There’s been a lot of negativity around the Nintendo Switch since its launch. Some of the negativity is valid, some of it isn’t.
What’s valid then? Well, the high price of the console, its games and accessories, the hardware issues with the left Joy-Con, and the lack of other games that aren’t The Legend of Zelda. These are the key points that are mostly justified. Although I don’t think the left Joy-Con issue is as widespread as many believe – it would seem the minority are being louder than the majority whose Joy-Cons are actually working.
However, while I think these are reasonable points to be made, I’m not sure the actual positive points about the console are being spoken about enough. Taking a balanced view here, we need to include those too.
What’s good about the Nintendo Switch then? Well, coming from someone that actually owns one, quite a few things.
First, the core concept really works: you can quite seamlessly take console-level games on the go with you, around the house; on the toilet (do people actually do this?). The whole idea is far more liberating than can be described.
The build quality of the console is some of Nintendo’s best work too. The Switch feels and looks like a premium Apple device, the 720p screen is truly excellent and makes the colours in games beautifully stand out, and the Pro Controller is one of the best ‘normal’ controllers out there, it feels great in the hands.
The region-free nature of the console means that you can access any online eShop you want after you’ve made yourself the respective accounts. It’s very easy to setup. Not to mention, of course, that the Switch will play any physical game bought from any country too. Want to import a game from Japan? You can.
The UI, while being a bit minimal (what happened to the menu music?), is super quick to get around. Applications load up within seconds and the menus are easy to navigate. As for it not offering much, certainly in the way of multimedia, Nintendo will add Netflix, Spotify and more to it over time. What console has launched with all of these out of the box anyway?
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Yes, I know you can buy it for the Wii U, but seeing the game running on that 720p screen while lying in bed at night, or on the train home, is quite the spectacle. If anything, Zelda feels like it was made for the Switch – exploring Hyrule wherever you want is not something the Wii U game can offer. I think it’s fair to say you’re getting the definitive edition of Breath of the Wild, with its improved performance on the Switch, as well.
In terms of the Switch having no games – the curated Nintendo Switch eShop already has quite a few essential games on it. Fast RMX is packed with content, looks stunning and offers online and local multiplayer. Blaster Master Zero is an extremely polished blast from the past, and Snipperclips is just pure fun, the perfect game for a couple to laugh and fight over. There’s plenty more titles I haven’t mentioned either, and plenty more coming.
Nintendo has made some mistakes with the Switch, sure, but there’s loads the console has going for it. The much better than expected launch sales have certainly defied the odds in this regard. By the end of the year we’ll have a growing library of quality games, more reasonable prices, an updated OS, and Super Mario Odyssey, which should all ensure its momentum for years to come.
We haven’t seen anything yet folks.