Yes, I know I’ve been gone for a few weeks, but let me tell you it was well worth the time away. I was able to spend a week and a half with loved ones, and then returned to attend MAGFest, which despite only being four days into the new year, is always a highlight for me. In addition to the usual fun, games, and drunken debauchery that I take part in (don’t worry, I do the latter responsibly,) I came across this beauty, and never thought I’d ever see it ever again.
An actual F-Zero AX arcade machine! I have not come across one of these since E3 2003, and never thought I’d see it again. But here it was, and it felt as great as I remember it. F-Zero GX is one of my all time favorite games, so seeing its arcade counterpart was a welcome change.
But it also got me wishing that Nintendo would release a new F-Zero game. It’s been nearly 15 years since GX was released, and during the era of both the Wii and the Wii U, I have asked many times to make this a reality. And now we come to the Switch, Nintendo’s runaway success of a console/handheld hybrid system.
More specifically, a hybrid that I now have in my possession. Granted I got my Switch before I left for vacation, but since then I spent a lot of time playing it. My first impressions with the system was “wow…are these controls tiny.” Keep in mind I have large hands, and am used to an Xbox One Elite controller, but the Joy-Cons are very tiny, and even when connection to the control grip, it still feels small.
Eventually I got used to the small controls, and gave my two bundled games a try: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Starting off with playing Mario Kart in handheld mode, the constant 60 frames per second performance was quite a treat to see, but when I seamlessly docked my console to my TV, (after the surprise of my TV actually, errr, “switching” over to the input by itself,) was amazed at how a game running on a Tegra chipset doing so at 1080p and 60 frames per second. It was quite the feat.
As far as getting online though, that was a bit more of a challenge for me to get working, because at first the Switch would not even connect to my wireless router. It was able to connect once and for all, but it won’t surprise me if I end up getting a LAN adapter as both my TV and my Xbox One X are both connected via Ethernet instead of Wi-Fi.
Once I got online though, I was able to get some online matches of Mario Kart 8 going on the big screen, and despite frustration of constantly getting ambushed by other players at the last lap, I walked away impressed. Now I know there are those who are going to mention about the way the Switch handles voice chat, and I am fully aware of it, but as I don’t have the equipment yet, I cannot speak for myself at my experience, at least yet.
Next was trying out Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I will admit to everyone that I never beat a Zelda game since the wrongfully judged Zelda II on the NES. I have played them all the way up to Twilight Princess, but never to the end. My first impressions with BOTW were very frustrating, especially when it came to weapons. It seemed that they would break at even the slightest contact, and then left me defenseless as I juggled through my inventory. Meanwhile enemies were able to kill me with just one hit. I at first detracted the game, labeled it “Zelda: Break of the Weapon” and was about ready to trade it in at eStarland for a new game. But I pressed forward and gave the game a second chance. Eventually the game started to open up more for me, and as I solved more shrine dungeons, built up a decent supply of weapons, bows, and armor, and opened up the entire map, the game won me over. It’s not my most favorite Switch experience so far, but it was pretty darn close.
But it wasn’t until I bought Super Mario Odyssey that made the Switch win me over. I mentioned this game earlier on my Honorable Mentions feature, and again I need to say the fact I didn’t play this before picking my top 5 of the year is a horrendous crime. This game is exactly what a Mario game should look like, and play like. However, it nearly scared me because a friend told me the game felt to her like Mario Sunshine, a game that I was not a fan of, especially because of the whole Fludd mechanic. Yes there are parts that felt like that, but at least it’s not the entire game, and all of the various kingdoms I journeyed across all had their unique element. But it was just one level, the much-hyped Metro Kingdom, and the way they made it a tribute to the game that started it all, Donkey Kong, that made me fall in love with such a masterpiece. It should have won my Game of the Year right there, right then.
It also got me thinking in general about the Switch. While I still have my concerns over third party titles, and yes seeing companies like Bethesda providing ports for their biggest games is a good sign, I know Nintendo’s strength has always been their first party games, and these three are a good start. Not only that, but being able to play the same thing at home or on the go no matter where I am, as long as the battery is up to it is amazing.
I have to admit this, the Switch is for real. In the one month I have owned it, I may have played it more than the 5 months in which I owned my PS4 Pro. It’s not going to replace my Xbox One X as my go-to system, nor will it replace my gaming laptop as my main portable, but it is definitely a huge piece in my gaming library that will get a lot of use with its successful lineup. But Nintendo, I only ask for one thing. Please? Announce a new F-Zero for the Switch? You’re already bringing out a third Bayonetta and a new Metroid Prime, but this would seal the deal for me!
And before you all say it, I’ve heard many times already. Yes, I know there’s a game called Fast RMX, but I want a REAL F-Zero game that rivals that of GX!
Currently Playing: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch)
Waiting For: Dragonball Fighterz (Xbox One X)