We played the Nintendo Switch, and here are our hands-on impressions

This article originally appeared as part of a larger piece on Zelda Universe.

At the London event, we walked down a corridor with all of Nintendo’s previous systems in glass boxes on top of pedestals (I had no idea Game & Watches were that small!) before entering the main room with the gameplay booths and the Switch, complete with various Joy-Con configurations and docks and whatnot, in a big glass case of its own. I was immediately struck with how small the Joy-Cons look and filled with fear that they were going to be really uncomfortable to play with.

I needn’t have worried though; Nintendo have obviously gotten their hands on some sort of Tardis-like technology because although they look small, they feel really, really good. The “sad puppy” Grip, despite its bulky appearance in the promotional shots, was incredibly comfortable, too. So much so that I might even forgo a Pro Controller at launch given that the Grip comes packaged with the system. The Pro Controller itself also felt good, although everything did seem a little tightly packed when I first picked it up.

The system itself looks and feels great. Nintendo has a history of making toy-like consoles, but this definitely feels like a more grown-up bit of tech. The screen, though only 720p, is hugely impressive. Breath of the Wild looked absolutely stunning on it, and if anything Splatoon 2 looked even better. The colors really popped and everything ran silkily smooth. Clearly, for the size of it, 720p is more than enough.

All the games I tried were great. ARMS has a lot more depth, given the variety in the fighters, than first appears. Super Bomberman R was tons of fun and will be a day-one pick-up alongside Zelda given it’s 50-stage campaign and 8-player online. Splatoon 2 picks up brilliantly where the first one left off, and the visual upgrade in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is nice; that second item slot is a godsend for those of us that are constantly bombarded with shells at the front of the pack. Ultra Street Fighter II looks great in HD mode and plays as well as it always has, though I do hope we get a Joy-Con with a proper D-Pad as 2D fighters are a nightmare with an analog stick.

1-2-Switch was fun, and it will be great with some friends and a few beverages but it definitely should’ve been a pack-in. I can’t see it shifting many units at full price. We only got 15 minutes with Breath of the Wild, but it was enough to have me grinning like the Happy Mask Salesman the entire time. It looks absolutely gorgeous on the Switch and I can’t wait to get properly stuck in. I’ve had it pre-ordered since the October trailer, and having gone hands on, I’m even more excited. Roll on March 3.

 

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