Is it really worth paying £280 for the Switch? MailOnline gives its verdict on Nintendo's latest console
- Nintendo's new Switch device has a portable screen and clip-on controls
- It has three modes to allow you to play your game at home or on the go
- Subtle vibrations in the controllers were impressive and added to experience
- The range of games is disappointing with just 4 games set to be available when the Switch is launched in March
In the hopes of breaking the barrier between those who love casual, on-the-move gaming and those who prefer their home console, Nintendo has unveiled its Switch device.
With a portable screen and clip-on controls, this on-the-move gamer docks into a base station when you get home, instantly letting you continue your game.
It's a unique, exciting idea, but is it the next gaming must own or a half way house that fails to achieve either speciality?
MailOnline was one of the first to try out the new console to find out.
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In the hopes of breaking the barrier between those who love casual, on-the-move gaming and those who continue to covet beautiful AAA titles on their home console, Nintendo has unveiled its Switch device
SWITCH'S 3 MODES
'TV Mode' - lets you play using a classic set-top on a big screen.
'Tabletop Mode' - This lets you remove the Switch's rear kickstand and play games by holding the detached left and right Joy-Cons in either hand.
'Handheld mode' - You can attach the Joy-Cons to the Switch screen and play anywhere.
NINTENDO SWITCH HARDWARE: A MULTI-PURPOSE CONSOLE FOR THE MASSES
This isn't just one console, it's a three in one device that offers a portable, TV and tablet-style experience.
Each has its own unique benefits and each will appeal to a different type of user.
Combined together though, and the Switch offers a renewed sense of gaming freedom that's obvious from first play.
The Switch itself is powered by a custom Nvidia processor and features 32GB of internal storage and integrated Wi-Fi alongside a 6.2-inch screen with a 1280 x 720 pixel HD Display that, although not as sharp as some modern smartphones, is still a pleasingly bright, vibrant addition.
The Nintendo Switch is a jack of all trades console that meets and even exceeds expectations on a number of fronts, at least on first use.
It's a design that could so easily have felt like a gimmick or a toy. Impressively though, Nintendo has managed to make it feel like so much more.
It's a multi-purpose console for the modern gamer and, putting the Wii U misery behind it, feels like Nintendo back to its best.
There are concerns though.
That battery life when in portable mode seems anything but solid and its £279.99 ($299) price tag isn't exactly comforting, especially when games are going to cost close to £60 ($73).
The PS4 and Xbox One might be more restrictive in their 'just stick it under the TV' design, but they are backed by all the major third-party developers and continue to offer increasingly engaging, graphically superior games.
Longstanding Nintendo fans will love the Switch. The console could just surprise a few skeptics too.
This multitouch display slots into a body that's bookended by a set of removable controllers dubbed 'Joy-Con'.
Attaching to the side of the console, they feature all the traditional joysticks, triggers and X,Y,A,B and direction buttons, as well as a new 'Share' control that when pressed captures a gaming still to share on social media.
They also play host to impressive vibration features.
With a portable screen and clip-on controls, this on-the-move gamer docks into a base station when you get home, instantly letting you continue your game, exactly where you left it, on your TV, just like a traditional console
NINTENDO'S SWITCH: KEY POINTS
- The console will go on sale on March 3, at a cost of £279.99 in the UK and $299.99 in the US.
- A small portable screen can be removed from the main hub and connected to the device's modular Joy-Con controllers to create a mobile, handheld gaming device.
- The next instalment in the popular 'Legend Of Zelda series, Breath Of The Wild' was revealed as a launch title for the system, as was 'Super Mario Odyssey' and 'Mario Kart 8 Deluxe'.
- The modular controller has the ability to split into two and each be used by one player to create a local multi-player set-up, with the mobile screen used by both players.
- It has 6.2-inch screen with a resolution of up to 1280-by-720 pixels.
- Other technical specifications include 32GB of internal storage, Wi-Fi, a USB Type-C connector and the ability to support up to eight Nintendo Switch players.
- Its battery life lasts 2.5 to 6.5 hours depending on the game being played. Zelda is expected to drain the battery in about three hours.
- Region locking has disappeared which means played can buy a game in for instance, the US and still play it in Europe.
This might not sound like a big deal, but the subtlety and nuance to the vibrations really adds to the gaming experience.
In mini games we tried, they let you feel the individual clicks of a safe's lock and the roll and collisions of marbles in a wooden box.
