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Nintendo Switch Review

 


After months of waiting, the Nintendo Switch is finally here, boasting a hybrid design that’ll provide both console gaming and on-the-go gaming with a single console. Is Nintendo’s upcoming console something you should get excited about, or is it full of gimmicks? We've spent a couple of days playing with the Switch to find out. Here’s our Nintendo Switch review.

Design And Build

The new Nintendo is like no other console we've seen before and is a little hard to describe in terms of design. That's because the Switch has been designed so you can use it in various different ways, not just as a box that plugs into your TV and stays put.

 

 



TV Mode

The main part of the device is essentially a tablet, so requires docking to turn into a console you play on the TV, hence the 'TV mode'. Other modes are 'Handheld' and 'Tabletop' - see below. Moving the tablet in and out of the dock is easy, and you can even do it mid-game without pausing if you wish - it only takes the console a second to switch the display between the tablet screen and the TV.

With the console docked you can use the Joy-Con controllers attached to the grip as a sort of make-shift traditional controller, or use one each for some multiplayer games. You can also use the Pro controller, of course.

Tabletop Mode

Undock the Switch from the, dock without attaching the Joy-Con controllers and you've got Tabletop mode. Thanks to a kickstand on the back of the device, you can easily set it down on any flat surface and get gaming.

This is pretty cool and not something you can do with the PS4 or Xbox One. However, it is a little fiddly in the sense that you're playing games on a relatively small 6.2in screen so you can't sit too far away and play comfortably.

It's also fiddly because the Joy-Con controllers are very small. Holding them sideways to play is awkward because of the size and the way the joystick and buttons are so close together. With one being Left and the other Right, you don’t get the same experience on each using them this way due to necessary button placement.

The kickstand itself also feels light and flimsy - it’s solid enough for a table, but we’d be worried about using it during a bumpy drive or turbulent flight, for example. Thankfully, one nice touch is that it’s designed to detach and re-attach, meaning that if you accidentally pop it off - by leaving it out when you dock the console perhaps - with a bit of luck you’ll be able to just pop it back in.

 



Handheld Mode

The Nintendo Switch in handheld form is what makes the console so unique when compared to the likes of the PS4 and Xbox One. While Sony offers PS4 Remote Play via PC and Mac, and Microsoft offers something similar for the Xbox One, neither can offer a fully-fledged portable gaming experience like Nintendo can.

With the two Joy-Con controllers slotted into the sides of the tablet screen, the Nintendo Switch is lightweight and surprisingly comfortable to hold. It resembles a thinner, more attractive Wii U GamePad with a 720p HD screen, joysticks on either side, and the standard ABXY buttons and directional pad.

Nintendo Switch Hardware

The Grip completes the Switch’s console transformation, housing the left and right Joy-Con to form what feels like the most traditional controller Nintendo has made since the Super Nintendo.

This Voltron-esque configuration won’t be beating Sony’s Dual Shock 4 anytime soon, but it’s far more comfortable and functional than I’d imagined it would be from just looking at it.“
The Joy-Con never felt quite like home the way a great controller should.
The smallish face buttons are sufficiently clicky and easy to hit, but the lack of a traditional D-pad or full-sized analog triggers will put it at a disadvantage for certain types of games. The Minus button (think Select or Back) is very oddly placed, though: it’s so small and so close to the left analog stick that I can barely hit the button without nudging the stick.

Speaking of the analog sticks, they work well enough but are notably limited in range of motion compared to competitors’ controllers because of their short height. It’s easy enough to adjust to these tiny quirks, but even once I did, the Joy-Con never felt quite like home the way a great controller should. The other notable limitation of the Grip is that there’s no way to charge the Joy-Con while they’re attached – if their charge runs out (after what Nintendo claims is 20 hours, but we’ve yet to successfully run them down) you must re-attach them to the tablet to charge them. Alternatively, you can buy the $30 Joy-Con Charging Grip.

Multi-touch Display

The Switch’s 6.2-inch, multi-touch, 720p LCD screen is a beauty. Colour production is vibrant, and it’s bright enough to be played in indirect sunlight. Its generous viewing angles are a huge boon too, with a sweet spot large enough to make keeping an ideal picture easy.

And even if you stray out of it, the picture remains visible in a roughly 120-degree arc – which is necessary when you’re playing multiplayer games in table top mode. Its touch functionality is leaps and bounds beyond the Wii U’s too, making it feel in line with the kinds of touch interfaces we’ve all grown accustomed to interacting with on iPads and Android tablets.

The Joy-Con

Apparently, the left Joy-Con is an area where Nintendo could’ve spent a little more. I’m not the only person experiencing de-syncs with it relatively often when playing with the Joy-Con detached (in or out of the Joy-Con Grip), leaving inputs temporarily unread until it reconnects a few seconds later.

I’ve seen it happen occasionally with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Link died more than a few senseless deaths this way – but more often when playing 1-2-Switch, which has several mini-games that require you to cover most of the Joy-Con with your hand, potentially interfering with its signal

 



Our Verdict

One-part handheld and one-part console, Nintendo's latest piece of hardware wants to be the only device you need for gaming. In many ways it's a big success, offering an exceptional level of handheld graphical quality, before seamlessly transitioning into a home console – but this very adaptability has necessitated compromises which mean it isn't quite as good as the dedicated consoles and handhelds that have gone before it. Although it’s a must for the Nintendo Fans.

Nintendo’s newest console was released earlier this month on the 3rd of March and the hype hasn’t fully reached South Africa yet .This is mostly due to so few Retailer selling this console, Takealot being one of the only retailers right now, but this is set to increase in the next coming month. But if you are lucky enough to find it, it’s still going to set you back R5 199.00 for the console alone and infamous games like The Legend Of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, will cost you around R850.00. So be prepared to break the bank.

By Guzzle Staff Writer : Brandon-Lee Westraat

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