No Man’s Sky is coming to Nintendo Switch. It’s great news, with Hello Games’ procedurally generated space exploration simulation feel, designed for a portable machine that encourages small gaming sessions at home or on the go.
However, my positive feelings towards this announcement are coupled with an aura of skepticism. No Man’s Sky doesn’t run particularly well on PS4, and hasn’t since its original launch in 2016. Xbox One is also compromised as it drops frames and adjusts its resolution to meet the unpredictability of each new planet. .
It wasn’t until the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S arrived that the game ran smoothly on consoles, giving us a number of graphics options to choose from that focused on the visuals or the performances. We could choose what we wanted, and so many games offered similar options that take advantage of the power that, for games like this, is often overkill. Yet the opposite can be said for Nintendo Switch ports, with The Witcher 3, The Outer Worlds, Doom, Skyrim and so many more coming to the hybrid console with obvious shortcomings and an increased price tag we’ve come to accept. like the dreaded ‘Change tax.’
Many of these ports have received a lot of praise, but that’s often in the context of the platform being able to run said games, not that it does a good job. If you only have a Nintendo Switch and have no other way to play it, buying these ports is a perfectly fine decision, but I would have a hard time recommending them otherwise. The Witcher 3 has clear performance issues, The Outer World’s open world is made even harder to parse thanks to aggressive chromatic aberration and low draw distances. Skyrim is the best example of a more ambitious port to the platform, but even that lags other current versions of the game with occasional framerate drops and visual glitches.
It’s always a trade-off when it comes to bigger triple-A games coming to Nintendo’s console, and that’s why No Man’s Sky worries me. It’s an ambitious title by nature, using procedural generation to piece together an endless galaxy filled with planets that only a few players will discover. Prior to release, we were promised one of the most engrossing experiences the medium had ever seen, and the end result was a hugely disappointing survival game that quickly started repeating itself.
Hello Games will be spending the next few years on free updates that will completely transform the game. These have seen the introduction of vehicles, base building, mounts, multiplayer, and more diversity in just about everything. It’s the game we get on Nintendo Switch, but without the multiplayer, and if it works like total garbage, I absolutely don’t want to participate. It’s the procedural aspect of the game that scares me, and how the unpredictable nature of each new planet will lead to performance that fluctuates wildly and is just not comfortable to play. It was a problem on the PS4 at the time, and we’ll likely experience the same issues on the Switch. Again, it’s a port defined by its own inevitable flaws.
I hang out on the Nintendo Switch, and we should be thankful that ports like this are being worked on in the first place and end up being playable at all. But it’s been over five years and developers are still clogging games onto the hardware that will only lag behind and not keep up with the competition. When it comes to ports, that means things are going to get worse as we move forward. It’s cool that No Man’s Sky is coming to Switch, but if playing it ends up giving me a headache, I don’t even know if it’s worth it.
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