I don’t think there’s anyone that can contest Panic Button’s porting perfection. The developer has brought over such games as Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and Rocket League to the Nintendo Switch. I mention both of these games due to their presence on not only consoles but also on the PC platform. So it came almost as a surprise that Warframe would be coming to the Nintendo Switch. I’m sure, if you’re like me, when you also heard the news that Panic Button would be working its magic to bring this multi-platform game to the Switch, you probably exhaled a huge sigh of relief.
Hardware tax not included
I will start off by saying that Warframe itself isn’t exactly the most hardware-taxing game. If you take a look at the minimum system requirements for the PC, you’ll see that they are very forgiving in terms of hardware. Things like RAM (2 GB), processing power (core-duo or higher), and video card specs (512 MB) are mostly dated pre-2010.
This is surprising given the game is visually impressive in many ways. Having less stressful demands for hardware has queued it up to be ported to various platforms, like the Switch.
Frame by frame
I admit I don’t have an absolute comprehension of every nut and bolt tweaked for the port of Warframe to Nintendo Switch. However, some of the things that I have noticed during my time with it are worth noting.
I’m not really a fan of the motion-blur effect when playing games. If there are options for the visual adjustment on console or PC, I usually turn it off. I have done it for both performance and stylistic reasons. In terms of the Switch version of Warframe, that feature has been included. It might have been done so as to detract from the consistent 30 FPS that you’ll see during gameplay, or maybe even to give a better sense of speed overall. Either way, it’s there, and I think it does its job keeping the game’s aesthetic.
If you navigate to the display settings in the menu, you’ll see a nice list of features to toggle off or on. By default, the game has settings like GPU particles, bloom, and bloom intensity set to a minimum. Turning these to max settings in handheld mode didn’t hamper gameplay like it does in Rocket League on the Switch when turning the “Quality” visuals on. Things like explosions, sparks, and other particles can usually cause slowdowns with these features maxed out. The same can be said for the game’s lighting, having ambient occlusion on, and having all of these settings toggled on.
When I encountered enemy fire with snow particles falling, there was only a teeny-tiny dip in performance. It was almost unnoticeable. Even explosive barrels didn’t cause the game to hiccup in the same match. It might have been due to connection, which I wouldn’t rule out. There is an abundance of light flares throughout the game. However, those did not impact performance.
Draw me like one of your other console versions
One of the most noticeable changes for the Switch version of Warframe can be seen in its textures. I did play the game on the Xbox One X on a 4K TV. You might be surprised to find out that most of the early textures I’ve seen are a 1:1 matchup of the Xbox One version. However, during certain sequences (like the opening) or even panning the camera closer to walls/objects, there is an obvious downgrade. This might also account for the size difference (18.5 GB) on the Switch and (48.1 GB) on the Xbox One X.
Water and lighting effects are also pretty close in comparison, only losing small amounts of luster. This might be due to varying resolutions, which is something to consider when playing the Switch in docked mode on a 4K TV. Some small effects, like water splash animations, are also absent on the Nintendo console version.
It almost doesn’t hold any weight to compare the Xbox One X and Switch versions of Warframe considering its overall stellar performance. I haven’t had a moment where frames dropped, or there was even any indication that the game was about to chug along. Even multiplayer experiences with squads left me surprised no hiccups occurred.
Portability to the player
The port for Warframe is some of the best work that Panic Button has done. The team there should be commended for bringing over a game that has a presence on all other major platforms. Not only that, it performs well in both handheld and docked modes. The game is visually impressive, rivaling that of even some first-party titles on the Nintendo Switch.
If you’ve even considered picking up this action RPG, third-person combat title, it really is a no-brainer to give it a go. The online community is abundant enough to make jumping into a match a breeze. Panic Button has done it once again with bringing an admirable port to the Nintendo Switch.
Editor’s note: An edit was made to appropriately reflect the file size necessary for installment on the Nintendo Switch.
A console gamer gone rogue. Collector of retro games, pun and dad joke enthusiast. My spotify playlists are out of control. Rocket League anyone?