Becky and I are now husband and wife, and one of our wedding gifts was the much coveted Nintendo Switch.
What follows is a language ridden unvarnished review of my experience with it. Let me stress that although I’m a total negative nancy about it I still love the hell out of the Switch.
My best man Matt (BMM) set it up at his place and did the system update, everything was working great and we all marveled at how dinky the controllers were and how the control scheme was asymmetrical between player one and player two. Also we totally didn’t realise we had to clip the bumpers onto the controllers, so we were wondering why the triggers were so hard to push.
After the wedding we packed our bags for our honeymoon. Suffice to say the Switch accompanied us on our two week jaunt to Waiheke, where I was away from the internet and the cares of the world. An hour or two before we had to take the car ferry we quickly hit up JB-Hifi to grab about the only available copy of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in West Auckland (yeah, we had to check multiple places to find a place nearby that actually had it in stock).
On the ferry over I proudly set the Switch up on the Dashboard of the car and booted up Snipperclips. I immediately jammed the bumper onto my controller backwards and it got firmly lodged in place as we struggled to get it off. Word to the wise, turn the little lock button off before trying to yank it off.
There was plenty of rain on the island so things were looking good for a solid couple days of gaming. So I plugged it into the tv… and nothing happened. I fucked with it for a bit and was FAQing it via the patchy internet reception until just as I gave up and slumped on the couch it decided to appear on the TV. Huh. Must be because it’s an oldish TV and has some HDMI issues…
The Left Hand Controller
Sitting about 2-3 meters away from the TV we quickly got into Zelda. Becky immediately fell in love with the game and we spent two whole days doing nothing but play Zelda. It was amazing. This game beats all expectations and is instantly a classic. I envy kids who are going to grow up playing this game.
The only aspect which wasn’t a joy however was when Link would not respond to walking, or he’d walk to much, which is a death sentence in a game where placement is key. Walking off a cliff can destroy all the effort of getting up there in the first place, and puzzles are impossible to complete when you can’t stand where you want to. I shifted the couch closer to try and mitigate the issue, and attempted to get the Dock as close to where we were playing as possible. We were pretty damn close and it was still giving out. The right hand controller continued to act fine but the left sucked dick. This is a well documented issue online, so I don’t need to talk about this further. The best hotfix is to squat right in front of the dock and pray to it while playing.
I unplugged the dock to use the HDMI on the laptop, so we could watch some movies. (The Red Turtle is an amazing film. I recommend it.)
I plugged the HDMI back into the dock afterwards and the Switch again refused to show the picture (or sound) on the TV. I figured it just needed a moment and went to bed. The next day it was going again and that night I did a repeat of the movie situation. Plugging the Switch back in I decided that another night would sort it out.
The next morning I got up and it was refusing to do anything. The green light was coming on the Switch when I docked it, but nothing was appearing. I tried everything, including plugging it into the mini projector we have, which also gave us the same “no signal” message. I tried different HDMI ports to no avail.
BMM came over for a bit from the mainland and brought another HDMI chord to try. He went through the motions of trying to make it work as well. Nothing.
So we spent the rest of our time playing it on the small screen. On the bright side I no longer needed to worry about the left joycon reception issues.
Getting back on the mainland I was keen to get the issue sorted and EB games was super obliging about giving me a replacement Switch. (I did try the dock on a bunch of other stuff at home, including my computer monitor, with multiple HDMI chords) It did mean however that we lost over sixty hours of progress on Zelda. We tied our accounts online to try and somehow magically cloud our saves but to no avail. I guess Nintendo needs to cast a spell on it or some shit for something as high tech as transferring saves.
But hey, EB gave me a brand new Switch with neon controllers, thanks to someone who just cancelled their pre-order, all the other consoles in the store were on laybuy for pre-order folks, so I was lucky to get anything at all. They were so good about it Becky and I bought two Amiibos. Yeah, we’re pretty in love with the Switch and Zelda, despite the grief.
Linked Nintendo Account
We took it home and came to terms with all the save data we lost. There was a period of grief, but it was tempered by the fact that the dock now worked flawlessly. Thank God.
I went to redownload Snipperclips. It wasn’t hard to find the redownload screen as I had heard someone moaning about it online. What I hadn’t read anywhere online is that you must disconnect your account from the console before getting rid of it. Failing to do so means that you can’t add funds or redownload games on your new console. I understand why, but fuck. FUCK. I read that a factory reset is an easy way to do it, so I call up EB five minutes before they close and ask them to do that for me. The guy is obliging, but wants to knock off. Which is fine. I’ don’t need Snipperclips that badly. We’ll do it in the morning.
Then I realise that after the factory reset the console would still need to sync online to tell the servers that my account is no longer tied to that console. Son of a bitch. I call them the next morning (now) and tell ’em the situation. They say they have no internet there, and will have to walk it into the mall wifi or hotspot from their phone. Fuck it, I say, we’ll come in and handle it. It saves them having to know my password and shit.
The Left Hand Controller Again (But Different!)
The pictures of the Neon controllers don’t show you how bright they are, the red controller is more like fluro orange, it’s awesome. In the other hand the turquoise controller was running super hot in my hands, and quickly drained its battery. No biggy, I should have given it more time to charge up anyway. I stick it on the Switch that’s sitting on the base and get on with my life for a bit.
The control intermittently would shudder, and I could see on the charge screen it was turning on and off on its minimal charge. I let the Switch sleep and that seems to let it calm down. Just before going to bed I check on it and the controller was saying it had a healthy amount of battery life now. The right hand controller had full charge the entire time.
In the morning I whip it off the dock and play it in gameboy mode for a while, grinding back to where we were up to on Breath of the Wild. I ran the battery down on the console in almost three hours which is working as advertised. The entire time the left controller was steamy hot in my hand. Not working as advertised. I whipped the controllers off and I immediately get the “I’m fucken’ outta juice captain” message for the left controller and it dies. Fantastic.
Looks like the guy who cancelled his pre-order got to dodge a bullet.
The Switch is an amazing concept, and BotW is an awesome launch title. However Nintendo has seriously fucked it with faulty hardware. If this was an Xbox/Playstation release I’d probably just give up and ask for my money back. As it stands they’ve made me a renewed fanboy out of me with stockholm syndrome. As a consequence Nintendo gets to ruin my supple white ass every day with their broken piece of shit hardware.
I recommend BotW, and I recommend the Switch as a concept. The silicon and plastic that holds it all together though leaves a lot to be desired.