The Nintendo Switch Review

nintendo switch

The Nintendo Switch has been out for just over a month now and I’ve had enough time with the console to present my thoughts. It’s not a perfect console by any means but with some tweaks and a steady stream of great games, it might become the incredible system it set out to be.

I’ve spent the majority of my time with the Nintendo Switch playing Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It’s safe to say this is one of the most creative and fun games of all time. I haven’t found myself so lost in a game since The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (A game expected to come to the Switch this fall). Even the all mighty Witcher 3, one of the best games on the current gen, didn’t pull me in as hard as Zelda BOTW did. I want to make it clear that I have no sentimental attachment to the Zelda franchise. I’ve played most of them but haven’t liked any of them after The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Skyward Sword was a huge miss for me, as I’ve never been a fan of the Dynasty Wars style combat. I have to go back and give Twilight Princess another go┬ábecause I didn’t give it a fair chance but as it remains the last good Zelda in my books was Wind Waker.

Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an incredible game, and I urge seasoned gamers to try it. Newcomers might be overwhelmed and confused by the game as it doesn’t hold the player’s hand. It throws you out into this massive open world with very little direction or guidance. It’s also a very hard game. Enemies can crush you with one hit. For a hardcore game such as myself that makes me extremely happy but casual gamers might be turned off. My best advice is save often and explore, learning from your mistakes.

If you haven’t been able to track down a Switch and opted for Zelda on you WiiU you’re in for thenearly the exact same experience. The Switch version is a little prettier and of course, more portable but players aren’t missing out by owning the older console.

I’ve played Zelda: BOTW on both systems extensively and can say I notice very little difference. Draw distance is a bit better on the Switch, but each version wowed me. This is a truly remarkable game that has set the bar very high for open world games.

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If you own a WiiU currently and are chomping at the bit for a Switch it’s best to relax. Let Nintendo work out the kinks and grow their library of games. Look the Switch is not cheap. It’s extremely expensive. In Canada you’re looking at:

$399.99 – The System.

$99.99 – Extra Joy-Con controller to play with a friend.

$89.99 – Pro Controller. Honestly, a must have. If you ever used the incredible Pro Controller for the WiiU this is nearly the same, but even better.

$24.99 – Screen Protector and case.

$79.99 – Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

$$$ – Maybe another game?

$69.99 (On Sale) – 128GB MicroSD Card if you plan on getting more games.

That’s a lot of money. Even if you just buy a game and the console you’re looking at $500CDN before tax. It’s not a cheap pill to swallow.

 But if you see yourself as a traveling type, who likes too game on the go, then the Switch is probably going be right up your alley. The ability to switch from your TV to portable so seamlessly is a very pleasant experience.

The problem is the handheld mode has not grown on me. I carried around the Switch in my backpack for a while thinking I’d play on the go but it never left the confines of my zippered bag. The only place I wanted to play was at home where I could plug the Switch into my TV, the same way I do my Xbox and PS4, and play with the Pro Controller. I am getting used to the handheld controls and they certainly work for some games, but for something like Zelda the Pro Controller is the only way to go. I have big hands and handheld mode was really tough to adjust too. I’d accidently be hitting the wrong buttons all the time. This is why I preferred the Pro Controller. It’s not necessary and it’s totally a personal preference but It really enriched my experience.

When I sit down to game┬áI want to lose myself. It’s therapeutic for me and helps with my depression in ways therapy can’t. It’s my way of escaping. I can’t do this in handheld mode. I don’t game while I wait for my pizza pops to cook in the microwave. Instead, I check on my┬áTwitter or Instagram, maybe return some emails. I’m not finding myself reaching for it whenever I have a few extra minutes. I’ve yet to take it on a plane or long trip but I’m sure it will come in use then. ┬áI’m hoping the Switch integrates both Netflix and Plex into the device so I can switch between games and movies on the go. It’s certainly not going replace my tablet anytime soon.

I’ve got one more bone to pick with the handheld mode. The design. WTF was Nintendo thinking with the design. Look I love that had it has a tab that pops out on the back so I can place it upright. It’s great that I don’t have to DIY a stand or pay up the ass for another accessory but why on earth is the charging part on the bottom of the device. Unless you are physically holding the device or it’s docked into TV mode are you able to charge it. Why is the charging port not on the top of the device? Other than that seriously┬áextremely infuriating design flaw I’m glad Nintendo opted for a USB Type-C charging port.┬áWith only a 3 1/2 – 5 hour charge I’m going have to get used to holding on to it more than I’d like.

There are power banks available but I have yet to try one out. If you have a recommendation for me tweet me @stdxbrockstar.

Also lacking on the Switch is Bluetooth support. I’m no big fan of Bluetooth headphones but for some users, this might pose a problem. If you do want to DIY a solution Nintendo Today has you covered.

If you plan on owning more than a few games, it’s best to upgrade to a bigger microSD. Launching with only a 32GB microSD card is extremely petty. Thankfully microSD cards are only getting cheaper but it would have been nice to not have to worry for a while if you’ll have enough room for a game.

With the hype dying down around the console I’m not as excited about it as I once was. As someone who loves the WiiU, I don’t think the Switch is a big enough upgrade to consider at this point. The next round of big games, Lego City Undercover, Mario Kart 8, Shovel Knight are all already available on the WiiU. Sure there might be some new bells and whistles on the Switch versions but it’s hard to justify spending so much money on the same games.

