Nintendo Switch: The good and the bad [UPDATED]

UPDATE: It seems that the “free” NES and SNES games offered as part of Nintendo’s new online subscription service are each only available to play for a month, after which time you need to buy if you want to keep playing. If true, this is an undeniably stupid move by Nintendo. 

Original article below. 

Nintendo have finally unveiled their new hybrid home/portable console Switch in the early hours of this morning, along with a release date and price. The Switch will release on 3rd March for £279.99. This price doesn’t include any games, so that’s rather steep, isn’t it? Speaking of which, Ubisoft announced that Steep will be coming to the Switch.

Anyway, Nintendo also revealed that when the console is being used as a portable, the battery life will be between two and a half and six and a half hours, depending on the game being played. This rather worryingly hints at few lessons being learned from the Wii U. Nintendo will also now be charging for their online service from this autumn (like their competitors), although no price was mentioned. This subscription will only apply to the Switch, but how good/terrible a decision this is remains to be seen. For your money you will receive one NES or SNES game to rent each month like PS Plus and Gold; you know the drill. Also like the PS4 and Xbox One, the Switch will now sport a Share button, which will let you capture screenshots (at launch) and videos (from some point later) of your gaming exploits.
 
The Switch will be region free – or at least mostly region free –  meaning you can play imported games on the UK version of the console. The Joy-Con controllers feature motion controls, with the right-hand controller having an NFC reader for Amiibos and a sensor to detect how far away you are, and it can even detect different objects. The Joy-Cons also feature something going by the somewhat ridiculous name HD rumble, which is meant to be a more nuanced version of rumble. There will also be a Classic Controller available to buy, and the Switch will feature 32GB of extendable storage for saves and downloads. That’s a surprisingly teeny-weeny amount of space, again hinting that few lessons have been learned from the Wii U. Yes, games will be on cartridges so when you buy a game, you can jump straight in and play with no installation (remember those days?). But publishers like to hawk DLC at every opportunity, don’t they?  No further specs were confirmed, although it does feature a 1280×720 resolution capacitive touch screen, like smartphones, which will allow multi-touch.
 
Nintendo say 50 developers are working on 80 games at the moment… although what most of them are is anyone’s guess. Nintendo did announce a few new games though. 1-2-Switch is a party game, that looks like the system’s equivalent to Wii Sports. Players trying to outdraw each other in various scenarios, like a cowboy duel, a game of tennis, or a sword fight. ARMS is a fighting game with fighters that possess extendable arms like Inspector Gadget. The games uses the motion controls to fight, as you work your way around an arena to try and catch your opponent off-guard. Nintendo also had a surprise in store with Splatoon 2. All the rumours seemed to point to a remaster of the original Splatoon; but Switch is getting a full sequel with new maps, weapons, and a larger hub world. Huzzah!
 
The biggest news though was a new Super Mario game called Super Mario Odyssey. Nintendo say it is their first open world sandbox game since Super Mario 64. It does look great though; with Mario exploring a city that looks a lot like New York with humans wandering the streets, a rainforest, a desert, and an abstract world with giant fruit. Mario can now use his hat as a weapon, and also use it as a platform. You will have to wait until Christmas to play it though, which is a bit of a disappointment. Rumours suggested it could be a launch title.
 
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is going to be a launch title on 3rd March. Other titles include 1-2 Switch, Skylanders: Imaginators and Just Dance 2017. Other notable titles include Super Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Super Bomberman R, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (yes!), FIFA, Lego City Undercover, and the phenomenon that is Minecraft – although there were no details on when they may release.
 
Bit of yer proverbial mixed bag in the announcements. It’s hard to say if Nintendo have set themselves up for success or ruin; Amazon have already sold out of their launch day allocation, but at time of writing other retailers such as Zavvi and The Game Collection are still taking pre-orders.  
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Written by Kevin M

I've been addicted to gaming since my parents bought an Atari console way back in the 70's. I progressed to the iconic Speccy, Amiga, and all the Playstation platforms. Having seen games evolve from single pixel bat and ball, to HD constructed environments, gaming has changed much from my early years. Having defeated the rock hard R-Type on the Speccy, the biggest challenge I've faced so far is putting up with the hordes of American teens spouting abuse in the current generation of consoles, noob indeed!

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