Review: Nintendo Switch Console
The Nintendo Switch is finally out, and after some serious flip-flopping, I purchased one. After having the console for about half a week, here are my impressions on the latest iteration from Nintendo.
The first thing I noticed about the Switch that really took me aback was the size. Every other console this gen has come in a huge, heavy box most of which was dedicated to the console itself. The Switch’s box is tiny by comparison, and opening it was such a simplistic endeavour, it’s obvious even at this point that portability is forefront in the design. Everything had its place, and if I wanted to put it all back perfectly I could do so with ease – and it would fit perfectly. I remember my brain having this weirdly satisfied reaction, and I remarked upon how Nintendo “really had their shit together” when it came to packaging the device.
Psychosomatic reactions aside setting up the Switch was painless. The main dock has a flap that lets you hide the cables, and there’s nothing we haven’t seen before in terms of ports and connections. You can use both TV and Handheld mode to complete setup of the device, and it was as easy as entering my Wifi information and my Nintendo account to get started. The switch has a few cute tutorials available if you need further help, but for the most part, it’s very plug and play.
I’ve tried to use my Switch in every configuration possible since launch, flexing the consoles muscles so to speak. When I purchased the device I didn’t honestly expect to use it on the TV much at all, thinking of it as mostly a portable console, but I’ve found every mode to have its uses.
The unit swaps seamlessly between couch and portable play and there’s something immensely satisfying about having to leave the house but not my game. I regularly train to work, upon which I pop the console to handheld mode and play to my heart’s content. Then at work, before I start or on my lunch break I pop out the kick-stand and sit back in the chair to continue play so others can watch. Returning home the device sits back in the dock to charge and I can continue playing from the comfort of my lounge.
The one thing I will say against the portability of the device is the screen can’t handle direct sunlight at all. Glare gets thrown straight back at the user so there were environments where it was just too sunny to play. Perhaps this is Nintendo’s sneaky way of telling us to go play in the sun, but it does feel like an oversight at times.
Battery life could be another draw back to the portability of the Switch. Having around 3 hours of gameplay probably isn’t enough for some more long haul sessions, but I’m yet to experience this bother. Although not packaged with one, the main unit can charge via USB C, which as the new mobile industry standard means that it’s not too difficult to find a charger when you need one. It can also charge just fine from a portable charging unit, so if you’re really worried about battery there are workarounds available.
Presently as far as controllers go I only have what comes in the box. I have been severely skeptical of the Joy-Cons but coming from someone who’s all time favourite controller is the original Xbox’s Duke, I don’t mind them. For someone who likes big controllers (and cannot lie), the tiny Joy-Cons are actually pretty comfy. My biggest complaint is the “-” (think select) on the left Joy-Con seems almost impossible to read naturally due to the positioning of the stick being slightly in the way and the right stick position takes some getting used to. However being able to play with my hands relaxed in all sorts of positions due to the split design makes up for this, and has me wondering why it’s not utilised by other manufacturers more often.
The hardest thing to evaluate at present time regarding the switch is the lineup. There isn’t really much of one to speak of, but the heavy hitter is huge. It’s so hard to separate my brain from is the Switch excellent or is it just Zelda? Would I think so highly of having a console I can play all the time if I didn’t have a game I wanted to play all the time? Impressive hardware aside what’s the point if there aren’t any games?
If you’re looking at the Switch lineup and can’t see yourself wanting to devour the games with your time then hold off. This console shines and has earned a place in my heart already due to the fantastic ability to play a game til I want to put it down, and not for any other reason. I can see the purchase being a resentful lump on your TV cabinet without this and $470 without anything to play is not a good starting point for any console. That being said as more and more games come out I can definitely see the Switch being a staple in many homes. If you’re on the fence I’d recommend waiting until the games tip you over the threshold, if not, I hope you’re enjoying Zelda as much as I am.