Are you going to make the Switch?
After its initial reveal in October, we finally have a release date for the the Nintendo Switch. Launching worldwide on March 3rd, for $299.99 (£279.99/€329.99), the Switch has a launch line-up which includes, breathe a collective sigh of relief, The Legend of Zelda – Breath of the Wild, and a smattering of… well mainly ports. Here’s what some of the Sprite Nation team thought of the Switch launch event.
Before you ask, yes I pre-ordered the switch the second it was let loose into the wild! Despite the fact I actually think Nintendo made a bit of a mess of the Switch Launch event, I just can’t miss out on that day one console release hype.
Now I don’t want to rip into Nintendo too much, they did get some things right. Breath of the Wild is a launch title and was always going to be crucial to the initial success of the console’s launch and I’m glad Nintendo has managed to make that a reality. Second, Super Mario Odyssey, it just looks like a whole heap of jolly fun, a fusion between Mario 64, Sunshine and Galaxy and according to Miyamoto, and is aimed more at core gamers, which can only be a good thing. Some of Nintendo’s other first party offerings also had me smiling, I loved Splatoon so it was great to see that get a sequel, although it’s a shame It didn’t make the launch. Arms also looks like lots of fun, I’ll have to see more gameplay and what modes are included, but I reckon that could be a bit of a sleeper hit for the Big N. Lastly, SnipperClips looks like a brilliant little puzzle game, and will probably be my second Switch game, to complement Zelda of course.
Now onto the missteps. The price for a start, $299 isn’t a terrible starting price, but considering that doesn’t include a pack in game and you’re going to need to by a new SD card to expand on the measly 32gb of included storage… and the official accessories are ludicrously overpriced, it’s going to set you back a fair few quid to get yourself up and running. My other big disappointment was the launch line-up. Apart from Zelda, there was little else offered that left me excited, a whole host of old games I’ve been able to play on other consoles for years, and a fun for a minute looking mini game collection in 1, 2 Switch that really should have been packed in with the console. My main gripe however is with the plethora of things that Nintendo elected not to discuss. No talk of the virtual console seems a huge mistake, as this feature has always been much loved by the hardcore and casual Nintendo fans alike. There was also no demo of the user interface or any of the inbuilt features on the systems operating system. What’s the new e-shop like? Do we even get to make Mii’s anymore? From an event that was meant to answer our questions, I can’t help but feel like it’s left us with even more.
6/10 – Great showings from Nintendo’s stalwarts (Zelda & Mario) but little other signs that the big N has learnt from many of the shortcomings that plagued the Wii U.
Trust Nintendo to leave fans excited, bemused and annoyed in equal measure. Whatever they do these days there seems to be an element of “Because Nintendo” involved, and the Switch presentation was sadly no different.
The Pros & The Cons together “because Nintendo”
Let’s begin with the hardware itself. For starters it looks SLICK! This looks like a premium quality device, much more aesthetically pleasing than its predecessor, and it comes with a premium price, to boot. It’s the fact that tech like the HD Rumble in the joy-cons makes it so pricey that will make fans balk. That feature itself had a dedicated chunk of presentation describing how the controller will represent ice cubes in a glass (yes, you read that correctly!!), and although I actually feel confident that this insane tech will be wonderful, there is surely nothing to suggest that hesitant fans will be won over by something that you have to try to enjoy. It’ll be written off as a gimmick for sure, whether it’s good or not. Are EA and Ubisoft going to bother touching that thing, no way; but you’ll still have to pay for it, uh-oh.
1-2 Switch goes hand in hand with this (literally). I, for one, am looking forward to a controller sharing, party-centric, local multiplayer experience, but surely it should have been preinstalled onto all Switch consoles as a unique starter experience. Nintendo America’s Reggie Fils-Aime said that the tech made that impossible with a price point under $300, but it’s a shame in any case.
Super Mario Odyssey was the high point for me, giving a strong suggestion of a return to form for the portly plumber, and showing off “New Donk City” and other unusually lifelike locations to explore, with a cool new hat throwing dynamic. This promises to scratch that “proper 3D Mario” itch that so many fans have been feeling. As long as it makes its slated 2017 release then I can forgive that wait, but Nintendo themselves might have to wait until that one hits the shelves (to partner the wonderful looking Zelda game, which absolutely HAD TO make it on launch, and thankfully did) for many people to make the Switch.
Honestly, if I do decide to go all in at launch, there’s only one (obvious) title that I’m interested in, and that makes playing the Wii U version instead a rather tempting proposition. There are still a few too many unanswered questions ahead of a March 3rd launch that is under 2 months away! What will the release Virtual Console look like? Can we play our old VC games for cheap? We just don’t know, although Reggie did note that Nintendo are “aware of this concern” and basically said “watch this space”, so surely the Big N are working on something.
With MarioKart 8 on the road to brilliance, and Splatoon 2 painting a lovely image, the first few months of Switch don’t look barren, and the horizon has some very interesting games cropping up on it, too (Monolith’s new Xenoblade and SquareEnix’s Project Octopath Traveler piqued my curiosity the most), but I didn’t see anything here that looks likely to make Switch the “must have” tech gadget of 2017, and Nintendo really need something along those lines to happen.
Watch this space? That’s certainly what I’ll do, and I’d like more answers, fast!
5/10 – By no means a disaster, but with me they were preaching to the converted. How Nintendo will gain hype momentum before launch without an all out advertising assault, I just do not know.
Console: Nintendo Switch
UK Price: £279.99
What’s in the box? Handheld system, TV docking station, 2 joy cons, joy con grip, HDMI cable, 32gb storage (SD card needed to increase capacity), power cable.
Release date: March 3rd (Worldwide)