Since the arrival of the Doom 2016 port for Switch, we’ve been continually impressed by developers’ efforts to bring games designed for far more powerful hardware over to Nintendo’s console hybrid. Even in the best cases, however, the sacrifices are usually plain to see: lower resolutions, lower frame-rates and a significant reduction in detail. Typical stuff but, with the right choices, the results can still look relatively good given the hardware – but what if I told you that Feral Interactive’s Switch port of Alien Isolation is actually better than the PS4 and Xbox One versions?
It’s a remarkable conversion of a brilliant game – one of the finest survival horror action games of this generation. Released back in 2014 on both current and last generation consoles, Alien Isolation utilises Creative Assembly’s in-house technology to great effect with high-quality physically-based rendering, great post-processing and moody lighting. All of that is retained on Switch, but the execution is on another level compared to other ports.
So let’s recap: the current generation console versions both deliver 1080p output with SMAA T2x anti-aliasing, while the PS3 and 360 versions used resolutions lower than 1280×720. Performance was unstable on last-gen consoles but relatively consistent on current generation machines – at least after patches. No matter which version you play, however, the art direction, material quality and design of the world is all top notch. For my money, no game before or since has managed to so successfully capture the look and feel of its original source material. The heavy reliance on post-process effects such as film grain and chromatic aberration works brilliantly in this case. It’s a beautiful game even today, and the Switch port really is remarkable.