Switch Impressions

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David
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Switch Impressions

Postby David » March 3rd, 2017, 4:17 pm

I picked mine up last night with Zelda, Bomberman, and a pro controller. Hardware generally feels and looks really nice. The screen is much better than the Wii U's gamepad, with better colors, capacitive touch, and a 720p resolution. The kickstand is pretty flimsy however, and I imagine lots of people will be breaking them. When docked the system gets very warm playing Zelda, but undocked it stays pretty cool. Unfortunately, there is more slowdown playing Zelda on the TV as opposed to docked. I read that it's a byproduct of running the game at 900p on the TV and 720p portably. The joy-cons (joy-con?) feel good when connected to the screen - the buttons are all very clicky as opposed to the Wii U's, but I have mixed feelings when they detach.

The joy-cons are very, very small. Using them without the wrist strap attachment is not comfortable; with them, they are usable but don't feel great. I had contemplated not even buying a pro controller and just getting an extra set and using them in the included grip as a pro controller substitute. REALLY glad I didn't. Aside from not having a real d-pad, the placement of everything feels off. The d-pad/face buttons and analog sticks are vertical to each other, unlike the pro controller and Xbox/PS4's where the sticks and buttons are angled. It doesn't feel right, and the buttons on the joy-cons are pretty small, even smaller than the 3DS's. The sticks on the joy-cons are also sub-par with not a lot of travel. They're better than the Vita's, but considerably worse than a normal controller.

The pro controller on the other hand is excellent. Big buttons, nice analog sticks, and seemingly great battery life. I don't like the home/share/+/- button placement, but that's relatively minor. If you end up buying a Switch, I highly recommend buying a pro controller, or at least trying out the joy-cons first.

The initial setup of the system was really quick, and a much better process than the Wii U's. The only patch I had to download was a small one that enabled the use of microSD cards. The OS is very light - not a lot to the menus and functionality yet - so everything loads quickly. I downloaded Snipperclips off the eShop which downloaded very fast. Zelda and Bomberman also had a small patch to download when I put the game in, but downloaded fast as well. The eShop is hilariously barebones. After loading up it takes you to a screen that shows all 9 games available to download. That's it.

Short game impressions:

-Zelda is amazing. It's unlike any Zelda ever made, being completely open world and ditching many of the formulaic things the series is known for. I was starting to get sick of the series, feeling sour towards Twilight Princess and being unable to finish Skyward Sword. It drops you in a massive world, doesn't hold your hand, and lets you explore. There's so many new systems to figure out with cooking, weapons, clothing, shields, powers - it's a radical departure. If you don't have a Wii U I think the game is worth buying a Switch for, and even if you do this version runs better than the Wii U supposedly so it might even be worth it for that. I was playing Horizon Zero Dawn on PS4 the past few days, and it's a very good game that's gotten a lot of praise. Zelda takes Horizon and craps down its throat, and that's not an insult to Horizon. This is the Super Mario 64 for the Switch.

-Bomberman is a mixed bag. Even ignoring the $50 price tag, it doesn't feel too great. The controls are slightly sluggish, and the game runs at 30 FPS, so it could use more polish. I would pass unless you need a new Bomberman game and can't find one anywhere else.

-I haven't tried Snipperclips yet. And really I've played Zelda a majority of the time with the system, switching (ha) to Bomberman only briefly to try it.

Overall, I'm happy I bought it. It feels pretty awesome when you can play Zelda on the TV, decide to go into the bedroom, pull it out of the dock and instantly start playing on the small screen. If Nintendo did one thing right, they executed the promise of playing anywhere perfectly. Now the wait begins for Virtual Console and more than 9 games on the eShop...

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scotland
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Re: Switch Impressions

Postby scotland » March 3rd, 2017, 4:53 pm

Thanks for writing this up. I like that the OS is so light, and you are up and playing quickly. Even though I am not getting a Switch (at least not for a few months), I have to say its rather exciting. New hardware launch days (or a new Zelda for that matter) are rare events, and so good wishes to everyone enjoying today gaming. I am envious of your day, and all the enthusiasm is fun to read.

Also for fun, here was someone else's first impressions of the Wii U on the boards back in 2012, just to compare.
http://videogamecritic.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=134797&t=11704&p=107388&hilit=Impressions#p107388

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MoarRipter
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Re: Switch Impressions

Postby MoarRipter » March 3rd, 2017, 11:23 pm

Agreed with David, the Switch is a really slick piece of hardware and I'm liking it a lot. The OS is incredibly fast, night and day difference compared to the Wii U. The screen is gorgeous, without a doubt the best screen Nintendo has put on a handheld but I think everyone was expecting that. I was a little bummed my main user Mii wouldn't transfer to an Amiibo so I had to recreate my Mii from scratch but whatever. I've already knocked the Switch on its back due to the flimsy kickstand when I bumped my table. That kickstand sure does feel weak, kind of a concern.

