That Awkward Moment With The Nintendo Switch – Forbes
I put it off for a week or two, tracking down elusive Shrines, upgrading armor, scaling peaks and riding bears. I had begun to spin my wheels in a world once new and broad, now well-charted. And so when I finally collected the last of Link’s lost memories and I heard the voice of Princess Zelda in the sky, telling me it was now time to face Calamity Ganon in the sanctum of Hyrule Castle, I chose to heed her words. An endless preparation made pretty short work of the creature, a satisfying end to a hero’s journey. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been one of the most engrossing game experiences I’ve had in years, and I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to the Nintendo Switch. I’m done with it now, though, at least until DLC arrives. I’ve still got the Switch.
I’ll admit that I love my Switch. Part of that is the smack of something new, to be sure. But it’s got this clean, wonderful screen, this heft in my hands, this satisfying transition from handheld to living room, this omnipresent smoothness both conceptual and physical. And, it goes without saying, it’s got Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It isn’t just the smack of something new, it’s the smack of something actually new, something that lets me play games in a way I haven’t quite done before. I had no such love for my PS4 Pro, which I continually forget is a different console than the one I had at this time last year, and I don’t expect I’ll have any such love for my Xbox Scorpio.
But now, without Breath of the Wild to fill the screen, I just don’t have anything to do with the thing. 1-2 Switch doesn’t have much there there, I’m not too interested in Super Bomberman R, and the rest of the currently limited library hasn’t held my attention. Without Zelda, my little machine just sort of sits there. There are some interesting titles on the horizon that I may well pick up, but the next game I’m genuinely excited for is Super Mario Odyssey in the fall.
I like my Switch enough that I’d play games I normally wouldn’t just to use it: I’d even take another run at Skyrim if it were already available, and I’ll likely pay the premium to play Rime on it instead of on the PS4. I’m just short on options right now. Theoretically, Nintendo could also plug this gap with Virtual Console titles, and I’d be more than happy to use the device to plunge into a past of SNES games. Unfortunately, the company omitted that service from launch.
This is far from uncommon with new consoles: the very fact that we had one such amazing experience with the Switch at launch is the exception, not the rule. But the Switch is launching in a very different place from its ostensible competition. Without new titles to get excited about on the Switch, I can easily just fall back on the upcoming roster for the PS4 and Xbox One. Holding attention in the face of a mature and established development ecosystem on those other two consoles will be the Switch’s main challenge for the rest of the year. It’s less of a problem for people who are buying it as a second console, but Nintendo will need more than that to excel here.
The Nintendo Switch wracked up a giant win in the form of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Without true success from that game, the platform would have started its life severely hampered. That momentum is real, and I expect it to carry this machine for a few months. But it won’t be the whole equation.