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The Nintendo Switch, One Year Later

By Kelson Howerton
On April 11, 2018

The Nintendo Switch will not disappoint, but don't replace your other systems with it.
Photo Courtesy of GameSpot

Happy birthday, Nintendo--the Nintendo Switch is one year old now. The hybrid home console has had a busy first year, skipping the crawling stage and jumping right into a full-sprint as the fastest-selling console in the U.S. of all time. Bridging the gap between a portable handheld device and a classic at-home console, Nintendo has delivered something truly unlike anything else before it, and people cannot get enough of it. With that said, no console is ever perfect at launch, so the question is, now that the Switch has had a year, has it delivered on all of its promises? 


Well in short, yes. Coming from a pretty moderate Nintendo fan that has mostly only dabbled with its line of handheld systems, the Switch is an absolute joy and one of the biggest surprises of the past decade. Nintendo has fully delivered on the Switch’s unique hook of a console that serves as both a portable console you can take anywhere and a traditional home console without sacrificing any of the perks. 


However, I find the Switch to be at its best when undocked and playing on the handheld tablet. This allows you to play anywhere without having to commit the time to sitting down and playing on the television. However, you still have the option to play it on your TV while in docked mode, and it works like a charm to switch™ between the two modes of play without even having to pause your game.  


In just a year on the market, the Switch has already cultivated a solid lineup of games to keep you playing. With “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” and “Super Mario Odyssey,” the Switch is already home to two flagship titles that are not only reason enough to buy a Switch, but are two of Nintendo’s best games yet. Throw in the updated Wii-U port “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” and the surprisingly fun multiplayer shooter “Splatoon 2” and you have a solid lineup of Nintendo goodness. 


Additionally, third-party support for the Switch seems to be promising. Games like “Minecraft,” Rocket League,” and the surprising Bethesda titles of “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” and 2016’s “DOOM” show that third-party developers and publishers are interested in porting their games to the Switch, while the out-of-nowhere Ubisoft/Nintendo collaboration of “Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle” show third-party developers are interested in making titles specifically for the Switch. 


The portable nature of the Switch also makes it a bastion for smaller indie titles that do not always translate well to play on your beefy console or PC. From delightful 2D platformers such as “Celeste,” “Steamworld Dig 2” and “Shovel Knight,” to fun party games like “Overcooked” and the “Jackbox” series, to 2D RPGs like “Stardew Valley” and “Golf Story,” the Switch has a robust catalogue of indie titles. 

Because of this, I, like many others, have actually started to debate picking up games on the Switch over other consoles, almost always leaning towards the Switch. It is a crazy world where I choose to buy third-party games on a Nintendo console over my PlayStation 4, but alas, here we are, and I am loving it. 

However, it has not been all sunshine and fire flowers for the Switch. While Nintendo constantly shows its genius in crafting games, the company continues to show its complete cluelessness when it comes to the online aspect of a modern-day console. Online voice chat requires you to use a cumbersome mobile app rather than an in-game feature. It is still difficult to setup many online games with friends, and the Switch still uses Nintendo’s outdated and poorly-featured friends system that forces you to use 14-digit codes to add friends. Finally, the Switch is still lacking cloud saves, so if something happens to your Switch and you lose your data, it is gone for good. Switch users are also still waiting for the addition of Virtual Console, Nintendo’s service that ports NES, SNES, and Gameboy classics to its modern consoles. Currently it's a mess, but Nintendo will hopefully be fixing much of the Switch’s online shortcomings with the release of its awaited Xbox Live-style online service later this year. 


Another concern for the Switch is how well its less powerful tech will hold up as games get more intensive. The internals of the Switch are basically on par with an Xbox 360, a generation behind where we are now. However, Nintendo proves that it does not need raw technical power to deliver well-performing games. 

As long as you do not plan on it replacing your PS4, Xbox One, or PC, then I recommend picking up a Switch. It is still a work-in-progress, but the Nintendo Switch is quickly becoming my favorite place to play. 

 

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