The all new Nintendo Switch is set to be released worldwide today (3 March 2017). The Japanese console made a strong impression since it’s announcement as it’s proposing a unique concept; a home console which can also be transformed into a portable console. After a disappointing previous console, the Wii U, Nintendo has it all to play with the Switch. So should you buy it? Find out in our detailed review.
Nintendo has always had in its DNA the playful side of video games. This allows the Japanese company to offer unique titles such as Zelda or Mario.
How does the Nintendo Switch work?
The concept of the Nintendo Switch is very interesting, it’s a hybrid console which could be placed on a dock connected to the TV or can be taken with you to play remotely. The console is equipped with a secondary screen and detachable joystick controllers (Joy-Con).
Its processor is much more limited than the Xbox One or PS4, and its internal capacity of just 32 GB is insufficient for the needs of modern players. However, it is possible to increase this memory capacity with a microSD card.
The Nintendo Switch should mainly be used in the living room, with a TV. This will allow you to get the best experience the console, with a display of up to 1080p. It is then played with the Joy-Con held in each hand, with a single Joy-Con placed on the side as a small joystick (for multiplayer games).
The Switch is a very traditional console, which unfortunately does not offer the same graphic quality as its much more powerful competitors. Some other characteristics also leave something to be desired. For example, the interface of the Switch is not displayed in 4K and the device is not compatible with Bluetooth headsets. While Joy-Con controllers are practical and original, they do not offer the comfort, ergonomics and the headphone jack found on the Xbox One and PS4 controllers. More serious players will want to invest in a Switch Pro controller, which is much closer to the Microsoft and Sony joysticks.
The Design of the Nintendo Switch
The Switch’s design offers some good sides. It is particularly solid and of good quality, except for the foot which holds the console, it seems fragile and does not allow you to adjust the position of the screen with precision. The cartridges on which the games are saved allow them to load the software quickly, without installing them, which is great for modern gamers.
will this be enough for Nintendo to compete with the likes of the PS4 and Xbox One?
Hard to say at this point. It’s clear that the console has many qualities, however its launch could be spoiled by several elements. First, few games will be available from the release. The new Zelda is probably the title that will allow Nintendo to attract fans, but for the rest the catalog is relatively small. Moreover, the new Mario will not be available until the end of this year.
Several major third-party developers have announced plans to create games for the Nintendo platform, but these are limited for the time being to secondary titles, with the truly awaited large-scale games being absent. It will be interesting to see at the E3 show in Los Angeles the proportion of new games that will be offered for the Switch.
For now, players can at least expect good Nintendo games, but also many independent titles (more than 60 have already been announced for 2017), such as the excellent Stardew Valley and Overcooked, a game that Perfectly suits the portable mode of the console.
Unlike the Wii U, which required considerable effort from developers, the Switch is compatible with several popular development tools. This compatibility should ensure a good catalog of independent games.
However, players will not have a huge selection of games during the first few months of the Switch.
Finally, the price could spoil the party. The Nintendo Switch will retail for £279.99, which doesn’t include any game however you do get two controllers.
The Nintendo Switch is Practical
The Switch offers a major advantage over the Xbox One and PS4 as it can be used as a handheld console. Switching from one mode to another takes only a fraction of a second and the mechanism for placing or removing the Switch from its base is simple and efficient.
I personally played more with the device in portable mode than on its base. The limited resolution of 720p of the screen is not really inconvenient, and the autonomy of three hours of the tablet is sufficient for the vast majority of users. For my part, I rarely stay for more than three hours without access to an outlet.
Is the Switch for me?
The interface of the Nintendo Switch is nevertheless pretty and easy to use, much more than those of the PS4 and Xbox One, in which it is easy to to get lost.
Until the future of the Switch and its games becomes clearer, three groups may be particularly interested in the new Nintendo console. As with other devices in the company, young people and families should represent an important part of the Nintendo market. The Japanese company simply offers the best catalog of games for young people, and the portable mode of the Switch is likely to be particularly interesting for children and teenagers who meet on weekends or evenings after school.
Nintendo enthusiasts, those who were tempted by the Nintendo NES Classic console, for example, should obviously also be interested in the device.
The issue is more complicated among traditional players. For a player who does not have a new generation console, it is difficult to recommend the Switch. The Xbox One and PS4 seem to be for the moment more secure values thanks to their rich catalog of games with great deployment like Overwatch, Horizon Zero Dawn, Halo 5 or Watch Dogs 2, to name a few.
Many players however have more than one console, in order to enjoy the exclusives of other platforms. For these, the Nintendo Switch seems a good choice. Nintendo remains one of the best video game developers, and the Switch’s hybrid format allows you to play in a unique and practical way.
If these three groups have plenty of players, that could be enough to restore confidence to third-party developers who had abandoned the Wii U.
Images © Nintendo