By Matthew Hayes
– April 2, 2018
Outlast and Outlast 2 are both finally available on Nintendo Switch, but it’s Outlast 2 that has piqued our interest. The game is haunting and gorgeous on Xbox One, PS4, and PC, so we were wondering how good it could look running on Nintendo Switch, which is considerably less powerful. As it turns out, the game looks amazing on Switch, and other than the jump from 60 fps to 30 fps, there aren’t any significant compromises to speak of. Check out Digital Foundry’s latest analysis to see what a fantastic port this turned out to be:
I think that it’s significant to note that Outlast 2 is still running on Unreal Engine 3, which isn’t supported natively on the Nintendo Switch without some significant modification. Rocket League is the other Unreal Engine 3 showcase port on the Nintendo Switch at the moment, but we think that Red Barrels just took the cake with this astounding Outlast 2 port. Not only does it look great in handheld and TV mode, it actually does compare — closely — to the PS4 version.
That’s not to say that no compromises were made, however. There were. Red Barrels had to cut things back to achieve a consistent performance standard on the Switch, but luckily, most of those cutbacks aren’t things you’ll notice while playing the game, especially in handheld mode. Texture quality across the board has been scaled back, and the use of volumetric fog has been dialed back quite a bit compared to the higher-spec versions of the game. This isn’t a big deal, however, and something you’d never think to look for while playing.
Of course, the biggest compromise here is frame-rate. On PS4, Xbox One, and PC, Outlast 2 can run at a buttery smooth 60 fps. On Nintendo Switch, the frame rate is locked to 30 fps. No doubt, many people are going to complain about this and blow it up to be a much bigger deal than it is. Personally, I don’t think that the Outlast 2 experience is made any less intense or satisfying by playing at 30 fps. So much of the game takes place through the lens of a video camera, and for this “found footage” presentation, 30 fps more closely mimics what you would see in real life, watching a tape.
The 30 fps target is also maintained at pretty much all times, with very occasional single-frame drops or hiccups in pacing. That’s the case in handheld mode as well, which is nothing short of amazing. You guys can see the video for yourself; Outlast 2 looks incredible, and just might be the best-looking horror game on the Nintendo Switch period.