Having spent the last seven days playing an inordinate amount of Zelda, along with a smattering of Snipperclips, I thought I’d share my assessment of the system thus far. A kind of pseudo-review if you like.
C1: Hello everyone, welcome to P Myth Gaming, I’ve been playing Nintendo Switch for a week now, so I think it’s high time I gave you my review of the system.
C2: Kinda sorta
C1: So this isn’t just going to be a list of all the specs and and things, you can find that in other places on the web if you so wish, but rather just my thoughts and feelings on the system now that I’ve spent a significant amount of time with it. What it does well, what’s not so hot, and how well I think it performs vis a vis it’s raison d’etre
C2: That was a lot of French.
C1: So first things first: aesthetics. This system looks and feels, like the most grown up piece of hardware Nintendo have made, possibly ever.
VO: Compared to the Wii U Gamepad for example, it’s hard to believe it’s even made by the same company. I actually really liked the Wii U pad, but that had a much more toy like quality to it, whereas the Switch feels like a gadget.
C2: And the gadget freak in me is rather fond of that
C1/VO: Gone is the plastic of the Yesteryear, that we’re familiar with with the 3DS, and Wii U of course, replaced by much nicer glass and metal.
C1: The dock itself feel cheaper by comparison. It’s just made of plastic, but the matt finish with the embossed logo does look good, and it doesn’t look out of place alongside my TV in the way that say a bright purple Gamecube would.
The back of the dock is also cleverly designed, with a slight cut-out for feeding cables through. It’s a minor thing, but it does help keep everything nice and tidy round the back.
So, now that that nonsense is out of the way, how does it play?
I love this thing. I’ve played primarily in docked mode with the excellent Pro Controller
C2: I’m gonna do a separate video on that.
C1: And it’s so good.
It’s a lot of little things. Like, booting up the Wii U, or and X-Box or PS4 these days, can take an age and it’s annoying when you want to jump in to a game but it’s a two or three minute wait between hitting the power button and actual play time.
On the Switch however you can go from pressing the home button to wake the console up to picking up where you left off in Zelda in 6 seconds.
C2: My TV takes longer than that to turn on.
C1: The UI is very minimalist right now, but I really like it a lot. I do wish there were more features, I’m having to leave my Wii U plugged in for the time being to access Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, but according to Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils Aime, Nintendo are talking to these companies, so hopefully, those applications will show up in the eShop soon.
Speaking of which, the eShop is a bit of a funny one at the minute. There’s only twenty titles available right now, and they’re all located in the ‘recent releases’ section. There’s no categorisation by genre, or developer. You can search for a title, and refine those searches by genre or price range, but there’s not much in the way of browsing what’s available.
There is an account information menu where you can add funds, and view titles on your watch list. But despite there being a ‘coming soon’ tab in the eShop, I could only add currently available titles to that list, rather than opting to be alerted to when Mario Kart 8 Deluxe or Splatoon Two are going to be available for example.
Hopefully, once the library expands a bit,
C2: and Virtual Console gets added,
C1: The eShop will be a much slicker, and more fully featured, affair.
The UI also offers a multitude of little clicks and whistles when highlighting and selecting menus and software. This may be a more grown up system from Nintendo, but they’ve lost none of their charm at all. It’s a really nice and intuitive place to just navigate around. I spent far longer tweaking my Mii than was needed purely because I was enjoying myself so much.
Transitioning from docked to undocked mode though, is where the system starts to truly set itself apart.
C1: is instantaneous. There’s no ‘please wait’ screen whilst the system readies itself to play in portable mode, it’s often done before you’ve even lifted it fully out of the dock.
A screen does pop up if you remove it whilst playing Zelda for example, but that’s only so you don’t get battered by an enemy whilst transitioning. It’s more a defacto pause screen asking you if you’re ready to carry on playing, because the system certainly is.
And playing in handheld mode is a joy. The system is heavy enough so that it doesn’t feel flimsy, yet it’s still light enough to not be uncomfortable. The screen itself is surprisingly vibrant and high-quality. I’m constantly surprised at just how nice it looks.
It’s nice and bright too, although I did struggle to play in direct sunlight in some circumstances. In Zelda for example, playing out in the wild
C2: With all it’s Breath
C1: Was fine, but once I entered some darker areas and buildings I was seeing more of my handsome mug looking up at me than Link’s.
Similarly, whilst the screen is a great size, and everything was crystal clear holding it in front of me. With a little bit more distance between me and it, in tabletop mode, and I’m talking from this couch to this table, some of the smaller text got a little hard to make out.
These are minor issues though, and one’s that are unlikely to cause too many problems in real world use scenarios.
The various control schemes too all feel great. I’ve said this a few times now but the JoyCon, despite their small size do feel amazingly comfortable, even after playing Zelda for several hours.
Going from the larger buttons, and proper D-Pad, of the Pro controller did feel a little odd at first, but after a minute or so, once you’re focused on the game, it’s as easy and natural as playing a 3DS.
The only thing that does feel a little odd is the positioning of the minus button above the left control stick. It’s slightly unnatural to reach above that stick for a button, but looking at the JoyCon, I can’t really think where else they could’ve put it, so it’s probably just a case of retraining my brain that that’s where the button is.