We have had a couple of weeks with our Nintendo Switch, and have had a decent amount of time to see what works and what doesn’t. The problem is, we have realized that whether or not you enjoy the switch and think you are getting bang for your buck really depends on what exactly the player is looking for with this console. To that end, we have come up with a list of what may or may not convince a player to buy the Nintendo Switch.
Right out of the box the Switch shows itself to already be completely different than any other console, for better or worse. The convenience of the console jumps out at the player right out of the box. It looks like a tablet than a console. That being said, once my traditional sense of what a console is supposed to look like was pushed to the side, and I put together the various pieces of the console, (including HDMI cords, AC adapters and the fully docked console, it was like 6 total pieces), the Switch started to feel more like a home console and less of a tablet experience. After I allowed the console and controllers to fully charge (because who wants to start playing a brand new console and then have interrupt gameplay to charge the controller batteries a few hours in?) I found myself rather enjoying this new take on consoles. I immediately found a lot of fun it how convenient the Switch brings to consoles in general.
The Joy-Con controllers were a point of debate for many when the switch was released and still are. At this point the left Joy-Con has some connection problems with the console when wirelessly connected. I too experienced this issue, but did not really have any sort of detrimental experience to my gameplay from it. Beyond this problem (which DEFINITELY does need to be resolved), I actually have found these controllers to be some of the most useful controllers I have used to date. I know wireless controllers have been around for quite some, but the split controller concept has proven quite useful in allowing me to sit in whatever position I find comfortable, and still have free range of motion.
The batteries in the controllers are also not to be taken lightly. Initial reports stated that the battery would last somewhere around 20 hours per controller. I can personally attest that this statement is accurate. While I didn’t play for 20 hours straight, I did put quite a fair bit of time into the console over a few days without charging the controllers at all. I played the entire campaign of Super Bomberman R and past the plateau on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild before I had to stop playing to charge. This kind of controller battery is unheard of, and that isn’t even including all of the other neat features the controllers include. In addition to a fantastic battery, you get the bonus of having the ability to use the joy-con for motion controls, tapping amiibos to the right joy con joystick to unlock bonus features in some games, the previously mentioned incredible convenience of separated controllers, the new HD rumble feature that becomes essential for party games like 1,2 switch, and multiplayer right out of the box without having to buy any other controllers. Minus the flaw with the connection of the left joy-con to the system (again, I only had a few issues with that, but other players may have had more problems with it than I have thus far) the controller is a knockout and isn’t given as much credit for all the tech packed into a such a small convenient package. They really are incredible.
The Switch console in and of itself is a bit odd. That isn’t anything new for Nintendo and it actually turns out to be either a good or bad thing depending on the player themselves. While yes, the controllers for the console bring some way to play that will accommodate every single person out there who wants to play, the console itself can not make the same exact claim. So here’s the bad news. Due to the power gap between the Switch and the other current gen consoles on the market, some players will not be as pleased with the system and have legitimate concerns with whether or not they will be able to have the same quality gaming experience. If you want the same level of realistic looking graphics then perhaps this system is not the one for you. The console does bring a great deal of convenience in its portability and while the system does dock and receive a small boost to the quality of graphics, it still isn’t at the same level as the other current gen consoles in either state.
The console also doesn’t boast the same battery power that its controllers do in that the console itself only has about a 6 hour battery — if you aren’t playing Zelda. Zelda brings it down by half to about 3 hours so if you are wanting an on the go console with a long lasting battery you may want to check the 3DS out.
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The Switch also does not currently function well as an entertainment center due to its lack of streaming services. Granted, this is a flaw that would be easily repairable in the future via a simple download, but currently if you are wanting a system that will allow you to play games and allow you to watch your favorite twitch streams and Netflix movies, you may need to look elsewhere.
Now, while those are a deterrent for some players, I think many others have had a great experience with the console and have been using it as a home focused console instead of a portable focused console. The convenience of being able to pick the console up and allow my wife or others to use the television while I continue gaming is HUGE. It is incredibly useful for players who have kids or families in general. The short term battery life isn’t a problem in this situation either, because the ac adapter plugs into both the dock and the console itself easily and is chargeable in both forms.
As far as whether or not the graphics are an issue, I would have to say that it isn’t really a noticeable problem — yet. The console does excell past the Wii U in it’s power and many of the games for Switch currently are cartoonish in nature and have managed to capitalize on the boost in power to create some beautiful artwork, even if the power doesn’t match that of the PS4 Pro of Xbox One S. It’s mainly up to developers to decide how much of a deterrent that power gap will be, but with a rather large list of committed developers already, I would say that having a small library of good games (particularly indie games) won’t be on the list of problems for the Switch, like it was with the Wii U.
The last point I want to bring up is the multiplayer aspect. In a world where couch co-op is quickly disappearing from the other current gen consoles, Nintendo turns the other direction and innovates to improve couch co-op beyond anything we have ever had before. While not all games will have this capability, there are some that will allow 8 PLAYERS to be able to all play together on the same console at once. This is incredible, and that’s not even mentioning the various other ways you can use co-op play features. Whether or not Nintendo has done what they need to do to increase the functionality of their global online play servers remains to be seen given, that the full launch of all of their online features doesn’t happen for a few more months. Currently what is available to use for play was far better than the Wii U’s online capabilities, showing that the intent of improvement has been made at least, and that players complaints were heard. If anything, the fact that the Switch is a console that makes multiplayer a better experience is enough that I would recommend this console for players who want to be able to have something to play with family and friends (perhaps we will get some splitscreen or same room Overwatch play out of this in the future as well!).
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I don’t want to say that this console is a console for everyone. IF you are looking for a high end graphics experience with visuals that almost seem real, this isn’t the system for you. If you want something you can play with your family and friends, literally be able to play wherever you want, however you want, or really just want to keep enjoying those great Nintendo IPs and have a ton of fun doing it, then this is the one for you. The system, despite its different flaws, is still quite the enjoyable experience and will be sure to provide tons of fun gameplay that you and all your friends and family can enjoy with each other …. at least until you lose those friendships over Bomberman and Mario Kart again
Nintendo Switch 8/10
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