Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Switch

These are impressions of the Nintendo Switch in handheld mode. I've spent 20+ hours using it that way, and I don't know if I'll ever use it with the television.

The explanation for why is the review.

I enjoy handheld systems, but there's always been something that hurt the experience. With the 3DS/Vita, the screen was never quite large enough, and on the iPad/Android tablet, the screen turned into a dirty mess over time.

Wait, there's a third reason. Tablets never offer the ability to interact in a complex way, because the control schemes are necessarily limited. So the experience you can have is limited by the nature of the device.

That's why I'll probably never use the Switch with the television: as a handheld, the Switch is perfect. Just perfect.

For my hands, the Switch fits exactly right, and I mean exactly. It's incredibly comfortable, and the larger screen size makes the viewing distance just what I wanted.

Because I'm holding a controller in each hand, my interaction with a game can be complex, and each hand can comfortably reach every control.

Plus, and this is quite an experience the first time it happens, there's a tilt sensor, so I can make small aiming adjustments in games just by slightly moving the screen.

It's wondrous.

How long did it take me to realize this? Seconds. That's how good the Switch feels in your hands, and how fast you understand.

There are other niceties. The sound is very, very good. The screen is beautiful.

Most importantly, the ability to pick the system up out of the charging dock and be playing a game in five seconds is fantastic. It's so easy, and so convenient.

Sure, that's true of the 3DS/Vita as well, but the screen on the Switch is so much larger. It fills enough of your vision that you feel like you're playing a big game instead of a small one. It feels more consequential.

Look, the Switch is going to have the same issues every Nintendo console has had in the last decade: finding third party support that consists of more than gimmick games and shovelware. Probably, you're buying the Switch for first-party titles and a few terrific ports.

Is it worth it? Hell, yes.

I'll have thoughts on Zelda tomorrow.

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