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May 22, 2017 | by  | in Games |
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Cameron (Finally) Gets His Hands on a Nintendo Switch

Back in Issue 00, I wrote a piece about the then-upcoming Nintendo Switch; you might recall how I was cautiously optimistic about the hybrid console’s prospects. Now that I have a cool job that lets me play games in the office, it was just a matter of time before I spent nearly my entire first pay packet on a brand new Switch; now, after a few days with it, I feel ready to share my thoughts.

Taking the unit out of the box for the first time, I was quite surprised at how small it was: about the size of a small tablet. I shouldn’t be so shocked given the nature of the system, designed for both portable use and to be connected to a TV, but still. The inbuilt capacitive touchscreen displays at 720p, comparable to a mid-range smartphone, though it’s still a decent resolution for a portable system. I haven’t found any ways that the system takes advantage of the touchscreen though. The transition from portable to TV with the included dock is seamless and intuitive, not to mention that it will boost graphical fidelity.

The Joy-Con controllers are something of a revelation. I’ve written previously about how accessible they are, and having tried all sorts of ways of using them I feel confident calling them my favourite controller system ever. When used in tandem, it feels equally comfortable using them attached to the main console (giving it a form factor not unlike the Wii U Gamepad), completely detached, or in a controller grip. The haptic feedback, which Nintendo calls “HD Rumble,” feels amazing and is a vast improvement over even that of the Dualshock 4s, though I have a feeling it will be used the same as every other rumble feature.

Since I’m not made of money, I was only able to get one full-priced game with my Switch. I chose to buy Mario Kart 8 Deluxe because it shows off a feature that could prove vital to the system’s success: instant multiplayer. Simply hand one of the Joy-Cons to a friend, push out the attached kickstand, and away you go, racing one-on-one for the Mushroom Cup. Is there a better way to share your games with your friends? Also, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is fantastic, an absolute must-own for the system.

I do, however, have some gripes which could hold the system back. Its Wi-Fi connectivity seems to be rather weak, a real handicap for any mobile device. Perhaps that’s why there aren’t any other apps for the system besides games — not even a proper web browser — even though these have been standard issue for every other console since the original Xbox. I would have loved to watch YouTube or Netflix on my Switch, and I certainly hope these will be coming soon.

It is still very much early days for the Switch, and this is reflected in the offerings on the Nintendo eShop, with only 44 games available at the time of writing, of which only Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe can really be considered system sellers. Consoles live and die by their software line-up, and while Nintendo have promised extensive third-party support, it remains to be seen whether this will follow through.

Having said all of that, I am incredibly happy with my investment in a Switch. It still has massive promise, and with it being the fastest selling console in Nintendo’s history, I hope it can live up to it in the years to come.

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