After the reveal on Friday we got to go hand-on with the Nintendo Switch on Saturday and check out the games, the console, and the controllers that we are still getting used to calling Joy-Cons. As a handheld-meets-console the Nintendo Switch is certainly impressive, but coming away from our hands-on time we were still left with quite a few questions. And in typical Nintendo fashion, it was at once charming, impressive, confusing, and unique.
The Nintendo Switch’s 6” screen is bright and sharp in a way that Nintendo handhelds have never been. Playing the new Zelda game in handheld mode you get the impression that you’re playing something that probably wasn’t meant to be played this way. Like a hobbyist that has modified an old console, attached a screen, and let you play a classic title in your lap. Originally a Wii U title, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was quite possibly never meant to be played as a handheld title. And even though the Wii U has second screen functionality, when it dawns on you that you can play the Switch anywhere, at any time, it’s hard not to walk away impressed.
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When viewed as a standard console connected to a TV, the situation is entirely different. In your hands the lush environments and wonderful animation of Breath of the Wild are gorgeous. On a larger screen, they still look great but you can see the edges and technical shortcomings. Especially when compared to console’s like the PS4 and Xbox One. In strict visual terms the Switch is an improvement on the Wii U, but only slightly so. On paper that may sound like a fatal mistake made on Nintendo’s part, but for a handheld it’s more than enough. And makes a great first impression. If played that way.