About a month ago, due to an unexpected shift in my career that involves a lot of travelling, I decided to ”squander” some money on a video game console that could accompany me everywhere. Unfortunately my dear friends, long gone are the days where I could spent a decent amount of time playing Rocket League online on my Xbox One S in front of my huge monitor at home.
Naturally, I had to invest in something that favoured mobility instead of impressive technical specifications. Since I have the philosophy of ”gaming on a budget”, my price ceiling was 300 Euros max for a platform and 1 or 2 games. As a result, my choices were narrowed to 5; a Laptop, a PSP, a PS Vita, a Nintendo DS or a Nintendo Switch? Now, lets pay close attention to each one.
First of all, In order to play games decently on a laptop (unless you are a retro fan) , you will have to spend at least 500 Euros for a machine of reasonable quality. And by that, I mean a laptop with a separate GPU that can withstand the load of games’ graphics. Otherwise, if you choose one with an integrated graphics card, there is a high possibility it will be transformed into a frying pan in less than 1 or 2 years, probably a bit after its warranty period expires (I am telling you this from a personal experience..). Also, I already have a very decent Netbook/Tablet with Windows capabilities. So ”budget-wise”, that option was excluded.
As far as the PSP is concerned, in the past I bought once a PSP with 2 of its greatest games; God Of War: Chains of Olympus and GTA: Chinatown Wars. To tell you the truth, I was not impressed. While having a cheap price tag and a large game library, i did not like it at all. The games were very primitive for my tastes and the controls were bad. I ended up selling it in less than 2 months.
On the other side, PS Vita was not an option either. In my mind, this console is a ”beefed” up version of a PSP that ended up being a commercial failure. While only a bit more expensive than PSP, its game library is disappointingly short and as far as I know, no new games are released for the platform.
As far as the Nintendo DS is concerned, while also reasonably cheap with an enormous amount of games, it does not have neither the graphical capabilities nor the type of games for my likings. They are a bit too ”childish” in my point of view.
As a result mates, while being very sceptical at first in terms of price and the total amount of time I would invest to it, I started searching for a Nintendo Switch. Furthermore, I am not a Nintendo fan. I only played Nintendo games when I was very young and I could not imagine myself playing Mario, Zelda or Donkey Kong in my 30s.
In Greece, this console costs around 320 Euros in brand new condition but without any games. I decided to find a used one in good condition. After some time, I eventually ended up buying one at 270 Euros in a very good condition with tempered glass protecting its 6 inch screen, a carrying case, an SD Card and Splatoon 2. Moreover, I had to swap this game with Super Mario Odyssey and PAC MAN 2 : World Championship (reviews of these games will be available on this site in due time) because ”playing online” is not a viable option for me. The only thing I can say about this console after a month of use is that I am satisfied, but not impressed.
First of all, I was very pleased by the fact there are so many ways to enjoy games. You can carry it everywhere you go and play; In the park, at the bus station, while outside drinking coffee etc. I remember driving my car for some scheduled maintenance to the agency and I was playing PAC MAN for 3 hours straight while waiting. Its battery, with the voice turned down completely can last up to 5 hours depending on each game’s graphical demands. When you get back home, you can put it back in its docking station and play on your TV, with improved performance due to more electrical power input.
Furthermore, It comes packed with two controllers from the gecko, meaning that you do not have to spend extra money for another gamepad to enjoy playing with your buddies Couch Co Op Multiplayer games. Also, these controllers can be assembled into a large one or used both separately in single player, thus activating their motion control capabilities. In addition, they can be inserted in slots in each side of the console so that you can use Switch as a Gameboy. However, their size is a small and they are not that comfortable for the player, especially if you have large hands and fingers.
About the games, as I only have 2 at the moment: Super Mario Odyssey and PAC MAN 2: World Championship. Most of the 1st party games that have been released so far though, appeal to a more family friendly audience and might lack a bit the depth of triple A titles found in other consoles. However, they are hell of a lot fun to play. Playing Mario Kart couch co op is definitely a blast! In addition, there are ports of more mature games coming on the way, but they lack the graphical fidelity of their respective counterparts on Xbox One or PlayStation 4. In terms of graphics, I think that Nintendo Switch is a bit toned down version of a handheld PlayStation 3. Unfortunately, the games are a little bit on the expensive side (from 40 to 70 Euros), meaning that I will be forced to search for better deals on used ones, since I am not currently using Ninendo Switch as my primary console.
I wil not judge its online capabilities since I am not playing online at all on this console. When I am at home, I prefer playing my Xbox One S due to its more mature games, like The Evil Within or Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain.
In conclusion, if you are a person who is constantly on the move like me and you do not have the money to afford a nice capable laptop, this console is tailored for you. It can accompany you everywhere and quench your thirst for gaming. The short bursts of gaming pleasure that Super Mario Odyssey has given me were satisfying. Especially if you are a Nintendo fan, Switch is a must have for you. Also, it is a console that got released in 2017, thus meaning that it has at least 4 to 5 years ahead of it to surprise us gamers with better games. Furthermore, its insurmountable sales indicate that it will not be a commercial flop like the previous Nintendo console, Wii U. However, for all the other more mature gamers, I would suggest sticking with the Xbox One S or the PlayStation 4.