Jstar’s Chronicles #13 – The Switch, Reviewed

It’s officially our first issue of Jstar’s Chronicles after the launch of the Nintendo Switch! Let’s take our closest look yet at Nintendo’s newest platform, now available for everyone.

MY TAKE: NINTENDO SWITCH

After months and months of speculation, rumors, and minimal functionalities shown off, today is officially that day. The Nintendo Switch, the next platform entirely new by Nintendo, has officially released today worldwide. Whether you got games that were destined for you, or games that were simply pre-ordered for the future, or you’re still considering on getting one, it has officially been released to the masses. I’m part of the masses, and I actually got one at midnight (first in line!)

I’ve wanted the Nintendo Switch since it’s official first look back in October, and my hype may have dropped a little back in January, but knowing the upcoming shortages (Fear of Missing Out), followed by upcoming games, and Zelda, I knew that I’d have to jump on this as soon as I could. I was able to raise enough funds to get the Neon Switch, Insurance, and the Special Edition for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I could have gotten it for Wii U, but knowing I’d get the Switch anyway (it the fact that it has a ridiculous “98/100” on Metacritic as of now), it’d most likely be a better experience on a newer platform… plus, it’s portable! That may just be one of the best “technically handheld” games ever made, and I’d easily argue for it to be one of the best games ever made, period. I haven’t played it as of this issue of ‘Jstar’s Chronicles’, though. I plan to have a “My Take” on Breath of the Wild ready for next week.

As you can see, however, this section is titled “My Take: Nintendo Switch”. I’ll be going over how the Switch performs through its menus, how the console looks in real life (Getting a true look at Neon), and its ease of use. I’ll also go over it’s value, and anything I found that may be a little annoying. This is all based on the Nintendo Switch’s Launch, so this will include Update 2.0.0, launch eShop selection, and how the Switch menus act overall. Here we go.

How It Looks

The Nintendo Switch, once out of the box, is quite a sleek beauty. Keeping in mind that this is the Neon version, it still looks like there was quite a focus on making it looks good looking, whether it is docked, in tabletop mode, or in my hands as a full-fledged handheld. The docking process is insanely easy, and undocking it is quite-shockingly fast (practically instant). I truly love what the Switch’s USB Type-C port is capable of, indeed.

The Joy-Cons are a little small, which was expected, but still end up being comfortable in my hands. I don’t really get any feelings of my hands being scrunched up with the buttons and analog stick being too close to the buttons, and just overall having everything a little too close to each other. I haven’t tried the Pro Controller (as I didn’t buy it… yet), but for casual use, the Joy-Cons are pretty fine for what they are.

I will say that the kickstand was a tiny bit flimsy, and it was a little hard to keep steady if the surface was unbalanced, but it ended up definitely not being as bad as CNET made it out to be. Like the Joy-Cons, they are fine for general use… and shouldn’t be pressed on that harshly. It’s a pretty standard, decent kickstand, and I’m glad that it comes with one built-in.

Value

For $300, you may be expecting some good stuff in a package like this. Even though they’ve been out for a lot longer, this price range is currently comparable to Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One. They’re generally more-powerful consoles, offer an already-large library of assorted titles, and offer functions like a full web-browser, pre-installed entertainment, and social streaming applications. What does the Switch have to compete with this? Well, you’ve got to consider that it’s a brand-new console. Of course it won’t have as much functionality as something that’s been out for over 3 years at this point.

The Switch doesn’t come with a whole lot beyond the needed stuff: A HDMI cable, the Dock, An AC adapter (with USB Type-C!), the Console itself with 2 Joy-Cons (and straps), and a Manual. That’s… it, really. It’s very simple, as it should be, in my opinion. No more clutter, and the packaging allows it to be very simplified with setting it up overall. That’s a good thing, as it allows more people to jump in with less problems about setting other things up. As it’s also a handheld, packaging like this is more-so better overall.

As for overall value, considering the power and the stuff that the Joy-Cons can do, plus the assumption of great Nintendo games (Zelda pretty much confirmed this already), I’d say that the overall value is well-done.

