CONSOLE: Nintendo Switch
FORMAT: Handheld, TV console and remote gameplay
Ah, Nintendo, Nintendo, Nintendo. What can be said of the gaming giants so oft criticised for their style, legacy and technological developments?
After the Switch, there’s one word: Bravo.
It’s no secret that the Switch has had a couple of technical issues since release, as well as some real “D’oh” moments (why is it so easy to scratch the screen when docking it? WHY?!), but above all else it’s achieved the core goals of creating a portable, versatile and smoothly transitioning console.
To break it down, though, let’s look at the basic pros and cons!
- A massive, massive pro would be how quick and easy it is to shift between game modes. There was a lot of doubt that it would match up to the promoted swiftness suggested in the advertisements, but it really is so easy to mix up gameplay and control. Within seconds of docking the tablet, the on-screen display boots up and settles itself for TV gaming, and as soon as you whip it out for some on-the-go gaming, the tablet is good to go.
- The interface, much like with the 3DS and the Wii, is simple, sophisticated and swift. Keeping the colour palette restricted, and therefore is less alienating to players by setting a potentially audience-inhibiting tone. The navigation is intuitive, and being able to tap and type upon the screen means setting up accounts and searching for products is about one hundred times easier than it is on a controller-based system.
- The motion detection has a couple of irritating moments which will be covered later but definitely adds to game mechanics and functionality.
- The different control systems are very user-friendly for different types of gamers – personally, the Switch game controller is my favourite as it gave the best control for my play style, but the handheld portable mode was also very adaptable and intuitive.
- It may just be a personal fascination, but the game cartridges are coated with a non-toxic element called denatonium benzoate, which makes them taste bitter in an effort to prevent children and animals from eating them. Who thinks these things up?
- It comes with its OWN HDMI CABLE. WHAT?
- The console let down The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild once or twice due to rendering issues and very slight moments of lag, which were especially noticeable when used in the dock through the television. Hopefully, these can be patched as the console develops, but it’s understandable that such a huge game might struggle at times.
- Returning to the motion detection, there were times when it *must* be used for certain puzzles, and whilst it could be to do with the default settings being slightly off, there were a few times that analogue control would have been much easier and less frustrating.
- The scratching issue, mentioned earlier, is more of a pet peeve than anything, but it’s still frustrating that one of the core features of the console, the ability to dock it, can lead to scratching if not handled with the utmost care. Luckily, there are quick fixes in the form of screen protectors – or, if you’re a bit more of a home tinkerer, slapping some soft floor protectors on the inside of the dock itself can very easily solve this con.
The package from GAME offers the console, a case, a portable charger and the two headlining games for just over £400, which isn’t *too* bad for a fresh-off-the-shelf console. Considering some of the annoying functional issues, it would have been nice for the console itself (RRP £279.99) to be a little cheaper to match the USA price of $299.99, but apparently living on a tiny island increases tech prices.
The upcoming confirmed releases seem pretty spectacular too, ranging from ports of headline games such as Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ to classic Nintendo titles such as Mario Kart, as well as the new titles, including Super Mario Odyssey.
Despite the widely publicised issues and criticism of the console, there are so many incredible things that this new frontier in gaming has already brought to the table. To say it’s perfect would be an overstatement, this much is true – but to so harshly view it as a let-down is also an unfair idea. Every platform has its downfalls and faces adversity from fans and outsiders alike, but what has been given to us in the gaming community here is innovation, creativity and classic Nintendo fun, with new elements of adult sophistication.