More Switch First-Impressions from Chicago Tour Stop

My alarm sounded at 3:30 AM, so I could make the two and a half hour journey from my house to the Chicago Nintendo Switch Event. On arriving at the site at 7 AM, I let a friend out of the car to hold our spot in line while I parked a few blocks away. We had to wait and hour and a half before finally snagging one of the last wristbands that would guarantee my chance to play this new console before it’s release. The event started at 10 AM, but my session wasn’t until 3 PM. After a long day walking around Chicago it was time to go to the event. The crowd was pumped while standing at the entrance and we finally got to enter the room. This was the Nintendo Switch event I had waited so long to experience.

I was only allowed an hour and a half to experience over a dozen games. This hardly seemed fair, but my friend and I jumped right in to an open console. I sat down to Bomberman R, and for the first time, got to hold the Left Joy-Con controller. My first thought was, “Wow, this is so small and so light,” which I was expecting from the videos I had seen, but actually holding it confirmed the concept. Once the game started up, the controller felt natural and was a good fit. Perhaps all the years of cell phone use and 3DS playing got me used to smaller control options.

During the event, I also had the chance to play with the Pro Controller, Joy-Con Grip, and in portable mode connected to the console and screen itself. All of these options felt natural and comfortable. The Pro Controller was definitely heavier and sturdier (one of the staff at the event accidentally dropped it  on the concrete while handing it to my friend and it didn’t hurt it at all) and was comfortable for the more intense and longer gaming sessions. My friend said he liked it more than his XBOX One controller and he LOVES that controller. I think for starters I’ll be good with the included Joy-Con Grip, but eventually will invest the $70 to have one of those. I’ve never bought a Pro Controller for any Nintendo system because I didn’t feel the need, but this thing just felt right.

There was a station were you could actually connect/disconnect all the parts and just mess with the console in general. You could click the Joy-Cons on and off the system, which are secured in place by the release buttons on the back making the snapping noise we’ve all been associating with the word “switch.” It quickly moves from TV to hand held in less than a second, but takes a bit longer to boot up to the screen when re-docking. Over all, I was impressed and thought for sure the quality would diminish in graphics and clarity while playing on the game pad, but I only noticed a slight difference, which was acceptable.

I did not get a chance to experience all of the games, but did test out quite a few. Here’s what I got my hands on and what I thought:

  • Bomberman R – Unfortunately, this was the first game I sat down to with my friend and a CPU player knocked me out in the first minute and I spent the next three minutes trying to corner and blow someone up from the outer edge. That did not happen. I have not played any other games in the Bomberman series, so I can’t say I’m hyped about this game.
  • SnipperClips: Cut it out, together – This game had a slight wait to play and was available in table top mode. My friend and I enjoyed this one a lot. The controls felt good and it was challenging to work together to accomplish the goals. After The Legend of Zelda, this will be my next purchase for the switch, especially with a $20 eShop price tag. I asked the staff at this booth if we had a release date and he said he expected March 3 with launch.
  • Has Been Heroes – This game has a high learning curve to adjust to the controls, character movements, attacks, pausing, spell usage, and pair heroes against enemies to first reduce stamina, then to deliver damage. It was a unique feel and I know I don’t have the controls down after the short ten minute demo. This is a game that I would like to see as a downloadable demo from the eShop so I can figure out how to play before I spend money on it. No word yet on release or price.
  • Fast RMX – Never in all my years as a Nintendo fan have the graphics of a game completely dazzled me the way they did in this game. Absolutely gorgeous. This was shown off using the pro controller and what a nice pairing. Solid game play and beautiful graphics. Definitely one to watch for.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Such a stunning and beautifully vast word with attention to detail. This was a 20 minute demo where you get to explore the Great Plateau section of the world. Exploring just a piece of that part of the map used up all my time. The staff running that station showed me how to view the map and zoom out. Then he said, “”Now scroll up””. Wow. Impressive for sure. He said it’s rumored to take around 45 minutes to an hour to run the entire length of the map. I’m super excited for this one, just like everyone else.

To sum it up, this event was great. I wish they would have had a session going while we were getting our bracelets (from 8-9:30 AM), instead everyone had to get a bracelet at 8 AM and come back for the event to start at 10 AM. This could have allowed another 250 people to experience it, which would have probably covered everyone in line, however, I heard several people were upset because they didn’t get in. I would have been too. The wait for the games was minimal, but I wasn’t able to play everything. This experience has me looking forward to some games that surprised me, i.e. Fast RMX. Getting my hands on the console was so exciting, and I can’t wait for launch day!