My Thoughts on the Nintendo Switch

Recently, Nintendo showed off some more of the features of the Switch as well as what we can expect in terms of games and gameplay. I watched the presentation and here are some things about it that I took away. The Switch will release on March 3rd 2017 with a price tag of $299.99.

Console Look and Feel

The Nintendo Switch is a very sleek looking console. It almost looks like the grown up version of the Wii U, where the Wii U’s rounded edges and child-like look gives way to straight lines and a more modern feel. The Switch has a central screen with two removable “Joycons” on either side.

nintendo-switch-console-2

When removed, these Joycons can act as their own independent controllers to share with a friend or can be reattached to a more traditional controller for playing alone. When the Joycons are attached to the central screen, you have the mobile version of the console, where you can play a game on the go on the gamepad. The Joycons look very sleek and would fit comfortably into any sized hand but when put together into the traditional controller, it looks large and unwieldy. Are 7 year olds going to be able to hold the larger controller? These Joycons can also be bought separately at a price of $80, which seems a bit steep in my eyes.

nintendo-switch-joy-con_2

The variability and possibilities that this opens to the consoles is one of the things I really like going forward. It’s as if they smashed together the Wii’s motion controls with the versatility of the Wii U and the mobility of the 3DS. Regarding the mobility, it was said that the Switch’s battery life would last between 2 1/2 to 6 1/2 hours “depending on the game”. I imagine that a game such as Breath of the Wild or Skyrim will drain the battery much faster than say, an NES game. But are all of the modern Switch games going to be closer to that 2 1/2 hour mark? Because one of the main things that they are pushing is that you can play it on an airline or on the go. 2 hours will get you from Ohio to New York on a plane with gate time and everything else. They mentioned something else about portable batteries as well, but it wasn’t discussed in depth. That would make this a non-issue, however it would be more shit to lug around.

All in all I think that the console looks very nice, however I do have some issues with battery life and the size of the controllers.

Games and Gameplay

The games that were shown off in the most recent presentation are as follows:

1,2 Switch, is a WarioWare style of party game. This one piqued my interest, since it isn’t played by looking at the screen but rather the person you are facing off against. I think it could be fun at parties and gatherings but might get old and same-y fast. Will be one of the Switch’s launch titles.

ARMS is a fighting game where you have Sockem Boppers attached to ropes on your hands. The Joycons are used as your “fists” in the game a la Wii Boxing, but can also be extended out across the map you are fighting on. Looks interesting but something to note is that you need two sets of Joycons to play this with someone. So I guess you could just sync someone else’s Joycons to your Switch to play locally or apparently there will be online battling. ARMS will release in Spring 2017.

Splatoon 2 is a shooter that I feel most people are familiar with by now. The original was hailed as one of, if not the best game on the Wii U. An interesting thing they added that you may have seen in other shooters is the use of ultimate moves when you are doing well. It looks like it will be a very good online shooter for the Switch and may even be one of its better games in the long run. Launches in Summer 2017.

Super Mario Odyssey is one of the weirder things that I have seen so far. At one point they show Mario running around an actual city (looked like New York, I swear I saw the Flatiron building) but then he got into a ship and flew off to all these crazy looking “levels” I guess where he ran around and did more traditional Mario things like jump on platforms and fight enemies. Seeing tiny Mario running alongside real humans was jarring and weird for sure, but it looks as though if you could get past that then this could be the breath of fresh air that the Mario franchise needs. Hopefully it’s closer to Super Mario Sunshine weird rather than Sonic 06 weird. Launches in the “Holiday Season” of 2017.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is an interesting looking game that a lot of Xenoblade fans are excited about. I know very little about the Xenoblade universe so I’m going to be brief in that the trailer looked pretty cool. There was a huge dragon, 8/10. No release date was given.

Fire Emblem Warriors had almost no trailer and didn’t really show anything. Judging by the title though, I assume that it is another game cashing in on my beloved Dynasty Warriors franchise. It could be interesting in that regard but the fact that there are more games using the “Warriors” gameplay and title leaves a sort of sour taste in my mouth. No release date was given.

Dragon Quest X and XI will be released in Japan. Very little information was given other than the fact that Square Enix is working on it.

Dragon Quest Heroes I and II were games that almost no information was given for.

Shin Megami Tensei looked really cool but I have no idea what it was about. There was this large group of monsters with glowing eyes, then a super hero looking guy looked at the camera then it was over. Not sure what to make of it. No release date given.

