Honest Thoughts On Nintendo Switch
There have been a lot of mixed opinions on the Nintendo Switch. Since the Nintendo Treehouse Live event where Nintendo went into more detail about the Nintendo Switch, the gaming community has been divided. Not in the way you would think though. Normally, Nintendo revealing details about a new console would result in arguments between Nintendo fans and Playstation/Xbox users. This particular event, however, has drawn new lines in the sand. Something I’ve noticed more than ever is Nintendo fans arguing even among themselves about the Nintendo Switch, and for the first time, I’m on the same page as my fellow Geek Lyfer and co-host of Brostalgia, Powerforce. This was originally supposed to be an article with both of us voicing our opinions, but after some discussion, we actually have the same thoughts. This is a first when it comes to our opinions on Nintendo, seeing as he is an avid Nintendo fanboy. With that being said, here’s a summary of my/our reaction to Nintendo’s new console, the Switch.
As someone who used to love Nintendo but hadn’t been amazed by any of their consoles since the Nintendo 64, I always react to newly announced Nintendo consoles with a good deal of skepticism. I’ve never liked the use of motion controls. The Wii was a terrible console, and the Wii U was a step up, but definitely far from perfect. When the reveal trailer came out, I got the impression that the 2 separate controls would act like 2 halves of a normal control. I was intrigued by the concept, and the game selection looked to me like they were able to figure out how to appeal to the modern gamer while, at the same time, staying true to their roots. The skepticism turned into cautious optimism, and while I would never pre-order a console because of my previous experiences, I found myself considering to buy the Switch shortly after launch.
So the idea of the Switch is still interesting to me. The console itself is basically a tablet that you can hook up to a TV for larger display, plug a controller into to play on a smaller display, or hook the “Joy-Con” controllers to the sides and treat as a mobile gaming device. The idea of being able to switch (eyyyy I get the name) between different methods of playing is still very appealing, and honestly isn’t my problem with the Switch. I enjoy the idea of being able to take a game that I’m playing in the living room and move to the bedroom while I’m winding down for the night. Plus, it’s always such a damn hassle to move a console between rooms or take it to a friend’s for parties.
The graphics are also powered by Nvidia, who makes the graphics card that I use for my gaming PC. All of these things point toward a console I should be excited for, so why am I still so skeptical about the Switch and irritated by its full reveal during Nintendo’s Treehouse Live event? Well much like the Wii U, the console itself and its specs are not my biggest issue. Though I will say that the amount of memory the Switch has is a bit unsettling, especially considering that the digital copy of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is large enough to take up half of Nintendo’s memory default SD card, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt in this case and hope that the use of game cartridges will eliminate the need to download games onto the console.
I don’t mind the idea of using what basically amounts to a normal controller chopped in half. If anything, it actually seems like a more natural way of playing games. You don’t have to bring your hands together like you’re about to be handcuffed for assaulting online scrubs. There’s only one tiny, itty-bitty little problem that I have with the new controllers.
Freaking. Motion. Controls.
Motion controls have been the bane of my Nintendo experience for over a decade now. They’re not fun, they’re not immersive, and all they do is hold the game developers back who feel like they need to cater an entire game around the controls. That’s been an issue with Nintendo for a while. Instead of adjusting controls to fit the narrative of a game, they build a game around the functionality of motion controllers, which makes the game suffer. If you look at current VR games on the market, most are gimmicky and lack any sort of substantial story or gameplay. They definitely make for an interesting experience, and they have a nice “wow” factor, but the initial thrill of feeling like you’re in a game wears off and you’re stuck with the limitation of your own physical movements. I was really hoping that the Switch would move away from motion controls, but the Treehouse Live event showed me that they seem to be kicking the motion control functionality up a notch. I loved the Wii U Pro controller I had for the Wii U, but there was a severe lack of games that were compatible with anything but the Wiimotes. I’m not saying it’ll happen again with the Switch, but I’m not confident enough in Nintendo to look past it.
So one of the things the Switch boasted before the Treehouse event is that they are going to have a huge number of 3rd party developers making games for them. Some of those developers include Square Enix, Ubisoft, Bethesda, Team Ninja, Telltale Games, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. There are a bunch more that I didn’t include, but the idea is that Nintendo is moving away from it’s usual practice of filling their game roster with primarily exclusive in-house titles and venturing more into releasing games that are on multiple platforms.
So with that in mind, why is Skyrim one of those games that they’re throwing around in their marketing campaigns? Seriously!? I get that the game was remastered recently, but it’s a game that was originally released in 2011! Are you really bragging that your console is now beefy enough to run a game that’s going on 5 years old now? Nintendo hasn’t been a console that has boasted high graphical capabilities, but this game shouldn’t be the one you use to show people that you’re catching up with the competition. Honestly the idea that graphics aren’t what make up a great game is another issue entirely.
