The new Nintendo Switch
3 reviews from the community
Review of "The new Nintendo Switch"
Today is Linkin Park day. That's a part of my childhood gone and an artist who got me through some really rough times.
The Nintendo Switch is the latest console release from Nintendo; it was known in development as the NX and was released to a huge amount of fanfare on March 3rd 2017. Those who know me know that I have followed Nintendo’s consoles since way back to the days of the NES and the original Gameboy and it will therefore come as no surprise that my eyes have been glittering excitedly regarding this new gem since all we knew were two random letters. Every time it came up in conversation my ears would prick up and I would start wriggling excitedly. Do I own it yet? Nope. Two reasons; firstly, I’m getting married and all spare change is going towards that and secondly, it’s currently way, way too expensive. Anyway, as I don’t own one and I haven’t played one, I wouldn’t dream of reviewing it. However, a Current Issue based upon what a long time Nintendo fan who is drooling over the item thinks about it? Yeah, that’s within my remit and then some.So, first thing first, what really attracts me to the NX…or the Nintendo Switch as I guess I should start calling it? The idea of a ‘hybrid console’ and for those of you who ‘don’t do’ gaming, this means that this particular device has been released as both a handheld and a home console and normally there is a huge dividing line in the middle of those two. It has been released as Nintendo’s latest handheld console, set to currently co-exist but eventually take over from the 3DS, but it was primarily designed as a home console. How? I hear you keen souls cry? How can such a miracle occur!? Because…technology! The flexibility demonstrated within this single console is truly remarkable and for those of us who game in both formats, this is revolutionary!
If you connect the main unit to the docking station to the docking station it can be connected to the television making it a home console but that same unit can then be released from the dock, the mini-controllers can be attached and hey, presto, you have a handheld! The mini-controllers are called Joy-Cons and work wirelessly with the home console, but when attached to the unit for handheld play create a single functional unit. Likewise, they can be put onto a Grip accessory for a full sized controller or indeed you can buy a more standard controller function if you’re a more traditional gamer. I can see myself having to do that when I finally bite the bullet and pick one of these up as I’m a stick-in-the-mud and like my D-pad.The flexibility is something really special because it builds on the cross-save technology that has been in use by Playstation for quite a while, allowing you to share data between consoles however usually requiring you to buy the game for both consoles separately. This goes to the next level. For those who like to game at home and on the move, this cuts through the layer of separation that has existed between console and handheld gaming for at least as long as I have been gaming. For the first time handheld players won’t have to suffer receiving a cut and dumbed down version of the console game, because the handheld is the console. It is the same game!
For the first time you can spend seven hours playing a game into the wee hours of the morning and then stumble up to bed in a bleary eyed state of confusion, taking the game with you! You can play the same game, from the same save file, on the same console on the sofa, in bed, commuting into work and on your longer than strictly necessary toilet breaks. To those who aren’t in the gaming market this may sound common sense and simplistic, but you have to understand that it is completely new! The divide between handheld and console hasn’t been crossed before and the fact that it is here is incredibly exciting.Effectively, the Switch plays with the innovative bent that Nintendo have previously displayed with the original Wii with its motion sensitivity and the original DS with the touch screen technology. It takes a step into something new and innovative, rather than stagnating in the ‘safe zone’ that Nintendo sat in with the 3DS, the 3DSXL, the New 3DS and the Wii U, all three of which were just rehashes of previous consoles with twists. This though, this does something that bucks the current trend and stands out from the crowd. This brings Nintendo back to the fore of innovative gaming even if the games themselves don’t stretch the boundaries, and there is absolutely nothing to say they won’t. Either way, from a hardware perspective alone, this thing has my darn attention.
And then we get onto the games and therefore the software that is involved within that circle. The Nintendo Switch was released with precious few games and only one of them was a Blockbuster, but for once you won’t hear me complaining about that. Why? Because that one Blockbuster game that they released with this console is, to all accounts and purposes, able to blow your mind. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has a rating of 97% from GameFAQs, 10/10 on Trusted Reviews, 10/10 on GameSpot, 5/5 on GamesRadar and every person I have spoken to says that it is awesome. The critics and the average Joe on the street agree for just about the only time in a decade; so, in essence, this game is freaking awesome. It has been heralded as the greatest launch games for any console… ever. And most miraculously, it doesn’t baby you. This is a Nintendo game that offers you freedom, it doesn’t tie a leash around your neck and force you through tutorials; it offers you freedom!This freedom marks a definite shift from the infuriating hand-holding, the baby-sitting, the ‘lead you around by your nose rings’ approach that Nintendo so often takes. The vast majority of Nintendo games over the last, well, decade perhaps, have been dumbed down to ridiculous stupidity. The worst has occurred over the last five years, but this never ending sliding into catering for the new generation of attention deficit six year olds whilst ignoring established gamers has been going on for a decade. To make this more annoying, if you play the retro games that kept your attention twenty years ago as an eight year old, you quickly find that they were hard; seriously damn hard. Come on; if I wasn’t that attention deficit as a small ‘un then please stop trying to feed me this shit as an adult. And finally, finally, Nintendo are listening. This looks to be the adult gaming console that may just be able to rival my PS Vita.
