Nintendo Nintendo Switch

Hands-on with the Nintendo Switch: First Impressions

With a price tag that has most of us scratching our heads, the Nintendo Switch is – what can only be described as – the primary successor to the Wii. Between party games that cover both western and eastern cultural influences to the second colourful wave of Splatoon, the Switch is a multi-tiered experience best played with others. That’s not to say it won’t have solid solo experiences though, with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild available as a launch title for the console on March 3. It’s just one of five launch titles available for the Switch – and arguably the best.

During the hands-on session in London, I was remarkably surprised at how light the left and right Joy-Con controllers felt in my child-sized hands. The buttons are well placed, with all of them in easy reach for me. A sole Joy-Con could fit comfortably in my hand, though I still yearned for the easier grip of a nunchuk, particularly when playing 1-2 Switch. For longer play sessions, those with bigger hands might feel a little cramped. But just like a Wii remote, a sole Joy-Con can be twisted, tilted, and moved in any direction you wish.

The HD rumble feature – though a gimmick – is fun for mini-games. I was particularly impressed with Ball Count; a mini-game within 1-2 Switch that creates the real feeling of marbles inside a box. By tilting the controller left to right, I was utterly convinced the marbles were inside the controller, even looking at the Joy-Con rather than the TV to see if I could gain any insight while they clinked together. Although it’s easy to tell how many marbles there are when up to four are inside, five or more can become tricky. Hesitating a guess at 5, while my opponent vouched for 4, there were seven balls inside the box. Simple but quite ingenious technology. The less said about Milk, though, which has two players squeezing the udders in a 1-2 motion on the left and right shoulder buttons of the Joy-Con, the better. Between the weird toilet humour and double entendres, let’s just say the mini-game is harder than it looks.

arms_screenshot
Arms played in real-time, there’s a real sense of power in those punches.

Reminiscent of the Wii Sports Boxing days, the Nintendo Switch presents Arms. Available as a Spring release, the woefully named game is a lesson in the art of becoming Rocky Balboa. Channeling my inner Sylvester Stallone, Arms allows the use of both Joy-Con controllers, with the ability to dodge attacks, jump, move or strafe and throw your best shots. You’ll have five base characters to choose from, all of which feature three different power-up arm attachments that can be switched out at the end of each round. In co-operative mode, you’ll throw down the gauntlet in an arena, facing each other in the best of three rounds over the course of a few minutes.

At least in terms of graphics, Arms looks similar to Overwatch for its character design and PokkΓ©n Tournament with its cartoon-like movements. It even sports interactive elements in the arena that you can use to your advantage, such as smashing or hiding behind huge glass tubes to take your opponent by surprise. By tilting your controllers to the left or right, you’ll be able to move around the arena and build up speed, your special attack, and dodge your opponents attacks. It feels smooth and reactive when throwing punches, while angling them for a neat Boomerang shot was a real treat to master. Arms shows a lot of promise for a quick pick up and play title, though hopefully four-way matches are included in an online multiplayer mode to boost the intensity.

splatoon_2_switch

While waiting in the wings for Splatoon 2, Nintendo’s representative was quick to tell me that you can now change your Inkling’s hairstyle – perhaps as an unlockable or shop item – and that co-operative mode now has access to Turf Wars. Whether this will be implemented as split screen given the map has been relegated to the X button, or as two separate playable screens on the Joy-Con Switch pad and the TV is currently unknown. Though there is a confirmed solo campaign, which will hopefully be lengthier, as well as new maps on offer, the best new element that I sampled were the dual guns. The special attack on the dual weapon allows you to jetpack your Inkling into the air and splat enemies from above. But you’ll have to be wary, as those on higher ground can splat you with ease, leaving you vulnerable to sniper attacks.