Games have been the Achilles heel for Nintendo with the last few consoles. I never regretted buying my Wii U, but I am still pretty sore about how few worthwhile games were released. Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros, Mario Maker, Xenoblade Chronicles, Mario Party 10, and Super Mario World. Those were the only games I played more than twice. I’m also not counting any Zelda games, because they were all remastered versions of previous games. That is six games through the entirety of a console’s lifespan, which is not acceptable for me in this day and age. I decided after the Switch was announced that I was never going to take my chance on another Nintendo console unless it already had an extensive game library. So far for the Switch, we have Bomberman, Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Super Mario Odyssey that seem like the only worthwhile exclusives for Nintendo. I won’t even get into how ridiculous 1-2-Switch looks as a title. I’m hoping that game will quickly fade into obscurity.
Now I’m going to save the rest of this section for one game in particular that sends me into a bad mushroom-induced rage just thinking about it.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Where do I start with this slap-in-the-face of a game? It’s a re-release of a game that’s only 2 1/2 years old. The graphics seem to have improved from the original, but that won’t convince me to pay the full price for a new game that I already own. There are only 3 new vehicles, and 2 of them are inspired by Splatoon, a game I don’t give a crap about. None of these things are a big deal. Honestly all it amounts to is my decision to pass on the game and not pay it much mind.
There is one issue with the game, however, that stands out above all else. One thing that takes a game that I would normally ignore and make me question if I’d ever want to buy anything from Nintendo ever again. The Battle mode. The new revamped Battle mode for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was the biggest reveal for the game during Nintendo’s live event. The biggest change made to the Battle mode is the introduction of levels designed specifically for this particular game mode. My BIGGEST GRIPE with Mario Kart 8 has always been the lazy Battle mode that it featured.
In the Wii U version they took the selected characters and threw them into one of the normal racing levels with some balloons strapped to their ass. It was a huge disappointment when compared to the Battle mode in Mario Kart 64 with levels designed to maximize the chaos of circling your friends and shoving shells down their throats. The lack of specifically designed levels in Mario Kart 8 resulted in 10 minutes of circling a track by yourself, looking for anyone with different colored balloons to unload your items on. The mode was boring and felt like a waste of effort on Nintendo’s part, but hey, at least I knew some of those levels backward and forward. Seeing that they revamped the game mode and didn’t include a DLC for it for the Wii U players pisses me off.
I’m getting heated just bringing it up. Everything else previously discussed about the Switch amounted in me just waiting a while until some decent games came out, but this revelation alone is enough to make me consider boycotting the console entirely. I would honestly pay for a DLC to include a real and enjoyable Battle experience in Mario Kart 8, but from the looks of it, it seems they’re going to use it to sell people on the Deluxe version and, by proxy, the Switch. If they don’t release some sort of DLC for Mario Kart 8 within a month of Deluxe’s release, then Nintendo is dead to me.
Now many people I’ve talked to have felt that the pricing for the Nintendo Switch, at $299, is a fair price. Normally I’d agree, but in this case I have to say “WTF are you thinking Nintendo!?” The $299 asking price for this game doesn’t include any bundled games. That means you’re looking at $350+ to actually be able to play your new console. And would you like to play with a friend, like the console is designed? That’ll cost you another $70 minimum. Oh, and you want to play online with that one game you have? Well that’s going to cost you too! All of this combined with the fact that Nintendo is notorious for not reducing the prices on their older games. When you add all of that up, it equals out to a giant middle finger to their fans.
So with everything that’s been revealed about the Nintendo Switch, I can’t help but have a bad taste in my mouth. Now this is all obviously just early impressions of how the Switch will but the new reveals have completely diminished the “optimism” part of my cautious optimism. I am also strongly opposed to overreacting to early impressions of anything because you’re essentially basing your opinion on almost nothing, which I find to be very closed minded. In this case though, Nintendo has had a track record of disappointing fans with the topics that I’ve mentioned. The only hope I have for the system is that since it can also be considered a mobile gaming device, Nintendo hopefully won’t ignore the Switch to develop games exclusively for the 3DS like they did with the Wii U.
So in summary, don’t base your decisions off of initial impressions. At this stage, I have no intention of buying the Switch but this could change down the road if the console seems worthwhile. There needs to be some pretty major changes with the company and its practices though before I’d consider dropping a few hundred dollars on anything that Nintendo releases again. My personal opinion is that they should just turn into a game developer and drop the console development. I guess I can only hope Nintendo will one day find their balance between catering to a larger audience while simultaneously standing out with their crazy controllers. Until then, PC Master Race 4 LYFE!
What are your thoughts on the matter? Comment below!