Nintendo’s new portable/home console hybrid, the Switch, is set for release in March this year, and ahead of the new system’s launch, Nintendo held a hands-on event for the international gaming media, allowing them to get their paws on the new hardware and games. We’ve rounded up some of the thoughts and feedback from the respective gaming sites, giving us an insight into what it’s actually like to play the Switch.
But firstly, what is the Nintendo Switch? Well, at its core, it’s a tablet with a 6.2-inch screen (a little bigger than an iPhone 7 Plus). You can slip it into a dock that hooks up to your TV if you want to play on a big screen. Or you can remove it from the dock, slide two “JoyCon” controllers onto its sides, and enjoy a biggish handheld system. If that’s too ungainly, pull out the controllers, flip out the kickstand, and put the tablet on a table so you can hold the controllers separately. It’s pretty cool.
Here’s what the journos had to say:
“Having played the Nintendo Switch, I can appreciate what it is. The device can transform into multiple configurations, and it folds together decades of Nintendo’s legacy into an all-in-one type of console. It’s hard not to be impressed from the moment I saw it, and the JoyCon have some innovative ideas. Nintendo Switch appears to be a scrappy little console that can do a lot, but more time is needed to see if it can do it all well.”
“Of course, Switch provides a key upgrade to any console game appearing on it: It’s portable. Even in the case of something ubiquitous like Skylanders, this could make the Switch version more appealing than any other because you can take it anywhere (to facilitate this, you can scan in all your Skylander figurines at home so you don’t lug them around).
In this case, I think the hardware may drive initial sales. Folks may buy it because the concept is so interesting, which may drive publishers to develop more games. But if Switch can’t get a good jump out of the starting blocks, its paucity of games may be its biggest hurdle.”
“Based on our early gameplay hands-on, impressions were solid but mixed. The Switch tablet is compact but a little chunky compared with an iPad. It’s larger than a phone, smaller than a Wii U GamePad controller. Its screen is bright and crisp, and its controllers really small, but tightly laid out.
But, for a game system that’s debuting in less than two months, we didn’t play all that many games. And Nintendo didn’t show off any of the core features of Switch, like other apps or streaming services. And, oddly, Nintendo hasn’t gone into any detail on how the Switch can tap into retro Nintendo games. It’s a capable game system, but is it an amazing one…or more of a really clever gaming toy? It’s hard to tell.”
“For the first time in three generations, I’m genuinely excited about the gimmick that Nintendo has introduced. Being able to play Breath of the Wild on my commute is a game changer, but if the Switch has only four or five great games by the end of 2017, compared to the dozens already available on PS4 and Xbox One, I don’t see how Nintendo plans to make any more of a dent this time around than it did with the Wii U.”
“The caveats cannot be ignored, but as much as they rankle they don’t quite take the gloss of what could be Nintendo’s most significant console in the last decade. It certainly needs to be.
It feels like the company has taken the best bits of the Wii U, the even better bits of the original Wii, and added portability to the mix. This is not an Xbox One or PS4 rival, it’s different and could become every hardcore gamer’s second console. It could also bring back the market that made the Wii so successful: families. The motion gaming aspects of the Joy-Cons will certainly be an allure in that respect.”
“Lacklustre games line-up aside, we’re really excited about the Switch. Not only is it a drastic improvement on the Wii U before it, but we’re pretty much sold on the concept of the hybrid console, which is meticulously designed and offers truly innovative gameplay with its Joy-Con controllers. Of course, we’ll reserve full judgement until our full review.”
“There are still so many questions left unanswered: user interface, digital store, online. And with Nintendo now charging for multiplayer, it needs to drastically improve on what the company has ever offered before.
I really, really love the console, I just hope it gets the software it needs to become a success. If it does then I know the Switch will be the console I play most in 2017. Nintendo just needs to give me good reasons to pick it up.”
The Nintendo Switch will launch worldwide on 3 March 2017 and is priced at $299 (around R4,000)
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