There’s nowt like a new console to perk up a gaming year. So 2017 should be perky indeed, with Nintendo’s new effort, the Switch, announced today as being out in less than two months.
The Switch is Nintendo’s latest attempt at bypassing the traditional power-based one-upmanship slugged out between Sony and Microsoft by offering a less powerful machine with a distinctive way of playing – an approach that has been both wildly successful (the Wii, the DS) and, er, not (the Wii U). In this case, the Switch is a home console and portable in one, with the main console base featuring a capacitive touchscreen tablet that can be removed and taken on the go. The dual controllers, which can be clipped onto the side of the tablet or plugged into a little dock thing to turn them into a more traditional joypad when at home, offer some motion-sensing capabilities. It’s very much aiming at local multiplayer, with up to eight systems able to sync together.
The price is pretty steep, though – it’s coming in at an RRP of £279.99 ($299.99 for Americans, ¥29,980 for Japanese). While it’s a pretty nice looking machine, and obviously will play host to any number of exclusive titles, that’s a lot considering what you get and what the PS4 or Xbox One can be picked up for.
On the plus side, it won’t be region locked. On the minus side, Nintendo will be charging for online services for the first time – it’s free until autumn, then will require a subscription.
We here at Absolute Gadget are yet to get our hands on a Switch so can’t offer a definitive verdict, but would suggest keeping an eye on that price for a while yet.
To finish on a positive note, though, there’s a great pile of good-looking software headed Switch’s way. As far as ports of already-existing or soon-to-be-released titles go, expect The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Skyrim, Ubisoft’s snowboarder Steep, Sonic Mania, Skylanders, FIFA (first time in a while EA’s released anything on a Nintendo platform), F-Zero-a-like Redout, Minecraft, Just Dance, Rayman, The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth and Dragon Quests X and XI. Oh, and Farming Simulator.
On the new stuff front, Nintendo’s announced a Deluxe version of Mario Kart 8 and a bunch of new titles and sequels: Splatoon 2, sequel to what we consider the primary reason to buy a Wii U; the confusingly-titled-since-it’s-actually-the-third-one Xenoblade Chronicles 2; a new minigame collection called 1-2 Switch, a game designed to show off how the new console’s gimmicks work in the manner of Wii Sports; the latest crossover between Nintendo property and Dynasty Warriors in the form of Fire Emblem Warriors, an utterly gorgeous-looking new Mario title, Super Mario Odyssey, which sees plumber boy bound round a “real world” New York in addition to the usual fantastical backdrops; and the intriguing-looking ARMS, a boxing/shooting mix where fighters with boxing-glove-tipped springs for arms compete via motion control.
And for the first time in what seems like years, there’s a good bundle of new third-party stuff for a Nintendo console! Square Enix are offering up a new JRPG from the Bravely Default team, the first Bomberman title for yonks appears in the form of Super Bomberman R, Atlus are working on a new Shin Megami Tensei game (which, er, might not make it west), Grasshopper Manufacture’s Goichi Suda has confirmed a title starring No More Heroes’ Travis is on the way (whether it’s a full-fledged NMH 3 is another matter), Sega’s puzzle giant Puyo Puyo has teamed up with Tetris for, well, Puyo Puyo Tetris which looks confusing as all beggary and will probably sap all of humanity’s free time, and Capcom, hilariously, have announced a new version of Street Fighter II. No, really. Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers will allow players to switch between HD and classic pixel art in the manner of SSFII HD, and adds Evil Ryu and Violent Ken (no, us neither) to the roster.
So, Switch: out soon, very expensive, looks nice though, good game line-up. Never let it be said we here at Absolute Gadget don’t know how to cut to the chase.