Well isn't this a funny surpise? I'm writing on Rooster Teeth! Honestly, I'm only doing it because this is the most similar thing I have to a blog and I feel like having some kind of written memory of what I did today. But let's start from the beginning.
One month ago, my friend Ale and I were in an Anime convention and while browsing twitter we stumbled across a Nintendo announcement. Turns out Nintendo wanted to promote the Swicth by letting people try it out. Of course, we signed in just in time and the 26th of Febraury we'd be one of the few idiots who could play the Swicth before its release. So here we are.
The first thing one notices about the event is the audience. Nintendo has a wide variety of public. Kids, adults, families, teens, you mention it. I guess it's true that Nintendo is considered the Disney of gaming since its public is so diverse and have many different reasons to be there in the first place.
For example, I'm a big Zelda fan since Wind Waker it's still to this date one of my favorite gaming memories even if I'm absolutely certain that it hasn't aged so well. However, I have enjoyed every single Mario game that I have played and even if I'm not a completionist, Pokemon is one of my favorite sagas.
To this day Gamecube and N64 are my favorite systems (not counting PC, of course) Then you have my friend, Ale. He's a huge Zelda fan but doesn't care much for Mario or any other Nintendo Ips. Most of the people on the queue were there for Zelda, for sure, but you'd be surprised to hear how many were talking about a new Metroid, Starfox, Donkey Kong or even Splatoon. And it made me feel happy to see the latest generation of kids not focusing on COD or Halo. There were four kids with an adult discussing Splatoon strategies. Honestly, a great image. Like this one.
Well, we have some Zelda cards there. Let me explain. Those have a written time on them. Ours was 12:50. The event started at 12:30. So 20 minutes in, we would be able to try Zelda. So, of course, that meant that we had 20 minutes to kill.
Time to play some Splatoon 2, which I'm unable to differenciate from the first one.
I don't wanna brag but it was my first time playing and I was not used to motion controls (gyroscopic, if you're gonna get picky) and I crushed it. MVP of the team and flawless victory. Honestly, Splatoon is fun. But that's not important.
How did the controller feel? Well, the controller i used this time were the Joy cons attached to the central piece and it was surpringsily comfortable. I was afraid my hands were going to be too big for the controller (ladies...) but it honestly felt comfortable and fit perfectly (hello again, ladies). The match went smoothly and it was a joyful experience that didn't get tainted by inconvenient controls.
After Splatoon we went to try some 1,2 Switch minigames. One of them had us trying to guess how many marbles could we feel inside an imaginary box. This is achieved thanks to the "HD Rumble" technology. I have no idea of how it works but, yep, it felt exactly like I was holding a box with marbles in it.
However, I need to stop the hype train for a minute on the reality stop, right next to No Man's Sky stop, and explain something that became clear to me as soon as I put my controller down: Ok, very cool. But what now? Is that it? It's not that much of an impressive gimmick. It's just a gimmick. I fail to see how they are going to apply it to other games outside of Mario Party.
I mean, the same can be said for the cow milking minigame, which my friend crushed me in. I still don't know if that's a merit for him or for me. The HD rumble is supposed to make you feel like you're milking a cow but honestly, all I felt was my hand going up and down while I stared at Ale wondering how many years of jerking off would I need to even be close to his level.
But, it was our time to play Zelda, which ironically, was also our biggest letdown and I feel like I need to rant about this. All right, calm down, Kemix. Be objective and professional.
WHO THE FUCK DECIDED THAT IF THE PLAYERS WERE ONLY GOING TO BE ABLE TO PLAY FOR 10 MINUTES THE BEST COURSE OF ACTION WOULD BE TO START A GAME FROM THE BEGINNING? I mean, it's a goddam Zelda game! The start takes already 3 minutes to get out of the initial cinematic and we couldn't pick any items because we literally had no time. Fuck! Just start the game in the middle of the plateau already equipped and being able to explore, climb, swim or battle in a reasonable period of time! My God. I was looking forward to play Zelda since it's the only game worth playing at launch and honestly it's the game I remember the least because the staff were rushing us and we couldn't enjoy the game properly.
I'll try to get two positive remarks out of this whole mess: The pro controller is nice. If you feel like the joycon is too small or uncomfortable but the last time I checked the price, it was almost at 80 pounds per controller.
