XCOM 2 Collection Nintendo Switch Review
The XCOM series has long been a staple of the strategy gaming community on PC and Mac but since moving to console, Firaxis Games and Virtuos reached a new community of fans. Now, with the Nintendo Switch release, they’ll be reaching an entirely new and ever-growing fanbase of gamers who are eager for more tactical experiences. This Nintendo Switch port includes all of the DLC for XCOM 2, which may entice fans who own it on other consoles who may not have gotten into the DLC after their first playthrough. The Nintendo Switch has strategy titles such as Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Wargroove and the ground-breaking combination of Nintendo’s Mario and Ubisoft’s Rabbids, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, but these titles have had their time to shine but now it’s time for the XCOM 2 Collection to take over as the top tactical dog on the platform.
XCOM 2 may have one of the largest install sizes on the Nintendo Switch, taking up over 24 gigabytes of data, but for strategy fans it will be worth every bit. Firaxis Games do a great job to ensure that new fans won’t be too lost with the plot of XCOM 2, so don’t worry about the fact that this is technically a sequel. The XCOM series is a recent favourite of mine, with my strategy and tactical gaming primarily limited to Fire Emblem, Stronghold, Advance Wars and Command & Conquer to name a few prior to XCOM 2. When XCOM 2 released for Xbox One, I got into the series and enjoyed the depth to the tactics, from modifying your soldiers to customizing your ideal Avenger mothership in a mini-game that’s similar to the basic gameplay of Fallout Shelter. After tearing the Xbox One version of the game apart and creating my ideal team of soldiers to defeat the invading aliens and the recruited ADVENT soldiers, I was finally ready to dive deep into the XCOM 2 Collection for the Nintendo Switch.
Huge Install, Impressive Portable Visuals
After playing both docked and handheld mode, I’m impressed with the visual and audio quality on the go compared to on the TV, especially with a quality headset. Sadly there are no touch controls in handheld mode and nothing to make the title stand out from the other console versions, the selling point of this title on the Nintendo Switch is being able to take such an immersive experience wherever you go. 2K has released several Nintendo Switch ports recently, with Borderlands and Bioshock joining XCOM 2 Collection at the same time. Because of how recently XCOM 2 was released on other consoles, it seemed like the biggest undertaking for porting to the Nintendo Switch and I think the team did a great job in making sacrifices in some areas to ensure quality in others. Whether you’re looking for the experience on the go or you’re a new fan who doesn’t have an Xbox One or PS4, you’ll be happy with 2K Games’ port of the XCOM Collection on Nintendo Switch.
The cinematics of the XCOM 2 Collection are nearly flawless compared to the Xbox One and PS4 version of the game, with the Unreal Engine continuing to break new ground on Nintendo’s hybrid console. You’ll be impressed by the visual quality in handheld early on in the game when the Commander is located and a mist starts pouring into a room to reveal some quality particle effects. While the cinematic quality is nearly flawless, the battlefield doesn’t look as good. Most of the units that clutter the battlefield look like they’re from a previous generation of console, showing noticeable frame rate issues and pixels are occasionally visible. The fog of war is the densest it’s ever been, making this potentially the hardest version of XCOM 2. Because the cinematics are so impressive, I’m willing to sacrifice the isometric camera angle on the battlefield. The biggest issue with XCOM 2 Collection on the Nintendo Switch is frequent frame rate issues and stutters that happen in transitions such as starting a new mission, attacking an enemy, being attacked by an enemy and navigating The Avenger swiftly to name a few. This does break immersion in the plot and battles and is XCOM 2 Collection’s biggest issue on the Nintendo Switch. I didn’t encounter any freezes or crashes but the game definitely chugs along at times, resulting in an even longer gameplay experience than playing through on another platform. Considering how long the average playthrough of XCOM 2 is on other platforms, the title can only afford the longer load times for fans of the series or big strategy diehards.
Another Serendipitous Switch Port to Take on the Go
Before the release of the XCOM 2 Collection on the Nintendo Switch, my favorite strategy titles for the hybrid console were Fire Emblem: Three Houses and Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, but I’ll be spending far more time going through this title multiple times. XCOM 2 randomizes each element of the game to ensure that it will be different every time you play it, making it a practically endless experience. Where other titles have an eventual end, if you enjoy this title enough, you can basically play it forever. Although there are aspects of the game that look last-gen and there are frame rate issues, there are no significant issues that can’t be fixed over time.
Although this Switch port evolves XCOM 2 in yet another way, it does make many sacrifices that may make or break the experience for newbies. The controls and overall gameplay of XCOM 2 is as good as ever with this port, which are two of the most important factors with it being so competent both docked and in handheld mode. If you’re willing to stomach some muddy visuals and frame rate issues when transitioning from one scene to another, it could be argued the Nintendo Switch is the best platform to own the XCOM 2 Collection. Being able to play XCOM 2 on the go is such a nice perk. 2K has evolved Firaxis Games deep strategy title in yet another way and I’m looking forward to seeing where the series goes from here.
***Switch code provided by publisher***
- Impressive port
- A Lengthy ever-changing experience
- Gameplay as good as the other platforms
- Large install
- Muddy visuals on TV
- Longer load times