Fire Emblem Engage makes the most out of the Switch’s hardware | Digital Trends

    If you had requested me whether or not or not I used to be prepared for an upgraded Nintendo Switch two months in the past, my reply would have been an emphatic sure. I had simply performed Pokémon Scarlet and, like many individuals, was baffled by its poor technical efficiency. I started to marvel if Nintendo’s ageing {hardware} had lastly hit its limits, unable to satisfy builders’ rising ambitions. Perhaps it wasn’t simply time for a Switch Pro, however a brand new console altogether.
    That need was a reactionary one. Two months after that Pokémon sport’s ugly launch, I discover myself shocked by the Switch’s newest unique, Fire Emblem Engage. The tactical RPG is likely one of the console’s best-looking video games to this point. It’s a serious step up from 2018’s Fire Emblem: Three Houses, with brighter colours that pop on my Switch OLED display and silky clean efficiency that makes it really feel like a playable anime.
    Fire Emblem Engage is the most recent in a constant line of mythbusters concerning the Switch’s “outdated” {hardware}. It’s one other unique that proves Nintendo’s console continues to be a superbly succesful gaming gadget as long as builders design round its limitations and optimize for it accordingly. If extra studios take these cues, the look forward to an inevitable Switch 2 may change into far more bearable.
    Doing it proper
    If you have a look at Fire Emblem Engage and Three Houses facet by facet, the soar in high quality is instantly obvious. The former has a lot cleaner visuals total, as photographs have smoother edges. Load instances are faster, its body price is extra constant, and animated cutscenes look spectacular. There’s a way that developer Intelligent Systems recognized all the technical shortcomings in Three Houses and, for probably the most half, resolved them sufficiently. That was finished on the identical Switch {hardware} it utilized in 2018, making it clear that builders can nonetheless get extra mileage out of the present platform.

    Engage’s upgrades aren’t simply technical, although. Much of its enchantment might be attributed to sturdy artwork course. Its vibrant colours are far more aesthetically pleasing than the flat browns that made up Three Houses’ world. Battlefields are awash in cool blues and greens, whereas characters have extra elaborate outfits full with flashier coloration accents. The world feels extra energetic consequently, giving it a completely distinct tone and really feel. I can’t think about what extra console energy may do to meaningfully enhance it, save for decreasing some visible noise throughout animated cutscenes.
    The Switch’s greatest video games perceive that nice artwork course can go a good distance. Last yr’s Kirby and the Forgotten Land is one in every of my favourite Switch video games from a visible standpoint, and it definitely doesn’t demand PS5 ranges of energy. It features in the identical means Fire Emblem Engage does, using a powerful coloration palette and inventive visible design to create its distinct look. Similarly, Mario Strikers: Battle League seems precisely nearly as good as a Mario sports activities sport actually requires, even going above and past with its fashionable Hyper Strike animations.

    Recent Pokémon video games are one thing of an outlier amongst Switch’s first-party exclusives, which frequently excel given the {hardware}’s ageing tech. Xenoblade Chronicles 3, as an illustration, has an excellent bigger open-world scope than Pokémon Scarlet, and it’s in a position to ship on these ambitions with little in the best way of points. Some of its textures could look muddy close-up, however they don’t take away from its awe-inspiring landscapes. In the fingers of the suitable developer, the Switch continues to be a greater than succesful console — as long as it’s not striving for realism.
    That final half creates a good sticking level for these begging for a brand new console. While some builders haven’t any downside working across the present Switch, there’s little question that it’s a restrictive platform in comparison with its present friends. A Kirby sport won’t look a lot completely different on Switch 2, however a third-party studio trying to make one thing extra tech-intensive may use the additional flexibility that comes with extra up-to-date tech. Even Nintendo’s best-looking video games would profit from quicker body charges, higher load instances, and 4K visuals.
    All of that makes the fervor for a brand new Nintendo console fully comprehensible, however a brand new console launch isn’t a flippant choice. It asks gamers to put aside just a few hundred {dollars} to improve, lest they get left behind in a generational soar (Nintendo doesn’t have an amazing historical past of cross-gen help, in spite of everything). Nintendo would wish to offer gamers cause to improve when that inevitable time comes reasonably than merely transferring them to a system that’s solely barely extra succesful. Otherwise, it might merely be a stopgap resolution that may inevitably have followers clamoring for one more improve just a few years later.

    When I play Fire Emblem Engage, I finally discover myself at peace with the place the Switch is at contemplating its age. It’s a beautiful RPG that appears positively radiant on my OLED display due to sturdy artwork course and optimization. I’d like to see it working at a clean 60 frames per second, however not a lot that I’m itching to shell out as much as $400 for that luxurious. I can dwell with that form of concession for one more two years if it means we would see a Switch successor that feels much less outdated on day one.
    And hey: If you aren’t prepared to attend that lengthy, there’s a sure transportable gadget out now which may remedy your impatience.
    Fire Emblem Engage is out now on Nintendo Switch.

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