It was also the only ocassion where I could try the "Switch" mechanic. Sure enough, you take the screen out the base and off you go. The transition is instant and smooth. And the screen quaility is more than decent.
The performance has been reported to go to shit when there's too much stuff on screen and here's the problem I see with that: This is the first bacth of games and Zelda only runs on 30fps but it gets lower on Handheld mode. I'm not an fps nazi but if the first games are already having handheld issues, how is this going to affect upcoming releases and ports? Then again, I have no idea of computer engineering so maybe I'm just being naive about it.
Well, let's go with my last games. Mario Kart 8 is Mario Kart 8. Nothing to report. We played it on Handheld mode with 8 people simultaneously and it works perfectly. No lag issues, great fps rate, stable and looks gorgeus on the screen. It baffles me that it's taking them until April to port this game since, frankly, it looks finished to me.
And last, but certainly not least, my favourite game: Arms. Before you stop reading, let me explain. I'm a big fan of "Hajime no Ippo", a manga and anime about boxing, and games that make you think and react according to your opponent style and the situation, while trying to read his movements and think and strategy to overcome it. And Arms gives me all of that.
You can dash to get closer, or to get away. You can jump to evade an attack and strike but it also exposes you to your opponent. You can block but your opponent can grab you. If your opponent throws a punch you can deflect him and expose his side to strike his weak spots, but if you're not fast enough he'll recover and counter you. You can throw hooks to test your opponent's reflexes but you'd get exposed to frontal attacks.
That range of possibilities allows many strategies and fighting styles and the fact that the motion controllers are so precise makes it even more immersive. My friend and I really had a tense fight because we were both moving really fast and throwing punches in order to test our opponent's strengths and weaknesses, switching from in-fighting and head on encounters to outboxing and cautious styles when our health was low. I know it sounds kind of cliché but it really is something you need to try to understand.
I feel like even my girlfriend, who's absolutely not into gaming woul be able to enjoy this experience since it's so easy and intense. Think of it as a perfected version of the Wii Sports boxing minigame.
But, I do have some improvement points: First of all, the game needs more content. I know it's a demo, but I hope there's an arcade or story mode, more cutomization and different scenarios with obstacles and interactive objects, although that might break the game rythim and purity which will give luck more protagonism than skill, a really negative point for this experience.
My other concern was the movement. You have to tilt your hands in order to side-step or dash towards or against your opponent as you are locked to his body, which sometimes resulted in erratic movements or lost punches. That will be a problem since Arms can be played with a controller, which will make normal controllers a preferred option. The easiest fix I can imagine would be to let you use the joystick while on motion controls but that didn't seem to be a possibility and I am sad because this is the first game I have ever played with motion controls which felt like it was truly able to make me love motion controls since punching is such an exciting and natural act.
Let's try to reach a conclusion about this whole experience.
- Has my opinion of the Swicth changed now that I have played it?
No, although it was a great way to ensure that everything I've read about it so far was real and to try the technology with my own hands. It felt nice to have this piece of technology that I have heard so much about in the last months in my own hands and to see it work made it feel real.
- Will I buy it?
Probably, but not on launch. Buying anything on launch, specially hardware always feels wrong to me. I want to wait until I read more reviews, analysis and reports from the media and influencers (hate this word so much) that I trust.
I have no doubt that Zelda is going to be a great game and that Nintendo will do a great job with Splatoon, Mario Kart and whatever they're developing and frankly, I'm curious to see a Pokemon game on the Switch. But until I don't see any third party support (looking at you From Software, whatever you're planning) I can't assure that this is not going to end up just like the WiiU.
- Do I recommend it?
Well, that's hard to say. If you are really into Nintendo it's definitely a good option. The price is more than competitive and fair considering it's both a handheld and normal console.
But if you have a PS4 or an Xbox I don't really see the point. Let me explain it with a comparison. Would you pay 340 pounds to play Zelda when you could buy Horizon, Uncharted, The Last of Us, Final Fantasy XV and many more for your current console?
So, for now, while it is an interesting concept, and a decent product, I don't see anyone "Switching" consoles just because of it...I should apologize for that joke.