Conclusion

The Nintendo Switch was only known in its current form for about 4-5 months. In-between that, I’ve seen a lot of hate and love towards it, with people wanting it to fail (seriously?) and people wanting it to succeed. This is off the heels of the Nintendo Wii U, which sold extremely bad, and the Nintendo 3DS, which had a notably-bad launch but ended up recovering greatly from it. With the Nintendo Switch, there were big moments where people had hope, and then felt disappointed. The October reveal hyped everyone up, and the following rumors kept it going, but the January event disappointed quite some people for not following what we hoped for… this included me. However, following the days and weeks after the event, it seemed like it’s a case of unfinished software but finished hardware. That’s something I’d for-sure prefer over the other way around. If the Switch was unfinished hardware-wise, it’d require more repairing and would have had less future potential. With software being the problem, it could easily be fixed in the future and be sent out to all Nintendo Switches. It has great hardware, albeit lacking in the software department.

Time for the true question: Should you get a Nintendo Switch? Well… considering its launch at the time, it entirely depends on you.

Absolutely want to be one of the best Zelda games yet (or perhaps best game yet) on a just-born platform? You’ve got it.

Want a small tablet that’s Nintendo focused with streaming apps? Wait for the streaming apps. It doesn’t have applications like Netflix just yet, but it looks to be on the way.

Want a game to move your current games to an all-in-one console? You should also wait, as there won’t be Virtual Console (at launch) or Backwards Compatibility. I’m being optimistic that Virtual Console can be transferable, but I’m not putting all of my faith towards it.

If you’re a big fan of Nintendo’s big franchises besides Zelda, and don’t want to pre-order them, I’d personally wait as well. I wasn’t a big fan of Zelda as well, but this game seemed way too big to pass up. If you’re truly not into the kind of game that Breath of the Wild is, then It’ll be a little harder to enjoy, even if the insane number of reviewers are giving it perfect (or close to perfect) scores. Getting a 10/10 numerous times is a difficult task for any game, but that still doesn’t mean it’s for everybody.

I feel like a much larger majority of people will want to get a Nintendo Switch once a year passes; Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2, ARMS, a plethora of 3rd-Party ports (now portable), and Virtual Console will make it much more enticing to get a Nintendo Switch. It also makes sense that the $300 price tag it carries is a little harder to swallow if there aren’t any games you’re interested in that have been released. The same applies if there isn’t any free content; the only piece of free software currently out for the Switch is a demo of “Snipperclips”, which was still honestly fun but only lasts a few minutes (makes sense, as it IS a demo after all). That means that you’ll be on your menu quite often, scrolling its pages, until you acquire a real paid game for it. The cheapest game available is Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment (for $9.99), and it’s luckily an awesome game. If you want games with online/local multiplayer, Fast RMX can fit that budget for $19.99. The amount of games available at launch at the eShop was a whopping 9, with 3 extra (including Mario Kart 8 Deluxe) simply stated “Coming Soon”.

The point being, once you see a few system sellers available beyond Zelda, you should consider the Nintendo Switch more-so. If a price cut occurs without the system sellers, consider it again. Once things like streaming applications, video capture, Virtual Console, and a respectably good paid online service come in, consider it by then. The Switch is mainly good, hardware-wise, but it’s not in the software department. Give it a few months, and the Nintendo Switch may really be a worthy contender of being your next console purchase. Maybe it’ll be in a better shape by the time Microsoft’s ‘Project Scorpio’ releases this Holiday Season. Hopefully.

A RE-VISIONED NEWS SECTION

I’ve gotten a little tired of being a little worn out with simple headlines and a paragraph, so I simply said “screw it”, and made full stories for what’s been happening over the past week. It may get a little awkward seeing news and opinions colliding so harshly, but I see it as more of an opportunity to give back more content to my readers. Plus, it looks really good for my writing potential in the future!

To tell which is mainly news and which is an opinion, I’ll have opinions fully capitalized (as it already is), and news not. It looks more formal for when it’s based on stuff that’s happened that I didn’t control, plus it subtly lets you know what I truly put passion into this time around. I’ll still give my opinion, but you won’t need to look into a URL for the true details anymore (it’s still suggested, as always).

