A New Horizon
The Switch will be Nintendo’s make or break console. Tomorrow, on the 3rd of March, the wait will be over and it will be available to the public. Personally I am very excited about the possibilities this console could hold. What really sets it apart from its rivals in the PlayStation and Xbox camps is its sleek blend of both home and handheld gaming. The hardware itself seems like a step in the right direction for Nintendo and seems to be a massive improvement on an ethos introduced by the Wii-Us touch pad. Despite the forward thinking of the design Nintendo seem to be holding back in their software. Now, only a day until launch, there doesn’t seem to be any real concrete information regarding online services that many consumers will regard as essential. This will be a decisive time in video game history.
A Versatile Console
Being able to play on the go in the handheld tablet mode and easily transferring this to the TV is one of the consoles major strong points. This is all made possible by the detachable Joy-Cons which come with the console which allow the Switch to be played in three distinct ways.
The handheld mode sees each of the Joy-Cons docked on either side of the Switch tablet allowing you to play any of your games on the go. The second mode is the table top mode in which you can stand the Switch up on a surface and detach the two Joy-Cons to use as separate controllers. The third mode of course the TV mode where you simply slide the tablet into the docking station and attach the Joy-Cons to a controller grip making it a bit more like the common games console.
The Joy-Cons themselves are really unique in the fact that they can be used as one controller, two separate controllers, have motion capability and have what Nintendo has described as a “HD rumble”. They seem to blend many of the elements of Nintendo’s previous controllers from the past 30 years which I think is great. They allow the switch to be super flexible in the way you can very easily detach them from the tablet and the re-attach them with a simple click.
This versatility is really what shines brightest in the Switch. Here Nintendo are really doing something right in bringing something to the market which is unique. The idea of playing AAA titles such as Breath of the Wild on your TV and almost instantly being able to take the Switch out of its dock and play in portable mode is pretty brilliant.
Exclusive games: Are they worth it?
Perhaps one of the biggest attractions to the Nintendo switch will be its exclusive games – despite these being in short number. From what I’ve seen of gameplay videos Breath of the Wild looks absolutely stunning and with some reported performance issues on the Wii U version the Switch is the platform to play it on. Super Mario Odyssey only has one trailer but judging by the standard of every 3D Mario game in the past it should be solid. However apart from these games I feel as if there aren’t much more titles that will convince players to buy the switch – at least in 2017.
The launch exclusives other than Zelda look good but possibly not worth purchasing the Switch over. 1-2 Switch takes advantage of the Joy-Cons motion sensors and the consoles table top mode for a bizarre set of party games which includes milking a cow and picking up a phone, both as quick as you can. Snipperclips is an entirely unique co-op puzzle game in which two cute paper characters take snips out of each other to complete varying goals (I think this looks super fun). Super Bomberman R is… another Bomberman game (really Konami?).
Without Nintendo’s flagship game, Breath of the Wild, it feels like the launch line-up, is comparatively pretty weak. It is quite worrying that a game that is being released on the previous Nintendo console simultaneously is one of the main selling points of the Switch at this point in time. Many people are quite rightly questioning the point of buying an entirely new console just for the few big budget games coming out for it.
A Premium Price
The price is also going to be a downside. The console itself is a respectable £279 but the added peripherals are where it really begins to add up. To buy a new pair of Joy-Cons it is a whopping £79, and if you are wanting to play for long periods then you will want to buy a pro controller which is £64.99. The top end games themselves cost £49.99 each also which you will want at least one of. Plus, the added fact that you need to buy a separate grip for the switch if you actually want the Joy-Cons to charge while you are in TV mode, as the one included does not do that. After all these considerations the Switch seems less and less worth it for the money.
There was a time where it seemed as if Nintendo were going to offer cheaper prices for their next concert to attract a wider array of gamers yet it seems as if the Switch will remain a more high-end product with a less accessible price-point.
Are Nintendo being anti-consumer?
After the objective failure of the Wii-U since its launch in 2012, we as gamers have a right to sceptic about Nintendo. In fact, there hasn’t been much information on the online services we are most wanting to hear about. It seems bizarre that Nintendo have revealed so little information about something which they have such a task to improve on. Why should anyone think of pre-ordering the switch when many of the online features lay under wraps in a day one patch?
In addition to this Nintendo seem intent on making it difficult for people to buy their products, having been known for creating artificial scarcity in the past. For this reason, unless if you pre-ordered it ahead of time, it could be very hard for you to get a Switch on launch day. Hopefully this will not be the case but due to past incidents with amiibo shortages driving their prices up massively, much remains to be seen.
The Future of Gaming?
So with one day left until their brand new console releases will Nintendo redeem themselves? Will the Switch stand up against its rivals in 2017? Or is Nintendo again so inwards looking that this will be another failure?
For me I really do hope that this console is a success. Despite not being able to afford it on launch I will eventually be getting the Switch. It has captured my interest enough that I see it as viable to be playing one this year. Will that be the case for most people though? Only time will tell.