The Nintendo Switch isn’t the easiest console to work with. Packing a low-power mobile processor with technology dating back to 2015, it lacks the technological grunt to keep pace with last-gen console systems – and this can result in some lacklustre third-party ports. In putting together this piece, we decided to circle back and examine some of the most disappointing Switch conversions – and we were happy to discover a range of improvements. In the case of Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky, we even see the developer deploy the first example we’ve seen of FSR 2 upscaling on the Nintendo hybrid – and the results are excellent.
NMS was always going to be a tough Switch port. The open-universe game is understandably taxing on Switch hardware, resulting in poor frame-rates, plenty of pop-in and somewhat dire image quality when it launched last year. The constant flicker and muddy image was probably the worst of the game’s issues – I described it as being “one of the worst offenders on Switch” – with a 648p and 504p resolution split in docked and portable play respectively, slathered in ineffective TAA. However, the introduction of dynamic resolution scaling working in concert with a customised version of FSR 2 optimised for Switch is transformative.
With the recent patches, No Man’s Sky is now one of the cleanest, most visually stable games on Nintendo’s hardware. All the jagged, unstable lines that used to constantly flicker and create artifacting, even in stills, have been calmed. Texture detail is still a bit on the blurry side at times, but appears quite clean. If you zoom in closely, the actual sharpness of the image is about the same as before, but fine details are much more legible, even at far distances. In docked mode, we’re looking at a resolution range of roughly 468p to 648p or so, with an FSR 2 output resolution of something around 648p, judging from the final image, while portable mode seems to be rendering at roughly a dynamic 504p with an output around the same resolution. Developer Hello Games isn’t aiming for a super high output here, which is perhaps a consequence of the frame-time costs that FSR 2 imposes, but the studio achieves a very clean, albeit soft, final resolve.