Greetings, TVGB readers! Did you check out the Nintendo Switch presentation and are hungry for more info? On January 13th, I had the pleasure of attending a Nintendo Switch event in New York with my bestie, Dominick Festagallo (read his thoughts on the event here!). I managed to try out all the different controller configurations, saw the device up close, and played a handful of titles that are coming out this year! Let’s dive right in and hear some thoughts on some brand new games, some ports, and some…experiences.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Upon entering the show floor, the obvious game to make a beeline for was clear: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It had a line to play, but there were plenty of stations set up with the game running (Dom and I only had to wait around 10 minutes to play). Take a look at the size of the console and controller:
I started off playing in TV Mode with the Joy-Cons attached to the Joy-Grip. It was very comfortable to hold despite its small size. The Zelda demo lasted for 20 minutes and then timed out, so each player only had a limited time to explore. This included cut-scenes, which was annoying, but it was what it was. Link wakes up in a bath, practically NAKED, and you pick up a Sheikah Stone that acts as your map. You can run but it depletes your stamina, which I’m sure was every gamer’s favorite part of Skyward Sword. There’s also a button to jump for the first time in Zelda HISTORY (not counting the CD-i games, Zelda II, or any of the titles that had the Roc Feather). I opened some chests, equipped some clothes, and was off to explore wherever I wanted!
However, since I had so little time to try out Zelda, I just followed the Nintendo assistant’s advice and headed towards my main objective, which was highlighted on the map. I found an ax to murder my enemies with, but found that weapons do not last forever and break after a certain period of time. I asked if Z targeting was returning when a goblin came my way. The attendant pointed out where the button was on the Joy-Con, but it was in an awkward area on the left Joy-Con, which felt less intuitive than it did in Ocarina of Time. Slight bummer.
I tried to roast an apple on the fire, but didn’t have a pan to place it in. I guess my body wasn’t a good conduit for roasting
Moving along, I talked to an old man who instructed me towards a new stone to pick up. Upon obtaining said stone, the game entered a cutscene, and the attendant instructed me to try out Handheld Mode. You have to press a button on the back of the Joy-Cons to detach them from the Joy-Grip, but it was really awkward to perform (I needed help to do it). Then you attach the Joy-Cons to the side of the Switch console and just pull it up. BAM! You now have a screen attached to your controllers. It was kinda magic.
Since I was so thoroughly engrossed in controller detaching/reattaching, I missed the cutscene, but noticed I was in a tower that had risen way up into the sky. I immediately ran forward to try to get down and fell to my death. I then restarted and went down a hole; again, death. Then I noticed I could climb down the hole slowly (but not too slowly, because stamina meter). After making my way down, the old man flew to me with some glider and was like, “Boy, having something like this would have helped you get down easier!” Yeah thanks, asshole. He said he would swap me the glider for a treasure nearby. I went towards it and then my demo ended. DAMMIT.
Overall, I had fun with Breath of the Wild, but wonder how long I can play it in Handheld Mode before it dies, how annoyed fans will get using breakable items, and if people will adjust to Z targeting. It will be out when the Switch releases on March 3rd, so we’ll see soon enough!
I remember this game!
Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers
The Switch Pro controller was available to use for SFII and thank Jeebus for that, because it’s the only available peripheral that has a d-pad. It was quite comfortable and I managed to pull off all my special moves. This controller is going to retail for $70, though, so be prepared to pony up come dough if you want to play a fighter properly. This version of the game has 2 extra characters: Evil Ryu and Violent Ken. It can also toggle between the newer HD sprites and the original SFII sprites. I won 2 matches against Dom because I’m a combo master. Fun to play, and if you like old school SFII with its super high damage input I’d recommend picking this up when it releases sometime this year.
Side by side comparison shot!
I wish this game was a blast
Super Bomberman R
Oh, Bomberman. You really do not translate well to 3-D. Playing Super Bomberman R was a tough affair because it is hard to tell what platforms are above you and which ones are on your plane of existence. I played co-op with Dom which was super fun if you like a friend that assists you in completing a level while also trying to kill you. Lives are shared and if you or your partner are on your last one, that person needs to die in order to bring you back. You can still kick bombs and make them explode in a huge radius by collecting power-ups, which is always a good time. There were these terrible jumping robot rabbit enemies that kept jumping over my bombs, though, which filled me with a blind fury. Also annoying: magnets that pulled your bombs away from your intended targets. Look for Super Bomberman R on March 3rd to compliment your Switch if you’re alright with awkward 3-D and infuriating mechanics.
Props not included with game purchase and not affiliated with Nintendo
1-2-Switch was a great proof of concept game for the Switch. Dom and I got to wear silly prop hats while playing these titles: Quick Draw, Milk, Ball Count, Samurai Training, and Table Tennis. Each one of us got a Joy-Con and played each game while staring each other in the face.
Quick Draw was a shooting game where we held our “guns” to our sides and whipped them up to shoot each other first when a voice said “fire.” Fastest draw won (me). Milk had us sitting on stools simulating milking cows by stroking our Joy-Cons down while squeezing buttons and releasing them when raising them up. It felt like we were really milking! The one with the most glasses of milk filled won (Dom). Ball Count had us holding our Joy-Cons horizontally and guessing how many balls were in our “box.” You could feel the weight in the controller and hear the balls clank when they hit each side of it (this technology is called haptic feedback). The one with the most correct ball guesses won (draw). Samurai Training had one player decided by random hold a “katana” over their head while the other tried to catch it (you “clapped” the Joy-Con to simulate this) when it was swung down. These positions switched off after a round was done. It was a lot of fun to play because you could psyche your opponent out before swinging your sword down. These matches also ended fairly evenly between me and Dom. Table Tennis required holding your Joy-Cons like paddles and listening to a ball bounce to know when to swing. Dom won by knowing a trick to knock the ball extra hard by holding a button down that I didn’t know about.
