Luke: Friday saw the announcement we’d all been waiting for; firm details on the Nintendo Switch. A release date of March 3rd and an Australian RRP of $469.95 raised lots of questions, especially with large chunks of the presentation focusing on the Joy-Con controllers and their capabilities. On Saturday, we were lucky enough to attend a media preview to be able to test it out for ourselves; after a few hours of time spent with the consoles feature-set, we have a firmer opinion on whether or not it’s worth investing in.
Rachel: There’s definitely no denying, Nintendo know how to hold a console preview event. Held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, they had plenty of room and really made the space their own. The atmosphere was so friendly and I can’t praise the Nintendo staff on hand enough, enthusiastic and just so lovely to be around. They really got involved with you why you were playing which was great. Your own personal Nintendo cheer squad!
As you would expect the Switch console was on display in its numerous configurations everywhere you looked. Although I had seen all the photos and videos, actually seeing the Switch in person and getting to hold it in my hands, the undocked Switch was much smaller than I had imagined. The Joy-Con’s are quite possibly the smartest game controllers I’ve come across. Although tiny there’s just so much smart tech jammed into those little devices, which was best displayed with the 1-2-Switch game.
Luke: HD Rumble was something I didn’t really buy into until I experienced it for myself first hand. Somehow, the technology genuinely creates a feeling like there are multiple objects moving around in your hand at once. While I’m not sure how this will realistically be implemented in future video games, it still impressed me more than I expected.
Similarly, the functionality of taking the tablet out of its dock mid-game was seamless, and games like Zelda and Splatoon 2 still looked colorful, detailed and of a high quality on the Switch as a handheld. I do feel like the screen is perhaps a bit too small for tabletop multiplayer experiences though (look at it in my giant hands!), even though I do like the idea of setting it up on a desk away from home in this way.
Rachel: In terms of the games on show, it’s no secret that the Switch launch line up seems a little thin. With Breath of the Wild being the big draw card you cant help but wonder if its too much pressure on one game. However, it was clear from getting hands on with the games on offer at the event, the Switch wont be relying on Zelda for long. 1-2-Switch is an incredibly fun bunch of party games that makes the absolute most of the new Joy-Con’s and is also a launch title. Then there’s ARMS, which is due out in Autumn, that would have to be one of my favourite games from the event!
Luke: It’s hard to say for sure with a small launch line-up how the console is going to fare in the early days. Splatoon 2 and Super Mario Odyssey would have been a massive combo move for the launch of the console, and I can’t help but feel it strange that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is also not due until April. The future may be bright with titles from known franchises like Xenoblade and Fire Emblem on the way along with third party support and surprise titles like cute cooperative puzzler Snipperclips, but is there enough to justify a day one purchase?
Rachel: All in all I think finally getting hands on with the Switch has taken some of my concerns and replaced them with hype. I can see the potential, it’s a solid console and it would be really great to see Nintendo knock this one out of the park at launch.
Luke: I definitely left the event with higher hopes than when I entered. The Joy-Con controllers actually have prospective to be something special, with some real party fun to be had there if capitalized upon. But even with these hopes, what I want to see is a more fleshed out lineup of titles. More games, more unique experiences and more thought to its optimistic future is what is going to separate the Nintendo Switch from its (sadly) unsuccessful predecessor. Time will tell whether or not it lives up to its potential!