Also available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows
Review written by Stephen Deck; originally published 12/20/2018 on Teacher by Day, Gamer by Night
Question – what’s better than brutally slaughtering Nazis and white robed Klansmen?
Answer – brutally slaughtering Nazis and white robed Klansmen on the go.
This is the beautiful world we entered when Bethesda had the brilliant minds at Panic Button port their Nazi-killing masterpiece Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus to Nintendo Switch. Crafted with the same brilliance and attention to detail as Panic Button’s previous but no less impressive Doom port, shows once again that when in the hands of talented developers, the Switch is not only the little system that could but the little system that does more than it has any business being capable of doing.
Since I already reviewed this game on Xbox One when it first came out, this is going to be a shorter review as I’m primarily going to focus on some comparisons between my experience with the game on the two different platforms as well as how it generally looks, sounds, and plays on Switch. As one would naturally expect when going from a 4K-capable console to a handheld, the visuals took a big hit on Switch, but as was the case with Doom, it’s not as bad as one might reasonably assume. The resolution took a BIG hit – it drops down to the sub-SD resolution of 360p – but the tradeoff is that most of the lighting effects are kept intact (albeit blurry) and the frame rate is shockingly stable. That was one of my few issues with Panic Button’s Switch port of Doom – the frame rate was fairly unstable depending on how many enemies were on screen. I didn’t notice any of those issues in Wolfenstein II. It seems that the variable resolution system was much improved for this port, and it really shows where performance is concerned.
Stemming from the necessary visual downgrades comes a similar situation to the Doom port. As was the case with Doom, the game looks pretty terrible when playing docked, but it looks totally fine when playing handheld. Its visual downgrades are still apparent, mind you. The small screen hides a lot of the game’s visual flaws and blemishes, and the end result is that while it may look pretty disappointing on a 65″ TV screen, it looks totally fine on a screen 90% smaller. The cutscenes, it’s worth noting, look much nicer than the actual gameplay. That’s to be expected, naturally, but the difference, in this case, is pretty major. Fortunately given the top-notch voice acting and soundtrack, the audio carries over pretty perfectly to the Switch. The rockin’ soundtrack still hits just as hard, and the voice acting is still just as brilliantly performed.
Given the system specs on the Switch, it’s really amazing that Panic Button managed to fit the whole game onto the system without cutting any content. The physical release does require a download as not all of it was fit onto the cartridge, but still, the fact of the matter is that NOTHING was stripped out. This is a fully intact port. It’s just a bit blurry, but again, that’s really only going to be a major thing if you’re playing it docked. If you want to play on your sofa with the TV, then yeah, go PS4 or Xbox One. If you want to be able to play on the go, at work, on the toilet, so on and so forth, then the Switch is a PERFECTLY viable option. It’s really quite amazing that it runs so smoothly and doesn’t look worse than it does given the system that it’s on, and speaking as one who’s played the game on the strongest system and the weakest system currently on the market – the Xbox One X and Nintendo Switch, respectively – this is a perfectly playable version and a downright remarkable handheld version.