NieR Automata: The End of YoRHa Edition is one of the most impressive Nintendo Switch ports I've played

If there’s one thing I remember about when I first played NieR: Automata, it’s how I was in a sort of a rush to beat it before my Nintendo Switch arrived. 2017 is a deceptively long time ago, as far as games are concerned; I don’t think back then I ever expected NieR Automata to become enough of a success to justify a Switch port over 5 years later, much less in a state nearly as good as what I’ve just played.

During a Los Angeles preview event Square Enix held to showcase its Tokyo Games Show lineup, I had the chance to sit down with a number of titles; not least of which being NieR: Automata The End of YorHa Edition, for Nintendo Switch. I had the chance to run through the opening hour of the game; a slice of the game that matches up with the original demo that was playable way back when on PlayStation 4. 

To get it out of the way - while there have certainly been some compromises made from the original release in order to retrofit the game on Nintendo Switch, you’d be hard-pressed to notice unless you went out of your way to seek them out. Docked resolution isn’t noticeably lower compared to a base PlayStation 4, and while the framerate sees dips here and there - by and large the game maintains a steady performance profile. Textures, character models and lighting/shadows all hold up remarkably well, to the point where it really can’t be said that anyone that would have their first experience with the game on Switch would be missing out on much compared to one of its releases on more powerful platforms.

This release comes with a number of Switch-only features, too. Players have the option of using motion gestures - such as shaking to execute melee attacks during the game's bullet hell segments, or to dodge. Non-essential options, to be sure, but still neat in their own right.

It’s of course still warranted to wonder about the state of the rest of the game, especially once players gain access to the more taxing open sections of the world - but nothing about what I’ve played suggests that the game will end up unplayable compared to any of the other versions of Automata already on the market. Frankly, I hadn’t paid much attention to this port out of an assumption it would be a significantly compromised version of the game - instead, it seems clear that what might just end up being the most technically impressive Switch port may have nearly slipped under everyone’s noses. If you haven’t had a chance to play NieR Automata, and you only play RPGs on Switch, do yourself a favor - and keep your eye on this port. Assuming the rest of the experience matches up with what I’ve played, you more than owe it to yourself to give it your time.