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