Skyrim: Special Edition launched on Nintendo Switch today, and the game looks amazing on the portable console. But according to Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry, the Nintendo Switch uses resolution scaling to bump the game down below to 720p in handheld mode when the Switch’s GPU is taxed.
After spending some hands-on time with Skyrim’s Nintendo Switch release, Digital Foundry found that Skyrim runs at 1600×900 in docked mode along with a native 720p in handheld. There’s no resolution scaling when players are enjoying Skyrim on their HD TVs, either, so the game stays at 900p at all times. That’s pretty impressive.
Digital Foundary found foliage-intensive areas and highly populated scenes shrank the undocked 720p resolution down to 896×720, however. That means from time to time the game’s resolution is no longer HD during portable play. And while the transition is usually seamless, it can occasionally break immersion.
“Skyrim swaps instantly between native and the dropped back res, which can cause an odd flickering effect when the scaler can’t quite figure out which pixel count to use,” Digital Foundry’s Thomas Morgan wrote for Eurogamer. “In a foliage heavy scene, looking to the sky then panning down slowly shows the flickering in effect.”
That said, Skyrim still looks impressive on the Nintendo Switch in both docked and handheld modes. Foliage takes the biggest hit, along with occasional lower resolution textures, removed volumetrics, and tweaks to ambient occlusion. But while certain settings have been tweaked to make the game run efficiently on Switch, most of these changes are minimal at best. Overall, Skyrim’s Switch version looks incredible.
Not to mention, Skyrim runs at a consistent 30fps in both docked and handheld mode. So while the game might not look as beautiful as its PlayStation 4 or Xbox One counterparts, it still runs, plays, and looks amazing for a portable Skyrim release.
“In short, the changes made to the Skyrim experience ensure a comfortable fit for the Switch hardware,” Digital Foundry notes. “Whether you’ve played Skyrim or not in the past, the ability to play on the go really is the game-changer here. We had a lot of fun with this one, and can highly recommend it.”
The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim is available now for Nintendo Switch. The game received significant hype when it was first revealed for the Switch during Nintendo’s 2016 announcement trailer, and the game remains one of several popular Bethesda titles with ports for Nintendo Switch.