I also got mine with Zelda and Bomberman R but got an extra set of Joycons instead of the Pro controller. I don't mind the Joycons but those black covers with the larger SL and SR buttons are a bit difficult to remove, at least at first. The console came with basically no instructions which was kind of odd. Not that it needs them but they pretty much put the instructions on the side of the box under the flap, which was kind of weird to me. Nintendo consoles have always come with at least some kind of instruction booklet, even the NES Classic does.

Bomberman R is tricky to play with the Joycons, it feels odd doing the precise maneuvers that game requires with a D-pad made out of tiny circular buttons and to me the analog stick feels too clumsy for movement. I'll probably pickup a Pro controller in the future, I really love the Pro controller for the Wii U and the one for the Switch looks even better. I'm sure Bomberman R will be awesome regardless with 4 and 8 multiplayer battles once I get around to doing that. For $40 (BBY rewards member) it's not a bad game, I wouldn't have paid more than that. Zelda really is the highlight however, such beautiful graphics and smooth. 1-2 Switch, I'll wait on getting that until I can find it in a bargain bin or used, based on reviews I've read about it it's only worth $20 tops.

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Rookie1
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Re: Switch Impressions

Postby Rookie1 » March 4th, 2017, 6:22 am

Be careful with docking and undocking. I guess the screen is made of plastic and have seen a few YouTube videos so far showing that the dock is scratching the screens up pretty bad.

Also, avoid the adhesive skins. They appear to destroy the rubbery grips and logos printed on them.

As for Zelda on the wiiu, I would have to play the games side by side. I got it for the wiiu and it runs great. I haven't experienced any slowdown of any kind as of yet.

BanjoPickles
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Re: Switch Impressions

Postby BanjoPickles » March 4th, 2017, 3:13 pm

I was apprehensive about picking the game up for Wii U because I was nervous that they (Nintendo) would release a janky, bug riddled port. Thankfully, it turned out great! It runs very smoothly, for the most part, and it looks terrific!

Had this game been a Switch exclusive, it would have been the best launch title, quality and gameplay wise, since Mario 64! The game is phenomenal, and it may go down as being my all-time favorite Zelda game, and I'm only about five hours in! It's that good!

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David
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Re: Switch Impressions

Postby David » March 4th, 2017, 7:54 pm

BanjoPickles wrote:I was apprehensive about picking the game up for Wii U because I was nervous that they (Nintendo) would release a janky, bug riddled port. Thankfully, it turned out great! It runs very smoothly, for the most part, and it looks terrific!

Had this game been a Switch exclusive, it would have been the best launch title, quality and gameplay wise, since Mario 64! The game is phenomenal, and it may go down as being my all-time favorite Zelda game, and I'm only about five hours in! It's that good!

I'm glad the Wii U version runs well. Nintendo's not the kind of company to crap out games (generally). Digital Foundry had a comparison between the two and the major differences on the big screen were resolution (900p Switch vs 720p Wii U) and more AA on the Switch version. Both have significant slowdown in certain areas which is driving me a little nuts, but that's okay. The only version that doesn't have much slowdown is the Switch version in portable mode, which Isn't worth it to play on the small screen unless necessary.

I did try Snipperclips with the wife and we had a lot of fun, after the first five minutes of her teling me I was doing everything wrong... It's a pretty uniqe puzzle game where to have cut each other's bodies into different shapes to solve each problem. It's only $20 but it is download only if you care about that.

I would like to go back a little on what I said about Horizon vs Zelda. Zelda is cleary the better game, but maybe I was slightly hyperbolic on the crapping of the throat comment, haha. To be clear, Horizon is a fantastic first RPG effort by Guerrilla Games and everyone with a PS4 should try it.

eneuman96
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Re: Switch Impressions

Postby eneuman96 » March 4th, 2017, 10:54 pm

A lot of people say the launch lineup is weak, but Breath of the Wild EASILY makes up tenfold for the relative lack of other games, even taking into account that it's also available for Wii U. People have additionally written good things about Snipperclips, though I get the impression from playing the demo of it that playing it with only one player instead of two would be frustrating. The Switch does appear to be getting quite the healthy amount of indie support, and I personally can't wait to play games like Snake Pass, Tumbleseed, and Celeste on the go, even if they aren't quite as heavily anticipated as Super Mario Odyssey or Splatoon 2. Worth noting is that the Switch is the only system some of these games are getting a physical release on as opposed to downloadable only.

As far as the controllers go, I personally think the Joy-Cons don't feel very ergonomic when separated from the system or JoyCon Grip and used individually, though the Joy-Con Grip is a decent alternative to a Pro Controller (which I haven't got yet but will almost certainly be my preferred method of playing games like Zelda) if you can't afford the latter. I haven't had a chance to see what the HD Rumble feature is like, but many people claim it feels quite realistic. Everything looks great on the tablet in spite of the resolution being lower than on a TV screen and the tablet being smaller than the Wii U's Game Pad.