Project Octopath Traveler is a game that is being designed by Square Enix that appears more like a traditional Final Fantasy game, with very beautiful pixel art that looks as though it is in a hybrid 2D / 3D plane. Definitely looks like something to keep an eye on going forward. No release date given.

A guy from Sega came out, said he was interested in making games for the Switch, then left. Really bizarre.

Skyrim is being ported for the Switch, which confirms what we saw in the previous trailers that showed people playing it. Skyrim is Skyrim, either you hate it or love it, but it is really nice to see Nintendo working with some third party developers. This really opens up the door for the future.

A NEW NO MORE HEROES GAME IS COMING OUT FOR THE SWITCH GET HYPE. Not too much to see other than an illustration of Travis and a very quiet man speaking about him.

EA Sports spoke on the console, and confirmed that FIFA will be coming out for the Switch. This could go one of two ways. Either it will be more traditional and played with a controller or they will try to shoehorn the motion controls into it and ruin it. It’s a toss up honestly. I remember Madden on the Wii. Regardless, more third party developers is never a bad thing, even if it is EA.

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the game that has been confirmed for a while now but they still felt the need to reveal it here. It looks as good as it always has. The concept of Ganon as an evil presence instead of a physical manifestation is very interesting and, I think, a nice move away from previous games. Will be a launch title for the Switch (good move!), releasing on March 3rd.

Some other games were teased in a mash up in the end, including Bomberman, Street Fighter, Mario Kart, Sonic, a Dragonball Z title, and a Minecraft game (Looked like Minecraft: Story Mode).

Concerns and Comments

One of the things that I liked was that Nintendo is understanding the importance of social media integration. It was said that you can capture screenshots and videos with the press of a button in the same manner as the Xbone and PS4. This means that I would be able to add pictures into reviews or the streamers out there may be able to make videos with the Switch’s built in function. That’s a nice thing to see, although they do seem a bit behind the curve in that aspect.

I have mentioned online play a few times throughout this post and wanted to expand more on that. Nintendo is going to have a trial period where you can play online for free, but in the Fall of 2017, it will become a paid online subscription service like PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold. I will hold them to the standard to Sony and Microsoft with their online functionality. Nintendo has had some laughably bad online functionality and they had better fix that if they will be charging for online features.

On top of that ding, there is also the fact that you will need to download an app onto your phone to use voice chat and connect with others online. But not just a regular old app. This is going to be a paid app. That you will need to pay for on top of whatever they charge you for the subscription. Why the hell is this not just a part of the regular system? You have been able to chat with people on Xbox Live in game for YEARS, yet you need to download a separate app to do it now? Skype is free to use and does the same exact thing.

Next, and probably the most confusing, is that the online subscription will let you download and play an NES or SNES game for free. This is a nice thing to see especially with the way that Sony and Xbox give away games every month. However, on the Nintendo website it says that it will let you play “for free for a month”. So does that mean if the free download is Megaman for October, that I will only be able to play Megaman for the month of October? Does it lock itself after October? I like to think otherwise because that really would be a ridiculous thing to do to your customers. But it is Nintendo so I never count them out for anything.

Also, at the time of this writing, the Switch is completely sold out at Walmart, Gamestop, Target, Best Buy, and Amazon for pre-order and apparently were sold out of them very quickly. Nintendo, this is such bullshit. You guys have pulled this before with Amiibos and the NES Mini so I’m not really surprised. But come on. By only making a small number of the systems available, you pave the way for scalpers and $600+ consoles being sold. Stock the shelves and people will buy your items. I promise you.

There will apparently not be any region locking on the Switch, meaning that you can buy games from Japan to play on your Switch, no matter where you live in the world. This will really open up the library of titles for the Switch and give it that longevity that wasn’t really present with the Wii U.

Another thing was just noticed today. The Switch has 32 GB of internal memory and Zelda: Breath of the Wild takes up 13 GB on use. Meaning that one game will take up a huge amount of the memory of the console. This will NEED to be fixed in the future, otherwise you can either have Breath of the Wild and a bunch of NES games or a few, smaller Switch titles.

Conclusions

The Switch looks good! The lineup of games is intriguing and the third party support is something to look forward to. However, there are several major questions that I hope will be answered in the month leading up to the Switches release. I will be waiting to buy one. Partially because of Nintendo’s bullshit move with making limited Switch’s available for pre-order and partially because I want to wait and see how the online functionality pans out. Maybe when the Switch releases I will finally be able to get an NES Mini!

 

 

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