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One Week with the Nintendo Switch

"Nintendo's newest hybrid console worth getting now?"

From the January event, I had my concerns about the Nintendo Switch. The console itself is fine and being used also in tabletop and handheld modes is still awesome. However, I’m more concerned about the game lineup going forward and Nintendo’s handling of the product. Now that the Switch has been out for a week, I’m more sold on it’s novelty and more hopeful for the future. Despite some issues, it is worth getting now if you’re able to find one?

From the first night I got my Nintendo Switch, I was surprised how setup went and the day one update got installed quicker than I thought. It wasn’t the same experience I had with the Wii U where it’s day one firmware update took forever to install. Luckily the servers were running well when I updated the Switch and the games I bought. The UI is easy to navigate around choosing the games to play, check the news on what’s going on with the console and browse the eShop. Just like the Wii U, internal memory space isn’t much so I’m going the physical route unless there’s digital-only stuff to get like Snipperclips. At least you can use micro SD cards to extend space if you’re gonna get a lot of games. Plus the tiny physical carts are refreshing to see after being so used to discs on consoles now.

One of the more impressive announcements from the January event was that the Switch is region free. You can make alternate accounts pretty easy if you want to get something from a specific region like Japan. Then you buy eShop cards online from those regions for currency when shopping in their eShops. Japan now for example has Puyo Puyo Tetris already when it’s out late next month stateside. It’s a neat feature that I’m glad Nintendo finally hopped on that train after experiencing it with the PS3 and PS4.

Since the initial reveal, I’m one of those guys that would only play the Switch on a big TV screen. After playing it on handheld and tabletop modes at different venues, I felt more inclined to bring it everywhere I go now. The light bulb moment happened when me and my friends were getting dessert and it started raining heavily for a while outside. We played 1-2-Switch in tabletop mode to kill time waiting for the rain to stop. Situations like those made me realize how cool the Nintendo Switch is. Sure the sound could of been louder in tabletop mode especially for those rooftop parties seen in the first commercial. Bringing everything around is not as bad since the box you get the console is way tiny. Carrying cases are also gonna be more useful when traveling around, but I’ll get more into the extra accessories in a bit.

When they announced the battery life non-docked, most were a bit disappointed that it’s short. Honestly, I’m okay with that. I don’t see myself playing in longer than two hour sessions non-docked even if I’m in a long flight. For Zelda’s two to three hours of battery life, I like to knock out sidequests and some shrines when playing the Switch as a handheld. Multiplayer sessions are also gonna be short for the most part personally for 1-2-Switch and Snipperclips. However, if you’re someone that’s gonna play on handheld mode for the long haul, better have an extra charger around.

Joy-Cons are the primary controllers for the Nintendo Switch. I mostly play with the JoyCon grip and does take getting used to. Personally it’s muscle memory from using Playstation and Xbox controllers so much. The positioning of certain buttons is something I’m not a fan of. I haven’t tried the new Pro Controller yet, but I still think the JoyCon grip is gonna be fine for the majority of games on Switch. You can also use the JoyCons like the Nunchuk and Wiimote. Then there’s using them horizontally for multiplayer. The SL and SR buttons without the straps are too small they’re gonna be a nightmare at times. The analog stick placement for the right Joy-con being too close to the buttons is also a problem too. Speaking of the straps, I found them hard to take off the Joy-Cons so I try to not use them even for 1-2-Switch.

Leading up to launch, numerous issues occurred for those that got it early. From the left Joy-Con connectivity issue and the screen getting scratched when sliding in and out of the dock, there’s plenty to worry about if you’re still on the fence. This is also a product that shouldn’t be dropped to a hard setting. I heard about Joy-Cons not clicking back on the tablet easily and become loose when playing. Personally I haven’t encountered those known issues yet, but I can see how certain folks would be worried. Nintendo are aware of them and hopefully they will be addressed sooner than later.

There’s also the prospect of buying extra accessories for the Switch. Nintendo for over a decade now has been going too crazy on peripherals. This time they’re more of a necessity than ever before spending way more than you think besides the console. If I want to take full advantage of bringing it around with me at all times, I need an extra AC adapter and charger to ensure more playtime. Plus a carrying case to keep things organized is gonna be useful. However the prices for these accessories are absurd. Another AC adapter costs $30 while a car charger is $20. Then there’s the Pro Controller for $70 and another pair of JoyCons for $90. Absurd right?

So far, I’m been enjoying the Nintendo Switch a lot more than I expected. The novelty of it’s multiple modes has proven handy on numerous situations. Experiencing my light bulb moment made me more inclined to bring it everywhere with me. I don’t care about how powerful it can be graphically because Nintendo has proven that they don’t need power to make their games look good. Battery life is manageable if you’re gonna play on short bursts. I didn’t run into the more known issues personally, but the Joy-Cons control okay for the most part. Extra accessories becoming more of a necessity are gonna be a pain as well. The launch lineup now isn’t much and I would wait till more games come out if you’re still on the fence on getting one. However if you’re sold on it’s potential, then buy a Switch if you can find one now.

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