Hands-On: Impressions of Nintendo Switch – Part Two
After Part One, in which Conor and myself gave our opinions on the hands-on Nintendo Switch Premiere event in London (which you can read here), today we hear from another couple of our staff who attended. What did they think of the Switch, it’s games and its potential future as Nintendo’s next big hardware release ..?
It is a true privilege that these events are held, and even moreso when they’re free access, have free catering, or free travel- the Switch Premiere had all of these. In theory, everything was excellent; there were a diverse amount of demos to experience, the layout was nice, there were (impressively classy) chairs dotted about, people got substantial times to play demos, rewards were given out for people who played everything, there were multiple console displays ranging from the original Game & Watch all the way up to the Switch itself, and even the lighting had been appropriately changed, with red logos dancing across the ceiling.
In practice- from outside the event to in the lines were unclear, messy, spilt into each other, and blocked walkroom badly. Some play times got cut short because the queues were just too much. The food tasted nice enough but was a bit stale and greasy.
Many people were discouraged from even bothering to get in line for demos given the amount of waiting time just wasn’t worth the hassle. And despite some chairs being present on the upper level, the actual showfloor was highly inaccessible to those not blessed with able bodies. (I’d imagine this would extend somewhat to children too.) Given Nintendo had guest lists in advance it’s baffling to me how the event ended up so overcrowded with barely any time to play more than a handful of games unless you happened to get lucky and guess which queues to go in and what order. The whole thing seems like a bit of an unfortunate allegory for Nintendo’s recent trend of highly under-stocking their products in an attempt to fabricate high demand for them. On the plus side we did get an extra half hour which did allow me to experience my 4th game instead of going away with just 3, 2 of which were cut short through no fault of my own, and those who didn’t manage to fill in their cards with stamps from all the demos they tried just got a nice Nintendo Switch badge given to them anyway.
So how about the console?
Visually, the Switch console itself is beautiful. It’s slim and elegant with crisp, vibrant visuals. The buttons and sticks are dainty but there is an unfortunate element of fragility there- especially with the screen. It’s a massive leap into modern times compared to the chunky 3DS or Wii U gamepad, yet so professional and normal looking it’s easy to forget this is indeed a Nintendo console. The Pro controller feels natural to hold and the improved gyro is very noticeable. When used solo the JoyCon’s were unfortunately a bit clunky and some of the bumpers took far too much pressure to even register. Overall I’m dying to finally have a Switch to call my own and greatly look forward to experiencing its full potential.
What about the games?
I was unfortunately only able to play 4 games; Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, ARMS, and Snipperclips.
ARMS feels like a prettier Wii Sports Boxing. Once I played 1 match I felt like I experienced most of the game- a feeling confirmed by my next couple matches. Either the motion controls are unresponsive, or I was just playing it wrong. Either way it’s not something I’m itching for- epecially at its current price.
Snipperclips is hilarious and adorable. Visually it’s quite cluttered, and it seems like it’ll be easily forgettable despite how clever it is. The puzzles I played were nice and I do look forward to experiencing the full game. For the more mature and MLG players among us wondering, never fear- you can indeed just relentlessly snip up the other player and then teabag them mercilessly. I did this more than enough to confirm it’s possible.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is beautiful and polished but I must note most of the praise for this game belongs to Mario Kart 8 itself, one of the best Wii U games ever released as far as I’m concerned. MK8D brings in a handful of new playable characters all of which I adore, and promises to fix the Battle Mode, which was one of the biggest disappointments with the original release. There are also a few new vehicles and Battle maps, and some changes to the gameplay and UI, however it seems there aren’t going to be any more standard tracks which is immensely frustrating.
Splatoon 2 was probably my highlighted game of the event. (Due to either an internet error or a bug in the demo I got to play the tutorial 3 times and only 1 match total, all of us being removed and made to wait while they sorted technical issues, which was very disappointing.) The new specials are utterly chaotic and the new character designs are spectacular. I absolutely cannot wait to have this game in my hands and dive head first back into the world of Splatoon.
Yes I have preordered a Switch. Yes it’s a bit more expensive than I was hoping for. Yes I’m disappointed there’s no game in the pack. And yes, admittedly, I’d have liked more launch titles. But I’m excited for Nintendo once again because of what’s coming up; including Super Mario Odyssey and more.
I’ve not played Breath of the Wild yet (the event was way too busy) but I’ve ordered it and I know IT will be THE Switch launch title it needs to be for me. Something to lose hours, days in and an amazing gaming experience on a new console. On screen or on TV, I’m not going to need any other launch titles myself. Perhaps it’s a well timed software release, to encourage the sale of Switch consoles? Let’s not lose site of what new Zelda means. An epic, engaging, addictive adventure. What Nintendo gaming is all about. I know that once I have this game and that console I’m well in Nintendo’s pocket for the foreseeable future.
Zelda aside, I was quite surprised and impressed to see the reveal of the motion features of the Joy-Cons. And having tried them out I think they have a lot of potential. It’s because of these that the Switch COULD be the true successor to the Wii U. In terms of popularity, appeal, pick up and playability – Joy-Con might be Nintendo’s secret weapons. They feel just right in your hands, natural, just the right size. I have rolled one around in my palm to count the virtual balls inside, simulated the milking of a cow with up and down motions and well timed button presses and taken a swipe at my friend wielding a sword. It’s like Wii Sports and Wii Play motion all over again. But with added HD rumble – an effective feature that really impresses. These games feature in ‘1-2 Switch’ – Nintendo’s other big launch title. With more games to be revealed it’s one to watch I’m sure.
The quality of the screen on Switch is fantastic. Mario Kart looks wonderful, colourful, sharp and smooth. A showcase for what the console can do. It genuinely feels like a step up from the Wii U game pad and 3DS screens. And in your hands the console feels solid, yet thin, strong and comfortable to hold. I just wanted to look at it all over, when needing to pay more attention to the race at hand. Without additional race tracks though, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe won’t be a must buy at full price unfortunately. Fingers crossed for upgrade programme or promise of Switch exclusive DLC…
I also got play ARMS. Perhaps this generation’s Punch Out, this sprawling action fighting game feels fun to play, with responsive motion controls, impressive visuals and a roster of characters that promises to rival the biggest beat em ups. Longevity is yet to proven though – I’m hoping it will be more than what currently feels like a great tech demo, some immediate multi-player, if expensive (£70 for two more Joy-Cons) fun while it lasts. I’m happy to wait and see on this one.
The other big Switch game I didn’t get to play was Splatoon 2. With the draw of new maps, weapons and a drip feed of more to come following launch, this game will surely be a must buy on release. The promise of 8 player local multi player is possibly a prime of example of what the Switch is going to do best. A proven console hit game, ‘Switched’ up to the next level.
After this weekend’s preview event, and having now held, played and experienced a Switch; I know preordering was the right thing to do and I can’t wait for March 3rd to come around. Colour me (Neon Blue and Red) a very excited Nintendo fan.
So, what do you think of Nintendo’s next big thing? Did you attend the Premiere, if so what are your thoughts on the Switch? As always, drop a comment or tweet us @NintendoScene.