By: Andrew Lister
Welcome to the next installment of Tuesday Top Five! From time to time I'll be coming up with a Top 5 spanning a number of geeky topics. Since I've been spending so much time with the new Nintendo Switch, I thought I'd cover the Top 5 reasons to own one!
I'll not try to mask the truth: I'm a huge fan of Nintendo. My love for the company dates back to my early years playing the Nintendo Entertainment System. I sunk so many hours with my neighborhood friends into dozens of games. Playing through Final Fantasy I on the NES is the reason I'm into fantasy, RPGs, and tabletops. When Sega came onto the scene, I still prefered the SNES. I adored my N64, and don't even make me try to count up the number of hours I've spent on my Nintendo handheld systems.
Nintendo has gotten a bit of a bad wrap as of late with the release of their last generation system, the Wii U. I could understand what some of the gripes were with the system, but overall I really enjoyed it. People complain about the lack of games, but there was a really good library that kept me busy over the last several years.
As you might imagine, when Nintendo announced their new system, the Switch, I was more than excited. I managed to get one the weekend that it was released, and I want to share with you all the Top Five reasons why you should consider getting the console.
Check out this week's Top Five by clicking below!
#5 - Innovative Controls
Nintendo is known for its innovation. It's the company that created the shoulder button, the analog stick, and motion controls. Nintendo's newest console switches things up (I promise this is the only one of these puns!) with the introduction of the Joy-Con. These Wiimote-esque mini-controllers can work in a number of ways, and their versitility brings fresh life to the system.
First of all, they connect on the side of the console when it's in handheld mode. The controllers work well and give the console a PS Vita sort of feel. The placement of the buttons takes a little getting used to, but the learning curve hasn't been all that steep.
You can also detach the Joy-Cons and play a number of ways. With the addition of the kickstand (which isn't great...it's my biggest gripe with the system), you can use the controllers either on their own as a single controller turned on its side, both together in each hand for single player games, or attach them to a controller shell for a more traditional grip and feel. I found playing Snipperclips with a single Joy-Con to be a bit of an adjustment, but they work well enough.
The grip that comes with the console looks strange. However, I've found it to be really comfortable, and I have really large hands. I've had many multi-hour play sessions using it, and I don't have many complaints. The only thing I somewhat dislike is the placement of the plus and minus buttons, but that's something I'm getting used to.
The Joy-Con has a great battery life, and the grip tells you how much juice is left. I have yet to have the battery life drop below the top light. This is good since the only way to charge the Joy-Con is by having them attached to the dock. Again, since the Joy-Con can last over 12 hours without a charge, I haven't run into any issues.
#4 - Indie Games on the Go!
I'm a big fan of indie games. The cost of these games are typically lower than traditional big titles, but they often times take chances and deliver some really fun gameplay experiences. Some of my favorite games that I've recently streamed are Stardew Valley and Undertale, two smaller budget, big enjoyment games.
During the days of the Wii U, Nintendo reached out to indie developers to offer their system as a platform for their titles. I downloaded a number of games on both the 3DS and Wii U that I fell in love with, and it seems that Nintendo Switch is going to have all sorts of indie support as well.
It's imperative that the Switch has access to lots of games. They need big first party titles, such as Legend of Zelda and Super Mario, the support of 3rd party companies, a robust back catalog of retro titles, and the additional flavor of independent games. The more games, the better. And looking at some of the titles coming to the Switch, we're going to get lots of games to play.
Once I finish The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (and it looks like it may take me some time to be done with it), I plan to pick up I Am Setsuna. I know what some of you might say: "But Andrew, that game has been out for some time now, and you probably can get it on a Steam sale for cheaper!" You're right on both counts; however, I've been busy with games like Breath of the Wild, World of Final Fantasy, Fallout 4, and others that have eaten up my game time. I haven't had the chance to play it until now, and once I have the time, it'll be there for me on the Switch.
But why The Switch? I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, but the fact that this is a hybrid home console/portable device means I can play these indie titles either from my couch or when I'm on the go. That sort of flexibility is key and makes it worth getting on Nintendo's system rather than having to be tied down to my PC or Playstation 4. I may already have Stardew Valley on the PC, but you're damn sure I'm also going to buy it for a portable system!
Indie games get a lot less traffic than traditional, bigger games, and Nintendo's Switch offers a chance for gamers to try out titles they may have missed or skipped and play them anywhere.
#3 - History of Great Games
If there's one thing that you can't deny about Nintendo, it's that they have a history of creating some amazing original gaming content. It's what's made them an absolutely iconic company and the reason that I am such a loyal fan.