I like how the updates for both the system and games appear to be very quick and aren't intrusive, compared to how onerous the Wii U's system update required upon starting that particular system up for the first time was.

I also like the presence of a dedicated screenshot button, which is a relief compared to the slightly annoying and downright hellish processes of taking a screenshot on the PS4 and Xbox One, respectively. Hey, sometimes I just want to show off a game to other people online! What I don't like, however, is the fact that it only seems possible to post said screenshots to social media and not anywhere else, which ties into the fact that there is currently no Internet browser for the system. That's Nintendo's online sensibilities for you ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

So the Switch isn't perfect, but what system is at launch? At the very least, I'm confident it will sell better than the Wii U due to having more support and much better advertising, not to mention the portability factor provides a legitimate reason to buy the Switch version of a multiplatform game over the other versions. Nintendo just might learn from their past mistakes this time.

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Hardcore Sadism
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Re: Switch Impressions

Postby Hardcore Sadism » March 6th, 2017, 7:22 pm

This is gonna be the only time I waited to get a revision before jumping in on a Nintendo platform, unbelievable man...

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scotland
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Re: Switch Impressions

Postby scotland » March 8th, 2017, 9:16 am

Now that the Switch is out, there are some complaints. What do you think on these?
(And lets keep in mind none of these are even in RROD ballpark)

No web browser when the WiiU and 3DS have them
Overheating
No Netflix or other high interest apps
About a 3 hour battery life
Save data locked to the hardware storage
Nintendo saying a small number of dead pixels don't qualify as a defect
The dock scratching the screen
The joy con losing connection momentarily
Not being able to charge in tabletop mode without buying yet something else
The flimsy kickstand
Lack of Bluetooth headphone support

Overheatjng would be my biggest concern (and screen issues), and it might not become apparent how much of an issue that is for months, if it is an issue at all.

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David
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Re: Switch Impressions

Postby David » March 8th, 2017, 3:13 pm

scotland wrote:Now that the Switch is out, there are some complaints. What do you think on these?
(And lets keep in mind none of these are even in RROD ballpark)

No web browser when the WiiU and 3DS have them
Overheating
No Netflix or other high interest apps
About a 3 hour battery life
Save data locked to the hardware storage
Nintendo saying a small number of dead pixels don't qualify as a defect
The dock scratching the screen
The joy con losing connection momentarily
Not being able to charge in tabletop mode without buying yet something else
The flimsy kickstand
Lack of Bluetooth headphone support

Overheatjng would be my biggest concern (and screen issues), and it might not become apparent how much of an issue that is for months, if it is an issue at all.

I feel a lot of those are either minor or non-issues. The web browser and video apps are coming eventually, and while there's no good reason it couldn't have launched with that functionality, I'm guessing most people have other solutions for watching Netflix or browsing the web at home or away from home. Their dead pixel policy is similar to most other electronics makers, so I'm not sure why it's gotten so much attention now. The charging port being on the bottom is necessary for being able to dock the way it does, and battery life is about as good as can be in that form factor with the capabilities it has. Just a concession that had to be made to create a portable home console unfortunately. The kickstand supposedly is meant to break off easily, and can be reattached fairly simply. They also sell them on their website for $4. Maybe not the best choice, but pretty minor. Bluetooth support being missing is annoying, but the console uses bluetooth to connect to the joy cons so I'm guessing it'll show up as a "feature" in a future update.

More problematic issues are the saved data being locked to a console, the dock design, and the left joy con connection problems. Why Nintendo has to lock saved data to a console is completely lost on me. A new console launch would've been perfect to introduce a new online profile system that can handle cloud data saves like PSN, Xbox Live and Steam. Or at the very least let you transfer it to your MicroSD card, or have it save on the cartridge itself - basically anything other than tying it to the console.

The dock scratching is tricky. I was wondering whether the screen would be glass or plastic, and it's clear they went for plastic for cost reasons but also durability. The Switch is really, really durable if you look at some of the videos on Youtube. The rails of the dock are positioned as such so they're outside the viewing area, so scratches should mainly accumulate just on the bezels of the screen. But you're not gonna dock it in perfectly every time, and having a softer material for the rails and edges of the dock would've been a smarter choice. A screen protector alleviates this though, and is almost a neccesity.

The joy con issue is the most serious I think. After launch I read it was fixed in a firmware update, but then I saw something else later suggesting it was hardware related. I haven't experienced it playing Bomberman or Snipperclips with the left joy con, but if it is hardware related that's potentially a huge problem. And why wasn't it caught in QC if it is widespread? I'm hoping it's a defect with certain batches of joy cons, or can be fixed through software.


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