The most versatile hybrid configuration that can switch from a TV screen to a portable console, Joy-Con modular joystick innovative, all well thought out. Breath of the Wild is one of the best games ever released by Nintendo for a launch
The Nintendo Switch is a well-developed console that offers impressive gameplay in a compact format. But the poverty of the catalog of titles beyond the new Zelda and the shortage of functionalities make for the moment a blank slate with potential still unexploited.
If you’re a fan of Nintendo and Zelda, chances are you’ve already ordered the Switch. And playing the spectacular Breath of the Wild on your TV or the 6.2-inch console, you will say that it is well worth the price.
But for all the others, the wisest decision about the Switch is to wait. Because, if the Zelda Breath of the Wild is really phenomenal, for the rest the console is an empty shell waiting to be filled with a catalog of titles worthy of the name and online functions that exploit the best machine that is undeniably the most ambitious and risky bet of Nintendo.
Since the release of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, this reasoning is a little less true, because the toy library now includes 40 games. The console has one more argument, even if Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is only a reissue of the release version on Wii U, with some additional content and the set of DLC released over the years. However, the game is still fun. It is an inevitable console. We have already spent several hours, we are still conquered. Our colleagues at Gamekult are of the same opinion.
The Switch is a hybrid console that can be used on a TV or nomadic mode. The Joy-Con controllers make it a real Transformer: set on either side of the screen in tablet mode, detached to play wirelessly alone or in pairs or with the screen inserted into its dock to play on a big screen TV. The idea is that we find the same feelings of play whatever the configuration.
The Switch is unquestionably more elegant and clearly superior in quality than the Wii U of 2012. Its finish is opulent, it inspires robustness and shows a significant evolution in terms of design. The operating system itself is clear and responsive, which again sharply contrasts with the Wii U.
The Switch clearly fulfills its purpose of being both a home console and a portable console. There is something enjoyable to take everywhere with you a game like Zelda. We played it on the train and on the plane without any problem. The autonomy is not huge but we could extend it in mobile mode with a Tronsmart external battery because Nintendo had the good idea to adopt the USB-C port to power the console.
The problem is that out of Zelda, there is not much else to put under the thumbs. 1-2 Switch does not come with the console. Forget also the Netflix streaming services and others that are still missing subscribers.
In addition, Nintendo has not yet indicated how and when the Virtual Console and its treasure of great classics (Mario Bros, Metroid, Donkey Kong …) would be available on the Switch. We also do not know if all digital games purchased on the Virtual Console will be available. One thing is for sure, you can forget about your games on Wii, Wii U and 3DS.
We also have some questions about the reliability of the left Joy-Con, which seems to be affected by connection and performance issues. We have not experienced these problems as consistently as some fellow testers, but they have appeared many times. Note that at the time of our first test, we could play only Zelda and 1-2 Switch. No online features were available then, including the multiplayer platform. All we could do is connect to Wi-Fi.
What We Like About The Switch
-The versatility: the fact of being able to take this console everywhere with you is really pleasant. The hybrid system works without a hitch;
-The operating system: responsive, clear, it allows to resume a game in seconds from the sleep mode. The complete start is itself very fast;
-the local multiplayer: although we have not been able to test it because no game currently supports it, the multiplayer mode of the Switch allows to connect up to 8 tablets;
-Capture screen: a button on the left handle to capture everything that appears on the screen. It works very well. At the moment, there is no option to record a video clip;
-Amiibos: the little adorable little figures are always usable with the Switch.
The Problems of The Switch
-The toy library: out of Zelda is a little desert and it should last at least until the end of the first semester. At April 28, however, it is a little better, since the toy library has been enriched with forty games, including Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which will undoubtedly give a second life to the console.
-The left Joy-Con that is out of sync: there is clearly a problem with this controller and we have seen it. Fortunately, a hotfix should fix the concern;
-The size of the screen: when used in mobile mode, the screen of the console is good. But that’s another story when you put it on a table to play. For example, the display of texts in Zelda is so small that it is difficult to read when one is more than 60 centimeters;
-The kickstand: the plastic shutter that hides the microSD player of the Switch also serves crutch. But it’s pretty thin and does not inspire confidence. We liked that there was a second on the other side to balance;
-No wireless audio: if other consoles allow to connect wireless audio systems, this is not the case here;
-The return of effect: Nintendo may have a little too much promise with the Joy-Con haptic feedback system. We do not understand yet how it is better because for the moment, it is rather less intense than on other controllers. Maybe that changes …;
-Lisibility in full sun: of course you can take the console everywhere with you, but the screen is very difficult to read outside, especially when there is sun.
– Unlike modern smartphones, the screen is not protected by Gorilla Glass and tends to scratch easily if you do not pay attention, we strongly recommend protection.
The 720p screen of the Switch measures 6.2 inches. Once connected to the docking station it can stream in 1080p on a TV. The docking station (or dock) also supports 5.1 surround sound. In nomadic mode you switch to stereo via wired headphones or built-in speakers. The graphic part is provided by a specially designed Nvidia Tegra chip.
Connected side, there are 3 USB ports on the left side of the dock and another hidden behind the connection panel where there is also an HDMI output and a USB-C power port.
