“Mayor Of A Ghost Town”: Nintendo Swtich Review

Posted in Kulturecade by - March 10, 2017

The Nintendo Switch has arrived and, since it’s reveal in late 2016, Nintendo has touted that their new console will offer a console quality experience in a device that taken on the go. Nintendo has a fantastic track record when it comes to handheld systems, but since the original GameCube, they’re arguably had issues with appealing to the core gamer. This begs the question; can Nintendo deliver on their boasting? After seven days with the console, it’s time to see just what Nintendo has brought to the table in their successor to the Wii U.

When you first unbox your Switch console, you’ll find the Switch itself and the two Joy-Con controllers. When you first handle the console, it’s build quality is surprisingly solid and its light weight enough that it’s comfortable to hold for extended periods of time. Looking at the and you’ll find the power and volume buttons on the top left side of the switch and the cartridge slot on the opposite side. The back of the system has a kickstand, which covers up the micro SD card slot. The kickstand, which was one of the prominent features Nintendo advertised in the build up to the console’s launch, is incredibly flimsy and while the console is propped up, pressing the volume button can cause the system to fall over. Unfortunately, this is one of my biggest issues with the Switch’s design itself, as if the kickstand had been positioned better or made of a higher quality material, this is a problem that feels it could have been avoided.

The console’s screen, while smaller than an iPad mini screen, it’s surprisingly sharp and offers up a remarkably beautiful image. This screen has also caused one of the biggest issues with the Nintendo Switch, and that is the console’s battery life while in portable mode. Nintendo claims that the Switch’s battery will last between two and a half hours to six hours on a single charge, with the amount fluctuating depending on the title being played. If you compare this to the three to five hours for the 3DS or four to six for the Vita, the Switch’s much larger HD screen offers incredible battery life for the power of the console.

The Switch includes a left and right Joy-Con controller and a Joy-Con grip, which allows the two Joy-Cons to be used as a traditional controller. When using the console in portable mode, the Joy-Cons can be put onto the sides of the unit to be utilized in a similar style to a giant Game Boy Advance or PSVita. Of course, with the kickstand, you can also prop the system up and play with either the Joy-Con titled on its side or using the Joy-Con grip. The grip offers a very comfortable controller, similar in design to a Dreamcast controller. The Joy-Cons themselves, while small, easy to use after attaching the included Joy-Con straps. Even without the inclusion of a traditional D-pad, the Joy-Cons are great little controllers and if it weren’t for the connectivity issue, would be among the best Nintendo has made since the Super Nintendo.

After finally setting up your Switch, you’ll be greeted with the Switch’s user interface. It’s a bare bones experience when compared to either the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, or even the Wii U, and while this has been a point of contention for some, I find it refreshing. Modern UI’s, specifically on the X1 and PS4, have become bloated and featured a lot of bells and whistles that most users will likely never touch. This creates a drain on system resources, something that isn’t present on the Switch. The Switch’s UI has been streamlined, each of the console’s main features can be seen on the main screen, which contains links for News, the eShop, a menu for pairing controllers, system settings, and, finally, the option to set the console to sleep mode.

This simplistic set up cuts out the need to navigate through seemingly endless menus to find something as simple as your system settings. This simplicity is carried over to the eShop, which features only three menus, one for current releases, one for upcoming releases and an option to redeem a code. This works great right now, thanks to there being less than twenty items in the eShop, though I do realize that eventually, they’ll need an alternative to find items in the store once it starts to fill up. Presumably, these things will change later in 2017 when Nintendo transitions to their paid online service, but for now this simplistic approach is more than enough to keep me happy.

Finally, the user profile tracks your friends and what games you’ve played on your console. Friends can be added using the Friend Code system, which Nintendo claims is only temporary, though this practice of using friend codes feels very dated. It’s been more than a decade since the friend code system was introduced with the original Wii, and it just seems cumbersome, especially when you compare it to how easy adding friends can be on the other systems currently on the market.

In the shadow of the Wii U, it would seem Nintendo has learned from their failures with their previous console. The portability with the Switch is remarkable and, unlike the Wii U’s gamepad, allows players a truly portable experience for console quality titles. The console’s build quality is fantastic, aside from issues with the kickstand and widespread connection problems with the Joy-Con controllers.

The system’s battery life is amazing when compared to other portable gaming devices, and its streamlined interface feels like a breath of fresh air when compared to the bloated UI’s on the Xbox and Playstation systems. Even with its flaws, the Switch is a great system. Although It’s hard to recommend right now due to the small library, but that will change over the next few months. Once Nintendo can iron out the current issues with the Switch, I feel it will be the first “must own” console from Nintendo in years. The Switch is a fantastic and intriguing piece of hardware, and I look forward to spending a lot of time with mine over the next few years.

  • Release Date: 3/3/2017
This post was written by
He is a senior editor at Kulture Shocked. A seasoned gamer, Zach has been playing video games since the early 90s and have owned everything from the NES to the Xbox One. Aside from video games, Zach is a nerd of all trades and dabbles in everything from collectible card games to Gunpla.
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