Video Gamer Play // Dark Souls on Switch is a current-gen port with last-ge...
Dark Souls on Switch is a current-gen port with last-gen visuals
This isn’t quite what we expected! Strictly speaking, Dark Souls for Switch actually has more in common with From Software’s last-gen original as opposed to the remastered versions released a few month ago. The new release misses all of the visual refinements found in the PS4, Xbox One and PC versions of the game and at its core, this is the Dark Souls you originally played back in 2011. There are key improvements though – like a smoother frame-rate and a higher rendering resolution – and there’s a bonus increase to six concurrent players online too. The Switch game still manages to impress on its own terms then and of course, it’s fully portable. This is a desirable feature that makes this version unique, and where it shines brightest.
The idea that the Switch game is based on the last-gen release was first raised as a possibility when checking out the file size of the game. Dark Souls on Nintendo’s hybrid weighs in at only 3.9GB, compared to 7.5GB when installed on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. It’s the same size as the original PS3 or Xbox 360 editions, a profile that also helps to squeeze it onto one of Nintendo’s lower capacity cartridges. Virtuos has also opted to keep the original textures, shaders and effects from the original version too, which no doubt aids in keeping the install size in the same ballpark. Side-by-side with the Xbox 360 version, it’s clear there’s very little between them in terms of the core visual feature-set. If it’s the authentic Dark Souls experience you want, as it was presented back in the day, this is the version for you.
As a modern console experience, the Switch port pushes the boat out in resolution, delivering a full-blooded 1920×1080 while docked. Unlike the Xbox 360 original – which rendered the game natively at 1024×720 – the resolution metrics make Switch more competitive with the PS4 and Xbox One’s standard 1080p. There is a catch here, however. Most of the Undead Burg section runs at this top pixel count with no issue, but for any of the later, more taxing areas, the Switch version dynamically adjusts its resolution. The lowest I’ve found is in the Darkroot Basin – a foggy woodland area that forces the game to run at a near-constant 1600×900. Put simply, there are two resolutions while docked – 900p and 1080p, with pixel counts shifting, depending on the scene. It’s unlike the PS4 or Xbox One releases in this way – and image quality does take a hit. If you look close you can faintly see the change-over.
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