On the Switch handheld controller, the field of vision on Splatoon 2 not only feels smaller but also less immersive. While the visuals are much more refined, sporting 720p resolution, I felt disconnected from the seven other players playing beside me. In my own bubble, I focused on covering our bases with paint and avoiding the enemy. And although it was equally as fun to get back into splat mode, I couldn’t help but feel something was missing on the smaller screen. That said, the Switch controller is – according to Nintendo sources – multi-touch so it’s certainly very responsive when respawning next to another Inkling. From the short time I experienced it, Splatoon 2 felt more like a luxury upgrade than a tidy sequel, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed here for future improvements.

mario_kart_8_event
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on the exhibition floor in London.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was also on the exhibition floor, though doesn’t sport any new tracks, much to the detriment of its rather expensive price point. From what I saw and played, all the tricks of the trade are there from the Wii U version. Quite simply, it’s a straight port, albeit with new items on show. Sadly, if you want to experience this in multiplayer during the years to come, it’s likely you’ll need to fork out the extra cash. Unfortunately the Nintendo representatives couldn’t tell me if there was a discount in place for those who already own Mario Kart 8’s digital Wii U version. We’ll keep our brows firmly raised then.

And so we come to the hotly anticipated title, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. A 20-minute demo is not nearly enough time to get to grips with everything the visually stunning game has to offer, but I was impressed with what I did manage to play. Eagerly lapping up the panoramic views, the first thing I did was jump. Link’s movement felt so utterly natural and fluid that it was quite astonishing at first. As I climbed my way up trees to fetch apples, and lit a torch to bake an apple hanging from the tree, I ran through the luscious green fields and attacked enemies with measly branches. You can also find rupees in grassy areas, apparently, but sadly not when subjected to mowing the lawn with a sword, at least in the demo version.

nintendo_switch_the_legend_of_zelda_breath_of_the_wild

After playing Breath of the Wild with the comfortable and familiar pro controller, I switched to the Joy-Con pad in off-TV, portable mode. Though it’s a beautiful 900p (not quite 1080p as expected) and 30 frames per second on the television, it’s reduced to 720p and 30 frames per second when docked on the handheld controller screen. Even though the handheld controller is smaller than the Wii U GamePad in bulk size, it presents the same 6.2-inch screen – and it is clearly the superior one with rich colours and splendid tones to give warmth to the player, allowing you to feel immersed. For longer play sessions, as this game will entail, the pro controller is the better option in my books. But of course, it will boil down to personal choice.

For the most part, the first party games on show for the Switch are decidedly average but fun in short bursts. At this point, the games are merely there to present the breadth of what Nintendo’s new console can do with quirky mini-games and interesting technical features. But other than Breath of the Wild, there’s no real stand-out game for the system, which of course is the most important aspect of taking a new console to market. Perhaps there are countless Nintendo-like surprises waiting for fans, but for now all we can do is wait tentatively until its release.

Have you been lucky enough to try out the Switch? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

100 comments

          1. I’ve asked people on Twitter and it is 900p. I would assume they’re aiming for 1080p but the version we played at the event was 900p. I looked on the official site and couldn’t see any mention of 1080p or any resolution at all for that matter. Thanks anyway!

  1. Garbage review!How ironic that this reviewer did not play Snipperclips the game that blew people away at the New York conference!πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
    Snipperclips New York reaction prove Nintendo has another gem for the Switch coming in March.
    Β£280 head scratching price?πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
    PS4 was Β£349 at launch 3 years ago!πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
    Seriously the media who are crying about the price are just gutted they cannot afford it!πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    1. I did play Snipperclips – I just haven’t mentioned this particular title in my line-up, mainly focusing on the bigger titles in this feature. Thanks for reading either way. :)

      1. You played it,but failed to mention that Nintendo has another gem ready for March?Bigger titles?You mention Switch 1,2 but not Snipperclips?πŸ˜‚You also mention Arms but not Snipperclips?πŸ˜‚
        People at the New York conference said Snipperclips was a definite day 1 buy,yet you don’t even mention it?πŸ˜‚

        1. I hope she didn’t mention Switch 1,2, cause that’s even worse than snipperclips, and certainly not one of their bigger titles, just cause they advertised it that way. It’s the wii sports of this system, the exact bull shit they said they were getting away from and changed their name from.

        2. Ya snipperclips sounds like a REAL system seller. If you gotta dig that deep out of shallow waters at launch it’s not looking to promising. Learn from the wii u 3-5 real titles a year the rest fill with indie shovel ware.. Sorry that’s the pattern i can see.

