James Law tells us of his top indie picks from Insomnia 2018Written by James Law on 13th April 2018
Nintendo Switch : A ‘Switch’ in the Right Direction?
Redbrick Gaming tunes into the latest Nintendo presentation to get all the insider information on the new Nintendo Switch
After many months of speculation about the Switch, last Thursday Nintendo finally broke their silence and revealed all, at an hour-long press presentation in Tokyo; which was broadcasted and translated around the world. Eager to hear more about the Switch, journalists all around the world stayed up late or woke up in the wee hours of the morning.
And we were not disappointed, with the presentation starting off with strobe lights and Switch animations and finishing with an exclusive trailer for the new Zelda game, Breath of the Wild. While we were all left in awe by the carefully choreographed and planned presentation, as we caught our breaths and reflected, it was clear to see that there were both positives and negatives to be taken from the release.
The 6.2” 720p screen looks amazing, dwarfing the graphics of the Wii U and any generation of the Nintendo DS. Coupled with its smooth gameplay of graphic intensive games on battery power and the Switch will likely become a handheld console you can’t live without. The Joy-Con controllers also look fairly comfortable when held vertically, their small size and smooth corners disappear into your palm. They slip off the console effortlessly and are packed with more features than any past controller. From the standard Wii remote style motion sensors, to HD Rumble for more expressive vibrations and IR sensors for spatial mapping of objects and distances.
However hardware is only half of the recipe to a good console, the other being the games, and which would be ready on launch. Nintendo were eager to stress that over 80 games were in development with many 3rd party developers working on games, which were either new for the Switch, or in the case of Bethesda, ported over copies of popular titles, like Skyrim. Four new Nintendo games were showcased in-depth. The first game, 1, 2 Switch, was a unique game, designed much like Wii Sports, with a wide assortment of games, which aimed to showcase the various features of the controllers with each game, such as the controller's lighting fast responses and HD Rumble. ARMS was a unique boxing game, which fitted each player with stretch arms which could twist and turn to fight your opponents, adding more depth and complexity to the classic Wii boxing. Splatoon 2, while mostly unchanged from its 2-year-old predecessor, had been upgraded for the Switch, with better guns and power- ups. Super Mario Odyssey, featured rich graphics, which often depicted real world landscapes and featured new characters. Many 3rd-party game trailers were also shown and presented by developers, such as Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Fire Emblem Warriors, Dragon Quest, a new Atlus game, Skyrim and Fifa.
But while that all sounds exciting enough, it does seem like Nintendo is stretching themselves to tick every box, what has to give?
For starters, the graphics. While 720p might look amazing on 6.2”, compared to the Wii U, 1080p is no match for your 4K-ready PS4s and Xbox One S’. So while the Switch is good, trying to compete in both the handheld and home gaming market has made it ‘just good’ and not a tremendous upgrade from the Wii U. And while you can argue that Nintendo has chosen not to aim for the top in favour of innovation, many consumers these days might not see it that way, opting for a console with better graphics to complement their latest TVs, rather than console with a few additional bells and whistles.
To add insult to injury, the Switch is set for a rather lacklustre launch with only 4 titles available at launch and none complementary in the box like Wii Sports. And while 3rd party developers have said the Switch is easier to develop for compared to past consoles, there are only around 80 games in development, which is still a lot less than what was released in and around the launch of consoles such as the PS4.
Despite all these negatives, I am still very hopeful for the Nintendo Switch, I do think it can ‘Switch’ it up for Nintendo if they address these negatives and launch strong. But regardless, it has big shoes to fill, with the last revolutionary Nintendo home console, the Wii, selling almost 6 million in its first 12 months alone, and over 100 million over its lifetime. Only time will tell whether these past successes will help the Switch sail off the shelves or sink back into the warehouses.