The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a little bit late. Nintendo originally planned to have a brand new Zelda title on the Wii U not long after launch. Instead, the game eventually launched this week on both the new Nintendo Switch and the now discontinued console, the Wii U.
Nintendo Switch pre-orders sold out a few weeks ago in the US and launch stock has been all but impossible to get a hold of. With no indication of how much stock was allocated in the first place, it’s hard to gauge just how popular the new console is. By contrast, stock still seems available at a fair few online stores here in the UK.
The Nintendo Switch isn’t particularly cheap in today’s climate. Shop around and you can get a new Xbox One S or a PS4 Slim from around £200. The Nintendo Switch, by comparison, is a slightly underpowered console and is £279.99. If Nintendo had been a bit braver and was willing to take a hit and launched at £200 it would be more in line with that incredible £179 launch of the original Wii in 2006. Instead it’s £30 more expensive than the £250 Wii U was at launch.
Let’s not forget that the two Wii consoles at least included a game in the price, the Switch ships with nothing but the screened console and a pair of Joy-Con controllers. Regular gamers are looking at a range of extra costs, such as £25 for a Joy-Con charging grip, maybe an additional £60 for a Pro controller and then a decent sized MicroSD memory card deal.
But…Zelda! I’ve not had the pleasure yet personally, but yeah, if you’re not buying a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild with your Switch, you clearly have too much money. The reviews have been staggeringly positive, which is great to see considering the prolonged development time – we didn’t need another rough around the edge release like The Last Guardian after all.
But is it worth spending at least £330 on the console and game? Hell no. No game’s that good. If the small smatterings of launch titles like 1-2-Switch or Snipper Clips have caught your eye and you’ll regularly be hosting multiplayer sessions with friends or family members, then the purchase of the console becomes more justifiable. Snipper Clips doesn’t look like it’ll hold a party’s attention for long though and 1-2-Switch has a rather middling collection of reviews on Metacritic. There’s a serious lack of a Wii Sports-style game that will entertain for hours on end for multiplayer fans. And please, don’t spend £50 on a copy of Super Bomberman R (seriously, £50!?).
There is of course a much cheaper option, especially for faithful Nintendo fans who own a Wii U. Buy it on the Wii U. While stores are charging an increased £45-£50 for the last-gen version, it’s still considerably cheaper than investing in a new console with nothing else to play on it. After all, don’t you want to wait a little and make sure you don’t have another Wii U situation on your hands?
More to the point, aside from a slightly lower resolution (720p vs 900p) and some lower detailed environmental sound effects, the Wii U version is said to be almost identical. The comparison videos between the two certainly show the Wii U version holding its own. So why not give your Wii U one last hurrah and buy the game it’s been waiting for all these years?
If the game turns out to be as good as reviews say it is and the Nintendo Switch starts to gather momentum along with a decent collection of released games then you can always pick up a console further down the line. We wouldn’t expect any discounts for a while; if at all (even the Wii U never received an official discount despite the awful sales numbers). But you might find retailers chucking in free or discounted games, controllers or accessories for those all-important Black Friday bundles. Better yet, you might be able to pick up a re-release version of the Zelda: Breath of the Wild with the Season Pass DLC thrown in too, we’re pretty sure it’ll be racking up a few Game of the Year awards after all. The Pro controller price will hopefully drop down in price to line up with the £40 PS4 and Xbox One pads too.
In the end, it’s your money, but why not make Nintendo work a bit harder for it? If you already have a Wii U, the last-gen version looks like a very attractive option and just waiting for some better deals on the Nintendo Switch could see it getting some regular use instead of gathering dust for months after you finish Zelda: The Breath of the Wild. Sure Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is out April 28th, but chances are you’ve played the Wii U version to death already. Splatoon 2 in summer and Super Mario Odyssey at Christmas though? Now that’s a lineup that could prove hard to resist.
If you are in the market for the new console though, head on over to this page for the best Nintendo Switch deals, where you can find the lowest prices on the console, along with links to the cheapest Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controllers, Pro controllers and memory cards.