NINTENDO SWITCHES IT UP
WITH A FANTASTIC MIX OF TRADITIONAL GAMING TITLES AND A RENEWED EMPHASIS ON LOCAL MULTIPLAYER, THE NINTENDO SWITCH OFFERS SOMETHING FOUND NOWHERE ELSE…
Mario leads the charge on the Nintendo Switch, a brand-new games machine that’s both a handheld and home console. We show you the hardware and must-get titles.
Nintendo is renowned for its innovative approach to gaming and paying attention to how gamers really play. And it’s excelled itself with its latest launch – the Switch is a handheld and a living-room console in one, enabling you to essentially undock it and carry on playing wherever you go. Set to launch in Australia on 3 March, for a recommended retail price of $469.95, the system will be available in two standard configurations. The first includes the Nintendo Switch console, a Switch dock, a Switch Joy-Con controller in grey, Switch controller straps and an HDMI cable. The second configuration is identical to the first, but features a red-and-blue Joy-Con controller instead of a grey one. Other themed Switch docks, Joy-Con controllers and straps will be available
UNLIKE THE WII U’S LIGHT AND PLASTICKY GAMEPAD, THE SWITCH FEELS REASSURINGLY SOLID
at a later date – including a The Legend
Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild iteration. The Switch console itself features a 6.2-inch capacitive-multitouch display with a resolution of 1280 x 720. As such, when the console is being used in handheld or tabletop mode, games will run at up to 720p. When the system is slotted into its dock, however, games can be played at up to 1080p.
In addition, the launch edition of the Switch comes with 32GB of internal storage and a maximum battery life of six hours. However, Nintendo has confirmed that battery life is gamedependent, with anywhere between 2.5 and six hours possible (we’ll have to see how that pans out when we do our full test, coming soon).
The first thing we noticed when picking up the Nintendo Switch was how well-built it felt. Unlike the Wii U’s light and plasticky gamepad, the Switch seemed high-end, with cold metal and glass making it feel reassuringly solid in the hand. The dock, too, while not exactly heavy, didn’t feel lightweight and cheap, which is important as you don’t want to splash out $470 and then feel like you’re docking your well-built console into something unfitting.
The process of taking the Switch out of the dock and then re-inserting it was seamless, with the screens immediately switching from one to the other. We could also see no way that the dock could scratch the Switch’s screen through clumsy insertions or extractions. While the experience on TV is as good as usual, it’s when the console is taken portable that its main strength comes to the fore.
The Nintendo Switch works with two new controllers – the Joy-Con, which comes bundled with the system, and the Pro controller, which is a more traditional gamepad that retails separately. The Joy-Con controllers attach to the side of the Switch via two buttons, and can be used attached either side like a Wii U controller,
detached and separate like a Nintendo Wii remote, or connected together to form a gamepad for when gaming in tabletop or TV mode. The Pro (similar to the Wii U Pro), which we used at the launch event, was fine though lacked a certain amount of flair.
Each Joy-Con controller has an accelerometer and a gyroscope for Wii-style motion control, as well as advanced haptic feedback. Nintendo refers to this as “HD Rumble”, and it enables the controllers to simulate a greater array of feedback experience than prior controllers. Finally, the Joy-Con controller has an IR camera, individual shoulder buttons located on the inside of the controller to use when separated for cooperative play, and a capture button for taking images and, later, videos in-game.
So what can you play on this thing? Nintendo has revealed a number of games that are to launch either alongside the Switch in March, or later on throughout 2017. These include, but are not limited to, The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild, Splatoon 2, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Fire Emblem Warriors, Skyrim, Super Mario Odyssey, 1-2-Switch, Arms and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. The major launch title for the Switch is undoubtedly The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild, which both looks and plays spectacularly. Boasting a huge open world, the game features stylish cell-shaded graphics and all the classic locations, species, weapons and game mechanics that the series is known for.
Super Mario Odyssey, despite not launching until the holiday season, is arguably the other titanic title coming to the system this year. Featuring a Super Mario 64- style open world and control mechanics - there’s even a magic hat that grants the portly Italian plumber special powers - it is, from what we’ve seen here at T3 Towers, set to be one of the games of Christmas 2017. While The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The
Wild and Odyssey are games in the traditional mould, 1-2-Switch and Arms are geared more towards social, motion-control play with the Switch’s Joy-Con controllers. The experience these titles deliver is fast and fun, leaning on the Nintendo Switch’s emphasis on local as well as global multiplayer.
While the Wii U was never as bad as it was made out to be, there’s no denying that Nintendo needed to move on and move on in style. With the Switch, it’s achieved that. That said, it’s not a radical departure from its forebear, being more of a sleeker refinement of an innovative idea - ie being able to remove the home-console experience from a big-screen TV. By offering not just one, nor two, but three different - and very practical - ways to play games, in a variety of locations, and have the experience so unified and seamless, it’s testament to the good work Nintendo started years back.
It seems – at first glance, that is – to combine the strengths of both of Nintendo’s classic consoles, offering the traditional Nintendo software library, as well as the Wii U’s secondscreen experience and the Wii’s motion-control magic. The Nintendo Switch is looking surprisingly wellset to tackle the console war to come.
Your favourite Italian plumber is making a holiday-season comeback…
NOW TURN OVER TO CHECK OUT ALL THE NEW GAMES FOR THE NINTENDO SWITCH
Advanced haptic feedback and an IR camera are among the features of the Joy-Con controllers (top left of picture)