Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus released last year on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC and it received major critical acclaim boasting multiple awards from various outlets. Bethesda has been a huge proponent of bringing third-party AAA titles to Nintendo Switch. Hired by Bethesda and following the Rocket League and Doom ports for Switch, the porting geniuses at Panic Button take a swing at possibly their most ambitious port yet, and for the most part, they knocked it out of the park.
Disclaimer: A code for the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes
To get the obvious out of the way, content-wise, this is the same Wolfenstein II experience that’s been available on other platforms since late last year. The quality of the game has been no secret for quite some time. Expect the same enthralling story, memorable moments, brilliant writing, and incredible characters. Nothing is left out in the Switch package. It has been rare throughout the years that dark and brooding titles like Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus release on Nintendo platforms. So I’m glad Bethesda is bringing more mature experiences to Nintendo’s latest console. You might be curious how the game stacks up on Switch, let’s talk jump in!
As I’m sure you expected, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus for Switch doesn’t look or run as good as it does on rival platforms. It does, however, run at 30-frames-per-second and showcases some of the best (realistically-styled) graphics we have seen on Nintendo Switch thus far. Lighting effects and detailed environments had me impressed more than once. Another thing worth noting is that all the effects work, motion blur, and particle systems are all present and look pretty much on par with other versions. I will say though, some areas look better than others depending on how open the setting is. Larger areas look a bit worse than enclosed sections. It’s pretty obvious that Wolfenstein II is giving the Switch hardware a run for its money.
The Nintendo Switch version of Wolfenstein II allows you to use motion controls. I tested out gyro aiming with the Switch pro controller and found it mildly amusing for a while but couldn’t keep playing it that way for a long time without getting annoyed. During cutscenes, you have to make sure you don’t move the controller at all or else your camera will start moving everywhere when you don’t want it to. The game is just a bit too fast-paced that it’s hard to play with motion controls without things feeling disorienting. Although, I am happy they are offering this as an option for people who enjoy motion aiming.
Overall, textures and resolution take in a hit and look a bit more watered down and blurry than other versions of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. But luckily, I never ran into any jarring graphical glitches or bugs. Every so often, the framerate would start to chug but then after a couple seconds, things would start to run smoothly again. Then, sometimes enemies would fall through large debris on the ground as if it wasn’t there. However, those types of instances would also happen in the PS4 and Xbox One versions.
One thing is clear, in terms of hardware, the leap between consoles isn’t as drastic as it use to be. During the Wii/360/PS3 generation, not only would they alter Wii versions of M-rated games to include less graphic content, but they usually looked much worse in comparison to other versions. Those days are in the past, and now Nintendo’s latest hardware can play most of the games other platforms can without an unbearable graphical sacrifice — plus the censorship is also no more (hooray!).
Undocked mode (or handheld) is where things really take a hit graphically. The resolution looks far below 720p on the Switch screen. I haven’t gotten any confirmation from Bethesda or Panic Button about what the actual resolution is, but playing in handheld mode isn’t really ideal. Things look really blurry during fast-paced action and it’s hard to tell what going on. However, some areas are noticeably easier to see in than others. Also, keep in mind I was playing the game before its official release so there could possibly be a day-one patch that fixes things a bit, but presumably nothing drastic. If you watch the video review above, I highlighted some sections show off the comparison graphics of docked vs. undocked gameplay. The difference is pretty apparent.
Handheld mode aside, I’m ecstatic that more developers successfully finding ways to get AAA PS4 and Xbox One games running on Switch, I consider that quite the technical achievement. It’s incredible what these devs were able to squeeze out of the Switch to get Wolfenstein II running on it. I’m curious to see what game Panic Button will tackle next. I would love to see a version of Fallout 4 running on the Switch hardware in the near future, but I guess we will just have to wait and see!
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus for Nintendo Switch packs the same brilliant punch as it did on other platforms. Blasting your way through Nazis and experiencing a fantastic story with some of the most wonderfully-written characters is an impressive and memorable experience. While portable mode let me down, playing docked is at a standard that allows an enjoyable time.
If you’re interested in checking out Bethesda’s previous Nintendo Switch port we reviewed The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. In short, we absolutely loved it! Read the full review here. Or check out our video review below!
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