Edge readers share their opinions; none win a New Nintendo 3DS XL
“I don’t care about graphical or performance one-upmanship. I care about the games”
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?
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.
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.
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.