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Nintendo Switch First Impressions

Nintendo’s newest system has been out for just over two weeks and we thought we would share our first impressions of the console. We’re holding off on the full review of the system and its capabilities until it’s been out for a little longer since we don’t think it’s fair to review it this early into its life. We’re thinking of doing the full review within a month or two of release because then more of the launch window titles will have released and it gives Nintendo a fair amount of time to explain, showcase, and define expectations for the system and its future.

There are lot of Nintendo fans at BagoGames but Angelo and I may be among the biggest. We made sure to preorder one not only so we could review games for you all but also because we couldn’t imagine waiting any longer to try it out. Breath of the Wild definitely ensured we were going to get a Switch at launch, too!

 

Angelo DeBellis

Months ago I was excited for a new Nintendo console, the Switch. Today I’m excited about what I deem to be a new Nintendo handheld, and I mean that in the most endearing way.

Yes, Nintendo may argue that the Switch is a console first and a handheld second, that the handheld ability is what is to be considered the hybrid component of the proposition, but I disagree. I don’t see it that way, and I don’t care. For me the Switch has thus far proven its worth as a sturdy, powerful, comfortable handheld device. And while I can and do enjoy playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the go, it’s so much more fun to be able to curl up in bed and play one of the grandest adventures of all time like a lazy, attention lacking millennial.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Nintendo

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Nintendo

I’m so sold on the Switch being a handheld that I’d faster promote it that way to friends or potential buyers than try to explain why it’s an awesome gaming console. I mean, try to explain the underpowered, archaic, online-inept device to your gamer friends who own an Xbox One or a PlayStation 4—or heaven-forbid, a gaming PC—and you’ll soon find that the Switch doesn’t exactly lend itself well to the console standard. But promote the device as one that lets you play console-quality games, albeit with poorer graphics than most cutting edge games, one that lets you play amazing Nintendo titles, and hopefully one that lets you delve into the nostalgia of past Nintendo titles, and I’m sure that many will take no issue with the asking price.

I suppose you could say that I believe the Switch to have an identity crisis of sorts, but one that can be solved in the future. The 3DS has been around for far too long, and the Switch is a perfect opportunity for Nintendo to completely merge their handheld and console gaming offerings into one all-out, hyper-creative effort. Not only do I hope for this to happen, I believe it will.

With that will come even more exciting opportunities because games can be developed in a way that take advantage of the portability of the Switch while others can continue the current trend of working well as both console and handheld experiences. In tandem with all the exciting indies, I sure hope that, as I hinted above, virtual console titles really deliver this time around, better than they did on the Wii and Wii U.

Luigi's Mansion, Nintendo

Luigi’s Mansion, Nintendo

I’m talking access to NES, SNES, N64, and GameCube. Cube games would be a real treat to play on the go—they are just old enough to have passed that point of delivering a punch in the nostalgia department, but not quite aged enough to be completely misaligned with modern game design. In addition to these platforms being offered, I will further my confidence in the Switch as a device that caters to handheld play by remarking that it would be utterly oblivious of Nintendo to forget about extending the VC without the inclusion of our favorite portable platforms: Gameboy, Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advance, and DS. I’d include 3DS, but that may be pushing it!

All in all, the Switch is a formidable gaming device, one that I enjoy for reasons different to what I thought I would be looking forward to in a new games machine from Nintendo. Now please excuse me while I play some more Zelda!

Josh Nichols

I’ve been looking forward to this system ever since Nintendo’s last E3 conference in 2015. I enjoyed it and was looking forward to everything they announced (except maybe Federation Force) but it was just obvious they were winding down and shifting focus. Being a huge Nintendo fan, I was excited for innovations that I knew they’d be bringing. We always buy all three systems but there’s the Nintendo releases are always the most exciting. Their approach is just so much more unique. I love playing games on Xbox and Playstation but overall they’re just trying to compete with PC’s and it’s a battle they’ll never win. No matter what they do, RAM and power will always be better on PC’s. It’s a constant battle that they’ll never be able to succeed at so while I still love all the games they make and primarily play on console, I always have more excitement in Nintendo’s system launches. They always find a way to innovate and shake things up (for better or worse) and the Nintendo Switch is no different.

