Last weekend, we had the honor to be cordially invited to try out the new Nintendo console: the Nintendo Switch. The Nintendo Switch Tour had made it to Toronto for us Canadian media outlets to finally put our hands around that machine. Follow me onto this amazing journey!
Upon our arrival at the Toronto Convention Center, we were able to sit down for our first demo with the Nintendo Switch and the first game as well. Of course, the best way to start off this experience is to play none other than The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild. Fortunately, I had the chance to try out the game extensively back at E3 2016 on Wii U, so this experience on Switch helped feel the difference between the two versions. Stay tuned for future articles on the games!
Without further ado, let us explore the Nintendo Switch.
This demo was the exact same build used for the Wii U demo at E3 2016 so I was able to enjoy the same opening sequence where Link finally opens his eyes from a century-long slumber, but this time, it was on the Nintendo Switch. Visually, the difference between the two platforms became obvious to me. This is indeed an upgraded version of the same demo build I have experience before. This upgrade was further felt once I took the console out of its dock for the very first time and took into my hands.
When I undocked the console, I was really surprised at how smooth, but more importantly, how fast the game system took to switching the display. It was uncanny how immediate the “switch” was and I knew right then that I was sold. The technology behind this change between handheld and home console mode is efficient and impressive. Furthermore, the game looked even better when played portably. This means that the best resolution can be experienced onto the Nintendo Switch’s screen itself. Nevertheless, the TV used to play on for the home console experience will differ on the model of the television.
The Controllers Behind the Controls
Let us talk controls. How does it feel to play with the many different play schemes Nintendo has prepared this time? First and foremost, one wonders how this console feels when played with the main controllers available out of the box: portably and the Grip. The Grip did not disappoint and it is easy to simply slot in the Joy Cons and play away. From the design perspective it seemed as though the the Joy Cons’ rectangular forms would get in the way for proper ergonomic feel, but they didn’t. The controller felt light and easy on the hands and everything was in reach. I would see myself playing many games with it, but it is by far not my favorite control scheme.
When I took the console and tried playing it handheld style, I was really worried at first. It was lighter than I anticipated, especially since it had the whole locking mechanism going on to stop potential over-hyped robbers. It is most definitely a console I can see myself carrying around and play on the fly. The screen is also decently large with its 6.2 inches. The largest screen Nintendo has used on a handheld platform and large enough to still appreciate a console AAA title in all its glory.
With the Joy Cons at the sides, it felt like I was holding an upgraded Wii U Gamepad. Only this time, it has around the same weight and isn’t as bulky. The sleeker and skinnier design feels good on the hands and is definitely easy to simply pick up and play anywhere. The only hiccup with this method of play when extended playtime is coupled with hardcore action game that will need a lot more focus. I found myself feeling discomfort in my left hand. This is most probably due to my hands having yet to grow into it, but it could be an issue eventually should this situation happen again.
The Joy Cons
The Joy Cons are sort of like the new Wii Remotes, but way better. These small controllers make up the sides of the Nintendo Switch console and can used together or individually. In the presentation, Nintendo had shown the many features installed into these bad boys. Together, they can be used as freely and it is oddly comfortable. This is a huge upgrade from the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. This experience is further enhanced when you add it the wristwraps on each Joy Con.
Of course, for more retro games like Sonic Mania, A Joy Con can be used alone to play. Each Joy Con can serve a separate player in this sense. Of course, the worry here is that the singular Joy Con may prove too small for big hands. Truth be told, the biggest hands on the team has confessed to me that it wasn’t that uncomfortable and that adding in the wriststrap easily solved the problem.
The Pro Controller
This is the most traditional game style and this is the controller that will be highly recommended for all the high-end titles. The feel and handling of this controller is very important for the console’s success with the traditional hardcore gamers.
Indeed, this controller surprised me! It forms beautifully into your hands and it was impressive how light it felt. The triggers are responsive and quick. This is no doubt the highlight out of all the control methods. It was great to use with the AAA titles like Zelda: Breath of the Wild as well as games like Fast RMX.
Overall, the console is impressive to say the least. The transition between handheld and home console is uncanny and I enjoyed seeing it for myself. It is nice to finally see Nintendo take advantage of their handheld and home console line and merging them to make a clever piece of technology. With but a single month left before the official release, Nintendo is truly turning the page for a brighter future with this one.
Stay tuned for release time for IMGMR’s review on the Nintendo Switch and wee if 299$ USD/3999$ CAD is actually worth it!