The new Legend of Zelda is here. And it is receiving critical acclaim from virtually every news media organization that has touched it. The list of accolades being bestowed upon the game is long and impressive. However, among all of the reviewers who have put, collectively, thousands of hours in with the new Nintendo Switch while reviewing Zelda, there is also another universal sentiment: Nintendo's new Switch hardware performs far better as a tablet or portable gaming system then it does as a home console. One needs only glance through the hundreds of reviews available online right now for Legend of Zelda to see a recurring theme. Whenever the Switch tablet is in the dock playing on the TV there are consistent frame rate issues.
We talked about this in an earlier post about the Nintendo Switch and some of its limitations. Now that the embargo has been lifted for reviewers, enabling them to talk about the actual experience with the hardware, these issues are now coming to light. Reviewers from almost every agency have mentioned in their reviews that Zelda plays beautifully on the Switch as a tablet, however when mounted in its dock, the Switch console experience has frame-rate issues. I have seen many reviewers actually state that playing the game in Tablet mode is a superior experience. Most reviewers have mentioned that it does not ruin the experience completely, but that it is distracting. It will be interesting to see as more high quality titles and Triple A Games come out for the Switch, if this is going to be a recurring theme with the hardware.
In our post a few days ago we discussed that while we think the Switch is an amazing piece of hardware and a revolution in gaming, but we do think Nintendo has marketed the system completely wrong. In their efforts to claim the Switch as a revolutionary new type of home console with a unique control interface and play style, Nintendo set the stage for scrutiny of the Switch in this form. However, if you look at the Switch instead as an incredibly powerful tablet that can also be hooked up to a TV to extend your mobile experience to the big screen, then minor frame rate issues are easily overlooked as it's not the primary function of the system. Nintendo will assuredly continue to assert that the Switch is a very capable home console, and there will no doubt be a number of games for the system that work perfectly fine. However having such a massive AAA title for the launch serves as almost a stress test to highlight the performance capabilities and performance problems with the Switch as a Home console. Taken out of Nintendo's labs and put into the hands of professional video game players, the thousands of hours that they have poured into the console at this point have come two very consistent conclusions. The Switch is a great piece of hardware that shows amazing innovation, but the experience is at time compromised when played on the TV. Time will tell, and we will see. We are sure the Switch has an incredibly bright future ahead of it, regardless.