My first thought when taking it out of the box was definitely just having both shock and awe when I took the system out of the box and held it. All I could think of was that this was it. This was the whole system. I was almost scared to hold it. It felt so fragile and vulnerable in my hands. This is probably what it feels like to be a parent you’re able to hold your infant child for the first time. The main difference being that the Nintendo Switch is obviously better because babies can’t function as game systems. Babies also aren’t backwards compatible. But neither is the Switch, so that contest is a draw I guess.

Nintendo Switch Home Screen

Nintendo Switch Home Screen

Once I booted it up, I was immediately impressed with the home screen. In typical Nintendo fashion, the UI was smooth and the home screen felt very minimalistic. It was weird not having to navigate anywhere to play games because lately I’ve been so used to Steam and Xbox but I definitely prefer it this way. The games are front and center and it almost feels bold in an industry that’s also focused on other uses for consoles. Nintendo assured everyone that streaming apps are on the way and while I’m excited for that, I’m also hoping the icons aren’t just shuffled in the middle of all the games on the home screen. I’m hoping you have to navigate to a different spot for them.

The controllers feel very responsive and I enjoy taking them on and off the system. It not only works right but it also just feels good. I never hesitate going back and forth between tablet mode and TV move. This is great because this is one of the big intentions of the Switch, to free us from the shackles of games being stationary. I’ve already found myself hitting the sleep button and taking the Switch to a different part of the house to play in tablet or kickstand mode. It’s very satisfying to have it in kickstand mode next to the computer so I can play stuff while I’m working on a review or editing an article. It was crucial that Nintendo got this right because if it was a pain to switch (heh) back and forth between different modes, the promise and goals of the Switch would be considered a failure right at launch.

(Polygon)

(Polygon)

I personally wish they included the Joy-Con Charging Grip Controller with the system. I don’t want to exaggerate because it’s honestly not a big deal charging the Joy-Cons without it but it’s a bit inconvenient. See if you don’t have any additional accessories that weren’t included in the box the system came in then to charge the controllers, you have to put them on the system and then put the system in the dock. Here’s another catch: it doesn’t charge the system while the controllers are plugged into it. So if your Joy-Cons need to charge and your Switch does too, you’re going to have to put the system in the dock, wait for it to finish charging and then put the controllers on it and put it back into the dock. It won’t start charging the controllers after the system is charged or vice versa. It’s also a pain because you have to take the system on and off the dock in order to put the controllers on it. But I can’t complain too much because it works and the better methods just cost a bit more. I assume Nintendo just wanted to make the console as cheap as possible and allow people the ability to upgrade a la carte.

As far as games go there may not be a ton but it’s been a solid launch so far and quality has been pretty consistently high with all the titles. From Breath of the Wild to Snipperclips to Super Bomberman R to Tomorrow Corporation’s three offerings, there have been some damn good stuff available to play. The games have also been highly representative of Nintendo’s intentions for the console. To be able to play games anywhere, everywhere, and to also be able to share that experience with a friend rather earlier. The size and scope has also been different across many of the games. Breath of the Wild may be a big game but if you don’t have that much to commit then you can always play Super BombermanBlaster Master Zero, or Fast RMX. Tomorrow Corporation’s three games also help not only in regards to the controls and how interesting they are but also in open and almost co-op nature of the games. You can of course play Little Inferno and Human Resource Machine in a co-op style but it’s also great throwing an easy-to-understand but also difficult to master game up on the TV for all to see. The stakes feel higher and it almost involves everyone within the process. This is how games were meant to be experienced, with friends and family alongside you.

Snipperclips: Cut it Out, Together!, Nintendo

Snipperclips: Cut it Out, Together!, Nintendo

The system is fast. It’s light. It feels both powerful and portable at the same time. I hope these innovations find their way over to Sony and Microsoft because this is one of my favorite ideas from Nintendo in quite some time. The portable/TV combination of play styles is too great not to spread to every company. It’ll be interesting to see how Sony and Microsoft react to the Nintendo Switch. I hope they borrow some of the functionality for their next consoles because Nintendo’s idea of allowing us to play our consoles anywhere is a truly remarkable thing that I look forward to everyone being able to experience.


Do you already have a Nintendo Switch? Let us know what you think of it in the comments or by contacting us on Twitter at @BagoGames. For more news, reviews, and more in regards to the Nintendo Switch, make sure to keep it right here on BagoGames!

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