The other exciting thing? There are over a hundred titles in development by seventy developers here. And yes, there are going to be a lot of well known series titles like Mario Kart, Mario Party, Sonic, Fire Emblem, Pokemon and Harvest Moon…but more excitingly still, there are independent studios who have been approached to create and release games. This in turn means that Nintendo has finally taken the leap towards releasing new, interesting, indie titles that other manufacturers jumped on years ago. All those small PC indie games that would never have made it past the Nintendo board room, now actually have a chance! This is new and it is welcomed. This has the potential to be the console of the decade!So, do I have any concerns? Well, yes. Yes, I do. The first would be the battery life that this has been released with. According to Nintendo their new console only has three hours battery life and for those of us who game on long journeys, on flights, on commutes or anywhere where there isn’t a plug to re-charge, this is poor. That might if I was lucky get me from Stoke to Birmingham and back providing I didn’t turn it on in the middle of the day. That simply isn’t good enough. To put this in perspective, with wi-fi off and low brightness, my Vita can last for ten hours. With constant wi-fi connection on and in use, I may get four-five hours, with wi-fi on but not in use then six-eight hours depending on brightness. Three hours as a basic is more than poor. That’s what I now get out of my knackered 3DS and I’ve been threatening to have the battery replaced for months; I used to get six-eight easily.
The fact that Nintendo have released this console with a three hour battery and then have seen fit to boast about it is…concerning at best. At minimum, I would expect double what they are gloating about and that is beyond concerning. Because that is absolute minimum. What it suggests here is that too many sacrifices have been made to the home console side of things and that has seriously screwed up their thinking. Because six hours battery should be the absolute damn minimum. Even taking that away from the mix, consider that all batteries weaken with time and if my eight hour 3DS battery is now a three hour battery many years on… how will a three hour battery hold up!? In two years time will it manage two hours, in five years an hour? Barely get you out the house and to the coffee shop, let alone being usable whilst you drink your mocha??The second really concerning thing is the price that they have released this at; for some reason Nintendo have seen fit to release a HANDHELD FREAKING CONSOLE at £280. That defies belief. That seriously made my jaw drop. The 3DS was released at £220 and that was seen as way too expensive, to the point that they had to swiftly drop it to £180 to make it sellable. The PS4 (a pure home console) was released at £350 and now sells at £250. You can buy a PS4 for less money than this piece of kit. For a handheld, most of us baulk at the £200 mark. The price of the New 3DS, which was an updated console, retails at between £150 and £180 in bundles with games. But historically handhelds are always cheaper than the home consoles and the price on this is simply untenable. Yes, they are trying to appeal to both markets, but one whole market simply won’t bite above £200 for a bog standard model handheld. That’s a major sticking point.
The final sticking point is the need for accessories that need to be bought separately and aren’t cheap at all:
- The Pro-Controller will cost you £60. Traditionally home consoles come with one controller; this does but it isn’t the traditional controller instead being the Joy-Controllers which are more…unconventional shall we say and certainly won’t appeal to the traditional gaming market.
- Charging Joy-Con Grip kit will cost you £25. Every Switch comes with a grip kit (a second one will cost you £15), but that doesn’t charge. This seems… money grabbing.
- Micro SD card will cost you between £8 and £20.
And remember if you want to play multi-player with Pro-Controllers, this cost is going to increase quickly.
All in all, I am excited. The console looks damn awesome and the games look set to be fantastic and I seriously want one. But can I justify it at release price? Not a bloody chance in hell. If you pick up the necessary accessories you are going to be looking at £350 approximately. Personally, I’ll sit tight and wait for it to dip down to a reasonable £180-200… even for a limited edition I won’t bite for much above £220… and I’m an adult fan. From the perspective of a parent… I think they’ve over-stretched the price here. And I think they need to have a serious think about the battery life.
Product Information : The new Nintendo Switch
Manufacturer's product description
Listed on Ciao since: 27/04/2017