        1. Pretty sure he’s trolling like crazy, he keeps mentioning snipperclips and not even the biggest fanboys could say that game is gonna sell systems with a straight face. And the fact his name is Switch_rocks.

                1. I’m not on here enough anymore to recognize writing styles much, so I don’t know who he is or if he’s new or not. And any troll worth his weight shouldn’t be easy to find based on his writing style.

    2. Omega Kalas Ridley X3 (Greatness Awaits at Nintendo Switch & Sony PlayStation 4! Come join us in the Light of Darkness!!) says:

      I like the Switch, got mine preordered yesterday, & I’m very excited for it. But even I can tell you are being a big, whiny fanbitch. Not everyone is gonna be happy about every little thing about the Switch. I’m not pleased with certain things of it myself. Like shitty 32gb internal storage or minimum AAA games & no Snipperclips isn’t one of them (not by a long fucking shot.) As another said, just because a small group of people in a store, most likely a bunch of casuals anyway, liked it doesn’t mean they make up the majority.

    3. Omega Kalas Ridley X3 (Greatness Awaits at Nintendo Switch & Sony PlayStation 4! Come join us in the Light of Darkness!!) says:

      And now I can add another thing that I don’t like: they might not let us use external hard drives.

  2. Also this reviewer is full of bullshit!At New York conference Nintendo rep said 1080p 60fps ALWAYS!πŸ˜‚
    Just because the price is not what he wanted he then proceeds to make up Shit regarding its specs!πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

      1. Suggest you watch New York event video when Nintendo Rep says 1080p 60fps always!
        Try again!πŸ˜‚

    1. This conversation is a little silly. A lot of Xbox One games run in native 900p and are upscaled to 1080p which is the possibility of Zelda on the Switch. Now, unless you’re going to pause you game and examine the screen next to another screen that has the same game playing at native 1080p, you’re never going to know, period. I have the luxury of owning a great gaming computer and do most of my gaming in 4k. Now, does 4k look better…sure, but when you’re running around in the game, you’re just not going to be paying attention to all those extra pixels. If you are, you’re not a gamer but a graphics whore. While 720p is on the low side for a game, 900p isn’t bad unless you’re going to pause the game and stare at the screen.

      1. Taking the time to enjoy a beautiful landscape doesn’t make you a graphics whore. It makes you an appreciater of art. And landscape is what breath of the wild is all about. Guess if we sit around taking that in, we’re not gamers.

  3. Thanks for the write up, Colette. My wife and I decided to hold off on the system and not get it day one as we wait for those Nintendo surprises. Though when it comes an upgrade to Splatoon and Zelda will be mine.

    Sadly, I fell into the camp of people who suddenly expected Nintendo to turn into Sony or MS and share everything about the system and was let down. Still looking forward to it, just not day 1.

    1. Go buy a PS4 then u cry baby fake Nintendo fan!πŸ˜‚
      Zelda alone is enough to buy the Switch.

      1. Supporting Sony? Haaaa. You made the right choice. Either a Xbox, a PC or a PS4 is the way to go this generation. Thankfully you recognize this. It’s OK betraying Nintendo for a better cause.

        1. As a fanboy of the Xbox and Xbox 360, I must warn people, do NOT buy the Xbox One. It is a shitty console. Not even Halo is worth it even more. They fucked up those games.

      2. How about you just leave. No one likes super fanboys. The Switch isn’t perfect. If people have a critique about it or one of the games in it, it doesn’t mean they aren’t a Nintendo fan. You need to chill out and grow up. Oh, and Snipperclips looks extremely average at best. It is not AAA, so stop acting like it’s some amazing game. You make yourself look foolish when you keep saying that. No one is buying a Switch just because of Snipperclips. It’s a party game, nothing more. And when I say party game, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. But the first Marii Party games were a lot more appealing than this game looks. Don’t be ridiculous.

        1. Looks average?πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚Proves you did not see the reaction of people playing it at the New York event!Of the games at launch Snipperclips is easily the second best game behind Zelda.
          You judging a game on looks prove you know nothing about console games!πŸ˜‚
          The 3DS XL is Β£180,yet people are complaining that the Switch is Β£280?πŸ˜‚
          Pre orders have already sold out faster than the Wii U, the Switch also has over 60 3rd party games in development,that’s more than the Wii U had its life time!
          Zelda Breath Of The Wild being played anywhere on the go is enough to buy this console on day 1.
          And like I said earlier go buy a PS4 if you don’t like the Switch and stop moaning!

