In the last ten years, 4A Games has built a reputation for pushing technology to new heights, from the remarkable and original Metro 2033 to the Metro Exodus last year, an open global showcase with beautiful global lighting with ray tracing. However, the company also succeeded with its Metro Redux remasters of the current generation, and now those titles are available for Nintendo Switch. Yes, we are addressing another Switch port, but this time, the original developer has focused on bringing the games and, since it is 4A, you know something special is waiting for you.
For those who are unfamiliar, the first two Metro games are first-person shooting games located deep within the Metro system devastated by radiation beneath Moscow. With limited supplies, players make their way through the subsoil (occasionally venturing to the ruined surface) while facing a wide range of enemies. Stealth, combat and narration are part of the experience, with both games offering a unique atmosphere very different from any other in the market. It is also the first time a Metro game appears on a Nintendo platform and it is also the franchise's debut in what is essentially mobile hardware. On top of that, the port has not been delivered to a separate developer, as is usually the case: 4A rolled up and searched for this, producing a fascinating job.
To begin, we can confirm that this is the newest and most modern version of the Redux game, not a conversion of the latest generation Xbox 360 / PS3 versions, which may have been more suitable for the level of power offered by Nintendo. hybrid. Comparing Xbox 360 with Switch, the differences are marked. Redux offers improved textures and models, a new lighting and materials model and more details everywhere. Metro 2033 is a very, very different experience, while the sequel, Metro Last Light, also enjoys all the improvements made for its transition to PS4 and Xbox One.
Side by side, Switch Metro is remarkably similar to its console counterparts of the current generation, but the reality is that some compromises were needed, and this process begins with image quality. Yes, the resolution is lower, but the whole story is somewhat more complex. A lot has changed since the original release on PS4 and Xbox One. If you look back at the previous Digital Foundry content, the resolution issues used to be simple. In the case of Redux, it had a fixed pixel count of 1080p on PS4 and 912p on Xbox One. Both versions also used a post-process smoothing form. It was the same story for many games at the beginning of this generation: fixed pixel counts and basic post-process smoothing made managing relative image quality a fairly simple exercise.
However, in 2020, we are moving towards what is effectively the post-resolution era. A simple pixel count no longer tells the whole story and certainly does not encapsulate the difference in visual quality. This has been the case for many recent games in recent years, but Metro Redux offers a remarkable comparison due to its previous release on PS4 and Xbox One. The Switch lacks the strength of the hardware to advance through the same pixel count and Simply running at a lower resolution with FXAA would produce a messy and aliased image.
The solution is what 4A calls temporary super resolution, which seeks to achieve clean edges and minimize artifacts. If you count the pixels, the effective resolution seems to oscillate around 1280×720 coupled, but pixel counts are only possible in motion when TSR technology fails at specific edges. 4A itself sets the game coupled to 1080p, but independently, there are many variables that can lead to variations in image quality depending on what happens on the screen. It is very dynamic, you can expect the current frame to vary significantly in terms of pixel count and the image presented to you at any time will, of course, include many reconstructed data from previously rendered frames.
That said, the overall resolution goal is clearly lower than PS4 and Xbox One, and there are some visible artifacts that lead to the perception of breaking up in fast-moving areas. Alpha buffers also seem to deliver a resolution of a quarter resolution, so the flames seem quite thick compared to PS4. However, this type of image reconstruction is becoming increasingly common to the point that there is a very strong argument that pixel count is now becoming something academic point of interest rather than any type of real measurement. For image quality. In terms of Metro Redux on Switch, the basic reality here is that the image is generally less than sharp than PS4 or Xbox One, but the typical signs of lower resolution (border aliases and temporal brightness) are not present.
Switch's portable mode is a slightly different story. The primary pixel count seems to reach 720p, a coincidence for the screen, but due to the same reconstruction techniques, it ends up looking extremely clean and crisp on the Switch's internal LCD screen. The image quality is simply excellent and much cleaner than other comparable ports such as Wolfenstein 2. It is really one of the best Switch games in portable mode. The video on this page tells the whole story, and it is fascinating. Again, it is possible to detect edges of countable pixels when the reconstruction technique fails, and that is where we can see what 480p looks like at the lowest count. However, these moments are rare and do not adequately represent the real game. Hopefully, video and screenshots show that image quality stays remarkably well.
As for the docked and portable presentations, I feel that the portable mode looks better overall, but has its own drawbacks. Metro is a very dark game that relies on many deep shadows and empty spaces to increase the atmosphere. It looks good on a CRT or OLED monitor, of course, but the Switch uses a mediocre LCD panel and the brightness of the backlight is painfully obvious, which makes it seem less impressive and harder to see. So, that's something to consider: this is not the type of game you want to play in a well-lit room, but it's hard to imagine how 4A could adapt to this without substantially renewing the areas of the game.
