Is Nintendo Switch The Console To Buy This Christmas?

Hi all, almost two weeks off for various reasons - a Destiny 2 addiction, mainly. Playing it and the early access version of FIFA 18 on Xbox One S has been somewhat of an eye-opener. I'm by no means knowledgeable about framerates, pixels or anything of a similar nature - which makes it all the more surprising that both of the above have shown severe slowdown at points. If there are too many enemies on screen in Destiny 2, the frame rate drops significantly. On FIFA, the most innocuous of goal kicks can cause some stutter. All of this has got me thinking...

With Xbox One X, Playstation 4 Pro and PC pushing for higher fidelity graphical output, and gamers are fixated on frame rates, resolution and online features, isn't it refreshing that Nintendo (as they often do) have opted for something more than a little different?

My first Nintendo home console was the Wii. It was my Mum's, which should show you how much mass-appeal it had. I grew up with Playstation and Xbox and so had little affinity for Mario outside of Kart and had never played a Zelda title. I never jumped onto the Wii U, baffled by Nintendo's first HD-ready console being hamstrung by odd gimmicks - a second screen that felt like a child's toy and a reluctance to let go of the Wii's motion tech long after Sony's Playstation Move and Microsoft's Kinect had seen the folly of recapturing the Wii's lightning in a bottle.

I'm telling you this because I expected so little from the Switch. I thought Nintendo fans would love it, "casual" gamers would find some appeal and that it would be written off by the majority of customers as "weird old Nintendo making their weird toys".

My opinion didn't change a lot when initial design documents touted a handheld/home console hybrid. Games media seemed full of trepidation - could this be the console to sink Nintendo?

Then something happened. In October 2016, one of my Facebook friends shared a video of the Nintendo Switch. Until this point it had been referred to as the NX (it's codename) and the trailer seemed too good to be true - could you really take Zelda on the go? Would the switch to TV mode be that instantaneous?

All of a sudden, people were curious as well as skeptical. Nintendo had lost third-party support early in the Wii U's life cycle - rehashed versions of Arkham City, Watch Dogs and Mass Effect 3 had done nothing to drive people to the console (perhaps unsurprisingly). 

At the Switch's reveal in January, we were told it would arrive in March. Not only that, but it would launch alongside a game widely regarded to be one of the all-time greats (Breath of the Wild). The system launched to impressive sales figures despite short supply - this led to people buying Breath of the Wild without the console!

So what happened next? Nintendo have ridden a wave of fantastic first-party titles such as Arms, Splatoon 2 and the aforementioned Zelda, incredible "Nindies" (Steamworld Dig 2), re-purposed Wii U ports (Mario Kart 8: Deluxe and Pokken Tournament) and a solid, if unspectacular, third-party lineup (FIFA and Skyrim). At E3 alone they announced a Kirby title, a Yoshi title, Metroid Prime 4 and (the biggest one of all in my opinion) - a full Pokemon title. Oh, and the first Super Mario title on the Switch launches next month and looks like it could be a Game of the Year contender. 

Even games I expected to fall flat have been lauded critically and have sold gangbusters - when Mario and Rabbids: Kingdom Battle leaked, I felt sure it would be a mini-game compilation. "Nuh-uh" said Nintendo and Ubisoft in unison - its a tough, tactical, turn-based strategy title along the lines of X-Com. September's Nintendo Direct event snuck in the official announcement that Doom and Wolfenstein: The New Colossus are both coming to Switch, and NBA 2K18's Switch version is almost entirely feature complete.

In terms of console exclusives, the Switch hands-down has a hugely bright future. Not a month has gone by without a release of note, and then you have the console's main selling point - all of these games can be played in HD on your TV or on the move. It isn't the most powerful console on the market, and as far as it's online infrastructure goes i'm not even convinced Nintendo knows what it is doing - but as your main console or a secondary one there is nothing like the Switch.

Oh, and just picture being able to play Mario/Zelda/Pokemon/Doom on the bus before popping the console into the dock to carry on when you get home. Despite earlier cynicism - it really does work as advertised.