So the time is finally here; from rumor mills, to official reveal to the release date, we have been anticipating on Nintendo’s newest console, Nintendo Switch. After enduring many months of rumors, we can finally put all of the anticipation to rest as the public finally gets to experience on what the Switch is all about. So how is the console? Is it worth the wait?
For those who have been in the dark about the console for too long, Nintendo Switch is the very first console to offer portable and regular console play through the use of a console dock. Nintendo Switch is also the first to offer detachable controllers, called the Joy Con controllers. These controllers were able to attach to the side of the Nintendo Switch tablet for portable play. Once the console is docked for TV play, these controllers can be detached off the console and attach to the provided grip con controller.
Aside from the hardware and accessories mentioned previously and the cords provided to run and display the console on your TV, that is all that it is provided when you buy a new console. Even though it is enough to charge the tablet console, it does not come with any means to charge the joy con controllers, which means you either have to buy a Pro Controller, or buy one of the accessories to charge the Joy Con controller. This is rather my first annoyance with Nintendo’s latest console, albeit a minor one.
The only controller that I have used for this review is the joy con/grip controller. And the grip controller is structured surprisingly well to make the joy con controllers fit nicely on your hand once you have attached the Joy Con controllers to the grip controller. The controller shape with the Joy Con controllers attached has a circular kind of a shape to it. It is a little smaller than I would have imagined, although it’s not too small. The grip also made using the buttons and joysticks pretty smooth. I have played Zelda for hours and I have never felt more comfortable using a controller. The battery life for the joy con controllers is nothing to sneeze at. According to spec reports, controller’s battery life last about 20 hours. Personally, I feel like the battery has a longer life. I’ve only had to charge the controllers twice at the time of this writing.
However, there are some issues with the Joy Con controllers themselves that can irritate gamers. The size of joy con controllers are fine when used for singular play (ie Zelda, Bomberman single player playthrough), but when taken apart for people to use each joy con, they end up being too small for people with bigger hands. The buttons and joystick placement is too close for a good amount of the players to play comfortably. There also has been reports of the left joy con having connectivity issues. I never had any issues with the left joy con until I played 1-2 Switch. It seemed that at times the left joycon would disconnect in the middle of the session and I would have to press another button to reconnect the controller. The connectivity thankfully is being addressed, but this is an issue that should have been sorted out in prior to launch.
HD Rumble for the Joy Con controller is a feature that is well set up for the console. Some might write this feature off as a gimmick, but if used correctly it can certainly enhance the Nintendo Switch experience. At the time of this writing, there is no game that showcases this feature better than 1-2 Switch. Soda Shaker is one of the best games that showcases this features, as you can feel the soda fizzing in the controller. Gorilla is another good example of this as well because it gives the rumble that simulates chest pounding.
The console itself is the heart of the console, and anyone can tell that Nintendo put a lot of love and care into this powerhouse part of the console. As mentioned before, you can put the tablet in the dock to the TV for TV play or take it on the go. The transition from portable to TV and vice versa is also an aspect of the console that is rather smooth. There is a slight delay in the transition from docked to portable mode, and vice versa. However it’s not really a deal breaker as you’ll be spending too much getting situated for portable play or docked play for that delay to matter. I sit about 4-6 feet away from the TV and when I dock the console and set up the controllers, the game finishes projecting to the screen before I am able to play again.
Of course, one of the biggest concerns for the console is the performance difference between console play and portable play. After testing the console in portable and docked mode, it appears that the Switch surprisingly performs better when playing in portable mode. After playing a good amount of time in Zelda in both modes, the lags in the game were almost nonexistent when I played the game in portable mode. When I play the game on my TV, there were few times where the game freezes for less than a second. But these freezes happen close to rare to the point that you would have forgotten about the performance issue before you can have another So you are better off taking the console on the go if you want to play Zelda or Skyrim.
Speaking of portable play, how long does the battery last when you take the console on the go? Playing Zelda took the console almost 4 hours on a full charge to run the console before the console goes to sleep. If the console can run longer than it’s original projection of 3 hours when running Zelda, then I would imagine for running a less intensive game like 1-2 Switch or Super Bomberman R can last even longer than at least 5 or 6 hours of play. Maybe for a Virtual console game like a Super Nintendo game could make the console run for 7-8 hours maybe, which is an improvement of their Wii U gamepad.
For the fact that the Wii U had a diverse library of games, Nintendo Switch seemed to lack both physical and digital games at launch, which seemed to have marred Nintendo Switch down. Of course, Nintendo will add more indie games, add Virtual Console titles to Switch, and release more games over time. The library at launch isn’t that bad, but there are more games that were already previously released to other consoles than newly released titles. Breath of the Wild is certainly a very shining example to the launch lineup for Nintendo Switch, but there needs to be a bigger variety of original titles coming for Nintendo Switch in order to make the launch more appealing to other gamers, not just for hardcore Nintendo fans.
If you want the Switch for Zelda only, then it would be best to get Switch and Zelda when Switch becomes available again. But if Zelda is not really your cup of tea, and you would prefer to play other original titles (outside 1-2 Switch, I am Setsuna, and Super Bomberman R) then you might be better holding off the console purchase for a time being. After all, Nintendo is addressing the left joy con connectivity issue as of recently. Nintendo Switch may not the best console that Nintendo has made, but it is certain that Nintendo is making strides to make sure that they stay in the console wars for years to come.