The Switch is home to a number of fascinating ports, including some considered ‘impossible’ that nevertheless hold up well on the system – high quality examples include DOOM (2016) and The Witcher 3. There are some games where it’s tough to decide whether the port is worth the sacrifices, with one example perhaps being WRC 10.
The officially licensed rallying game is impressive in some ways, such as the complexities of a rally-sim converting well onto the Switch. In our own review we were pleased with the driving mechanics and the sheer depth of content, but in terms of visuals we said that “WRC 10 looks noticeably worse than its already ugly predecessor”, and in portable mode at times it had a framerate “rougher than a cheese grater made of sandpaper”. Yet, despite that, if you can live with the flaws it’s impressive it’s on Switch at all.
Well, Digital Foundry has taken a look (video at the top of this page), probably due to viewers contacting them to say “looks at this game, ouch”. It outlines how low the resolution can go on the Switch port.
In the base PS4 release, WRC 10 runs at 1080p and 30fps, with TAA to clear up any lingering rough edges. On Switch, in order to fit into the system’s much smaller power budget, image quality is reduced to a dynamic 1600×900 for docked TV play. The full resolution isn’t often reached, with even the car exhibition mode running natively at 720p instead, and resolution drops to 1152×648 for some stages. And at 648p, the upscale to a full HDTV isn’t flattering. For portable play, resolution goes lower still to match the drop in GPU clocks, with 480p resolution typical – although a native 720p resolution is possibly achieved too. The low resolution in either mode is compounded by Switch’s lack of effective anti-aliasing to address those jagged edges – besides optional motion blur in the menus.
In terms of performance the outlook is generally positive, with a solid-ish 30fps across most tracks, with a few chokepoints where it falls lower. The question, ultimately, is if you can live with the downgraded look of the game.
So is it as bad as people say? Visually speaking, absolutely. WRC 10 is very rough in places. More so than many ports to Switch, the end result is wildly uneven with rough textures, noticeable pop-in, low-grade meshes and blocky shadows. Some tracks look acceptable next to PS4, but others are unrecognisable. In every case, there’s also a general disconnect between the high car detail and the murky fidelity of the terrain itself. Especially on a big screen it’s hard to accept the barebones look of most tracks. Overall, I’d be hard pressed to recommend playing WRC10 with Switch connected to a TV – it’s too far removed from the baseline quality on console.
There is, though, redeeming value in playing in portable mode. The resolution is low at around 480p, the frame-rate drops at times, but you’re still getting a fine rally experience on the go. With a tweak to the frankly nearly unusable default controls, there is a game worth playing here. Mechanically, WRC10 is sound on Switch then, but its visuals could use a serious tune-up.
Interesting to see Digital Foundry’s take on what was clearly a difficult port for Switch. Let us know what you think, as always, in the comments.