          1. Stop moaning yet your mangina gets triggered whenever someone dares to say anything that isn’t praising Nintendo.

          2. A handful of people at an event doesn’t equate to worldwide numbers. That game is not going to sell millions like you seem to think. Judging a game based on looks shows I know nothing about console games? Yeah, you’re not reaching at all with that one. The game does not babe amazing graphics, so don’t act like it does. The gameplay looks like it won’t hold people for very looking. Will some people like it? Yes. But not The vast majority. And those that do like it aren’t going to equate it to Zelda, Halo, Tomb Raider level, so again, it’s not AAA. And selling out preorders doesn’t mean anything at all. My local GameStop only had like 30 preorders. The numbers of available units are very limited, so of course they’ll sell out. I don’t think I mentioned anything about price, so that is pointless to come at me with. 60 third party games… And you think all those will be great? Wii U had third party: Just Dance and crap like that. Skyrim is nice, but old. I hope third party supports better this time, but I’m not holding my breath. Zelda for a lot of people is not a reason to buy day one, since it’s the only big game at launch and can be bought in Wii U. But some will buy Switch at launch just got Zelda. Doesn’t mean anything. I never said anything about PS4, but that is the last vestige of a person losing this type of argument: you complained, so go buy Xbox or PlayStation. It’s a cheap dodge tactic. I stated that you shouldn’t be crying to people who dare criticize Nintendo and should grow up. And yet somehow toy equate that to me moaning about the Switch and wanting a PS4. You’re just grasping at straws and showing very little maturity by attacking anyone who says anything negative about Nintendo. Nintendo isn’t your family. And they don’t need any loose cannons like yourself going off on people for merely voicing their displeasure with a product. So again I say to you, grow up. Good day sir!

            1. ||Because it’s more obvious than even the demise of the Xbots in Japan…||

              1. What are your thoughts on the presentation? I was underwhelmed with how many games Nintendo had, and really felt the Switch 1,2 was just another wii sports game, and their time could have been better spent on another game. After all the wii u droughts I was hoping for more. Mario Odyssey looks really good though, I’m looking forward more to that than Zelda honestly. I’m worried Zelda may be too big for it’s own good. We will see though, and I hope I’m wrong. Did you preorder?

                1. ||The presentation itself was good, the content of it was disruptingly lackluster concerning weaponry however…||

                  ||Our own weaponry was great but the lack of third class ones were obviously nowhere to be seen despite the confirmed support for it…||

                  ||Now, we can’t have warrior class weaponry only and to be fair, these civilian ones are somewhat appealing compared to the previous 2 generations…||

                  ||I’m certain they have more Nintendo Quadraxis-Type weaponry for E3 other than what they have shown, at least 2 more…||

                  ||Only the pawns go first, I have other matters to attend to before I activate my own Switch…||

      3. No is not, for a die hard and apologies Nintendo fan like you it is. But for a person that is trying to go back to a Nintendo system our try a Nintendo console for the first time is not. That launch line up for games is very fuckyng dry . But hey you will probably apologize for Nintendo after this comment because once again you are a delusional Nintendo fan that don’t see other peoples point of view when it comes to a bad opinion about your piece of plastic.

      1. Also you are forgetting that the small screen is not a “Switch Handheld Controller” as you put it in your Splatoon 2 section. That IS the console itself. If one person is playing solely on it there WILL NOT BE ANOTHER PERSON PLAYING ON THE TV. Unless that person has their own separate Nintendo Switch plugged in. So if it is co-op then it will be split-screen in either TV Mode or Tabletop Mode.

  4. I preordered just for Zelda. That’s really the only game they have. I wanted to see a port of super smash Bros. That would have definitely helped my purchase seeing as I still play that a lot on wiiu. I’ll wait and see if there’s anymore games revealed but so far it’s looking like I might just wait for a holiday purchase instead of day one and just pick up Mario and Zelda. Kind of worried for the switch now there was too much hype behind it and Nintendo is still not providing details on anything

  5. So, would you say that the Pro controller is worth it? Or should people wait for a price drop?

    1. Before I played it yesterday I was convinced I would have to buy a Pro Controller. After playing the system and the games with the Joy-Con I realised it really isn’t necessary in my opinion. Colette might think differently.

