We went and got our Nintendo Switch first thing Friday morning—Gamestop held a midnight launch party. Other than the not-so-subtle scalper trying to buy up any remaining games and accessories, everyone was excited and friendly. The Nintendo love was strong. After the dullness of the Wii U years, it felt like the excitement was back. But was it justified?
Now that I've had my Switch for a few days, I can honestly say that I love it. Most of my gaming time has been spent getting lost in Hyrule in Breath of the Wild, but my boyfriend and I have sampled Super Bomberman R and we are planning to play Snipperclips soon. I have played the new Zelda game in both docked and handheld mode, with the Pro Controller and with the JoyCon controllers. The game runs wonderfully, and thankfully I haven't had any of the syncing issues that others are reporting. At least, not yet. The Switch is slick and intuitive, and it looks great both in handheld mode and on the TV. The controllers are easy to snap on and off of both the Switch itself and the various accessories (although you should watch out for the wrist straps). The battery life also seems pretty good. I had to go to the car dealership over the weekend and played for a good two hours while waiting for my car. I still had 50% battery left on the console when I got home.
I'll say more about Breath of the Wild once I've had some more time with it, but unlike any other game I have played in the past few years, it has a remarkable ability to inspire conversations. Because the game is so open and leaves so much room for innovation, everyone has learned something different on their Hyrule journeys. It's fun to swap word-of-mouth tips and tricks with other people who are exploring just like you are.
I have one serious complaint at this moment: The Switch has very weak wi-fi connection. When I'm downloading an update, the signal in my living room is so pathetic that I have to carry the tablet into my office and update it right by the router. No other device in my house—including the 3DS, Vita, PS3, and PS4—has this problem. Weak wi-fi gives me concerns about future online play once titles like Splatoon 2 start coming out.
I also have a minor complaint, although I think this one will naturally resolve itself. It's very clear that the Switch was released just a little bit early—it feels unfinished. This is particularly apparent in the eShop, which offers Switch games but no games from previous Nintendo generations. When will the shop be fully functional? The Switch's lack of an internet browser is also highly problematic given that it's a device that should be usable on the go. I don't see how I could connect to, say, Starbucks internet with my Switch given that I can't go into a browser window to accept the terms and conditions. Hopefully this is the sort of thing that can be easily fixed with an update.
Overall, I have great faith in the Switch, despite its issues. Nintendo has had its share of problems and continues to make weird marketing decisions. But Breath of the Wild is a remarkable game that has me looking forward to the next big Nintendo release, and the Switch itself is a pretty magical piece of hardware. Nintendo is so far delivering on the promise that keeps me a Nintendo fan through thick and thin: It has brought fun and joy to my gaming life, and thus to life in general.