Nintendo has completed its abandonment of the Wii U. I got my Switch in the mail on Friday, launch day. I had the chance now to tinker around with everything, kick the Joy-Con tires. I have to say, coming out of the gate, the Switch is pretty much the exact system I was hoping Nintendo would make. It may not be the most robust thing at the moment, and it is lacking in some areas, and apparently busted in others, but for what I am looking for? It’s damn near perfect. Let’s go into why it is really a Ray system.
First of all, it’s powerful, but not too powerful. The Legend of Zelda on the Switch looks amazing, on both the TV and handheld. This has so little to do with the horsepower of the Switch, which I am sure is really just handling the draw distance; of which I actually find quite impressive. Nintendo has always gotten around the lack of power in their systems since the Wii with their fantastic art direction. The Wii wasn’t even an HD system, but I would offer up the graphics of Super Mario Galaxy in a direct comparison contest with almost anything from the 360/PS3 era, maybe excluding The Last of Us, and in almost every case, the mustachioed hero would triple jump his way past anything. Nintendo has some of the best art direction hands down. To me it is basically them and Blizzard.
Sure, the Switch is not as powerful as the PS4 or Xbox One, and is further left in the dust as the revisions two those systems make their way into the market. But Nintendo has always proven capable with a less is more mentality, at least with their own IP. While they should not think it is okay to squeak by on their own steam anymore; because it isn’t, the power level is certainly at a fine point. Should it be able to run the newest Call of Duty, or Mass Effect? No. There are already 3 options (PS4, XONE and PC) for those games. Nintendo is still insisting on being on its own track, and that is fine.
Independent games are going to feel so at home on the Switch it is silly. While Mass Effect won’t be coming to the Switch, Stardew Valley is. I would say I spent just as much time in Stardew as I did in ME2 or ME3. Maybe more. I am not one of those people who think Indies are the end all, be all of gaming, but Shovel Knight is a game that evokes that Mega Man level of fun that has not been seen in a long time, and it runs just fine on a Switch. Plus it is good on the TV or handheld. That is a unique plus for those games, a definite edge over the XONE, and the PS4, assuming the game isn’t cross-buy with the Vita. But the Switch is one system, the Sony solution is two.
Lastly, I am someone who can passively multitask usually. I have found myself playing games on my PC, or handhelds lately at home, while my TV is playing something on Netflix. While I will pause the TV for the real moments during a handheld game, I can usually keep up both with no trouble. I love my Vita, and have a ton of games for it, but the initial promise of console-quality games on the go went largely unfulfilled. Instead the system was populated with more niche games that I loved and still love. However, the Switch seems to be the harbinger to that initial promise. Breath of the Wild, as little as I have played seems to be what the Vita’s attempts at Uncharted and Assassin’s Creed so wanted to be, console magic held in your hands.
And sure, while some compromises had to be made in things like battery life, and the sheer size, the Switch delivers. The software will come, and while it definitely isn’t good enough for everyone yet, it is exactly what I wanted to see from Nintendo.