Digital Foundry investigates whether ‘Impossible Port’ WRC 10 stays the course on Switch

The Switch hosts a number of intriguing ports, including some deemed “impossible” that nonetheless hold up well on the system – high-quality examples include DOOM (2016) and The Witcher 3. There are some games that are tricky to pull off decide if the port is worth the sacrifices, an example might be WRC 10.

The officially licensed rally game is impressive in certain ways, such as the complexity of a rally sim that translates nicely to the Switch. In our own review, we were happy with the driving mechanics and sheer depth of content, but in terms of visuals, we said that “WRC 10 looks noticeably worse than its already ugly predecessor,” and at times had a harsher framerate than in portable mode a cheese grater made out of sandpaper”. Still, if you can live with the bugs, it’s impressive that it’s on Switch at all.

Well, Digital Foundry took a look (video at the top of this page), probably because viewers contacted them to say, “Check out this game, ouch.” It describes how low the resolution at the switch port can be.

In the base PS4 version, WRC 10 runs at 1080p and 30 fps, with TAA to eliminate any remaining rough edges. On the Switch, picture quality is downgraded to a dynamic 1600×900 for playback on a docked TV to fit within the system’s much smaller power budget. Full resolution isn’t often reached, even Auto Show mode runs natively at 720p instead, and the resolution drops to 1152×648 for some phases. And at 648p, upscaling to a Full HDTV isn’t flattering. For portable gaming, the resolution drops even further to match the drop in GPU clock speed, with a typical 480p resolution – although a native 720p resolution may also be reached. The low resolution in both modes is compounded by Switch’s lack of effective anti-aliasing to fix those jagged edges – alongside optional motion blur in the menus.

In terms of performance, the outlook is generally positive, with a solid 30fps on most tracks, with some bottlenecks where it’s lower. Ultimately, the question is whether you can live with the downgraded look of the game.

So is it as bad as people say? Visually absolutely. The WRC 10 is very rough in places. More so than many switch ports, the end result is very uneven with rough textures, noticeable pop-ins, inferior meshes, and blocky shadows. Some tracks look acceptable next to PS4, others are unrecognizable. In any case, there’s also a general disconnect between the high level of vehicle detail and the sombre fidelity of the terrain itself. Especially on a big screen, it’s hard to accept the barebones look of most tracks. Overall I have a hard time recommending playing WRC10 with Switch connected to a TV – it’s too far from the base quality on console.

However, playing in portable mode has redeeming value. The resolution is low at around 480p, the frame rate drops at times, but you still get a great rally experience on the go. With a tweak to the frankly almost unusable default controls, here’s a game worth playing. Mechanically, WRC10 on Switch is solid then, but its visuals could use a serious overhaul.

It’s interesting to see how Digital Foundry tackles what is clearly a difficult port for Switch. As always, let us know what you think in the comments. Digital Foundry investigates whether ‘Impossible Port’ WRC 10 stays the course on Switch

Fry Electronics Team

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