Nintendo Switch Revealed! – Thoughts and Analysis from an Ever-Switching Mind
After a long, somewhat excruciating journey filled with enough twists and turns to leave your head in a rather twisted/turney state, Nintendo finally let us in on their plans for their next console, the Nintendo Switch, during a presentation from Japan late Thursday evening/early Friday morning.
First off, the big stuff you want to know – Nintendo Switch is less than two months away! It will be launching world-wide on March 3rd, 2017, and will retail in the U.S. for $299.
That’s a little bit more than I was expecting to pay for the device, but hey – at least you get the unit, the dock, two of the nifty Joycon controllers, wrist straps (you don’t want those suckers flying out of your hands, do you?) and that grip thingie that we’ve seen in all the promotional material.
Nintendo, ever cognizant of creating a retail orgy among their faithful followers, will release the Nintendo Switch in two sku’s. The first one is the standard Switch with the standard gray Joycons, however, the second sku features the Joycons in glorious neon red and neon blue colors! While the Switch will undoubtedly be a hot item right out of the gate, I have a sneaking suspicion that most people are going to want those pretty colored Joycons out of the box.
As expected, Nintendo didn’t bother us during their rather stiff presentation, with any sort of technical specifications on the new Switch hardware. Those details will likely arrive later on in carefully worded press releases.
The tech details they did let us in on centered around the Joycon controllers themselves.
First up, the Joycon’s have a number of little features built in, such as: IR sensors that can detect hand motions, (it can recognize you playing Paper, Rock Scissors) as well as a little sensor for reading Amiibo’s. They also have little L and R buttons built on to them, and of course, no Nintendo controller is complete anymore without motion sensing technology being built into it.
Nintendo is also taking a page from the PlayStation 4 book by including a “Home” and more importantly, a “Share” button. The later will act in the same fashion as the PS4 versions, i.e. you can save screenshots and video clips, and upload those to social media.
One of the more impressive features of the Joycon was what Nintendo called its HD Rumble technology. Nintendo touted this as the next-generation of force-feedback, highlighting how it could create differentiating sensations as minute as water filling a glass, or ice cubes clanking. (Here’s hoping that there is some sort of Nintendo drinking simulator in the works)
The big question on everyone’s mind (besides the release date and price point) was what games will we be playing on this miraculous new hybrid machine?
The first big demo they showed was a strange mixture of boxing/fighting called, ARMS. It sort of reminded me of what I’d expect of games like Wii Boxing and Street Fighter were real people, and those people humped and had a kid.
Players chose one of ARMS’ unique characters, each with their own special move-sets, and move around arena’s trying to land shots with their crazy extendable arms using the motion sensing capabilities of the Joycon’s. Different motions with the Joycon allowed you to pull off special moves, like you could in a fighting game. It’s a very original-looking title, but it didn’t have that immediate charm that something like Splatoon had when it first debuted.
Featuring all-new game modes, weapons, maps, etc, this will be a game that I will babble about incessantly to anyone who will listen. Seriously, Splatoon was great, so I hope that the move to the Switch will help this amazingly quirky, addictive title reach the audience it deserves.
Then came probably the most exciting moment for me – the official return of Mario!!
Super Mario Odyssey is described as the return of the “sandbox” style, first introduced in Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine.
A beautiful trailer was shown that featured Mario running around in a mixture of whimsical environments that you’d expect from a Mario game, as well as locations we might find in our own world, such as a vibrant city with towering skyscrapers. Perhaps most shocking of all was the appearance of other actual human beings in the trailer! Like, real humans, who were not Princess Peach or Luigi!
Super Mario Odyssey actually does take Mario out of the Mushroom Kingdom, and is supposed to invoke the joyful feeling one gets when traveling to new lands. Princess Peach is in trouble, of course, having been kidnapped once again by that dastardly Bowser.
We may be getting a bit more in the way of story elements in Super Mario Odyssey. I caught a glimpse in the trailer
of a poster that read, “Bowser and Peach – A Royal Wedding.”
So after 30 years, we may finally find out that the King of the Koopa’s was just a lonely, horny old dude after all.
The only sad thing regarding Super Mario Odyssey is that we can’t have it right now. Rumors have circulated that Nintendo is actually pretty much done with the game, however, they’re holding it till the holiday season.
Nintendo tried to assuage fears that they will be shunned by third-parties by trotting out a number of representatives from various companies, who all assured us that the Switch was cool, and that they’re working on games for it.
Square Enix has Dragon Quest X and XI, along with Dragon Quest Hero’s I and II in the works. They also had a classic-looking, 2D RPG called Project Octopath Traveler that they showed off.
Todd Howard from Bethesda confirmed Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is indeed coming.
Monolith is working on Xenoblade Chronicles 2, which is excellent news for RPG fans.
EA came out to confirm FIFA 17 is on the way.
All that was great, but seriously, no one is going to buy a Switch for ARMS.
What about Zelda?
Saving their best for last, Nintendo showed off perhaps the best trailer for any game that they have ever produced.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s new trailer was glory personified – hinting at the most epic, emotional Zelda adventure yet. More importantly, this trailer showed Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild running fully on the Nintendo Switch hardware, and the results were stunning.
This truly is the flagship game that they need, and Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will launch right along with the Nintendo Switch on March 3rd.
Overall, I’m excited about the Switch itself.
New hardware is always a fun moment in the industry, especially when it’s a new Nintendo system that’s launching.
Mario and Zelda look truly magnificent.
I will eat up Splatoon 2..
ARMS looked.. well.. strange, but not without potential.
Otherwise, I was left a little underwhelmed by the presentation.
The conference itself was rather dry and sterile. Attempts at humor were often lost in translation, especially when Suda 51 was on-stage, as the interpreter for the stream seemed to get lost.
I also was a bit disappointed in the $299 price, which was just a bit more than I was expecting, and will once again put Nintendo in the position of offering a machine with less power than its competitors – albeit a machine with a unique gimmick – for a higher price.
But the greatest concern that I have is the launch lineup:
- 1, 2 Switch
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- Just Dance 2017
- Has Been Heroes
- Super Bomberman R
- Disgaea 5 Complete
- Puyo Puyo Tetris
- Rayman Legends
- Skylanders: Imaginators
- I Am Setsuna
Is there anything on that list beyond Zelda that makes you want to run out and spend $300 on a new system?
I mean, Steep? Really? That game JUST came out a month ago and it’s already undergone a few price cuts.
To me, this is the most underwhelming launch lineup Nintendo had ever put together, however, I have a feeling though that this is only the tip of the iceberg. Most systems nowadays have crummy launch titles (Look at PS4. Yeah, I said it. PS4’s launch lineup sucked) and it’s likely that Nintendo has a few bombs that they are waiting until E3 to throw.
But at least all the cards are finally on the table. The long road of crazy speculation regarding the Nintendo Switch has reached its climax. All we have to do now is wait just a few short weeks until March 3rd, when we can all battle each other in the streets to try and get one.
What were your thoughts on the Switch?
Are you trying to pull a Cartman, and time-travel ahead a few weeks so you don’t have to wait anymore? Or were you thoroughly unimpressed by the whole thing, and ready to go back to your hobby of counting your belly-button?
Let us know in the comments section below.
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