joy-Con desync which I do think is a more widespread problem, namely that the left Joy-Con loses connection quick when its line of sight with the console is broken, and on occasion the Joy-Cons will need to be reconnected entirely. It’s not a game-breaking problem like has been reported though. Sadly the games media has a bias through skepticism of Nintendo, somewhat understandable because Nintendo has had a rough few generations but people will click on negative Nintendo articles and they cater to that. The console is ultimately far more than the sum of its anecdotal issues and anyone who puts their hands on it will understand.

    Also, I really freaking like the Joy-Cons. I’ve commonly seen people say the console has a hidden cost of $70 for the Pro Controller which I think is absurd, mostly. The Pro Controller’s D-pad will have me buying it eventually but the Joy-Cons work great unless your hands are absolutely massive. Playing with them separated is such a relaxing experience over being huddled over a game controller, especially for a game like Zelda that cries out for elongated play sessions.

    Anyway, great write-up! You really capture what makes the console great and I’m super excited for its future (I think its lineup for the year is super great).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree that the console is by far the most traditional machine they’ve released in forever. That’s part of why I love it so much as I said, but the added portability is also fantastic.

      See, those people are the worst. Take care of your stuff and it won’t break. Simple as that.

      Ahhh, that’ll be why I haven’t come across it then. My living room is really open so nothing really blocks the controllers and Switch. That sucks though! I’m sure it’ll be fixed in time though and it’s probably not as big deal as its being made out to be.

      I agree. The media bias is ridiculous. So many clickbait articles like “The Switch has more problems X” or “Why Nintendo are going to fail again” etc. It’s maddening, but at the end of the day, I’m happy with my purchase and it seems the majority of people I speak to on a regular basis are as well. And the sales seem to be doing really well too, so it’s looking great so far.

      I also really like the Joy-Cons. In fact I like them so much that I’m not even sure if I’ll bother getting a Pro Controller unless I find that one game that “needs” it to feel comfortable playing. The Joy-Cons are great little pieces of hardware and the HD rumble is sooooo gooooood.

      Thanks a lot! I’m glad you enjoyed the write up. I’m excited for the future games too. Especially Mario Odyssey! Hopefully E3 will have some surprises too *cough* Metroid *cough*

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a great post! Yay we saw a smiling Tanaka! 😀 LOL

    Like you the first console I ever played was the Nintendo and the first ever Gameboy. I went to the smaller Gameboys and then the SNES. After that was the Wii and a DS.

    I heavily considered getting the pre-order for the Switch; but wasn’t completely sold. The transition from tablet to TV was something I was really curious about but you’ve already made that worry of mine non-existent. I will have to wait to get the Switch – most likely get it on my birthday in July! I also want to see what other games would be available; just because I’m not familiar with the Nintendo line-up. I feel like the PS Vita wanted to do what the switch does; but was unsuccessful.

    Thanks for this review! it was really insightful! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a lot!

      Yes! The smiling Tanaka is always a good sign! That normally means I enjoy something (or am going insane lol).

      The Gameboy was awesome! My first was the SNES with my first games being Street Fighter II and Super Mario World!

      Yeah the smoothness of the transition was really surprising for me. It’s so seamless, it’s like a dream!

      That’s not a bad time to wait, and by then a lot more games will be out. I’m personally really looking forward to Disgaea 5. The series has always been my biggest time sink and now that I’ll be able to take it on the go, it’ll be an even bigger one!

      Plus by that time, E3 will have been by and I’m guessing a lot of games will be announced for the system then.

      The Vita was a similar idea but sadly wasn’t quite there yet. But it still a nice little handheld!

      I’m glad the post could be insightful for you! Always happy to provide useful impressions for people. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. 32GB storage? Really?
    Okay, I wasn’t planning on getting a switch because I’m not into console gaming anymore and prefer PC these days but still, that’s a bit of a joke.
    Glad you are liking the switch otherwise. Hope you continue to have fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, it’s the one downside to the console and it’s a little bit of a letdown.

      Luckily it’s easily bypassed by the fact you’re able to use any SD card you want in place of hard drive and luckily SD cards are ridiculously cheap these days.

      Still, it’s an investment I didn’t prepare for.

      I’m definitely having fun with the system though. It’s a real game changer and has some excellent games coming to it in the near future (Disgaea 5!) so I’m excited for the months to come.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have always had a soft spot for Nintendo. The original gameboy was my first step into gaming, and I have fond memories of those days. I am glad you are enjoying the Switch so much, it looks awesome, and even though I don’t game anymore myself, I always like checking out new developments in the gaming world. I have heard great things about Zelda so look forward to hearing your thoughts about that. Hope you will continue to have fun with this 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m the same. I’ve always had a soft spot for the company too. They’re definitely my favourite.

      Zelda is also phenomenal. It’s really something else. I posted my thoughts about it yesterday if you’re interested in checking them out 😀

      Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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