The Nintendo Switch has been out in the wild for over a week now. With some time to let it breathe and settle, I am able to give my own opinion of Nintendo’s brand new hybrid console. Although, this isn’t a final review of the console. Instead, I’ll be giving my initial impressions, since the console is still in its infancy.
Console On The Go
The Nintendo Switch’s main goal is to be able to take your home console experience wherever you wish. It’s safe to say that Nintendo has accomplished that goal. The Switch is able to transition between being played on the TV and on the go smoothly, without any hassle or hiccups whatsoever. Performance does vary, however, between the two modes. Depending on the game it can be for better or worse.
An example of noticeable performance differences is with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Sadly, performance seems to suffer when the system is docked and in TV mode. Although the resolution is higher compared to when in Handheld mode, the frame rate suffers, especially in areas with a lot of foliage or when fighting enemies. It’s nothing too drastic, but there are definite dips.
Now, there aren’t enough games to fully evaluate how much performance differs between handheld mode and TV mode. However, as of now, handheld mode is the best way to experience the Switch. The convenience of being able to play fully fledged console experience games wherever is one of the best reasons to pick up a Switch. It gives a compelling argument to choose the Switch version of third-party titles over the competition, especially with indie titles.
Now, it is cool to be able to play any game on the go, however, there aren’t that many titles to actually play with. As of now, the Switch’s library is pretty shallow, with only a handful of titles available. There is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but if you want more options besides indies, you’re out of luck.
Although, Nintendo does have a timeline of releases for the rest of the year; Titles such as Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon 2, to name a few. Obviously there will be more titles announced at E3 this year, and possibly future Nintendo Directs, so despite the barren eShop now, expect more soon.
Besides that, the system’s OS is as bare bones of an OS as one could be. All you can really do is launch a game, and that’s it. There aren’t any streaming apps available, such as Netflix or Hulu, however those are promised in the near future. There isn’t even a dedicated internet browser, something that even the original DS had at launch. All the standard bells and whistles that both the Xbox One and PS4 have, are sorely lacking here on Switch. Don’t expect to be chatting with friends or even sending messages. For that, you’ll have to wait for the smart phone app, which is slated for a summer release, but is something that should be baked into the system’s OS to begin with.
Surprisingly, the Nintendo Switch feels like premium tech. Coming off of the Wii U, where the gamepad felt cheap and more like a toy, the Switch is a definite upgrade. For the first time, in a long time, Nintendo’s hardware feels sleek and sexy, even with the neon colored controllers.
The controllers, despite being small, do have a weight to them and fit well in your hands. Although the buttons are smaller than other controllers and the sticks have less movement compared to other counterparts, it’s nothing too much of a step down and they still do the job. Sliding on and off the controllers is simple and easy, too . Also, never did I feel that the controllers would unexpectedly slide off, while attached. A nice plus are the number of configurations and options to choose from, with choices between just using the joy-cons or purchasing the pro controller, which is akin to a traditional controller.
As for the screen, which is also the main console itself, it is the best Nintendo’s ever released. The 6.2 screen is crisp and clear, and can stand on its own against most modern tablets. Not only that but it features capacitive touch, which allows multi-touch functions, however no software really showcases it.
For those concerned about heating issues, have no fear as, while in handheld mode, the system only gets warm at the most, even with long periods of usage. However, the system does get hotter when docked, but nothing to get worried about. Along with that, the system is absolutely silent when in use. This is a nice welcome, especially when comparing it to the Playstation 4, which sounds like a jet engine at this point.
Overall (So Far)
The Nintendo Switch is a quality product. It’s the best feeling tech Nintendo has put out in a long time, and is something that can stand with most modern tablets or devices, in terms of build and aesthetic. You won’t be ashamed to bring this out in public and feel like you’re holding something a kid would be playing with.
Although it feels great and looks great, there just isn’t enough there to justify a purchase as of now. Sure there’s Zelda, but for the price tag that comes with, it just isn’t worth the purchase. If you have a Wii U lying around, play Zelda on that. If you have a friend who has a Wii U, borrow theirs and play it on that. Otherwise, unless you’re the most hardcore of Nintendo fans, I don’t recommend you picking a Switch up. I’d say the best time to pick one up would be at the end of the year, or at the longest when a price drop happens. By the end of the year, there’ll be a lot more software to choose from and, hopefully, a lot more Switches in the wild. This way you have more people to play with as well.
So, yes, Nintendo is switching things up, but that doesn’t mean you should too. At least, not right now.