About one week ago, Nintendo finally gave us some firm details on their next console, the Switch. I was obviously extremely excited to finally learn about the console’s release date, price, launch lineup, and whatever else they wanted to tell us. A week later and with plenty of time to ponder everything, I’m still very positive on the whole thing. It’s not perfect, but it is really cool.I guess I should get the negatives out of the way first. That launch lineup is really weak. If you’re not interested in Zelda, there’s basically nothing here for you. 1-2-Switch could have been an interesting way to check out the Switch’s new features, but at $50 bucks, it just doesn’t seem worth it. Bomberman could be cool, but again, I just don’t know about it as a value proposition.
And then there’s the price of the console itself. Personally, I think $300 is perfectly reasonable, but I understand where the disappointment comes from. The whole world, myself included, were convinced by rumors that stated it would only be $250. $50 more for a console doesn’t seem that crazy, but when you’re already convinced you know what it’s going to cost, being told that it’s more than that can be frustrating. I would have loved to see it at $250, but $300 is not a deal breaker.
Enough of the complaining. I genuinely feel that Nintendo’s 2017 game lineup is the strongest it’s been in a long time. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be out at launch and looks to live up to the high expectations for the series. Then, a month later, we get the definitive version of Mario Kart 8. Sure, I’d rather have a full sequel, but this wasn’t unexpected and it seems cool. After that, in the summer, we get Splatoon 2. This was my biggest surprise of the show, since I was convinced we were only going to get an enhanced port. And then, in the holiday season, Super Mario Odyssey comes out.
Let’s compare that to last year’s major Nintendo titles. Pokemon Sun and Moon was a big deal, but otherwise, you’ve got Tokyo Mirage Sessions, a niche title that I loved but was largely ignored, Star Fox Zero, a game I enjoyed quite a bit but a lot or people couldn’t deal with the controls, Metroid Prime: Federation Force, a game that no one asked for, and Paper Mario: Color Splash, a game that angered a very vocal part of Nintendo’s fanbase. 2016 was a really rough year for Nintendo, but all signs are pointing to 2017 being outstanding.
There’s also a lot of third party development. I know Skyrim is a pretty old game by now, but the idea of being able to play it on a portable console sounds great. Square Enix is also bringing both Dragon Quest X and XI to the console, as well as I Am Setsuna, and a new and very stylish looking RPG currently called Project Octopath Traveller. Add in Nintendo’s own Xenoblade Chronicles 2, and suddenly the Switch seems like the new console for all your RPGs.
There’s some big unanswered questions that I don’t know whether to consider them good or bad. The biggest being the console’s online service. We know that it’ll be a paid service, that it’ll use a mobile app, and that you’ll get a free NES or SNES game every month. All that is totally fine, even the paying for it part, as long as the service is fully featured and works well. I’ve been an Xbox Live subscriber for as long as the 360 has been out, and I’ve had no problem paying because it’s a quality product. However, I would never pay money for the online offerings on Wii and Wii U. If Nintendo can prove that they have it all figured out and this will be something worth paying for, then I’m all for it.
I’m really hoping for some more big games to get announced at E3 or some other event soon. I think a lot of people will be very happy with this first year of content, but without knowing what’s coming next, it’s hard for them to know if they want to invest in a whole new machine. For me personally, I’m really hoping for a new Animal Crossing and a new Monster Hunter. Both of those games would be perfect for playing on the TV while at home, then picking the console up and going to a friend’s house. In fact, that’s basically what my experience with Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, which I have on both 3DS and Wii U, was.
At the end of the day, I’m still very, very excited for the Nintendo Switch. In fact, I’ve already preordered one with the neon joycons. But I do think that Nintendo needs to prove themselves to a lot of people, and I’m not sure that the Switch presentation did that. For fans like me, that show was all we needed. But for everyone else, they need to start showing a little more.