One of the big releases for the Nintendo Switch this week is Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time.
Although we’ve already got a good idea of how it runs on the hybrid device, John Linneman of Digital Foundry has now shared his own technical analysis of the game alongside the new PlayStation 5 version. Both are running on Unreal Engine 4.
In terms of resolution, in docked – the average for Switch is between 720p and 792p, while the portable mode is around 540p with dips below this – particularly during “more demanding” cutscenes.
“the primary difference between docked and portable mode comes down to image quality. The temporal pass present in docked seems to be absent so it looks sharper on the portable screen but with more shimmering.”
As for framerate, the Nintendo version is cut in half – with a 30fps cap in place. Though, there are some spikes:
“When performance irregularities emerge, it’s typically in the form of a few dropped frames and some 16ms spikes – incorrect frame pacing. Fortunately, this isn’t a regular occurrence during normal play.”
There are also a number of cuts:
“the cuts are many: first and foremost, dynamic lights are aggressively culled on Switch. As a deferred renderer, usually this doesn’t buy back a lot of performance but the Switch is extremely bandwidth-limited which makes this more challenging. This applies to everything from additional scenery lights to large scale flashes during stormy effects. Basically, in most cases, lights are drawn in close proximity to the camera but in certain other sequences, they are completely absent – especially during cutscenes.”
“Secondly, mesh detail is reduced across the board. The changes are smartly made, however, and not something you’d necessarily pickup on outside of direct comparisons. It’s a smart optimisation to reduce the geometry throughput. Shadow resolution is also pared back significantly with shadow maps now lacking fine detail. This is another smart choice and is typically one of the first visual features you’d scale back on less powerful hardware. Beyond this, water rendering is reduced in quality with the surface no longer distorting objects beneath. Texture detail is also pared back which, again, is expected bearing in mind the vast system memory differential.”
What’s not quite as expected and even described as “disappointing” is the elimination of post-processing effects such as motion blur and depth of field.
“motion blur gets a bad rap but it was a perfect fit for this game with its per-object implementation and it’s sorely missed at the lower frame-rate.”
Despite all of this, Digital Foundry still thinks the developer has done a “great job overall” – retaining the game’s visual signature. Even the loading is decent. All up, the Switch version is “as good” as the other versions, “looks the part and runs consistently”.
Will you be checking out Crash Bandicoot’s latest adventure on the Nintendo Switch? Tell us down below.