Whether it's Zelda, Mario, Metroid, Kirby, Pikmin, or Donkey Kong, Nintendo always seems to bring a fun experience for their fans. People criticized the Wii U for not having enough games. Sure, they did not get the 3rd party support that was necessary to keep the console going, and that hurt their bottom line. However, players got games that could keep them playing for hours on end.
Don't believe me? Just look at all of these games!
Seriously. Look at all the good games you could have played picking up the Wii U. I own more Wii U games than PS4 games and with good reason: Nintendo makes good games.
Of those games, I believe you could play Scribblelnauts, Rayman Legends, and Ninja Gaiden elsewhere. However, the rest of them are exclusive to the Wii U. Some of them are additions to older series, such as Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros, but look at some of these other creative titles.
Hyrule Warriors was a really fun skin of Dynasty Warriors that allowed me to play as several characters from the series. Captain Toad was an engaging puzzler that finally gave a beloved character the spotlight. Mario Maker allowed me to become a level designer and play really engaging levels from around the world. Lego City Undercover was a hilarious, G-rated Grand Theft Auto. Pokken Tournament blended two of my favorite series of all time: Pokemon and Tekken.
The silver lining for people that didn't pick up a Wii U is that many of these games are actually coming over to the Switch with additional content, such as Mario Kart Deluxe, Rayman Legends, and Lego City Undercover. If you missed them the first time around, you have a chance to play some of these really great games on the new system.
Nintendo has already announced some really awesome future titles, such as Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2, Octopath Traveler, Fire Emblem, Sonic Mania, and Xenoblade Chronicles 2. It's still early, so I'm sure there will be plenty of other surprises on the horizon for the Nintendo Switch as well.
#2 - The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Mark my words right now: Breath of the Wild will win numerous Game of the Year Awards. If you don't believe me, pick up and try the game for yourself. As a Zelda fan and more importantly as a fan of games in general, this is a beautiful and engaging adventure.
I'll go into more detail about the game in a later article, but know that the game has already sucked me into its world. From the beginning, you're allowed to do just about anything you want. They wrangle you into a starter area and won't let you leave until you complete some initial quests that help you get a handle on game play and important story elements; however, the area that you can roam even in this limited space feels vast and full of life.
Once you finish the introduction quests, the game really opens up into a sprawling landscape. The greatest thing about the game is that if you can see it, you can reach it. Unlike some games that boast amazing vistas and views but put up invisible walls, the boundaries are few and far between in this game. With the new stamina system in place, you're allowed to climb up any surface (unless it's raining...but let's not get into my one major gripe right now) and reach heights that bring breath-taking views and leaves you with a sense of accomplishment and awe.
Is this game the only reason to own the console? Some people might say yes, but that will be a temporary issue. It takes time for new consoles to build their libraries. It's the reason that it took me a year to even consider picking up a Playstation 4. I didn't want one until I heard about Fallout 4 and knew I needed it. The only original games to come out at launch for Sony's PS4 were Killzone Shadow Fall and Knack. They had other games, but those were the only new, original content.
The same can be said about Nintendo. Zelda is the draw right now, but they're already gearing up for the release of Splatoon 2, a game that I'm definitely going to pick up since I missed out on the original the first time around. There are a slew of indie games coming to the console, and we're bound to have some real surprises from old favorites.
So for now, I'm happy with Zelda. It's a game with a scope that will keep players exploring for months to come. Do yourself a favor and get the game. Any fan of good games owes it to themselves to experience this one firsthand.
#1 - Hybrid Portable/Home Console
I've already talked about this earlier, so I'll keep my last point fairly short, but the fact that Nintendo decided to make this a hybrid system blows my mind. The Switch doubles as a home console alongside your XBox or Playstation, and with a few quick adjustments it becomes an extremely powerful and convenient handheld device.
As someone who has had every single Nintendo portable system, the thought of having advanced graphics and gameplay on the go really excites me. There are lots of great series that have been exclusive to the DS/3DS family that can now be experienced on the go.
Can you say Pokemon for the Switch? I know you can!
My husband and I are both avid gamers. With only one television, we have to make compromises when it comes to solo game time. The Wii U alleviated this with the ability to play many of their games on the gamepad. This takes things even further by having all games able to play on handheld.
Also, we can very easily pack up our Switch for road trips and play games together in the hotel without having to lug a bag with a heavy console and wires. We can prop up the screen, cuddle up together, and play Mario Kart together on the smaller screen.
Thank you Nintendo for once again thinking outside the box in the creation of the Switch! Let's hope that they learn from some of their past mistakes and develop a console like no other!
We'll be back sometime soon for another Tuesday Top 5 article! Be sure to check back and let us know what you think about my rankings in the comments below!
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