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Hands on with Nintendo Switch: Playing with power

January 27, 2017

By John Powell - G4 Canada

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Hands on with Nintendo Switch: Playing with powerSometimes big things do come in small packages. The Nintendo Switch console may certainly be a space saver but there is a lot of power and more importantly, a lot of flexibility in the console. Our hands on experience with the Switch at a preview event in downtown Toronto proved that.

Whether playing in TV Mode, Table Mode or Handheld Mode, switching to other modes was almost instantaneous and most importantly simple. Sliding the components into place and in, out of the dock itself was straightforward and easy.

Hands on with Nintendo Switch: Playing with powerDespite their size, the Joy-Con controllers work exceedingly well and smoothly. It makes no difference if you are holding them sideways for use in the fighting-boxing game Arms, connected to the Joy-Con grip (Switch’s batarang controller) for use with Splatoon 2 or part of the Handheld Mode, they were surprisingly effective and responsive. The Joy-Cons took a little bit of getting used to when they are disconnected but after a few sessions, I found myself settling in quite nicely.

The only issue I had with the Joy-Con grip itself is the positioning of the X, Y, B, A buttons, which are different than an Xbox controller. That confused me for a moment here and there until I reprogrammed my gamer’s brain.

By comparison though, it would appear hardcore gamers are better off purchasing the Pro Controller which I found was a better fit for me playing through different titles but in the grand scheme of things, the Joy-Con grip works just as well. I just found the Pro Controller more familiar and therefore more comfortable to play with.

Hands on with Nintendo Switch: Playing with powerAt the event, Nintendo had a modest library of games on display, everything from Splatoon 2 to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to Sonic Mania to Shin'en’s great anti-gravity racing game: Fast RMX. The ones that really shined for me were Zelda, Arms and Fast RMX.

Breath of the Wild plays great and looks gorgeous. There are friends from previous adventures and the scope of the adventure seems staggering but it is the smallest of details in the graphics that make Breath of the Wild so stunning and worth getting your hands on a Nintendo Switch for.

I must admit, having gone a million rounds with Wii Sports boxing, I didn’t think ARMS would impress me…but it did in many ways. Being able to curve your attacks, being able to grab and slam your opponents, being able to shuffle around quite quickly, puts ARMS far above the simplistic gameplay of Wii Sports boxing when it comes to strategy.

Hands on with Nintendo Switch: Playing with powerI hadn’t read much about Fast RMX before the event but the racing game is quickly addictive. Piloting and racing the anti-gravity vehicle is a clever blend of a flying and a racing game. Diving, soaring through the air off one track into empty space and landing on another never, ever gets old.

While the console could use with a few more mature titles to broaden its scope and a healthier group of launch titles, the Switch functions well as a three-in-one console in every way you would hope it would but like any console in the past, its success will all come down to the library of games. So far, Nintendo is heading in the right direction providing a diverse line-up. We just would like to see that library expanded for casual, hardcore, young and mature gamers alike.

Hands on with Nintendo Switch: Playing with power

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About G4 in Canada
G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see