The Switch offers 32GB of internal storage, but only 26GB is available for use. If for example you download Breath of the Wild, it will take you half of the free space. Storage can be increased up to 2TB via a microSD card. The game cartridges are very small, only slightly thicker but narrower than an SD card.
The tablet itself incorporates a USB-C port through which it can also be loaded. There is also a headphone jack alongside the cartridge slot, volume and power buttons.
For the launch, 14 games are available (see the list on the Nintendo Switch website)
For the moment, we could only try the new Zelda Breath of the Wild (fantastic) and 1-2 Switch (not great). The latter offers a range of mini games for two people, the vast majority of which is uninteresting.
But let’s go back to Zelda Breath of the Wild which is really amazing. It is a superb evolution of the saga that brings everything we could hope for. Aside from some small image jumps and decelerations beyond, the game is superb and surprisingly detailed. It is also very difficult. The part of strategy is much more important than in all other Zelda. Best of all is that there is no noticeable difference in visual quality whether you are in TV or tablet mode.
Some Flagship Titles Are Expected
Sonic Mania (Spring), Arms (Spring), Splatoon 2 (Summer), NBA 2K18 (September), The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Fall), Super Mario Odyssey (Christmas), FIFA 18 (no date).
Nintendo has also increased its support for independent games with sixty titles scheduled by the end of the year: Yooka Laylee, Blaster Master Zero, Stardew Valley, Shakedown Hawaii, Overcooked: Special Edition, The Escapists 2, SteamWorld Dig 2 .
Nothing is known about after 2017, but the June E3 should tell us more. We can reasonably think that some Wii U games will arrive on the Switch as is the case of Mario Kart 8. We rely on a suite of Mario Maker or a version “.5” end 2018 and a Metroid. It will still follow how third-party publishers will behave over time with respect to the Switch. Anyway, it is absolutely necessary that the catalog of Nintendo games is spectacular. The third-party games are very good, but the PS4 and Xbox One already occupy this slot for Overwatch, Battlefield and other players.
Joysticks And Accessories
The Switch includes two Joy-Con joysticks that are fixed to the right and left of the screen in nomadic mode. You can also connect them to a Grip Joy-Con (delivered originally) to play on a TV or when you put the screen on a table with the stand.
To charge the controllers, they must be connected to the screen itself docked in the docking station or you must invest in an optional charger.
The Joy-Con Grip mode or attached to the screen are generally comfortable, but we have encountered some ergonomic concerns playing Zelda. The right and left trigger buttons are not very big and it is sometimes difficult to handle them accurately. We also had trouble with the B button located too close to the analog lever. Playing Zelda, which sometimes requires some combinations, he also happens to commit some involuntary actions, but only when playing in tablet mode, the console in his hands.
Each Joy-Con is equipped with a motion sensor and a haptic feedback. The right Joy-Con also has an infrared sensor.
While playing 1-2 Switch with another person, we quickly realized that the one with the right controller was better because we were two right handed. Indeed, having to play with your non-dominant hand is not an advantage in actions that require reflexes and dexterity. In the end, we would have liked the Joy-Con to be a little bigger. But it’s a subjective opinion because we have big hands ourselves.
Fortunately, there is the option of the Switch Pro a “real” controller whose design is similar to that of a controller for PS4 or Xbox One. Too bad because it’s the best way to play Zelda. That said, there is no guarantee that the Switch Pro works with all games. We also regret that it does not include a headphone jack since the console is not compatible with Bluetooth audio systems. Joy-Con can also be used independently. They are really small and not very comfortable to hold in hand for long sessions of play. Rubber protective covers add a thickness which improves somewhat grip. But they are very difficult to remove.
It would be wise to purchase a carrying case for the Switch. There will also be the choice among third-party manufacturers. The Nintendo case comes with a protective film for the screen and can be used as a stand more stable than that integrated on the screen.
We highly recommend it because after having carried our console in a backpack, it ended up with fairly marked stripes. The screen is not in Gorilla Glass. This is really a shame, and it makes the protection almost mandatory for who wants to take care of his console. In the same order, we also regret that there is no treatment against fingerprints. However, this is less serious than on a smartphone, since it uses less the touch screen of the switch than that of a phone.
Multiplayer Mode And Future Improvements
No console launch is going smoothly. But it is clear that the Switch is still far from the account. The lack of online services and features as well as an attractive game catalog are quite disturbing. So much so that this console gives the impression of being still in beta test phase. Nintendo has promised that it will offer in March a free trial of its premium online service. It remains unclear what the price of this platform should offer subscribers access to a new retro game per month.
We have however been able to try the online mode with the release of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Our gaming sessions went off without too much trouble. No untimely disconnection has occurred, and the gaming experience is not degraded online, we feel no latency vis-à-vis our opponents. on the other hand, sometimes there are some difficulties to join a party. For now, Nintendo’s servers seem relatively stable. This is a good thing, because it was not always the case on Wii U.
Precisions, however, that Mario Kart is not a game that will frankly suffer from latency unlike others such as Super Smash Bros or responsiveness is particularly important. Nintendo’s fighting game is currently not officially announced by the firm, but there is little doubt that we will be entitled to an edition of the game in the medium term. In the meantime, the next game that will heavily exploit online services will be Splatoon 2 this summe