  6. http://m.ign.com/articles/2017/01/13/mario-kart-8-deluxe-announced-for-nintendo-switch?watch

    The Deluxe edition of the game features all of the content from the Wii U version of the game, as well as all DLC tracks and characters. Inkling Girl and Inkling Boy from Splatoon, King Boo, Dry Bones, and Bowser Jr. will all be available as new characters, too. Battle Mode has also been updated to include Balloon Battle and Bob-omb Blast, including new courses like Urchin Underpass and Battle Stadium, as well as returning ones, such as Gamecube Luigi’s Mansion and SNES Battle Course 1.

    1. The new characters were great especially the inkling girl and inkling boy. But no new courses in single player mode was a bit of a let down as many of us already have all the DLC packs on Wii U.

    2. People keep saying all the content from the wii u version, as well as the DLC. If it has all the content from the u version, DLC is included in that statement. Its a redundant statement :p Like obviously it has everything from the U version, they wouldn’t downgrade it.

  7. Do we have any confirmation on how many players games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will support? With the paid internet services, that’s likely the only way I’ll be playing it, and I’d hope we can still support four players without needing a second console.

  8. My reaction to the switch is that with this line up I aint buying. I’m getting an nes classic instead, which is cheaper then one switch control.

  9. I think the switch is what the Wii U was supposed to be. Technology and price just wasn’t right to bring it to market yet. It’s like when Sony and and Nintendo had a falling out and they had to scramble to put out the n64.
    The only true way to fix the third party problem is for customers to buy games.
    900p 1080p does it matter? All it is is a sick measuring contest. I still play 8 bit MARIO. And I don’t complain about the graphics. I didn’t complain about the Wii U either because the games did look good and were fun to play.

  10. According to the official Nintendo website, it will support up to 4 players locally. I had to check myself as that’s a primary decision point for me if I want to play the Deluxe version with the revamped battle mode.

  11. I know there’s trolls all over the place here and I don’t want to bum anyone out, but…

    Did anyone else get this sinking feeling when watching the presentation the other night that this will be Nintendo’s final console?

      1. hahaa great reply, I hope I’m wrong, but I just got a weird gut feeling about the whole presentation. Kind of like where can they go with a new console after this one, for some reason it just kind of feels like… the end.

    1. Why? I really liked the system and Colette did too, she’s just giving her impressions of the demos we got to play for a short period of time. It was packed with press and bloggers etc.

      1. I don’t know bro.. Starting off with the head scratcher price quote makes it start off like it isn’t worth (and maybe it’s not?) but it sets the tone and follows through by saying disappointments out weighing positives and giving me the feeling it’s still “Nintendo is for kids” mindset . Perhaps I’m reading to much into the negative comments ?

    2. I loved the system; this is reflected at many points in the feature. But remember this is a first impression piece, it’s based on demos only. We only get to play a fraction of the games on show. I’m watching and waiting to see what happens with the system, as we all are. :)

      1. We’ll does say “impressions” vs it being a review so I might be over thinking it. I’ve been watching all the treehouse events and even the live streams in Japan from the Japanese Nintendo YouTube channel and everyone seems to be enjoying and having genuine fun (granted most work for Nintendo) but you can’t fake a good time and I as a Nintendo fan was laughing right along with them and wishing I could get my hands on those games too. From reading through these impressions I just felt like the experience wasn’t as enjoyable in your case and it felt like it was ok but it wasn’t great.

        Your opinions are your own and I would never say what you should think or write and just so it’s known, I’m a multi console owner as well (not just a blind Nintendo fan boy) but I felt overall disappointment with your experience and though why would this go up on a Nintendo site ?

        Apologies if I’m reading into it wrong and I might be… While Ive owned all consoles, my passion is with Nintendos. I’ve just got a diffrent vibe from all the pressers and events than I got from reading this and was scratching my head trying to figure out if you enjoyed or disliked your experience with the Switch.

