Di­a­logue

Edge read­ers share their opin­ions; none win a New Nin­tendo 3DS XL

EDGE - - SECTIONS -

“I don’t care about graph­i­cal or per­for­mance one-up­man­ship. I care about the games”

Tech sup­port

Isn’t it strange that, upon watch­ing the Nin­tendo Switch’s re­veal video, I re­alised how con­tent I was with main­stream games on PS4, Xbox One and PC? I was sat­is­fied. Filled. Not ex­cited. Un­charted 4 was good. Doom was good. MGSV, The Witcher III, Life Is Strange, Blood­borne, Rocket League – all… good. But it’s all a bit fa­mil­iar, isn’t it? I feel like I could have been play­ing these games just as con­tently on my PS3. Es­pe­cially in the cases of MGSV and LIS, which ac­tu­ally were re­leased on PS3. Rocket League was orig­i­nally meant to be on PS3, ap­par­ently. So, I can’t help but shake the feel­ing that, so far, the PS4 and XB1 have been the same, just bet­ter. There’s noth­ing wrong with that, but the al­lure of a nice gam­ing PC be­comes ever more tempt­ing, es­pe­cially with these new con­sole up­grades, which make the re­spec­tive sys­tems feel even more like PCs, but not quite PCs.

Then along comes Switch. My ini­tial re­ac­tion was most un­ex­pected: a mere, ‘Huh, OK’. Twenty-odd rewinds later, it sunk in that this is truly in­no­va­tive. Use­ful, even. Yes, I would like to play Breath Of The Wild on the TV, or wher­ever I deem fit to play. Yes, Spla­toon as well. And Dragon Quest XI! Why, I wouldn’t mind ev­ery­thing be­ing on Switch. Per­sona 5? I only hope. That one’s in­evitable, isn’t it?

Any­way, it dawned on me that, pri­mar­ily be­ing a con­sole gamer with a lap­top for in­ter­est­ing indies, I don’t care about graph­i­cal or per­for­mance one­up­man­ship. I care more about the games them­selves, in­no­va­tion, con­ve­nience, and ac­cess to said games. I would gen­uinely pre­fer play­ing ev­ery mul­ti­plat­form game on the Switch and keep­ing my PS4 just for the odd ex­clu­sive;I need to be able to scratch the oc­ca­sional Blood­borne itch, af­ter all.

So yes, third­party de­vel­op­ers, please make games for, or avail­able on, Nin­tendo Switch. That would be very handy. This is the most use­ful new fea­ture a con­sole has had since, well, dual ana­logue sticks, I think. Now that’s ex­cit­ing. Roll on 2017! Ben McManus Third­party pub­lish­ers are al­ways on board early on, but the pop­u­lar­ity of first­party re­leases has a nasty habit of en­sur­ing that sup­port falls away be­fore long. It feels like a hugely im­por­tant ques­tion for Switch: can more stay the course time around?

Power play

Only Nin­tendo could have the gall to in­clude a five-year-old game in the un­veil­ing of a new con­sole phi­los­o­phy. Against the back­drop of the 4K, HDR love­li­ness touted by Sony and Mi­crosoft, play­ing

Skyrim again on Nin­tendo Switch isn’t ex­actly thrilling.

But in­no­va­tion isn’t just about power. An in­creased pixel count is just im­pres­sive on the sur­face. A good-look­ing bad game is still a bad game.

Mi­crosoft’s Project Scorpio and Sony’s PS4 Pro find them­selves pitch­ing to an in­creas­ingly niche crowd. Fur­ther blur­ring the line be­tween con­sole and PC, why ac­cept the in­her­ent lim­its of own­ing a con­sole only to spend amounts com­pa­ra­ble to a de­cent rig on a slightly im­proved Xbox or PS4?

Even as a non-PC gamer, be­wil­dered by driv­ers, pro­ces­sors and ter­aflops (the lat­ter sound­ing as real as a flux ca­pac­i­tor), I find this hard to rec­on­cile. Both Pro and Scorpio re­quire sub­stan­tial in­vest­ment if con­sole own­ers want to fully re­alise the po­ten­tial of their in­cre­men­tal up­grade. All for in­no­va­tion that’s only skin deep.

That’s not the case with Switch. Emerg­ing from the death throes of the strug­gling PS Vita and Wii U, Nin­tendo’s vi­sion for the Switch is its own beast. Pinch­ing the most promis­ing con­cepts from each, the Switch

prom­ises triple-A gam­ing on the go that can be played on ei­ther hand­held or TV.

It ap­pears to be both a recog­nisable con­sole and some­thing en­tirely new. There’s a de­mand for the pur­suit of pho­to­re­al­ism, but, for those re­ally will­ing to pay for it, the place to spend those pounds isn’t on a con­sole. The Nin­tendo Switch won’t be the most pow­er­ful con­sole on the mar­ket, and that should be em­braced.

Con­soles must do some­thing that PCs can’t. Con­ve­nient, ac­ces­si­ble and new, the Switch is what con­sole gamers re­ally need. Harry Shep­herd Well, Wii U also did some­thing that PCs can’t, and we saw how that turned out. The key, surely, is to of­fer a so­lu­tion to a prob­lem peo­ple ac­tu­ally yearn to see solved. Switch ap­pears to hit that tar­get.

