Have Nintendo cracked it? Or are we looking at the next gimmick from the Japanese giants.
In January Nintendo released more details about the Switch, its games and its hardware. Now the time is almost upon us, with March 3rd nearly here (or gone, depending on when you’re reading!) we look at the pros, cons and unknowns about the new console.
First of all, the games. Zelda, Mario and Splatoon will all feature on the console, but not necessarily on release. Breathe of the Wild will be out on release, along with 1-2 Switch (deemed the Switch’s Wii Sports, without being on the console at release), Super Bomberman R, a Tetris remake as well as a host of Japanese made games including Dragon Quest Heroes 1 & 2. With only Zelda and new IP 1-2 Switch, the Switch’s homegrown line-up on release isn’t looking like anything ground breaking, anything but.
Most of the bigger releases as looking like late 2017 releases, including Mario Odyssey, a 3D Mario RPG reminiscent of the days of Mario 64 and Sunshine. Splatoon 2, or Spla2n as the community as nicknamed it, is also a little way of. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is scheduled for release April 28th but still isn’t on release which has led to a bit of criticism from the fan base and media alike.
Third party developers however have been brought back to the Switch it would seem, with EA announcing FIFA (Note: not FIFA 18 it seems) and Bethesda bringing Skyrim to the platform. Although given the way Bethesda seem to want to bring the game to every platform known to man, I wouldn’t be surprised if soon I can play Skyrim on my calculator or fridge… Among other releases from third parties are Sonic Mania and, hold your hats, Farming Simulator 18.
What is interesting is why so many developers and publishers have decided to come back and take a gamble on the Switch. Given the abysmal record of the Wii U with third-party developers it seems strange for the Switch back to Nintendo. Rumours are that it is to do with the architecture of the console. Nvidia is developing the chipset for the Switch, a change up from the console norm of using AMD which we have seen in the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
The Nvidia change isn’t the only thing that the Switch is leading the market on. The portability of the console has also been widely well received. Eight-way LAN connectivity promises to also bring some great local multiplayer to the console especially on titles like Mario Kart and 1-2 Switch, as well as Sm4sh if it is ported to the new console (I can dream). All that connectivity would be great… If you also have an eight-way power brick on you.
The battery life of the new console is questionable, with a 2.5-6 hour life depending on game. Games like Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Skyrim will most likely be on the lower end of that timeframe whilst more lightweight games such as Tetris will hopefully be looking more in the region of 6 hours. The only saving grace of this otherwise lacklustre life is that the console charges through USB Type-C. You see those portable batteries? Yeah, you can use them.
The move to a universal format is the most un-Nintendo thing I have ever heard however they still stick to classic Nintendo with not only the number of accessories the console offers but also the price tag. The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller retails at £64.99 and when compared to competing controller (at around £45) it seems flimsy and not worth the price tag Nintendo are asking.
It seems like Nintendo’s latest addition will have to be given some time before it becomes clear or not if it will be a success. With a lacklustre line-up and new tech that many will be sceptical about, Nintendo will have to let the initial market do the talking.