Hey peeps, welcome back! A little late this week, but for good reason. Nintendo had their Nintendo Switch presentation a few hours ago, and I wanted to give my thoughts on it. Now, as I write this, information is still coming out on the system features and games post-presentation, so be sure to keep your eyes on your gaming media site(s) of choice for all the latest news. Now, on to my thoughts.
The Nintendo Switch will launch on March 3rd, 2017, for a cost of $300 USD. It’s a good price, while we knew it was coming in March, I kind of expected later in the month. But hey, the 3rd is as good as any date, I guess. The first big question is, should I buy it? Personally, I think I’ll wait until maybe later this year or sometime next year, as more games come out. Maybe it will even go on sale for the holidays. Who knows?
The Switch Pro Controller doesn’t come with the system, but the Joy-Con controller does. They said the Switch can last in portable mode for 2½-6 hours, depending on the game. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will reportedly run for 3 hours in portable mode, for example. The system will also be able to plug in to an electrical outlet without needing to be in the dock, so you can charge it without the dock, as well as playing in portable mode while it charges.
As far as the games go, there’s a new Mario game called Super Mario Odyssey. At least some parts of the game will feature Mario and pals in the real world. Honestly, seeing cartoon-like Mario alongside realistic humans is a little weird. Like, Mario, Luigi, Peach, etc. are all humans, right? So why are the “real world” humans so visibly different? Okay, okay, Mario and the group are humans from a different universe. I get that. But it still looks weird. Also, Mario’s hat is now alive and has eyes. Oh, the horror. This plays into the story in ways that wasn’t explained. Anyway, there will still be plenty of fantastical, cartoony worlds for Mario to explore. It’s not just Mario in New York or something.
Splatoon 2 looks neat. Same Splatoon gameplay, but with new maps, new weapons, new special attacks, basically more Splatoon. Which is great. I enjoyed the first game, at least for a while. It got a little stale, I admit. I hope Splatoon 2 offers some more variety of stuff. They made it sound like there will be other modes other than Turf War and its variants, which gives me hope for some big gameplay changes.
The Switch has a party game in 1-2-Switch. The presentation of the game was rather silly, and I don’t think it’s really going to be a game for me. For one, you apparently need other players to be in the room with you, and that’s not going to happen. And it just looks like something to show off some of the hardware gimmicks.
They also showed off Arms, a gimmicky “boxing” game where you use the Joy-Con controllers, and the motion sensors within, to control a boxer with springy arms. You really have to see it to understand, I think. I don’t really know how to describe it.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was officially announced for the Switch, after being showcased in the initial trailer for the system. Bethesda repeatedly denied comment on whether or not Skyrim was coming to the Switch, even after Nintendo showed it running on the system in said trailer. But Todd Howard made a taped appearance in the presentation to make it official. No word on if it’s the Special Edition of Skyrim with the enhanced graphics, or if it’s just the original version with all the DLC bundled in.
There was another brief glimpse of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which wasn’t officially titled or detailed until after the event. Basically it’s Mario Kart 8 with all the DLC, plus more characters, more tracks, and more Battle modes. It sounds nice, but I would rather have had a brand new Mario Kart 9. I’ll still probably get it, though. I’m a Mario Kart junkie. Gotta have it.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is set to be a launch title for the Switch, coming out on March 3rd. It looks great, and will finally introduce voice acting to the Zelda franchise. Holy crap. And some of the scenes look pretty emotionally heavy. Something that the series really hasn’t been able to convey up to this point, in my opinion.
Shown off, albeit very briefly, was Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers. No, I didn’t get the number wrong. It is indeed yet another version of Street Fighter II. Street Fighter V has been out for almost a year, and Capcom is going back to the old standby. It’s Ultra because there’s two new fighters: Evil Ryu and Violent Ken, as well as a new 2-on-1 handicap battle mode. Plus, players will be able to choose between the original SF2 graphics or the HD graphics style of Street Fighter II HD Remix. It sounds good, and I’m sure fighting game fans are excited, but I’m not very good at fighting games.
Now for some other miscellany. The Switch will be compatible with Amiibo figures. There is a Capture button on the left Joy-Con controller, which will allow you to take screenshots (and in the future, video) to share on social media. On one of the Joy-Con controllers is a fancy camera that can detect objects, as well as how far away they are from the controller. The camera thing is neat, but I don’t really see much application for it. The Joy-Con controllers also have some sort of newfangled “HD Rumble,” which I guess means there are multiple rumble motors in each controller. I don’t know. It’s something you need to try hands-on to understand, I guess.
Nintendo’s new online service for the Switch will be free at launch, but will turn into a paid service sometime in the Fall. Paying members will get access to a free NES or SNES game each month, kind of like the PlayStation Plus Instant Game Collection or the Xbox Live Games With Gold. No word on if you get to keep the game as long as you’re a subscriber like the PS+ or XBL programs, or if the game is only available for free that month. There was a curious bit of text on the Nintendo website about SNES games having online multiplayer. Very interesting.
Also mentioned was that the Nintendo Switch will be region-free. No region locks! For example, that means people in the US can import games from Japan or Europe and play them on their US system without modification. Sony went region-free with the PS3 and PS4, and most Nintendo handhelds have been region-free (except the DSi and 3DS), but this is the first Nintendo console that has been region-free. While I’m not an importer, myself, I think it’s nice that Nintendo is opening up their system to all regions like this.
In terms of storage, the Switch has 32GB of internal storage, with the option to expand it using microSDXC cards. Neat stuff. The Switch’s screen is a multi-touch capacitive touch screen that can display up to 720p resolution. When docked, the Switch will output at 1080p to a television screen. That would account for the reported “decrease in power” when switching from the dock to handheld mode.
I think that about covers everything. You can find me on Twitter at @geekdombrandon. See you all next time.