“Xbox Game Pass” Is Like Netflix for Gaming, Will Cost $9.99

Microsoft looks to be checking out what the base of PlayStation Now is, and is really shaping it to be a better service. How, exactly? They have recently announced and introduced “Xbox Game Pass”, a new subscription-based service for Xbox One users, in which it will feature access to over 100 games. Some of the games being featured (and how it works) may surprise you.

Xbox Game Pass will be a subscription that will allow users to download over 100 different games that are playable through the subscription, including large hits like ‘Halo 5 Guardians’, ‘Saints Row IV’, ‘Terraria’, ‘Mad Max’, ‘LEGO Batman’, ‘NBA 2K16’, ‘PayDay 2’, and even freaking Megaman. Once you sign up for the service, these automatically become available for anyone to play. The games that are part of the monthly service also include backwards-compatible Xbox 360 titles.

While it is planned to release this spring, members of the official ‘Xbox Insider Program’ can try out an early version of Xbox Game Pass, albeit with significantly less available titles. Two interesting things about this is that games that you play can then be fully-bought at a discount, but the other thing may be less-encouraging; games can cycle in and out of rotation, kind of like how Netflix works. Considering that it’ll be officially launching with heavy-hitters like Halo 5, this may be interesting to see, and may be a consideration for people that currently own a Xbox One or Xbox One S. You can check out the official source for more information below.

Comparing it to PlayStation Now would be a little more revealing; when compared, PlayStation Now offers only PlayStation 3 content, only playable through streaming it over the internet, and can only be playable on PlayStation 4 and PC after August (currently playable on PS3, PS4, PS Vita, PS TV, Bravia TVs, higher-end Sony Blu-ray players, select Samsung Smart TVs, and PC). It is also available as a subscription for $19.99 a month or $44.99 for 3 months. They both of their value, so it’ll be interesting to see how they officially compete once Xbox Game Pass officially releases in the next few weeks/months.

Source: http://news.xbox.com/2017/02/28/introducing-xbox-game-pass/

Twitch to Soon Offer a Storefront for Buying Games

Twitch, an extremely popular area to live stream yourself playing games, will soon also be a place to buy them. This may be bigger (or smaller) than one can imagine.

While information about this isn’t as detailed as one writer would want, we do have enough information to work with here. The core of this is that Twitch will be offering a store for game developers to officially sell their games in; it’ll be playable in their ‘Twitch launcher’, which has recently gotten popular from the free content given to ‘Twitch Prime’ members, like ‘The Walking Dead: Season 1 and 2’.

Buying games from Twitch-Partnered people playing them at the same time will be supportive towards that streamer (about 5% will go to the streamer), as in they’ll be provided a cut (amount of money) from the money from the purchase along with you receiving an exclusive emote/chat-badge/some Bits from buying through Twitch (as long as it’s over $4.99), through something called a “Twitch Crate”. Games like ‘Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands’ was suggested to be offered through Twitch.

Purchasing games through this service will be available worldwide through your Amazon account, and can only be payable through U.S. dollars at launch (other currencies are in planned for support in the months after launch). This will be officially launching in Spring, 2017, and more information can be officially found at our source seen below. Officially supported partners that will be utilizing this new Twitch storefront include the following:

  • Raw Fury
  • Ubisoft
  • tinyBuild
  • Digital Extremes
  • Telltale Games
  • Bit Studios
  • Blue Mammoth Games
  • Campo Santo
  • Devolver Digital
  • Fred Wood
  • Gambitious Digital Entertainment
  • Hi-Rez Studios
  • iNK Stories – New York City
  • Jackbox Games
  • Paradox Interactive
  • Proletariat
  • Versus – Evil
  • Trion Worlds
  • Double Fine
  • 11Bit
  • Vlambeer

Source: https://blog.twitch.tv/coming-soon-get-it-on-twitch-9c829cae6ac1

Tune in next week for a chance to see “My Take” on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild”, if I get deep in it long enough to even review it realistically! Until then, thanks for reading!

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