        1. I’m sorry you feel that way. I did enjoy it, I just have a healthy dose of skepticism. Perhaps that’s my critical head thinking. I personally know this isn’t my best work; I prefer being able to take a game in fully than in snapshots. But thank you for reading all the same.

  12. “With a price tag that has most of us scratching our heads”

    What the hell does this even mean?

    The XBox One launched at $500! PS4 launched at $400! Wii U Deluxe launched at $350, and Regular launched at $300, same price as the Switch.

    This is CHEAPER than anyone should have expected. It’s ridiculous how oblivious people are as to what a reasonable launch price is.

      1. Many of us were expecting a much cheaper price point due to the rumours which turned to be false. I know I was personally surprised when I woke up on the Friday and saw it was Β£280 and so was Colette.

        1. The way I see it is if I’m getting an iPad just for gaming I might might as well get 2 Switches and have myself and my family have a better gaming experience on the couch than we could with an iPad so the price doesn’t really feel all that outrageous to me.. Goes to show we need to be careful with rumors πŸ˜‹

        2. I mean wasn’t everyone expecting it to be $250? It’s only $50 more than expected. And I wasn’t even expecting it to come bundled with the charging grip, so it seems pretty fair to me. Although I will say I think 1-2 Switch should have been bundled as a digital download with every console. But still $300 is fair, what bothers me more is the price on the accessories. A lot of them seem a bit overpriced.

          1. ||The price is fair, but not at this point with such limited launch weaponry…||

            ||But as more weapons arrive, the price will be justified…||

  13. I’m so excited for Switch! I can’t wait. I know there’s so much more potential and I’m so happy Bethesda is on board. Suda 51 and yookalaylee coming hopefully sooner rather than later.

    Majority of people only complain and voice what they hate and don’t like. Actions say a lot too and preorders are sold out and that was in a day.

    1. Omega Kalas Ridley X3 (Greatness Awaits at Nintendo Switch & Sony PlayStation 4! Come join us in the Light of Darkness!!) says:

      That’s nothing to be excited about. My GameStop only had TWO preorders (one of which I got) available so the preorders selling out sadly don’t mean shit.

  14. its a wiiu port GET OVER YOURSELVES. not a benchmark for switch !!!!!!!!!!AND HOW IN THE FUCK IS HD HEPTIC RUMLE JUST A GIMMICK LOL. SDVANCED AS HELL ISNT A GIMMICK

    NEXT YOU WILL SAY DUAL 9 AXIS GYROSCOPES ARE A GIMMICK

    1. Omega Kalas Ridley X3 (Greatness Awaits at Nintendo Switch & Sony PlayStation 4! Come join us in the Light of Darkness!!) says:

      Yes. Gimmick. Just like a portable home console is a gimmick. Just like 3D is a gimmick. Just like analog triggers, digital triggers, motion controls, gamepad’s off-tv play, touch screen, touchpad, etc etc etc! Not our fault you think of gimmick as being a 100% negative term.

      1. Omega Kalas Ridley X3 (Greatness Awaits at Nintendo Switch & Sony PlayStation 4! Come join us in the Light of Darkness!!) says:

        How is that awaiting moderation? I don’t see any words that would trigger that. Stupid WordPress.

        1. Omega Kalas Ridley X3 (Greatness Awaits at Nintendo Switch & Sony PlayStation 4! Come join us in the Light of Darkness!!) says:

          Hm. I should have refreshed the page to see if it was still awaiting moderation before complaining about it awaiting moderation! xD

    2. Omega Kalas Ridley X3 (Greatness Awaits at Nintendo Switch & Sony PlayStation 4! Come join us in the Light of Darkness!!) says:

      Oh & dual 9 axis gyroscopes ARE a gimmick, too.

  15. Omega Kalas Ridley X3 (Greatness Awaits at Nintendo Switch & Sony PlayStation 4! Come join us in the Light of Darkness!!) says:

    Thanks for the review, Colette. Makes me want my Switch on the 3rd even more. The first thing I’ll do in BotW will be to jump, too! xD Been waiting to jump in a Zelda game without the use of Roc’s Feather since using Link in the original Super Smash Bros on the N64!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: