Picked up a switch last week. Here are my first impressions:
I have nothing but praise for this hand-held near fully featured console. After un-boxing it in an ecstatic state of disbelief that there was one left at CEX, I swiftly attached the joycon's to either side of the chassis with that oddly satisfying sliding mechanism that is plastered all over every presentation I have ever seen; gave the build quality and design a once-over leaving me thoroughly impressed at how great it felt to hold. Scanned over the location of each port and found the power button. The eagerness to see this device power up was overwhelming so I pressed it!
I was Instantly greeted by the Nintendo logo instilling the nostalgia of my childhood spent with the N64, I was shocked at how fast the interface felt, to my surprise the device still had 45% battery left so I set myself up an account and a Mii (cause why the heck not), inserted the Zelda: Breath of the Wild cartridge, received that satisfying click as it depressed the cartridge mechanism, the OS quickly prompted me about an update, downloaded & installed it instantly and away I went.
After 30 seconds into Zelda it was clear to me that what I had purchased was one of the best experiences of my gaming life-time. I glanced over at my Girlfriend whom just walked into the living room, she wanted to watch something on our new Samsung UE55KS7000 TV it was then I realised how important to my lifestyle it was to be completely portable and not reliant on the TV, I told her she could watch whatever she wanted, grinned beyond myself and went back to playing Zelda.
After exiting the Shrine of Resurrection and being treated to the breath-taking view of the game-world displaying on a hand-held device running far better than I had imagined I was surely blown away. I have played a fair bit of Zelda on my PC, with all the tweaks and texture packs, still nothing could compare to the fidelity on the switch (obviously if it was made for PC it would, but I was so used to it stuttering all the time and being almost unplayable in shrines that this was a long awaited experience).
After roughly 30 minutes of playing, lying down on the couch like a slob (which I can never normally do whilst gaming with a mouse and keyboard), I had to provide some tech support for a friend. So I press the power button in the middle of a shrine I just completed thinking, oh I'll just do that again it's no bother. I come back to it an hour later. Press the power button... Completely shocked to see the game still running, the battery at 40%, and being back playing, straight away... right where I left off with no hitches or loading screens!
I am now questioning why I had never used a hand-held console before, PS-Vita has been out for years... It just never appealed to me because of the lack of games I was interested in. Granted the Switch has a severe lack of games right now, but lets be honest here, most people bought one to experience Zelda: Breath of the Wild and eventually, a portable Skyrim.
I went on holiday for 4 days in Northumberland to see a bunch of castles with my Girlfriend, as castles are the best and why wouldn't you want to see a bunch of castles. Anyway, spent 3 of the 4 days out-side, sightseeing and visiting awesome places. Each night, came back to our camping pod for an evening of gaming. Whilst the Girlfriend was getting ready in the morning for the next venture... I get a couple of hours in... my girlfriend and I take turns in driving so I also get to play then too, marvelous! Overall I have spent more time gaming than I have in the last six months in just 4 days, and the primary reason to go on Holiday isn't or wasn't to play games, yet I managed to do it all.
I have a 20 minute train journey to work in the morning and the same back in the evening, I get to play then, on my break at work too... 30 minutes... I come home, whilst the Girlfriend catches up on her TV shows, get an extra couple of hours in.
Each day, without trying at all, I have managed to fit 2-3 hours of gaming in, when initially, I maybe had a spare 20 minutes a day if that. For me, this has been life changing. I can now finally do what I love most, without faffing around with PC's/settings/graphics mods or whatever I get side-tracked doing on PC when I eventually get around to planning some gaming time.
So that is 10 hours a week without setting time aside specifically for gaming not including weekends... Just wow... I can now spend up to 20-30 hours a week, with no angry Girlfriend... seemingly faster train journeys, in more comfort as my Razer Turret mouse & keyboard aren't exactly the most comfortable things to use during marathon game sessions. I could not be happier.
My over-all first impressions break-down of the Switch & Zelda:
Performance 10/10 - Not noticed any in-game slow-downs or stutters on Zelda (don't have any other games yet), the interface is fast and responsive in the menu's and the ability to load a game straight away is a godsend.
Graphics 8/10 - There are a few lackluster jaggies, but the art style is impeccable on Zelda and thus quite possibly one of the most beautifully designed games I have ever played.
Gameplay 10/10 - Perfection, I can't get enough. The combat is varied and exhilarating. Lots of challenging bosses and tactics. Plenty of weapons and armour, with armour dyes etc... Tonnes of quests and extra's to explore.
Sound 10/10 - Not only are the speakers pretty powerful on the switch itself, but each sound effect is iconic and satisfying to hear from the menu's to the volume buttons, Zelda also has some of the best sound-tracks and sound effects I have ever experienced, extremely nostalgic and create an absorbing atmosphere which I could get lost in for hours. Sometimes I hear Zelda sound effects in reality now I think I've played it that much hahaha.
Design 7/10 - Don't get me wrong, the Switch is extremely impressive and the build quality is pretty good. My only few gripes are:
1 - You can't have it on charge, and have the stock stand out
2 - The headphone jack is on the top, which leaves the cable dangling over the screen if you don't feed it around the back
3 - The screen, although I haven't scratched it yet does not seem to be made of a particularly resilient and durable material; I can't imagine what it will look like after a few years
4 - The power-button is tiny, sometimes I cannot tell that I have pressed it with my chunky fingers, but I guess being a hand-held device this works in its favour as you wouldn't want to accidentally press it when searching for the volume buttons.
5 - The shoulder buttons do not appear to be pressure sensitive, this may be a turn-off for me regarding driving games, but I have my racing sim set-up for that so no big deal
6 - The ABXY layout is very difficult to get used to, I instinctively use the bottom button for selecting things, and the right-hand side button for back.
Longevity 6/10 - With the lack of games and power in the GPU department, I know not many standard release triple A games will make it to the switch, and I understand that most of it will be all Nintendo games. But honestly... give me Skyrim, Minecraft and Zelda, and I should be good for a long while, I can't speak on behalf of others mind but I always end up coming back to Skyrim and Minecraft.
Conclusion 8.5/10 - I would highly recommend a switch to anyone struggling to fit some gaming time in a normal every-day schedule like myself. It bridges the gap between a normal hand-held gaming experience like the PSP and a fully fledged console. if they decide to port some triple A games for Xbox 360/PS3 and re-release them on the Switch this could be a game changer. The likes of Modern Warfare 1,2 & 3 or Black Ops on the Switch would be a massive hit and probably sway more people to invest in Nintendo.
I am extremely happy with my purchase, whilst I realise some of the minor down-falls listed above, I know I made the right decision in getting one. I think PC gaming for me will be taking a long back-burner until 4k gaming becomes the norm for a £500 system, I am constantly buying and upgrading PC's and I am tired of it. The Switch just works, it came at just the right time for me and has drastically improved my gaming-life. If you have enough time to PC game, and already have a top end rig you can put the hours into, the switch probably isn't for you. I had a 1080ti/7700k recently which I sold as I cannot justify the cost vs the amount of time I spent on it.
Apologies for the essay.
TL:DR - I love the Switch, fits my needs perfectly and Zelda is a blast.
Edited by Roxborough - 4/27/17 at 5:10am