I was bummed to find out the loading times for LEGO City Undercover are still ridiculously slow (Only 33% faster) on the Switch version. It’s an incredibly fun game but the WiiU’s long load times dragged it down. I’m reviewing it currently on the Xbox One and finding it much quicker. Expect that review in the next few days.

I know the WiiU is a punching bag for critics but I enjoyed the hell out of it. I thought it had some amazing gaming experiences and unfortunately was overshadowed by the rumors of the NX aka Switch for years. My least favorite part of the device were the motion controls and I’m frustrated they are used in Zelda: BOTW. I’m hoping that as the system grows we can start to eliminate the need for motion controls and focus on great gameplay and incredible stories. Zelda is a masterpiece and just set the bar extremely high for every other game coming out on the console.

1,2 Switch is a glorified demo that shows off the capabilities of the Switch and a few neat things it can do but it really should be included with the console and not be a full priced game. My friends came over and we were all tired of the game within the hour. There are some fun minigames included, but why you have to play five of the worst games on the cartridge to unlock them all is beyond me. If you want a fun game to play with friends I’d urge you to pick up Snipperclips. Jackbox Party Pack 3 is also coming to Switch this month and that should be on your wishlist.┬áIt won’t show off the systems capabilties but your friends and you will have a blast. GUARANTEED.

It will be interesting to check back in a year from now on the Switch and see how it’s doing and if the 3DS is still a big part of Nintendo’s plans. The Switch in theory eliminates the need for the 3DS. I would have loved if the Switch had come with a 3DS port much like how the Game┬áBoy Advance came with a slot for Gameboy and Gameboy Advanced games. Was I expecting it, no, but it would have made the Switch’s game library that much┬álarger and given me less to bitch about.

Where’s the virtual store? It’s rumored to be coming, but at this time there is not set date. I’m interested to see if the games I’ve purchased on the WiiU store cross over. Even if I have to pay a small fee, like I do from the Wii to the WiiU versions, I’ll be happy as I can now take Super Mario RPG on the road. If I have to outright buy the games again I’ll never use the store again. That will be a serious slap in the face. It’s too early to tell, and Nintendo has been notoriously┬ámum about the situation. Here’s hoping we get SNES games on the go as this would have also solved the “no games” narrative.

In an ideal world, I hope Nintendo copies Xbox and EA’s approach to a game subscription service. I’d┬ábe on the next flight to Nintendo HQ to thank them personally if I had the option of paying X amount each month to be able to play classic Nintendo games whenever I wanted. I’m talking NES, SNES, N64, Gamecube games even.┬áThis should be a no-brainer for Nintendo. As much as I love seeing Nintendo put out old games, I love playing the games I grew up with. A lot of classic Nintendo games have aged very well.

Dear Nintendo, I’d also buy a SNES Mini in a second. I’d actually probably buy 3. Just letting you know.

It’s funny. Two months ago we hardly knew anything about the Switch, and now one month after having it much of it is still a mystery. I’m thinking Mario Odyssey is going be the first game to really show off the console. Zelda is an incredible game, but it doesn’t show off the features of the Switch at all. Remember, this game has been in development long before the Switch was a thing. If the Switch was an item in the Mario world it would be a “?” block.

The Nintendo Switch feels like the machine the WiiU wanted to be. It certainly fits more comfortably in my hands and looks far sleeker than the big plastic WiiU controller. I hope the Switch eventually has those co-op titles that made me fall in love with it the same way I did with the WiiU. The WiiU was such a great console for playing with friends provided you had some Wii controllers sitting around (my least favorite┬áNintendo controller of all time) or the fantastic Pro Controller. The only game that really burned me was Mario Party 10. Not being able to use the Tablet controller (Yes I could use with Bowser Mode, but that wasn’t fun) or the Pro controller was a serious bummer. At least I had the option to download Mario Party 2 on the Virtual Console.

Looking at it from a consumers perspective if you already own a WiiU then pick up Zelda and wait on the Switch. Don’t sit on Best Buy hitting refresh hoping to get one. Grab a digital code for Zelda and have yourself a wonderful adventure. If you skipped the WiiU and like playing games on the go┬ábut mobile games don’t tickle your pickle then the Switch should be on your radar. If you have a trip coming up this summer then the Switch will make a great companion.

That’s where I’m at with the console. It’s got a lot of potential but we need to give it time to grow. As far as technical probems such as Joy-Con issues and dead pixels, I’ve experience nothing of the sort. My Switch is still 100% golden.

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The Switch is here to stay for the next little while. It’s a cool device and if you like playing games on the go, then you’re going love it. It has its problems but Nintendo has time to work on those complaints as it’s still near impossible to actually buy a console. The success of the system relies on the games and they are going start to trickle in as the weather heats up. Hopefully, you’ll find me on the beach in my skinny jeans playing Captain Toad 2 or an open world Diddy Kong Racing* in the near future.

* Yes, I know Rare retains ownership of most of the cast of Diddy Kong Racing so I hope Nintendo just fills it full of Nintendo B-Listers. Keep the stars for Mario Kart and give me the oddballs and weirdos in DKR. A boy can wish.

Brock McLaughlin

Brock McLaughlin

Brock McLaughlin ­čĽ╣ ­čÄ« Twitter @brockmclaughlin New Media (B)Rockstar. Blogger. Video Gamer. Podcaster at the Game Moose. UnBrocxer. Host/Producer at @comedygamers4u. Somewhat Charming.

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