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Forums - Nintendo Discussion - We Need to Talk About Xenoblade DE's Resolution

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How do you feel about 378-540p resolution in a major 2020 release?

Doesn't bother me at all. 33 52.38%
It's not great, but I'm g... 5 7.94%
I'm a little disappointed. 6 9.52%
It's a big let down. Real... 6 9.52%
This isn't acceptable for... 11 17.46%
I'm putting my Switch in the microwave. 2 3.17%

So let me just preface this by saying that I am anything but obsessed with graphics. At least half of my gaming experiences even today are on machines that output anywhere between 240-480p max. I sat down and played through Super Mario Land 2 on original hardware last weekend (the GameBoy has a vertical resolution of 144). I am also a huge Xenoblade fan. I loved the original on Wii in 480p, loved Xenoblade X in 720p, and still loved Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (now in "Dynamic 720p) to the point of putting in over 100 hours, starting a New Game+, and buying the game for both of my siblings despite them having zero interest in the title.

I say all of this because XC2 had one big issue that kept it from being an absolute masterpiece for me. The dynamic resolution on that game was 504p-720p in docked mode. Often times it looked pretty okay, and at other times it has a vaseline smear similar to Witcher 3 on Switch (before all the patches). Some internet searching helped me discover the "resolution trick" that I outline in the video below, which goes a long way towards cleaning up XC2 in docked mode.

Unfortunately, that trick does nothing for portable mode - which is really where XC2 suffered. In handheld play the dynamic resolution range is 378-540p. No, not kidding. The game literally drops below the output of the Wii original at times. This was something I just dealt with on XC2 and hoped for significant patches that never came (a memory leak was fixed which helped with performance overall). Improvements were made to the DLC expansion "Torna: The Golden Country" meant that the engine looked cleaner overall, but still got muddy when the on-screen action increased. It also looked better in handheld, holding closer to 540p most of the time. 

Which brings us to Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition...

In the almost three years since XC2 came out, this enhanced remake is still running at the same dynamic resolutions of 504-720p docked, and 378-540p handheld. As a remake of a 10 year old Wii game, one would imagine that Monolithsoft could maintain a resolution higher than that of the original game at all times. I was honestly hoping for a locked 1080p30 with all of the overhead the Switch provides over the overclocked GameCube that the original title ran on. Even if the game clocked in at 540-720p portable and a solid 720p docked, I wouldn't be typing up this post right now. It really seems to me that Nintendo should have stepped in at some point and asked that the game target something like Breath of the Wild's 900p docked, 720p handheld benchmark. 

I realize that Monolithsoft did a full makeover on many of the game's assets, but the geometry and density of the world design is still far less complex than Xenoblade Chronicles 2. If they absolutely could't achieve a respectable PQ with the game as it is (which it seems hackers are already starting to do with the leaked title), I wish they would have been a touch less ambitious with their overhaul - and given us mainly quality of life improvements over the original instead of pushing the limits of their engine.

So what do you all think? Am I just being overly dramatic about the impact these lower resolutions have on the games? Is the resolution trick I cover in several of my videos sufficient to *fix* docked mode. Does the portable mode take away from the overall experience for you? I'm really curious to know how everyone feels about this. 

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Everyone thought it looked great until they were told a number.

NightlyPoe said:
One big, "Meh," from me. I'm getting rather tired of having Digital Foundry numbers as the basis for internet kerfuffles instead of the minor disappointments they are. We just went through this on Wonderful 101 for some silly reason. Games are games, not a set of benchmarks. If it does take away from the experience, by all means note it like it was in Xenoblade 2. But, no, we certainly don't "Need to talk about" Xenoblade's resolution.

It'll probably get a patch soon enough either way.

I like digital foundry but they unfortunately seem to have a very negative effect on fanboys and console wars.

The only culprit is Monolith Soft for poor game optimization

It's not a deal breaker to me. I played a fair amount of hours of Torna and Xeno 2 on portable mode and while the drop in visual quality was quite noticeable, it never affected my overall experience.

That being said, given that there are other more demanding games on the system with equal or better resolutions and that in the end this is a remaster/remake of a Wii game, it should definetely run a lot better than it does. If I could choose, I would obviously ask for a patch to improve resolution.

So... not the end of the world, but I rather have the issue fixed.

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NightlyPoe said:

It'll probably get a patch soon enough either way.

I'm definitely hoping so. We never really got one for XC2, as Monolith seems to be opposed to the idea of tweaking visuals afterward. I love playing RPGs in handheld, so it was a big sore spot in the middle of an otherwise amazing experience for me.

Funny enough, I think DF was overly kind on the docked mode. It looked fine, but the amount of blur present when they combined filtering with the low resolution meant you couldn't admire the scenery as much as in something like XCX (or even the original, if you can believe it).

The great thing about a relatively fixed resolution is that end users have lots of options for upscaling. The retro scene has exploded with solutions for getting 240-720 content looking amazing. With a Dynamic resolution that's too wide, there's nothing can be done to improve the image quality during the dips. The output is still 720 or 1080p (depending on console setting), but the actual game being rendered is potentially half of that in some cases. 

Thankfully, it does seem that they've been able to hit close to target resolution most of the time.

Retro Tech Select - My Youtube channel. Covers throwback consumer electronics with a focus on "vid'ya games."

Latest Video: Top 12: Best Games on the N64 - Special Features, Episode 7

For me, fps are way more important than resolution so anything under 30 feels jarring.

It's a 10 year old game from the least powerful system in that gen. I'm not too concerned about it plus I actually thought XB2 looked better in handheld mode.

Well if it was just a remaster, it would probably be something like this:

But they decided to remake it based on the XC2 engine, which don't perform well on the Switch. Maybe they wanted to work on the engine once more after Torna, and to keep the relasing date short, decided to go for recreating the first game with a XC2 style approach.

And overall, resolution doesn't mean anything today, Spider-man on PS4 run at 900p and is one of the most beautiful games ever made, and Jedi Fallen Order runs at 586p on the Xbox One, so below HD for a 2019 game. But still looks great.

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It bothers me a bit

I actually don't care much for frame rate because it's an RPG, it's not a action packed game like Overwatch, so 30 FPS is fine

But 540p in a 4k TV is a bit... underwhelming. Hope they fix it