Not your shield

I will be buy­ing a Switch on day one, hav­ing been a fan of Nin­tendo’s soft­ware and hard­ware for decades. How­ever, I am not the au­di­ence that needs con­vinc­ing for this to be a mass­mar­ket propo­si­tion. The con­sole-games-on-the-go paradigm, as ush­ered in by the Vita (my all-time fave hand­held), was re­jected by the mass mar­ket in the face of iPad adop­tion, sub­stan­dard ex­pe­ri­ences (look­ing at you, COD, Re­sis­tance and, to some ex­tent, Un­charted), and a ru­inous mem­ory-card strat­egy.

The Switch is po­si­tioned as a full-blown con­sole you can take with you – a sub­tly dif­fer­ent propo­si­tion. PSNow/Re­mote Play on the Vita this is not. On the pos­i­tive side, a cus­tom Te­gra, cou­pled with de­cent con­trols, a good-sized screen, bat­tery, fast car­tridges and er­gonomics that ap­pear wellthought-out (and adapt­able) all sug­gest a ro­bust so­lu­tion. Nvidia’s Shield Tablet run­ning Half-Life 2:

Episode One, Por­tal and Doom 3 was cer­tainly com­pelling, even with­out the op­tion for Gamevice-style con­trols. Desk­top play did at times feel re­dun­dant, and I now move be­tween the Shield TV and Shield por­ta­ble. Switch blends all three, and will ben­e­fit from that flex­i­bil­ity enor­mously.

In the end, the games will de­ter­mine its suc­cess, and de­sign de­ci­sions will need to take into ac­count seden­tary and mo­bile play sce­nar­ios. So­phis­ti­cated save states and fast switch­ing be­tween TV and hand­held modes (Shield was not fast on that front) will be es­sen­tial fea­tures at OS level. It is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that amaz­ing hand­held ex­pe­ri­ences are pos­si­ble, and even prefer­able to a full-blown con­sole game, if done well. I hope it suc­ceeds. James Spiers Well, this is all very pos­i­tive, isn’t it? Sus­pi­ciously so. Surely some­one’s go­ing to pop up and wipe the smiles off our faces at some point, though. It 2016, af­ter all.

Re­cy­cle path

is We have some­thing in com­mon this month: we’ve both cel­e­brated our 30th an­niver­sary. OK, so yours has an ex­tra zero on the end, but I feel like it’s some­thing we can raise a glass to.

I have friends who were ter­ri­fied at the no­tion of turn­ing 30, sud­denly Tin­der­ing as though their lives de­pended on it. Luck­ily I didn’t feel the sud­den need to im­preg­nate the near­est hu­man be­ing due to an ar­bi­trary date change. How­ever, I did feel a guilty pang that all gamers must em­brace at some point: hoard­ing. De­spite the man­u­fac­tur­ers’ prom­ise of clut­ter-free dig­i­tal li­braries, I find my­self con­cerned with the real pos­si­bil­ity of be­ing crushed by a shelf of spe­cial edi­tions fall­ing on me. Just last week I ca­ressed Death’s cheek when I slipped on a Rock

Band drumkit sup­port pole. And so with a few painful mouse clicks I had to place my col­lec­tion of over 200 Edge mag­a­zines up for sale. I’ve been read­ing Edge since I was teenager. My first Edge mag­a­zine sparked a fire in me. I gen­uinely didn’t know se­ri­ous con­ver­sa­tions were tak­ing place around videogames. And as the years went on I was al­ways re­spect­ful that Edge trod the line be­tween sin­cer­ity and sar­casm to­wards games. I’ve spo­ken to gamers and de­vel­op­ers who have turned their nose up when they see me read­ing a copy of Edge mag­a­zine, and yet al­ways showed great in­ter­est when Edge awarded a per­fect score.

And as Edge car­ried on, I grew as well. I grew from the em­bar­rassed 16-year-old buy­ing the in­fa­mous bikini-clad E121 into the well-rounded gamer I am to­day. But, alas, at 30, sac­ri­fices have to be made. And as I sell off my Edge col­lec­tion (along with a small fleet of gam­ing items) I can sit back, switch my sub­scrip­tion to dig­i­tal-only, grab a fine brandy, lean back in my wing-tip chair, set off my PS4 sys­tem up­date, and just dream at what the next 30 years of gam­ing will en­tail. Jack Mar­shall Yep, that’ll do it. Thanks for restor­ing nor­mal or­der, Jack. Did you re­ally have to in­clude the eBay link? Any­way, happy 30th. We hope some­one helps you cel­e­brate it by burn­ing all of your favourite old clothes.

Work­ers’ rights

One line in The Mak­ing Of… Ori And The

Blind For­est ( E299) stood out like a sore thumb. With re­gards to the game’s save­point sys­tem, Thomas Mahler said he was wor­ried that play­ers would feel like they had “lost half an hour of work”.

I don’t re­gard games as work. I play them to re­lax, to en­joy my­self and, oc­ca­sion­ally, to avoid think­ing about work. I rarely play games that re­quire a grind and typ­i­cally stop play­ing when a game feels like a chore.

I would like as­sur­ance that Mr Mahler’s com­ment is not shared by other de­vel­op­ers and that my favourite leisure pur­suit is never re­garded as ‘work’ once I’m in con­trol. Richard Strat­ton We haven't awarded a 3DS yet, but we don’t want to add to your work­load, Richard, so we'll keep this month’s to our­selves.

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