Oh boy it happened. The Nintendo Switch is finally here, and after a minor Amazon delay it has finally arrived at my house! I’ve spent more than a few hours with the Switch, so here’s my two cents on it so far, and what you can expect from it.
Right so probably the first thing to note is the packing. Nintendo wasn’t overly specific about what actually comes in the box with the Switch, so lets run it down:
- Switch Tablet
- Two Joycons
- Joycon wrist straps
- Docking station
- AC adapter
- HDMI cord
- Joycon controller mount
And that’s it. You don’t really need more than that but there’s one thing that confuses me. Where’s the pack-in game? You remember Wii Sports right? A simple game that was designed to show off how the Wiimote would work in a series a fun mini games that immediately got everyone familiar with the console. Nintendo made a game like this for the Switch called 1-2 Switch, but it’s $60 and doesn’t come included. I’m not upset by this because I would have never played 1-2 Switch if I had it, but it’s just a confusing decision to me. This should be a no brainer like Wii Sports. What this basically means is that the console actually costs about $520 after tax, because you have to buy a game with it.
Right, so let’s talk about some happy stuff though. I really like how the Switch plays. It doesn’t come across well in photos, but this thing is extremely portable. Obviously it’s bigger than a 3DS, but it’s not as big or as heavy as you’d think. I was initially assuming it would be a real chore to lug this thing around to play on the bus or on an airplane like they show in those demos, but it actually seems incredibly feasible. The Switch is also remarkably quiet, and doesn’t heat up to a billion degrees when you’re playing Zelda!
The Switch plays shit beautifully. I’ve only played Breath of the Wild at this point, but it’s absolutely stunning. The fact that it’s running on a portable system blows my mind. I’m not sure how Nintendo and NVDIA managed to cram so much power into such a tiny system. Now oddly enough, I’ve found that the Switch actually runs Zelda better in portable mode. I understand that portable mode drops the resolution a little bit, but the frame rate has been solid as a rock in portable. In docked mode I’ve experienced a few frame rate dips. The more I play it the more I feel like this isn’t a console you take on the go. It’s a beast of a portable you can plug into your TV.
Alright let’s get nitpicky again. The Switch isn’t great with wi-fi. It has a much smaller signal range than you would expect, and has occasional connectivity issues in docked mode. The kickstand is cool, but you can’t charge the system while using it. The joycon controller mount is really small. I don’t have big hands, but even I found the controller size to be a smidge too small. The pro controller exists if you want to shell out the cash for it though. Elephant in the room: the battery life. First word was you could do about 3 hours of portable Zelda and 8 hours of other games. I managed to hit 4 hours of Zelda on one charge, and the Switch does charge very quickly, so make sure you bring your charger with you when you’re on the go. Nintendo’s online is still pretty trash. You still have to use friend codes to add friends, and you’ll have to start paying for it in the fall. I haven’t had the chance to actually play online yet though.
I think that sums it up. I really like the Switch. I think it’s a tremendous experiment in combining consoles and portables and it seems to be paying off so far. To me the positives far outweigh the negatives and I don’t regret this purchase at all. Yet. If you think you can go without playing Zelda for a while, I’d recommend waiting until the next batch of systems go out, hopefully those will have a pack in game or something. The best news of course is that Switch coverage is now available on Skip To The Score! Huzzah! Let me know your thoughts on the Switch in the comments, and stay tuned for the Breath of the Wild review!