So Nintendo have finally shown off what we can expect from the Nintendo Switch at launch and in the coming months. I’ve been pretty excited about the reveal event for quite a while but I also knew there was bound to be some negative points. I thought I’d give you my honest opinion about what was revealed to us about Nintendo Switch and whether it has so far lived up to my expectations.
I’ve been a gamer since I can remember and my very first console was a NES. I loved playing Super Mario Bros, Excite Bike and games like Super Punch Out. Since then I’ve played on SNES, N64, Gamecube (my brother’s anyway), Wii, WiiU and my beloved 3DS. Whilst I also had various PlayStation and Xbox consoles, Nintendo holds a special place in my heart.
Nintendo have a unique ability to create games that I absolutely love. They really help me chill out and never cease to amaze me. When the Switch was revealed at the tail end of 2016 I saw a console that I thought might be the answer to an issue I was having. I’ve grown frustrated at the direction Sony and Microsoft are going with these mid generation upgrades and what not and I really wanted something different, something unique.
Nintendo seemingly reading my mind unveiled the Nintendo Switch but we had a long wait until we found out more, such as the release date and price. Well both those questions have been answered. The Nintendo Switch will release globally on March 3rd for £279/ $299. Pre-orders are being taken now.
So what did I make of the reveal and the subsequent Tree House event? Well if I’m honest it was a mixed bag for me, it wasn’t bad but it wasn’t the most exciting event. The event wasn’t the most exciting that I’ve seen and to be honest I tend to wait until it’s finished so I can skip the cringe worthy bits. The tree house live stream I found much more enjoyable and thought it gave us a great look at what to expect. The highlight was watching two guys milking a cow whilst trying to avoid a whole host of innuendo. So what did we learn? Well starting off with the bad I would have liked to see the console retail for no more that £250 (perhaps do a “Pro” bundle with a pro controller for an added cost) and perhaps include a game (that 1-2 Switch would have been a good one to have included).
It’s also disappointing to yet again see Nintendo trying to create the illusion of demand by limiting stock for release. Whilst I’m sure we would have preferred more internal storage I can certainly see why they opted for the 32GB SSD . You can pick up SD cards for next to nothing these days so increasing your memory capacity need not be costly and the games will be running off of the cartridges mainly anyway so space won’t be too much of an issue. The cost of the control pads and peripherals however is just plain ridiculous. £79 for a pair of those little pads? Careful who you let play, you don’t want any breakages.
The launch line up was a tad disappointing. I suspect they didn’t want to detract from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild too much but if that isn’t a game that interests you then there isn’t really any point in picking up a Nintendo Switch at launch. I would have liked to see Mario Kart 8 Deluxe release with the console and think that would have provided a good alternate to those who didn’t want to get Zelda. I’m not really sure why Nintendo insist on messing around with the whole motion controller thing. We’ve seen with Kinect, PS Move, VR etc that things like this just don’t really interest gamers. I know the Wii sold ridiculously well but let’s face it, that looks more and more like a fluke every day.
Apart from those issues I really liked what I saw. The Nintendo Switch is innovative and different, something I think the market really needs. I loved the look of Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Bomberman, Super Mario Odyssey and that F-type Zero game. The games line up for this year is in my opinion pretty good over all and whilst I still maintain the launch line up could and should have been better there does at least seem to be plenty to keep us busy this year. 3rd party games are also on the way which is an area Nintendo are notoriously bad at supporting. Skyrim, FIFA (did anyone else notice how miserable the EA guy looked when stood on stage?), Minecraft and a host of other titles are all on their way to Nintendo Switch.
Battery life of the tablet part of the console will depend on the game you are playing but will range from 2.5 hours and 6.5 hours which is pretty much where I expected it to be but 2.5hrs isn’t very long (i expect Zelda will be towards the low end here). You can play whilst charging the unit using an ac adapter if you wanted to. Something we won’t know until we get hands on is build quality and I have my concerns over this, especially with the controllers and the kick stand.
Power wise we are looking somewhere between 360/PS3 and Xbox One. We know the Nintendo Switch is built around a custom Tegra X1 chip which is made by Nvidia. Whilst not providing the most power, what Nintendo do to utilize that available power is all that matters and I have no concerns there. Nintendo have consistently shown that they can make games with great gameplay and that look beautiful with limited power.
The tablet features a 720p touchscreen display and when docked it will output games at 1080p to your TV. We know Mario Kart 8 Deluxe runs 1080p 60fps when the Nintendo Switch is docked and 720p 60fps when played on just the tablet although this does drop to 30fps if you have more than 2 players playing on the tablet. I would expect other games to be able to match the performance Mario Kart 8 Deluxe achieves. Nintendo have also confirmed that there will be no region lock on the Nintendo Switch which is great news.
Overall I’m pretty excited. Looking at the launch price and release schedule I think the strategy for Nintendo Switch is to attack the holiday period. I expect a small price reduction around that time if I’m right and the games library will be looking pretty sweet by then.
Nintendo have to throw everything at their new “paid for” online service and I hope to see proper Nintendo accounts that means the games I buy will be linked to that account and be transferable to another unit should I break mine. Obviously stability and reliability are a must. The concern I have is that Nintendo isn’t particularly well known for online play and most of its games are usually played locally. They are offering a free NES or SNES game per month and will change that game each month…That’s right, you don’t get to keep the game. Now whilst I don’t really pay too much attention to the games I get free with Xbox Live it is always nice to know I can visit it in my own time.
I really hope we’ll see a Nintendo Switch presence at E3 this year as it isn’t the same without them and if they are to win over more cautious gamers they need to really go all out and impress. Lastly I want to see Nintendo emerge from the shadows and stop seeing themselves as the “second console” company which I think they do, and really go all out over the next couple of years. They need to be more gamer friendly and support the likes of YouTubers and streamers who want to show off their games.
All in all it’s great to see Nintendo Switch on the horizon. No it isn’t perfect but it’s pretty dammed good if you ask me. I’ve got mine on pre-order and March 3rd can’t come soon enough as far as I’m concerned.