Dragon Quest 11 on Switch: a beautifully executed, smart conversion

October 24, 2019
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It’s been an absolute joy to check out Square-Enix’s Switch port of Dragon Quest 11, a game highlighted by our audience as a title we really needed to take a look at in the wake of its September release. It’s a highly successful conversion of Unreal Engine 4-powered game that even challenged the GPU power of the PlayStation 4, and yet somehow, the Switch conversion is very, very similar – and in some ways, actually better.

This is as a result of content changes, updates and improvements along with a very smart approach to paring back the visual feature set in order to sit more comfortably on Nintendo’s console hybrid. And it’s the care and attention to the conversion process that the developer deserves kudos for. Yes, side-by-side, there are clear graphics compromises between Switch and PS4, but the way that Square-Enix has gone about packing this huge, sprawling game into a handheld is absolutely fascinating.

When DQ11 first launched on PS4, I was impressed, but also noted that achieving its vision required a lot of horsepower. This resulted in a 900p game on the base PS4 system, rising to 3072×1728 on PS4 Pro using checkerboard rendering. On Switch, however, the team has opted for dynamic resolution scaling, resulting in variable pixel counts. Docked I’ve seen 720p and 792p up to 810p, but it could go higher or lower in more extreme cases, but these values are common. In handheld mode, the average resolution is 20 to 25 per cent lower on average with results around 540p – sometimes a tad lower, sometimes higher.

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