01 Feb 2017
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Hands-on impressions with the Nintendo Switch console, Zelda and more

By Damian Seeto

Nintendo was kind enough to invite Netguide to play on the Nintendo Switch console and a couple of games this week. Is it better than the Wii U? If you are unfamiliar with the Nintendo Switch, it's the new hybrid console being released by Nintendo later this year. It's the first video game console that acts as a device at home and on-the-go. This means there are a variety of ways that you can play your favourite games.  Nintendo already tried to do this with the Wii U console, but the concept was limited. For the Wii U, you were only allowed to play on the Gamepad at home with the console still plugged in. With the Switch however, you can take the console outside and play on the bus, at the basketball court or more.  I recently bought a Wii U last year and I enjoy it a lot, but the Gamepad does feel bulky and quite big compared to lots of other devices. Holding the Switch console in portable mode is much more comfortable in your hands and the device is much lighter too.  Seriously, Nintendo has done a great job of making the Switch feel sleek and sexy in portable mode. It can easily fit in your hands and the console is light enough for you to carry around in your bag.  Another great thing about the console is just how fast and smooth it is to transition between the portable and home console set-ups. At first I was playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the TV and then I took the console out of the dock to play in portable mode. The time it took to transition the between two modes was literally two seconds! Bear in mind though, the time to transition between the two modes vary on the type of TV model you have. The Nintendo representative told me the refresh rate on every TV is different so some models may take longer than two seconds to switch between modes. That being said, it will still take you a few seconds and not minutes.  The third way you can play on the Nintendo Switch is the tabletop mode. Here you can use the screen as a tablet and rest it up against a table. The Switch has a kickstand at the back and it can rest nicely on any stable flat surface.  I was playing Mario Kart 8 in tabletop mode and it looked pretty cool. I can see many people playing via this mode if they're bored one day waiting for an appointment to start or even at University if the lecturer hasn't arrived in class yet. Despite the 6.2 inch screen, I was still able to play Mario Kart 8 in tabletop mode without any hassles.  Most hardcore gamers though will play the Switch at home like a traditional gaming console. I played Zelda on the TV using the Switch's new Pro controller and it was flawless. The new Pro controller is great and felt as comfortable as an Xbox One controller. The buttons were positioned nicely and they were soft to press too.  As for the new Zelda game, there's not much else I can say about it. The game is great and Zelda veterans will feel right at home. The open-world of Hyrule is huge and you can walk anywhere you want to. Not to mention the Switch version will look prettier than the Wii U version.  As for game mechanics, there are a few new things that Link can do. He can now steal weapons from enemies and weapons can break down the more you use them. Health is also replenished by eating food instead of finding heart pieces by cutting grass. I didn't get to play the game much, but I am intrigued on what the full game offers us when it's out this March. The other two games I got to play were ARMS and 1-2-Switch. Let's talk about ARMS first as this is a boxing video game where you use the Joy-Cons like PlayStation Move/Wii controllers.  The Joy-Cons have motion control sensors so you can use your arms/hands to punch in ARMS. The Joy-Cons are really responsive and ARMS gave me a good workout even though I only played two matches. The game itself is really fun and it's something the whole family can enjoy. 1-2-Switch is another game that the whole family can play. This game is a collection of mini-games that showcase the many different ways you can use the Joy-Cons. Aside from having motion sensors, the controller also has HD rumble and an IR sensor.  The HD rumble feature is amazing as it takes vibrations in gaming to an all-new level. HD Rumble allows you to feel more sensitive things like how many balls are inside of a cup. 1-2-Switch has a great mini-game where you have to guess how many balls are inside the controller. It's cutting edge technology that could enhance future titles. As for the IR sensor, this was used in 1-2-Switch in a mini-game where you had to "eat" a sandwich. The controller senses the movements of your mouth and the faster you move it, the more sandwiches you will eat. The only flaw about the Joy-Cons are that the buttons are small and the triggers are oddly shaped. People with big hands might find the Joy-Con controller to be uncomfortable. However, the Joy-Con controller is packed with the Switch console so if you find them uncomfortable, you have to pay extra for the Pro controller which is sold separately.  The Joy-Con controller is comfortable to play games like ARMS and 1-2-Switch, but it didn't feel right playing Mario Kart 8 and Zelda. The Pro controller or using the Switch as a portable device are the best ways to play more traditional style of games.   If you are interested in the Nintendo Switch, you will be happy to know that the console ships in both Australia and New Zealand on March 3rd, 2017. The console costs $469.95 AUD in Australia and $549.00 NZD in New Zealand.  Both The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and 1-2-Switch are out on March 3rd, 2017 too. Mario Kart 8 for Switch is not out until April while ARMS has no specified release date yet.  Overall, my impressions for the Nintendo Switch are very positive. The portable setup for the console is way more comfortable compared to the Wii U Gamepad and the games are very enjoyable. The graphics are also a step-up from the Wii U as Zelda and Mario Kart 8 look gorgeous.    

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