Preview NieR Automata on Switch, the best port on the Nintendo console? – TGS 2022
In this month of October, the Switch will welcome two huge masterpieces of modern J-RPG, both dated from 2017 already: Persona 5 and especially NieR: Automata. The latter will appear on October 6 on the hybrid console and has been approached recently. So, new “miracle” port or a title too greedy for the Nintendo machine?
A little over five years after its release, do we still have to present NieR:Automata? Initially released on PC and PlayStation 4, this exceptional action-RPG / beat’em all / shoot’em up (cross out as appropriate) signed PlatinumGames had received a terrifically complimentary 19/20 on JV when it was released. Then arriving on Xbox One with the subtitle “Become as Gods”, Yoko Tarō’s last game as director was acclaimed on many points, in particular its captivating story, its extraordinary soundtrack and its ability to constantly renew itself, alternating many genres while maintaining an astonishing overall balance. Only its technical weakness (60fps apart) had been regularly pointed out, which made it a hit an ideal client for the Nintendo Switch port, console preferring titles that are not too greedy…
- A portage project that is both ambitious and obvious
- Performance and (especially) fluidity at the rendezvous
- One of the best Switch ports, down to its gameplay
A portage project that is both ambitious and obvious
Last June, during a high-flying Nintendo Direct “Partners Showcase”, the formalization of a Switch port of NieR: Automata was one of the best announcements of the event. I have to say that this edition was expected by a lot of players being aware that the hybrid machine of nintendo was clearly capable of running this title with ultimately limited technical claims. If this new edition turns out to be able to offer an HD resolution that is not too restrained, and at least a perfectly constant framerate of 30fps Astral Chain way (the studio’s only game already developed exclusively for the Switch so far), so we’d be fine with that already, after all! It should also be noted that during a conference at the last Tokyo Game Show, the PlatinumGames teams had hinted that this production had impressed Square Enix and that the idea of a port of NieR:Automata would have come from there:
Seems like SE was impressed by Astral chain and that’s what convinced them to port Nier automata to switch
Nintendo should port some GameCube games to convince them to port the KH collection, haha pic.twitter.com/jIBxQOzGzk
—CartridgeGames (@CartridgeGames) September 19, 2022
Performance and (especially) fluidity at the rendezvous
But what about once in the field? Well, it’s simple, we won’t cut corners: NieR:Automata is surprisingly solid on Switch, and even impressive in portable mode, especially on an OLED version which takes advantage of its display of blacks and whites to sublimate these hues very present in the artistic direction of such a singular work. If the docked version left us a little perplexed, largely because of the inappropriate dimensions of the screen used which made the whole thing a bit coarse, this “The End of YoRHa Edition” nevertheless commits to a resolution of 1080p under these conditions (better than the 900p of the “fat” PS4 version!), and 720p on handheld, all at 30 extremely stable frames per second! Framerate drops have indeed turned out to be very, very rare, to our delight, especially since NieR:Automata loves sequences with a lot of moving elements on the screen in its combat phases. Note that the game’s menus, so brilliant and full of inventiveness, even seem to run at 60fps.
This is where our main surprise was: such a nervous game had to be perfectly fluid, and the astonishing overall stability gives it sensations, pad in hand, similar to those of Astral Chain in its time. Technically, it’s very simple: the Switch never puts NieR:Automata to shame, except in areas with a large view distance where clipping can hurt. An obvious sacrifice (in a game that is already not lacking in the scenario) to ensure a pleasant experience to play, and which will nevertheless convince players discovering the masterpiece of Yoko Tarō and PlatinumGames… as well as those who already know the game. To speak more to the latter with a concrete example of a technical concession, the rocks of the ravine separating the City in Ruins from the shopping center leading to the forest are displayed from a distance in low definition, before one approaches them and discovers their true rendering. In our experience, this was about the only price to pay to ensure a truly clean rendering, but the title remains frankly pretty, and above all, not much naughtier than in 2017 on the first model of PS4.
One of the best Switch ports, down to its gameplay
Finally, to top it off, and to our great astonishment (once again!), this Switch version uses the joy-con during confrontation sequences, in order to perform melee attacks or dodges. If it is still as much a gadget, we will appreciate to see that the care given to this porting extends into the controls which could have been stupidly modeled on the so-called “superior” versions; But no, the “The End of YoRHa” edition definitely wants to stand out and frankly does it well. If we had been able to praise in the past the almost miraculous qualities of adaptation of titles like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt or DOOM Eternal on Nintendo’s hybrid console, it is clear that Nier:Automata – The End of YoRHa Edition is still a cut above in terms of surprising portability. Certainly, the original version was less impressive technically, but the challenge was no less delicate.
Nier:Automata – The End of YoRHa Edition will be released for Nintendo Switch on October 6th.
If one obviously does not face the best edition possible to play such a gem (because, yes, it is), what will probably be the ultimate version of NieR:Automata is more than honest in these conditions, whether to discover it or relive it once again, as it deserves it. In a pinch, we may recommend that you favor the portable version if you have an OLED version of the console, but with just over two weeks of its release, we can’t wait to confirm these beautiful promises: it seems indeed it is unlikely that only the beginning of the game will hold up technically and that everything will collapse afterwards! With Nier: Automata – The End of YoRHa Edition, the Switch should have one more essential, and still an excellent RPG, in case it has not already accommodated enough. Glory to humanity, and above all, to the teams behind what will perhaps be the most successful Switch port of an entire generation!