Nier: Automata for Switch demonstrates how a port should be done on the Nintendo machine


I adore Nier: Automata. It seems to me one of the most courageous and groundbreaking works of the past generation, a perfect example of how to take advantage of the peculiarities of the video game to enrich a narrative without neglecting the playable part. One of those few cases in which mechanics, text and visual identity go hand in hand to form a cohesive whole. It is not a perfect game, but it is so peculiar that the few problems it presents are nothing more than anecdotal. Nevertheless, the announcement of a new version for Nintendo Switch aroused the most absolute laziness In Myself.

Among the buts that can be put to the title, is the irregularity of its performance on last generation base machines. 60 FPS was never a stable mark, so performance fluctuations could be annoying. That, added to the reluctance that accompanies the vast majority of ports made by third parties for the Nintendo hybrid, did not bode well. Well, don’t make the same mistake as a server, and stay away from prejudice, because this port has become, in its own right, one of the best conversions ever made for Nintendo Switch.

The catalog of conversions, ports and remasters of Nintendo Switch is something like a raffle: you never know what is going to touch you. Going into titles that technically should not be a problem is usually not a guarantee of anything. There are, for example, the conversions of Resident Evil Remake or Resident Evil Zero, with their unjustified load times; the massive number of bugs that accompanied the release of Pillars of Eternity; the total nonsense that ARK Survival Evolved supposes; the performance drops of GTA The Trilogy or the dubious conversion of The Outer Worlds. Receiving the announcement of a port for the hybrid with joy is an act of unbridled optimism. And if the game, already in origin, was not an example in terms of performance, we started talking about a matter of faith.

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Despite the changes made to the lighting, the title still has that particular visual atmosphere.

Interestingly, the developer in charge of carrying out such a feat has been virtuoso, who was also in charge of the conversion of The Outer Worlds, as well as the ports of Bioshock: The Collection, Dark Souls: Remastered or LA Noire. It is a company made up of various teams, which has more than 3,000 employees and has offered its services to most of the large producers in the industry. Experience was not lacking, and this time it has been noticed.

We are talking about a version that moves in resolutions of 720p on a laptop and 1080p on a desktop, which has not been accompanied by the classic audio compression that some video games suffer due to the space limitations of the cartridges, and in which the visual cuts to carry out have been chosen with tremendous success. The graphic load, as expected, has decreased. The popping is higher and the lighting has been one of the aspects most affected by the downgrade. But overall the game still retains the visual essence of the original. The tweaks are so subtle and successful that after a few minutes I felt at home, even more so if we talk about playing it on a laptop. As expected, the frame rate ceiling has dropped from 60 to 30. However, we are talking about 30 FPS stable as a rock, achieving an enviable solidity which is appreciated, above all, in combat.

The game behaves solidly even in moments of great graphic load, and all this without resorting to the drastic drops in resolution of other titles such as Xenoblade 2 or Dragon Quest XI.

Of course, do not expect great news, this is a port, so we are facing an almost direct conversion of NieR: Automata The End of YoRHa Edition. It has the DLC of the coliseums and downloadable content, created specifically for the occasion, which is limited to adding new suits. The other novelty is related to a motion control which can make the title more accessible, but it doesn’t work very well.

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Ignoring the topic of novelties, which are neither here nor expected, you are appreciating me the perfect example of what should be the norm in ports to Nintendo Switch. Playing it on a laptop is a joy; the result of meticulous work in which the original material has been intelligently retouched. It is so far from any of the examples mentioned that it leaves most of them in evidence. In this sense, it is not about asking for pears from the elm tree, it is clear that the hardware of the machine is what it is. But there are many studios that have hidden behind that excuse, delivering lazy jobs that have ultimately made many gamers (like me) we have lost confidence in this type of offer. The panorama is such that if Nintendo’s seal of quality raised its head and took a look at the eShop, it would hide it again.

Nier: Automata continues to be a groundbreaking game to this day, a totally current experience and recommended for anyone who has not had the opportunity to play it.

Nier: Automata it is one of the few exceptions that prove the rule. A port worked and made with love in which the effort behind its staging is appreciated. Yes, it is true that it is late, that it is a game that has already passed through the PlayStation, Xbox and PC ecosystems. But the Switch market is already over 100 million, and the more people who can access titles like this, the better. Also, you know what they say: it’s never too late if happiness is good.