Set to come in two colours options, a standard grey model will be available alongside a unit with bright neon blue and red Joy-Con.
Fortunately, the Switch feels more robust than it looks.
The plastic body is surprisingly, but pleasingly sturdy, with the decent build quality that's nicer than many mid-range tablets and with dedicated controllers, so much better attuned to gaming.
When at home, a stand-turn-docking station connects the console to the TV.
Simply slot the console in the dock and the game instantly transfers from small screen to big, no fuss, no fanfare, just pure simplicity.
Set to come in two colours options, a standard grey model (pictured) will be available alongside a unit with bright neon blue and red Joy-Con
When at home, a stand-turn-docking station connects the console to the TV. Simply slot the console in the dock and the game instantly transfers from small screen to big, no fuss, no fanfare, just pure simplicity
There's a third mode too, with a kickstand built into the back of the console letting you prop it up as a dedicated screen while on the move, using the two Joy-Con as individual controllers for multiplayer gaming.
Take the Switch out and about though, and battery life starts to become a concern.
Nintendo claims the console will last anywhere between 2.5 and 6.5 hours depending on the type of game you're playing.
The Switch feels more robust than it looks. The plastic body is surprisingly, but pleasingly sturdy, with the decent build quality that's nicer than many mid-range tablets and with dedicated controllers, so much better attuned to gaming
During our demo time, the console was always connected to a power source.
The portable console can be recharged via its USB Type-C connection.
That's the same one you'll find on most new Android phones meaning you'll only need to carry one power cord for your next weekend away.
Unlike bright, bold titles such as Splatoon 2 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - both of which looked brilliant when we played them on the Switch - Zelda's added subtly of tones and more detailed, intricate graphics failed to really pop
WHAT CAN YOU PLAY ON THE SWITCH?
The next instalment in the popular 'Legend Of Zelda series, Breath Of The Wild' was revealed as a launch title for the system, as was 'Super Mario Odyssey' and 'Mario Kart 8 Deluxe'.
Third party games include:
Dragon Ball Z
I Am Setsuna
Lego City Undercover
Project Octopath Traveler
Nintendo will also be bringing online services to the Switch. While this is free from launch, the service will change to a paid model.
NINTENDO SWITCH GAMES: A LIMITED LAUNCH LINE UP SET TO GROW
While the hardware impresses, as with any new console, it's the available games that could make or break the Nintendo Switch.
Sadly, there's not going to be much choice at the start, with just four titles set to be a available on day one, Skylanders Imaginators, Just Dance 2017, 1-2 Switch and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wilds.
Dozens more games including FIFA 17, LEGO City Undercover, Sonic Mania, Ultra Street Fighter 2 and Minecraft have all been confirmed for release later in 2017, but that's still a worryingly weak launch lineup.
Zelda though is the headline grabber here and, after an early play, is setting the standard for Switch gaming.
Whether playing on the portable device or linked up to the TV, it offers visually rich, fluid gameplay that makes use of the Switch's fluid 60fps frame rate.
It does highlight a few deficiencies in the device's screen though.
Unlike bright, bold titles such as Splatoon 2 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - both of which looked brilliant when we played them on the Switch - Zelda's added subtly of tones and more detailed, intricate graphics failed to really pop.
Whether playing on the portable device or linked up to the TV, it offers visually rich, fluid gameplay that makes use of the Switch's fluid 60fps frame rate
This isn't a high starting point and, as screen technology continues to evolve, the Switch is going to date faster than many dedicated tablets.
Away from Zelda, Mario and Splatoon there's still plenty of titles in the works that classic Nintendo fans, casual and hardcore gamers alike will enjoy.
1-2 Switch, a series of mini games made specifically for the new console offer plenty of quick-hit fun for friends and families.
A demonstrater is pictured playing Nintendo's Arms game with its new game console at its experience venue in Tokyo
Much like Wii Sports from back in the day, it offers a series of short titles to get you up, active and having fun as a group such as the Western-inspired Quick Draw. Not all of these games are going to get you coming back for more though.
Milk, which requires you to jerk your Joy-Con controller up and down to milk a virtual cow, however, is perhaps one of the most bizarre games we've ever played.
Importantly though, with more than 80 Switch games in development and leading developers including EA and Square Enix pledging to support the console, it should continue to evolve and improve moving forward.
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