Nah, just kiddin’. The Switch has been getting the bulk of my posts recently, but if statistics mean anything, it’s what people want to read about lately. And of course, as I’ve been spending a lot of time playing mine, I have no shortage of opinions on it. Because I realize I can sound very fanboyish and I never complain about anything with a Nintendo logo on it, I feel obligated to balance myself out. The Switch overall is terrific and I’ve loved every second spent playing it, but nothing in this world is perfect. Let’s start with a gripe that has driven me crazy with Blaster Master Zero recently.
Ahh, the D-Pad. Let me tell you – the directional controls are too far apart. There are some games that simply benefit from using the directional controls rather than the analog stick. Blaster Master Zero definitely controls better with the D-Pad, as it’s a top-down game and generally you are only moving in a few directions. The lack of a pivoting D-Pad is definitely evident, however, as trying to slide your thumb to change direction can result in input error. More specifically, aligning yourself on a diagonal axis can be tough to pull off with the D-Pad, as the buttons can slide out from under your finger. This happens to me often and I find myself switching back and forth between the D-Pad and the joystick. I end up taking damage a lot more than I should, and it’s 100% on the D-Pad for that.
2D platformers are ideal for this sort of precision control that you lack with a joystick. I played Shovel Knight on the PSVita and it was great using the D-Pad with the normal pivot point in the middle. Not a chance I would use the joystick on it, though. And would you look at that – Shovel Knight is on the eShop! And if there was ever a game that needs precision control, it’s that game. There are many points in Shovel Knight where you need to bounce on multiple enemies in a row to cross bottomless pits – and this requires holding both Down and either left or right. This is simple with a pivot point but I wouldn’t want to try it with the current D-Pad situation.
I get it – the reasons the buttons are set up this way is so they will match the other JoyCon, and feel the same when turned sideways. But take it from me – if you’re planning on getting all up in Shovel Knight, I’d recommend playing it on the Pro Controller, which has the pivoting D-Pad. It will make your life a lot less frustrating. That, or buy it on any other system since it’s out for practically everything.
Shoulder Buttons are too Sensitive
The shoulder buttons have also given me a fair share of issues. They work fine and they click correctly, but they are overly sensitive and they wrap too far around the JoyCon. I find myself accidentally clicking them constantly, and usually at an inopportune time in-game. Like in Breath of the Wild where I’m in the midst of a frantic battle, only to find myself holding an explosive over my head.
I find myself repositioning my hands constantly, this is in part due to the miniaturization of the controller components itself, and also because I think it was designed for a small person to use. Keeping my finger off the trigger and lightly holding it on ZL seems to do the trick, but it’s easy to make mistakes doing this.
No Portable Video-Out Solution
I get it – the dock is made to sit in front of a designated television. But I have a real-life scenario from my recent vacation that gives good reason to devise some sort of simpler, “suitcase-friendly” dock. Playing on the plane was fantastic and just as great as the early advertisements had everyone excited for. But once we got to the apartment, I realized I didn’t have the dock, so we’d be playing everything on the small screen. There was a giant 60″ television in front of my fiancée and me, yet we’re playing on a tiny screen.
All we’d need to fix this is for some company (or Nintendo themselves) to release an accessory cable that connects to the bottom of the Switch and outputs to TV – simple enough, right? The Switch dock doesn’t exactly do anything anyway, except act as a stand for your Switch to make it look pretty and organized. It’s not like we’d be losing any functionality – just a nice portable option so you don’t have to carry the huge dock around.
I’m hoping this comes out soon because it would truly make the Switch ultra-portable.
No Bluetooth Headphone Support Yet
I never even considered this as something I would like, but since using it on my Vita (a console that came out a while ago, mind you), I realized it’s extremely convenient to be able to pop in a pair of Bluetooth headphones rather than plugging in a cable. A cable gets in the way, gets snagged, all that. Basically, the conveniences here are just the conveniences of Bluetooth headphones in general, so I don’t need to elaborate much.
Various sources have confirmed it will be available at some point, but that is about all the information I could find. The console already has Bluetooth built-in of course, so it’s a matter of a software upgrade.
Removal of StreetPass
I swung by the Nintendo World Store again the other day, as it’s become a bit of a weekly trip. Seriously, they change their merchandise lineup almost daily, it seems. Normally I’d bring along my 3DS and max out my StreetPasses two or three times while I was there. I’d do some Puzzle Swap and some Slot Car Rally, play a little Mario or look around, and wait for the queue to form again, and repeat the process.
This time, I managed to get seven StreetPasses. Seven. And while I stared and waited for that ever-so-glorious blinking green light to flash, it never happened after the initial group. It was then that it hit me – most of their demo devices have been replaced by a Switch! But what about other people? Surely they can’t be carrying around Switches with them?
By the way, if you’ve never owned a 3DS, you may be wondering what StreetPass is. To put it briefly, it’s a short-range “always-on” communication that will spot other players and exchange player data. Miis, hobbies, currently playing game, etc. It does this even when you’re not actively playing the 3DS. You can then play mini-games with those Miis that your 3DS spotted. It was a very cool passive system that was essentially a little side-dish on the 3DS system, like Swapnote, and Pokemon Shuffle. Whenever your console saw another console, a green notification light would come on, and it would alert you that it found somebody.
It was as cool as it sounds, although you’d rarely see success unless you were in Japan. No joke – I work in New York City and I StreetPassed maybe 1 person per week, unless I went to the Nintendo Store. You StreetPass all kinds of people from all over the world at a location like the Nintendo World Store, I’ve had people visit my 3DS from Jamaica, the UK, South Africa, Switzerland, all over the place. And it was a great little feature that kept you wanting to play more.
I would have loved for Nintendo to keep this incredible feature on the Switch, but I’m not sure it’ll ever come back. This really made me sad, but I will learn to cope, presumably after all the therapy!
More Physical Games!
Here’s the most obvious one. I wandered into a GameStop the other day and couldn’t help but notice how absolutely depressing the Switch section looks. Currently there are only a handful of physical games out there. The rest of the game offerings lay squarely in the digital-only realm and in NeoGeo games.
I’d love to play I Am Setsuna, but I refuse to pay full price for a digital copy of a full game, when I can just wait for prices to drop, and then import it from Japan. Smaller games such as Snipperclips and Blaster Master Zero I will give a pass to, since they were much cheaper and will likely never see a physical release.
I’m hoping that physical copy manufacturers work out something soon and come up with some concrete offerings soon, or at least some announcements, because after some initial impulsive digital purchases I’m holding off on getting anymore for a while. Simply put, I will pay more for physical copies. Someone just needs to make them.
That’s all I’ve got for now – these are pretty minor gripes and some are being fixed as we speak. The console isn’t perfect but for the size and portability, I’m willing to write off any smaller issues. Obviously the biggest issue is the game offering, but even more, the physical releases just aren’t there yet. There are some incoming, but they are very spread out it seems. If you don’t plan on indies, don’t like Zelda, or don’t buy digital games, definitely hold off on a purchase, but if you don’t fall into any of those camps, the Nintendo Switch is still a great little gizmo and I’m still hooked on playing it!
What is your major concern or gripe with the Switch? Let me know what I missed in the comments!