Game Columnist Dave Thier published an article on the Nintendo Switch.
We are slowly exiting the pre-order phase for the Nintendo Switch. It’s still pretty difficult to find in the wild, but ideally, Nintendo will start to ramp up production and keep units on store shelves as spring turns into summer. With the faithful already satiated, more and more regular consumers are going to be looking at Nintendo’s quixotic console and wonder if it’s worth plunking down $300 — plus a game. For those that don’t know, the Switch is a hybrid console that’s meant to work either like a handheld, a living room console or a tabletop display. Whether or not you want one is up to you, but here are a few things to keep in mind as you make the decision.
THE SWITCH IS AN AMBITIOUS ENDEAVOR
It Mostly Works: The Switch is an ambitious endeavor. Most consoles are content to just be a box that plays games, but the Switch has a lot more on its plate, and therefore a lot more opportunities to fail. The good news? It doesn’t take most of those opportunities. The Switch handles its trademark transitions with grace, with Joy-Cons satisfyingly snapping into place on either side of the console and coming back out again, the image popping into place on either screen. Flash memory means that it comes on as quickly and simply as an iPhone, which is a satisfying thing to see in the world of console gaming. The Switch, overall, is a clean and effective product that does what it sets out to do.
LIKE I SAID, THE SWITCH MOSTLY WORKS
But It Has Hardware Problems: Like I said, the Switch mostly works. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Chief among these issues is a syncing problem with the left Joy-Con when using the console in living room mode causes the controller to disconnect on a regular basis, though you may be able to get a replacement if you find yourself running into these problems. On top of that, memory is limited, the kickstand is too flimsy to be entirely practical and the charging port is not accessible in all configurations. This is a console advertised as a handheld, a living room console and a tabletop device. Of those three things, it’s by far best at being a handheld. It’s not necessarily a failure at its other versions, but there are obvious areas for improvement. Be careful taking the thing in and out of the dock.
The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild: And here’s a big one. The Nintendo Switch launched with one of the most critically well-received games of all time, and if you choose to start with this one your early weeks of ownership will inevitably be colored by this masterpiece of a game. It is not, technically, exclusive to the Nintendo Switch, being also available on the Wii U. But it may as well be. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is inextricably linked to the Nintendo Switch, and some would argue that it’s worth the price of admission for this one title alone. If you like games — and I’m guessing you do — this one isn’t to be missed.
Peripherals Are Pretty Expensive: Want an extra set of Joy-Cons? That will be $80. How about a pro controller to avoid that uncomfortable feeling of the Joy-Con grip? Another $80. You might want an SD card to expand the paltry internal memory, and that won’t come free either. There are hidden costs associated with your Nintendo Switch that feel in excess of what we’ve seen with some other consoles, and so don’t for a moment think you’re getting out of the store just spending the $300 for the console itself. Being an early adopter is always expensive, and the Switch is a more expensive proposition than the well-established PS4 and Xbox One. If you want to get more out of the thing, be willing to pay.
All in all, your gaming dollars are yours alone, and budget as much as anything will determine the degree to which anyone will want to buy a Switch. Can you get more gaming for less? Absolutely. But if you’re a Nintendo devotee, have disposable income to burn, or already have plenty of other gaming options, the Switch is a wonderful little console with a lot to recommend it.