In other places, the port continues to impress. In terms of visual details, the Switch version compares very favorably with PS4, since virtually everything it carries on the intact bar, some of the highest quality textures. Here there are defined shadows of Alien Isolation in the sense that almost all the key elements pass from PlayStation 4 almost perfectly. In fact, Redux goes further in some aspects. Alien Isolation received some criticism for additional input latency, but 4A's efforts here are clear and highly receptive. Although the performance is limited to 30 frames per second, the equipment has perfectly adjusted the dead zone of the analog stick and the sensitivity while ensuring a fast input response. It is fantastic to control it with the Pro controller and it is still excellent in the Joy-Cons.
Metro also supports full 5.1 surround sound, a feature that is often missing in Switch games, I have found. Here, the game makes active use of all surround channels just like the other versions of the game. Audio quality is also top notch without any significant compression. The final area of change in Metro Redux is inevitable: frame rate. On PS4 and Xbox One, Metro Redux works at 60 frames per second and both consoles maintain that performance very well. It is an extremely smooth and stable game. Meanwhile, in Switch, 4A opts for 30 frames per second with an adequate, almost locked rhythm. It's a compromise we've seen on many challenging Switch ports, especially the conversions id Tech 6 of Panic Button.
However, there is a big difference with this: the performance is extremely solid. Starting with Metro 2033, I ran a full hour of play through our tools and determined that the frame rate was locked at 30 fps at all times with only one or two frames or strange peaks. It is remarkably solid. It's the same with Metro Last Light as well: a forensic analysis of performance over hours of content was required to find any kind of performance inconvenience and even then, the effect is so fleeting that it's not a problem. It is this aspect that makes Metro Redux stand out from the other highly challenging Switch ports we have seen. Commitments below 30 fps are common elsewhere, but with Redux, it is essentially blocked.
The same is true in portable mode, by the way, which also becomes a very stable frame rate, most of the time. During the introduction to Metro 2033, I noticed a moment when the game got hooked, which resulted in a visible jump, but quickly cleared up. From there, everything goes on as usual. Compared to the other FPS conversions, Metro Redux is perhaps the best so far. The consistency and quick entry response make the experience very pleasant overall.
Up to this point, you may be forgiven for thinking that this port is almost perfect, but there are a couple of areas where I hope to see some improvements. First, the thunderous support is not exactly nuanced and, as it stands, detracts from the atmosphere generated by the game: I turned it off. Second, charging times may be prolonged in certain stages. In some cases, the load is slower than the PS4 but it is still very reasonable and not a big problem, but in other places, it can take much longer to load a stage than any other version of the game. In this case, I installed the game on an SD card that is slightly slower than any other method, so you can see subtle improvements when using the internal memory or the game cart. The positive side here is that charging over death is very fast, which at least eliminates more frustration once you've played again.
Overall, looking at the package as a whole, this is an impressive version. The visual quality is comparable to previous versions of Redux and the average pixel count is higher than many other comparable conversions such as Wolfenstein 2 or Doom 2016. Meanwhile, watching this game so well in portable mode is really a pleasure. Like other Switch FPS ports, the frame rate is reduced by half, but it is very consistent and the input latency is very low, so it still feels great to play. The sometimes extended load times really are the only major problem I encountered during the tests and even that is variable depending on the stage.
As for the games themselves, well, it's interesting to visit them again after spending time with Metro Exodus. Stealthy gameplay remains strong: cleaning enemy rooms and moving quietly is as satisfying as ever, but there is also a lot of downtime. These games were released during the height of the shooter's madness & # 39; cinematic script & # 39; and you spend a lot of time following the NPCs while performing actions or chatting. Metro Exodus also has its fair share of this, but allows players to run out of leash more frequently. That is the only thing I would really like to see improve in whatever 4A does next: a game that relies on the atmospheric potential of this world while leaving the characters out of the way. Still, the games are still interesting and interesting to play today. Once you go through the long introduction sequences, the gameplay also opens very well and there are some absolutely fantastic moments to enjoy.
Metro Redux is a unique experience that has somehow managed to translate beautifully to Nintendo Switch, and the reputation of 4A Games for its technical excellence is demonstrated once again. We will soon talk to the developer about the process of bringing these titles to Nintendo hardware, how the team uses the NVIDIA NVN low-level graphics API and how the team is preparing for the transition to the next generation of equipment. Sony and Microsoft consoles. Watch out for that, it should be very interesting!