For better or worse, Nintendo is certainly Switching things up.
It took a long time, but this morning, just over a month before the Nintendo Switch is slated launch, the Big N has finally pulled back the curtain and provided us with our first real look at what they’re upcoming console/handheld hybrid is all about.
The live presentation, which kicked off early this morning and was broadcast from Tokyo, answered many of the questions that had been gnawing at players since the system’s brief sizzle reel that we saw last October. The Switch will retail for $299.99 and will release worldwide on March 3, 2017. The price-point is a bit steeper than the $250 figure that had been floating around the internet for the past few days. However, it does seem to fit comfortably between what we’d expect to pay for a newly-released console or handheld, so that seems fair enough. We also got a look at some of the game’s we’ll be digging into over the course of the platform’s freshmen year, including titles we expected to see such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Splatoon 2, and a new Mario title, which just so happens to be called Mario Odyssey, along with quite a few that came out of left field (Xenoblade 2, anyone?)
In the end, Nintendo’s Switch presentation simmered at passable. For every showstopper that was revealed there seemed to be a follow-up announcement that left us scratching our heads. That said, here are 5 things we love and loathe about the Nintendo Switch so far.
Let’s start with the good:
1. The third party support seems to be there.
Over the past few console generations, Nintendo has really struggled with reeling in a healthy stable of third parties to support their hardware. Looking at the Wii U today, the console has pretty much been in a state of life support, its only sustenance a slow drip of first-party titles of varying degrees of quality. That said, for their next console to find any kind of success it’s imperative that Nintendo gets the band back together to give the Switch the steady stream of software it needs to compete with Microsoft and Sony.
Thankfully, Nintendo seems to have gotten the memo. And frankly, they couldn’t have done much more admirable of a job than they did last night in putting their host of third party developers front and center – even if these studios didn’t have much in the way of tangible software to showcase. At this point it seems that Japanese studios are especially heavily invested in supporting the Switch at the moment. reps from SEGA and Grasshopper Manufacture’s Suda 51 teased new projects including No More Heroes 3, while Monolithsoft blew us away with a surprise reveal of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and Square Enix showcased a brand-new RPG. Also, ATLUS seems to have a new Shin Megami Tensei title in the works for the Switch, which has us incredibly excited. Outside of Japanese studios, Electronic Arts and Bethesda also unveiled projects and pledged support for the platform as well.
If Nintendo is able to keep this groundswell of support for the Switch going, they could well overcome one of the biggest hurdles the company has been facing for a number of years. However, it’s worth noting that the Wii U had a similar surge in support when it was first announced, and those studios quickly tapered off. Here’s hoping Nintendo is able to retain this pool of talent to keep the Switch flush with compelling third party software.
2. The Switch could redefine portable gaming.
When it comes to functionality, the Nintendo Switch is a veritable Transformer of a video game console. Nintendo showcased a variety of ways players can dive into the platform’s library. Whether it’s playing games on your television screen or sliding on the pair of Joy-Con controllers and using the tablet-sized console as some Frankensteinesque handheld, the Switch can turn any area into a game room. You can even prop the console up on its kickstand located on the rear of the machine and use a pair of Joy-Cons for some quick and dirty split-screen multiplayer sessions with friends.
Even more appealing, up to eight Switch consoles can be linked together via wi-fi, meaning you and seven friends could theoretically turn any occasion into an impromptu LAN party. That’s pretty damn cool. And suffice to say, we’re excited by the possibilities it brings to the table.
3. The (console’s) price is right.
Nintendo’s decision to price the Switch at $299 was certainly a smart one. With the (obviously much more powerful) PlayStation 4 Pro retailing for $400, and the price of Microsoft’s upcoming Project Scorpio still up in the air, introducing the Switch at a more budget-friendly price was an absolute must.
Giving players the option to enjoy a traditional console experience from the comfort of their couch or pop out the device and use it as a mobile gaming platform gives players a degree of mobility that’s unmatched by the competition at a considerably more inexpensive price. While we don’t expect the Switch’s games to pack anywhere near the visual fidelity of the competition, this balance of cost effectiveness and portability could certainly give the Switch the tools it needs to carve out a healthy niche in the current console market.
4. Super Mario Odyssey looks phenomenal.
It’s been a long time since we last got to experience a proper 3D Super Mario Bros. game, and Super Mario Odyssey looks to fill that void nicely in a world-spanning adventure this holiday season.
Super Mario Odyssey removes players from the familiar Mushroom Kingdom they’ve come to know and love for the past 30+ years, instead plonking them into the surprisingly lifelike setting of…wait for it…New Donk City. This sprawling urban sandbox serves as the game’s hub world, and you’ll be free to explore the city, interact with its inhabitants and bounce through speeding traffic to your hearts content. However, the footage showcased also presented plenty of vibrant and familiar areas to explore that would look right at home in the Super Mario Galaxy titles, meaning you can certainly expect the same over-the-top platforming found in previous games in the series as you guide your mustachioed hero to rescue Peach from the clutches of one dapper King Koopa.
Seriously, just look at this insanity. If this footage doesn’t bring a smile to your face, you’re dead to me.
Simply put, Super Mario Odyssey looks amazing. We can’t wait to see what’s in store when the game is released later this year.
5. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will launch alongside the Switch.
If Nintendo hopes to get folks lining up to purchase their system at launch, it’s imperative to have a solid first-party title to ring in the console’s debut. While rumors were circulating in recent months that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild would be missing the Switch’s launch, Nintendo put these rumblings to rest this morning when they confirmed that the game would in fact be available on March 3rd, 2017.
While the game is also slated to release on the Wii U, there’s no denying the option to take Link’s latest epic on the go is going to be a tremendous draw for players, and a great incentive to purchase the game on the Switch as opposed to Nintendo’s last-gen console.
We’ve been salivating over this game since it was originally announced, and the story trailer that Nintendo showcased this morning is making that wait so much more painful. Thankfully, we can take comfort in knowing that we’ll have our grubby mitts on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in just seven weeks. Hot damn!
Well, that’s what we love about the Switch so far. Jump over to the next page to what we weren’t so happy with after watching this morning’s Switch presentation.