My Month With The Nintendo Switch
The Nintendo Switch released on the 3rd March 2017, although the launch was over two years ago I was predominantly a Microsoft Xbox gamer. Nintendo of the past has not really appealed to me since the Nintendo 64, the joys of playing Mario Kart, Mario 64 and Goldeneye kept me very happy in my teenage years.
Most recently in my 30’s my interest in gaming is dwindling, my time is more precious and with a young family I found the opportunity to game was becoming quite scarce. What has changed with the Nintendo Switch? A lot of the change is because of the idea that Nintendo introduced, what an amazing choice we were given with the ability to play in handheld mode, tabletop via a stand or docked. Never before have we been able to experience the console quality on the go.
Vita did it first
The vita did attempt to offer a similar experience, Sony had the idea of providing console quality gaming on the go. Unfortunately the Vita fell short due to the under-powered hardware and the device was difficult to develop for, what ultimately killed the Vita though was Sony insisting on using proprietary memory cards that were unrealistically expensive compared to SDCards that we use today. One of the attempts to save the Vita was offering cross-play for games available on both the Vita and the PS4, take your saves on the go and continue where you left off.
Remote Play was something the Vita wanted to make popular, take your PS3/PS4 games and play on the go through the Vita, the experience wasn’t great and required more bandwidth than often available on the go. The Vita had a 3G model but this did not take advantage of 4G and did not provide the ability to play games online via the 3G in most cases. I loved the Vita at the time but Sony killed it off and now pretends it never existed in their presentations.
Why is the Switch Different?
When the Switch was announced many analysts had written it off a future failure, due to the abysmal sales of the Nintendo Wii U. At the time there was a lot of speculation that Nintendo would become a third party game studio rather than carry on making consoles. The Switch however has captured interest from gamers and tech enthusiasts alike and become a top seller, currently the Switch is listed as sold 36.87 million units worldwide where the previous generation only sold less than half that number at 13.56 million units in its entire lifecycle.
For me the Switch is becoming my go-to console as I can pickup and play whenever there is a bit of free time. There are other factors too, in the past Nintendo struggled to gain support from third-party studios but the Switch is getting so popular it has drawn attention from other studios and with big re-releases from Bethesda and Rockstar with L.A Noire you have to wonder what is next for the system?
Although the Nintendo Switch is underpowered compared to both he PS4 and the Xbox One, we are beginning to see ports such as Doom and Wolfenstein II and they run very well even in hand-held mode. Panic Button is a third party studio that is being very kind to the Switch in how it treats ports and that makes the big difference, in the past we had gimmicks and forced motion control and now it appears Nintendo has learnt from the past and is giving us what we need.
Why did you say even in hand-held mode?
If you dock the Nintendo Switch you can play on the TV and it can be played up to 1080p and games such as Zelda: Breath of the Wild look absolutely stunning, as the Switch supports being docked to a TV and also allows you to use either on a table using the kickstand or handheld mode similar to the Vita. In order to to allow a reasonable amount of battery Nintendo provided the Switch with a 720p screen built in and also allowed the switch to be ran in a mode that downgraded the visuals for use on battery power. At release the Nintendo Switch was announced with 2.5-6.5 hour battery life, this was entirely dependent on the game you were playing.
Nintendo has announced a revision to the Switch with better battery life, this is due to a newer chip design used in the recently announced Switch lite. Battery life is only increased by roughly two hours so without a charger you won’t be using the Switch on a long haul flight for long. Even with the downgrade the games look stunning, with all systems there are games that look better than others. While Nintendo has plenty of triple A titles there are an increasingly large amount of mobile game ports which is okay but it can make it harder to find the right game in their store.
Hand-held and table-top mode also allows you to have the Switch on a stand and detach the joy-cons, doing so turns them into separate pads, imagine having the option to use 2 players wherever you are right from the screen. Nintendo has done a great job of advertising a family friendlyconsole that can be used anywhere. The Switch even supports linking multiple Switch machines for Ad-Hoc link play, similar to how LAN parties were available in the past. While both Microsoft and Sony are pushing for multiplayer via online Nintendo is embracing the local multiplayer aspect and with games such as Spatoon 2 becoming a favourite for LAN parties and competitive games, I love the idea and it is a nice reminder of how we played games as kids.
I am sure you can tell by now I am loving the Switch, the stellar launch and constant game releases have kept the Switch as an amazing Console if not the best Console. Simply the ability to put the Switch in a bag and play whenever I have a spare moment is great, the Switch can be put in Standby mode which allows you to go back to your games at any time. Third-party support this time around from the likes of Panic Button and Bethesda bring their games to the Switch, we have games such as:
Bayoneta, Crash Trilogy, Diablo 3, Donkey Kong Tripical Freeze, Doom, L.A Noire, Mario Kart, Super Mario Odyssey, Red Faction Saints Row, Skyrim, Ultimate Marvel Alliance 3, Super Smash Bros Ultimate and Zelda Breath of the Wild. There are so many more games that I have not played as yet, not all good but we are not short on games with the Switch.
Nintendo has also embraced the use of memory cards SDCards, that go on Amazon for a reasonable price for a 128GB card and even the 400GB is still reasonable. The pro controller is very comfortable to use, especially for an Xbox gamer. I do feel overpowered though at times while playing FIFA on the Switch it feels as though I have an advantage, either that or other gamers are not as experienced playing the game, what do you think? Let us know in the comments your thoughts below.
Battery life on the current Switch is quite poor, with some games eating the juice in a mere 2.5 hours, makes handheld use difficult. Although if you consider health and safety then we should be taking regular breaks anyway 🙂
The Switch also suffers from a Joycon drift which is said to develop over time, luckily I haven’t been affected yet but time will tell. I use my Switch the majority of the time with the Pro Controller but others who don’t may find this annoying. Nintendo has announced a free repair program but at this time it is only for the USA due to the lawsuit.
I also find EA support utterly disgusting, yes they released FIFA on the Switch but it is missing a lot of the game modes such as the Journey and a proper career mode. EA have stated they had trouble trying to port their Frostbite engine which is used to make FIFA, so the Switch is now left with a legacy version which is just updated kits and rosters but no new features or game modes.
The final part that needs a lot of work is the Online Mode for the Switch. The online service was released on the 19th September 2018. Nintendo launched the online service providing free NES games and in a later revision brought us Cloud Saves. Unfortunately when compared to both the Xbox and the Playstation, the online service is very poor.
Nintendo online is missing features we are used to on other consoles such as Online Party Chat and messaging, still to this day we are unable to message our online friends list and this makes arranging an online session all that more difficult. The online needs to be improved in a big way. There are rumours that Microsoft will be bringing Xbox Live to the Switch and I hope there is truth to this, I suspect it will only be for games available on the Microsoft platform like Cuphead though.
If I was going to give a verdict out of 10 it would be a 9/10 and it only can’t be given a perfect score because the online mode is abysmal, from no messaging to laggy games making it unplayable we need changes to come to the platform, yes it may be cheaper for the customer than both the Xbox and Playstation online services but we expect more especially considering it is 2019.
Despite this we still recommend getting a Nintendo Switch and experiencing the amazing games on offer, we expect Nintendo to keep expanding what is on offer and maybe in the future the online services will be as we can only dream for. If you are on the fence on whether you should get one then go out and get one! Don’t miss out on the stellar games available.
Keep an eye on our blog as we will be reviewing games and other content on a continual basis.