May 15, 2019 at 4:26 PM #1144
Rating: 5.0 – Flawless
Since when was ‘Let me finish this game’ null and void ON A CONSOLE?!?
OK, Consoles, as a rule, fit into two categories. The often-large, often-bulky home system, with stellar graphics in, at least, 1080p HD as well as half an hour to setup the TV and everything else, and the small, light and easy to use portables, which mobile phones and tablets fit into the same category, which have lower quality graphics by far in exchange for portability and universal play-anywhere utility.
However, for many years, Consoles are known for a slew of comments, especially with long and involved games… ‘Let me finish this game’, ‘I just have to finish this stage’, ‘I’ll be done in five minutes’…
The Nintendo Switch, in one fell swoop, changed all of them to ‘Give me a minute’, as you pause the game, get up… and go do whatever, and you’re still playing the game. The Switch is a home system’s graphical grunt and quality of gaming… with the very real and very functional option of playing the same system as a portable which remains just as pin-sharp.
Nintendo hit upon a great idea with the Wii U Gamepad. The Switch, at it’s heart, IS the Wii U Gamepad. However, when it’s docked, you have two options, the basic Joycons, which are a step up from the Wii’s Wiimote in the same way as the SNES Gamepad is a step up from the NES, in technology and amount of buttons, or you can put them into their own dock and get a small, but well made gamepad… or, with some games, you can turn the Joycon into a literal successor to the SNES Gamepad, with a joystick instead of the D-Pad, which was sacrificed to the gods of progress.
Now, this is where the Switch’s core mechanic comes into play. Almost all games support at least two of those control options, and some support all three. And with those latter ones, and some which don’t support strictly any of them, an even more, to other companies, insane thing comes into play. Two player gaming out of the box.
Sony and Microsoft are reluctant to put more than one pad into the box, since they’re expensive, and consoles are loss-leaders. Nintendo put only one set of Joycons into the box… but those Joycons can, with a surprisingly large amount of games, be used independently. In Snipperclips, the whole idea is two people goofing around with the Joycons individually. 1-2-Switch, again, two player, one set. If a game is multiplayer, there’s only a handful of games that don’t support single Joycon play, and several encourage it.
Some would say it’s the elephant in the room, especially with the XB1X and PS4 Pro’s reliance on 4K HDR UHD Super Duper Resolution graphics quality, but it’s not. In fact, If the Switch supported all that, It would probably cost twice as much and be a lot less endearing. The Switch’s graphics aren’t bleeding edge, they’re HD quality, in the kind of fidelity that most people use day-to-day, and crisp and easy to see with no problems.
When you get to games like Doom and LA Noire, you need to remind yourself that it’s a portable. When you look at the Playstation Vita or 3DS, you can see the compromises to get them on those systems. On the Switch, You’re not seeing compromises in the same way. They are the same games as on PC, just on something that is universally playable. Minecraft is getting a full makeover in a $10 4K graphics pack. Nintendo Switch is getting it… and it will never even support 4K.
The opposite elephant in the room. OK, It’s stood up to the test of being a great home console, with great graphics and presentation on those graphics, but how portable is it?
It has a kickstand built into the casing. It can switch between a TV and playing in your hand in a second. The Joycons slide in and out with minimal applied force, and have attachable lanyards which also extend the side L and R buttons out perfectly for use in that mode. It’s large, but not oppressively so, fitting into a jeans pocket with a noticeable bulge, but it still can be put in and taken out with little fanfare.
And again, that’s a massive plus. In this age where a uber-advanced console needs a TV, a VR headset, some kind of hand controls, the normal controller and numerous other bits and pieces, to be able to carry around just two small controllers and a tablet is way more portable than it’s opponents in the console war. You need a backpack to take a PS4 or XBOX One out. You could walk the dog while holding the Switch. And unlike the PS4 or XBOX One, the Switch is still a fully playable system.
This is where it’s also managed to hit it out of the park. When plugged into a TV, the sound is not much different to any other console. When it’s not… It’s still as good as ever, and I actually needed to look to find out where the speakers are. There’s little problems with loss of sound quality when you, ahem, switch from portable to TV, and they’re mostly because the sound balance is different between the two.
Most people these days are like Jeremy Clarkson… "POWAAAAAH!" and buy into the whole ‘2K/4K’ debate, and how they want to see their games look pin-sharp on a TV that would do well as a backup cinema screen.
The sensible people, however, are buying into the Switch. You want to go to the bathroom, Switch. You need to walk the dog, Switch. You are at a critical moment in a game and the power goes out, Guess what’s still working? Yes, The Switch. It’s the first and only console that combines the best of all worlds in gaming. Something like Skyrim or Disgaea, that require literal hours of gameplay for long periods of the day…
Both of those are on the Switch, and they no longer have you going "Let me just finish this game!". Instead it’s "I’ll be there in a minute." and you’re able to do all kinds of jobs that normally would need you to stop playing… and your play time hasn’t stopped. Whoever said that the game ends when you step away from the TV?
Nintendo certainly didn’t. In fact, with the Switch, they said ‘WHY?’, and many gamers went and switched up.
Rating: 5.0 – Flawless
Product Release: Nintendo Switch (Gray) (EU, 03/03/17)
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