While 1-2-Switch is a great look at the Joy-Cons’ sensing capabilities, it does not come packed in with the system. This is a missed opportunity in my opinion because of the success of Wii Sports. And while 1-2-Switch will have many more mini-games than the ones we tried out, I feel like it should not be a full-priced title for what is essentially a collection of mini-games. 1-2-Switch will be available March 3rd.
I was udderly surprised by how fun Milk was
I’m a squid now!
I only got a chance to play 2 matches of Splatoon 2 in Handheld Mode. One thing I noticed was that the jump button (B) is too close to the right stick. I don’t tend to jump a lot in Splatoon anyway, since it’s faster to swim up a platform in Squid form, but it was still noticeably awkward. I tried out some twin pistols which were fun to use. The controls clicked pretty quickly due to me having played Splatoon before and I enjoyed trying out the new weapons and special moves. My team still got creamed by our opponents, though (8 players were playing total). There was another set-up that had Splatoon 2 playing on a television with a Switch Pro controller, but I didn’t get a chance to try it out to see if it was a more comfortable experience or not. Splatoon 2 is set for a Summer 2017 release.
Ink jizz everywhere!
Arms was basically Wii Boxing with robots. Robots with spring extending arms. You could build a meter by landing blows on your opponent and then unleashing a flurry with your hands going crazy. Each character had their own special to use. You could also curve your blows after punching. Your character moved around by tilting your Joy-Con left, right, forward, and back. This takes some getting used to and you always stay grounded when punching, so you have to strategize. I liked how your character’s arms had different configurations to use and you could mix and match (I had missiles and boxing gloves with one set-up I used). Blocking is done by holding your Joy-Cons horizontally and one character could actually heal damage while blocking. Throws are done by throwing both of your hands forwards (this penetrates an opponent’s blocking stance). There were only a handful of characters to try out but there will definitely be more in the retail version of the game. Arms is listed as a full-priced title, which I think is a little much for a slightly more fun Wii Boxing. Look for it in Spring 2017.
This guy was really getting into it
Best surprise of the event
Sonic Mania was a surprise hit for me at the event. I literally had no expectations for it and was pleasantly surprised with how well it felt to play. I mean that in the literal sense, too; I used a Joy-Con to play and thought having the analog stick in the center of the controller was going to be uncomfortable to use. Not so! All the buttons jumped, just like a Genesis controller! Another player can join in as Tails with a second Joy-Con, though it was a bit weird to see him in an old Sonic 1 stage. I got to try out one remixed level that was based off Green Hill Zone and one brand new stage. The Nintendo attendant told me that the remixed stages came about when some indies approached Sega with these old Genesis stages containing alternate paths they added in (so cool). It reminded me of Resident Evil: REmake; different and familiar all at once. Sonic can Spin Dash like he could in Sonic 2 and even had a new move called Drop Dash that allows him to dash upon landing from a jump (it seemed pointless and I never used it). The physics felt like the old Genesis Sonic games and not the weird assery that was in Sonic 4. It was a blast to play and I’d keep an eye out for Sonic Mania when it releases sometime this year.
This is some adorable shit right here
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Do you want to play Mario Kart 8 again with all DLC included, new characters like the Inklings, new tracks like a Splatoon-themed stage, the return of Battle Mode, the ability to hold 2 items at once, and 60FPS/1080p?! Then get Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on April 28th. I got to try out the Battle Mode in all of its glory and popped some major balloons using Handheld Mode. One thing I didn’t like: if you obtain 2 items, you must use the first one you picked up before being able to use the second. Why can’t I SWITCH it out, Nintendo? However, there was good news! Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will be 60FPS regardless of if you are playing on the television or handheld, and will have 720 resolution in Handheld Mode, 1080p in Television Mode. Also, for those of you with younger children, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will contain a “Bumper Bowling” feature. This Smart Steering places an antenna on the back of your kart that prevents you from falling off course. Great for the youngins and those of us who refuse to brake in 200cc Mode.
I had a blast at the Nintendo Switch New York event. Every attendant was quite helpful, answered all my questions, and were up front when they didn’t know/couldn’t tell me certain information. A majority of the titles I played were enjoyable with either some minor nitpicks or one or two real issues that could definitely be ironed out before they release. However, as much fun as I had at the event, I got to try all of these games for free. The issue I have with the Switch is the high price point of peripherals and even some games for the system. I don’t believe a collection of mini-games or a small featured title should be priced at $60, and I definitely don’t think the tiny Joy-Cons should be sold for $50 a piece ($80 for a bundle and an extra $30 for the dock!). And not having a title like 1-2-Switch as a pack-in with the Switch makes no sense, especially when Wii Sports was such a great tie-in that showed off the Wii’s capabilities. Hopefully Nintendo will be mindful of their fans’ criticisms and the Switch will become a unique, must-buy experience for gamers of all ages.
Get this off of my head!