Nintendo Switch Review – How Good Is It?
The Switch may very well be Nintendo’s Hail Mary in the console business. The Wii U tanked and they are on their last heart with Microsoft, Sony, and smartphones moving in for the kill. Their solution? This thing – is a remarkably smart one. The Switch is fully contained in this little tablet here, which Nintendo calls the main unit. So dock it and it acts as a full-on home console. Pull it out and it’s a handheld you can take anywhere. Pull out it’s kickstand and it’s a little bit of both. It’s kind of like what the Wii U was meant to be. This is the full on new Zelda I am holding in my hand right here. You can do a little busy work like crafting while you’re on the train, then when you get home plug it in for the big boss battle.
It’s something I didn’t even realize I wanted, but now that I have it I feel like my other consoles are missing something. That why I think that the Switch is something that people are going to want even if they have the latest consoles. The tablet itself feels like a high-end phone. It’s well-made, but not exactly durable. Compared with the Wii U, it’s insanely compact. The dock, which has power, HDMI, and a couple USB ports feels pretty cheap and slotting the Switch into it feels pretty janky. I hope the USB-C connector in there is military-grade because it’s going to get beat up. Each wireless joycon which is what Nintendo calls these has the usual controls. Analog stick, buttons, plus home button on one and and screenshot button on the other. You can slide them onto the tablet and they hold on super tight and the whole thing isn’t super heavy or you could just hold them loose or attach them to the comfort controller which makes it feel like a normal gamepad.
They’re super small, but actually feel pretty good to use in one hand. Some people have reported connection issues with the left one, and I had one brief glitch, but generally they’ve been totally reliable, no lag or anything. The built-in motion tracking worked well, and it’s kind of hard to judge the usefulness of the infared range finder or the HD rumble from the few mini games I got to play Pass one half of the controller to a friend and suddenly you’ve got two-player going, Not going to lie though, these controllers are way too small to use with two hands for more than an hour or two.
It’s nice to include couch multiplayer out of the box though. The OS is surprisingly straightforward – it doesn’t have little Miis running around or the usual Nintendo quirks. But it also doesn’t have too many options to wade through, unlike on my PS4, which has hundreds. We didn’t get a chance to check out the online or chat functionality, which hasn’t been released. One of the downsides of being stuck in a tiny box like this is you just can’t fit that much power in there. Don’t get me wrong, Zelda looks fantastic. But that’s because it has good art direction, not because of the graphical prowess of the Switch.
I had framerate issues here and there and while you can expect that stuff to smooth out as developers get used to the platform, you’re just never going to have games that look or perform as well as those on the PS4 and Xbox One. Fortunately, no one ever really expected it to. We could have expected a few more launch titles, though. Zelda is excellent, but it doesn’t come in the box, so that’s $60 right off the bat. And other titles that will better demonstrate the social and mobile aspects of the console won’t be here for months. Nintendo also made big lineup promises with the Wii U, and ultimately fell short. Reviews of consoles on launch day are necessarily kind of lacking. But the Switch is unique in that everyone basically wants to know – does it even work? Well, it does, and I think it’s great.
But unless you are a die-hard Zelda fan — and even then you could play this on the Wii U — it’s hard to recommend buying this at launch. But rest assured that the console itself is worth having, regardless of what kind of gamer you are.
As found on Youtube