Only two days remain until the Nintendo Switch is out on store shelves for the general public, and the early pre-release reviews from major outlets is starting to come in for Nintendo's newest hybrid home console and portable device. And, you can check out what they're saying.
There seems to be a general consensus that the console could be the next big thing, but, at the moment, it's kind of "meh" coming out of the gate. In fact, that was pretty much how Wired summed up their review, writing...
I cannot play Switch on the television---not unless I buy an optional "Pro Controller" for $70, that is.
At first, I thought I had been sent a bum unit, but it turns out many, many early Switch players have the exact same issue, all with the left Joy-Con. At this point, with Nintendo not having commented on or fixed the issue, I can only go forward assuming the Switch consoles going on sale this Friday will all potentially have this problem
Wired mentions that one of the biggest issues was the left Joy-Con losing synchronization. They cite a Polygon article from before saying "many, many" players are having the issue, but the Polygon article -- which we covered here at Cinema Blend -- did not actually mention if many players were having the issue, only that some journalists and players had issues with the review units during the play-test. In the Wired review they mention that they believe "all" the Nintendo Switch units going on sale this Friday will have synching issues with the left Joy-Con.
Polygon had previously reported that Nintendo may have a day-one firmware patch for the Switch to ensure that the left Joy-Con stays synched, assuming the issue wasn't already fixed for the consumer units. However, even in Polygon's review they revert back to saying that the Switch is "not finished", writing...
How bad is it? Nintendo may be releasing a system with controllers that don't function properly. We're all hoping the connectivity issues with the left Joy-Con can be fixed via the day-one patch that also adds all online support, but Nintendo has yet to admit there's a problem, much less promise a solution.
According to Kotaku's editor-in-chief, Stephen Totilo, Nintendo did actually issue a statement to them saying that Nintendo was aware of the problem with the review units and are investigating, as reported by My Nintendo News.
The Polygon article also criticizes the lack of details on the Virtual Console backwards compatibility feature for the Nintendo Switch, but users in the comment section were quick to point out that the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 both launched without backwards compatibility or access to previously purchased digital titles. In fact, you still can't play games natively by backwards compatibility on the PlayStation 4 unless you subscribe to PlayStation Now, and the PS4 is the current market leader.
In previous reports, Nintendo mentioned that they would talk more about the Virtual Console on the Switch at a later date.
Polygon also criticized the lack of eShop and online connectivity, but those features were disabled in review units and won't be available until the system's launch on March 3rd. Game Informer acknowledged that those features were disabled in review units, and also proceeded to say...
Nintendo isn't afraid of thinking outside the box, but it feels like the company made major compromises for the Switch. The individual Joy-Cons are so small that they leave you with hand cramps, and even when combined with the Joy-Con grip, they still feel unnatural. We're happy with the tablet's overall design, and transitioning from a television console to a handheld system works like magic.
Game Informer takes an extremely measured, methodical and technical approach to their review, giving readers the pros and cons of Switch. Letting them know about the advantages of cartridges and the drawbacks of the Switch's limited on-board memory.
Game Informer also addressed the left Joy-Con synching issue... saying that despite wide reports about the issue from other sites, they only had the left Joy-Con de-synch on them once during their time with the system. They also noted that the UI for the Switch is probably Nintendo's best to date.
As a handheld, the Switch is a powerful piece of hardware with a gorgeous screen, but it's too large and power hungry to feel like you can really take it anywhere. As a console, it's underpowered, unreliable, and lacking basic features and conveniences that all of its competitors offer. It's nicely built and cleverly designed to be used in a variety of ways, but the bottom line is that the Switch doesn't do any one of the many things it can do without some sort of significant compromise.
Most of the verdicts from the major websites appears to be to wait it out and not buy the system at launch. Ultimately, though, the criticisms levied at the system aren't much different from the issues that the Xbox One and PS4 had at launch, which is typical for most launch hardware.
The Nintendo Switch will be available on March 3rd for $299.99.