It's the best-looking piece of Nintendo hardware since the GameCube, bolstered by the greatest launch game of all time.
OR IS IT?
By "it" I mean the Switch. I'm talking about the Nintendo Switch. Sorry. Should have mentioned that a few sentences ago. I would give anything to go back in time and make that clear.
Scattered reports of significant hardware flaws are threatening to taint one of the most overwhelmingly positive console launches of all time. Do these claims have any merit?
Like Digital Foundry, iFixit, or an idiot on YouTube awkwardly reading a script while poking at hardware with a boxcutter he's holding the wrong way, I am a hardware expert. Unlike them, I have no money and no access to free review hardware. Today I'll use the Video Game Article lab (my dining room) to test the Nintendo Switch's durability in a gauntlet of punishing real-world scenarios.
They say that screens are the windows to the video game. They do say that.
They also say that the Switch's screen is susceptible to scratching when roughly inserted to the dock. If true, that's a major concern.
In my test, I slowly and gingerly placed the system into the dock just one time, then removed it just as carefully. Then, still thinking about the $300 I paid for the system, I poked the screen with the softest and least pointy part of my finger, wrapped in a microfiber cloth. The Switch passed this test with flying colors! No scratches whatsoever.
It was quite a relief, because I don't have room in my budget to buy another Switch.
There are numerous reports of the left joycon losing connectivity, particularly when used from a distance of over three meters. Also, some users claim that repeatedly attaching and detaching the joycons from the system can wear out or break the mechanisms that hold the joycons in place.
To test both these issues at once, I exclusively played the system in portable mode, with the joycons attached. The results? No dropped connectivity, and no snapped joycon latches.
Look, I've only been writing about video games for ten years. I don't have the stature of LetsXplainRoy, so Nintendo doesn't send me hardware. Heck, I don't even qualify to receive their press release emails. Do you know how fucked up it would be to ruin this thing I bought with my own money? I barely get paid to write this garbage!
The Switch's kickstand has been described as a flimsy, useless flap of plastic prone to snapping off the system.
In order to put the kickstand through its paces I developed the ultimate stress test. Laying the system flat on a pillow, I held my breath and traced a feather along the kickstand's seam. This was repeated a total of ten times with no breakage whatsoever. That should put at least one rumor to rest.
My Switch is a precious baby and no harm will befall it for the sake of you monsters. If we get our hands on a free second Switch unit, we will conduct a second round of tests of a more thorough, punishing nature. Possibly using cloth and cotton swabs in place of microfiber and feathers.
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Easily the finest video game about talking animals since Firewatch (I'm assuming they were all raccoons). 8/10
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
This game's only flaw is that it's really hard for me to think up a joke about a nearly perfect experience. 10/10
Super Bomberman R
There are like four art styles elbowing each other in every screen, and they are all just as bland as the gameplay. 3/10
I would have been disappointed with this as a pack-in so it's nice that they released it as a $40 game I can ignore. 4/10
Horizon Zero Dawn
Easily the finest video game about robot animals since Firewatch (I'm assuming everyone but Henry was a robot). 8/10
Berserk and the Band of the Hawk
I expected a guitar-soloing hawk, and was completely disappointed by everything. 4/10
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The cutting edge of video game articles.