It's become a meme these days, but I really do want as many games on the Nintendo Switch as possible. The Switch is such a fantastic portable platform, able to play console-level experiences. I like being untethered from any one spot while still enjoying premium titles and indies.
I'm not willing to give up all the visual fidelity though, and the Switch can only do so much. They're a technical achievement, but games like Doom or Wolfenstein 2 are a bridge too far in visual compromise. I'm glad someone wants them, but they've cut too much. So color me surprised when Larian Studios announced the release of Divinity: Original Sin 2 - Definitive Edition for Nintendo Switch last week. Upon initially hearing the news, I wondered what kind of cuts were necessary to get it running on the platform, like if it would be another Doom situation.
I've evangelized Divinity: Original Sin 2 and its Definitive Edition multiple times on USgamer, and I fought hard for it being one of our Top 10 games of 2017. Divinity: Original Sin 2 is an RPG in all capital letters; no hot, ignorant twentysomethings learning the secret history of the world and eventually fighting a vaguely Christian-themed end boss who expounds on moral philosophy. Instead, you're given a host of characters, races, skills, and spells at your disposal and thrown out into a majestic sandbox where you can chart your own path. Divinity: Original Sin 2 is digital D&D, for better or worse. It's a little obtuse at times—Definitive Edition improves upon the original in this aspect—and you will die or mess yourself up multiple times. But few RPGs offer the kind of player freedom found in Larian's sequel.
Probably the best new feature of Divinity: Original Sin 2 - Definitive Edition on Switch, the one that puts it ahead of its Xbox One and PS4 counterparts, is cross-save. Yes, if you've been playing Divinity: Original Sin 2 on PC, you can pull down your saves to the Switch and vice versa. It requires logging into your Steam account on the Switch, and then changing between platforms merely requires loading or saving after a Steam Cloud sync.
It mostly works, though I did run into some issues. First, only the Definitive Edition save transfers over, so if you were holding onto an original edition save, too bad. Second, while the saving, syncing, and picking up the game on a different platform worked well the first three times I tried it, on the fourth trying it wouldn't sync and gave me a visible Steam Error. I had to log in again on the Switch in order to fix the issue.
So cross-save isn't entirely seamless and perfect, but the impact is nothing short of amazing. You can literally be playing on PC, have to go somewhere and then sync up your Switch and keep playing portably. It makes Divinity: Original Sin 2 - Definitive Edition a game that goes with you wherever you want to go. I've long fought for cross-saves for pretty much any game I play, as just because I start on PC or PS4, doesn't mean I might not want to carry my game to a different platform. Especially when you have me logging into your own user accounts—looking at you Ubisoft—you should let me move my save data over. That Larian Studios, a smaller development studio out of Belgium, can offer this feature over some of the huge, multinational corporations is a testament to at least trying to help out the consumer. Come on triple-A publishers; get on this train!
On the graphics end, Divinity: Original Sin 2 on PC entry is a looker, full of beautiful environments to wander around in. Great textures, lighting, and object clutter combine to make some stunning vistas, like Bloodmoon Island, the Impish Pocket Realm, or the Heart of the Mother Tree. It's such a good-looking game that the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions had some pop-in at launch.
I'm happy to say that Larian Studios has brought most of the game over to Switch intact. There are definite cuts here and there, bringing the entire game down to the 720p native resolution on the Switch. As such, the camera is much closer and tighter than it is on PC, PS4, or Xbox One. Changing from docked to portable results in a softening of the image overall, and there's definitely less environment clutter. (There's also a bug where the character portraits appear fuzzy. You'll note in the Switch images that my portrait is clear, but my squad is all low resolution.)
Despite all those compromises, most of Divinity: Original Sin 2 is here. All the music and voice acting are along for the ride, and it runs at a respectable 30fps for the most part. I didn't have a save at the infamous sea of fire battle to test that out, but what I did run on Switch ran beautifully, considering I was playing on portable.
Larian is also one of the few developers to actually take the Switch's portable mode into account first. The user interface looks to be scaled for portable play, with the text and UI being slightly larger on my big screen. On portable though, it's quite readable without any issue. I'd have preferred some sort of dynamic scaling for UI elements, but aiming for portable first is probably a better way to go overall.
Fitting everything on consoles in the first place was already a bit fiddly, because Divinity: Original Sin 2 allows for a lot of interaction with its world. The Switch version carries over the new environment scanning, which gives the player a list of all the interactable objects within their immediate range. I'm not entirely a fan of it, but it's probably the best way to make a fairly complex system work within the confines of controller inputs. The Switch release also loses the split-screen local cooperative mode, likely because driving two different screens was likely too much for the Switch.
Cross-save alone means I'm more willing to recommend Divinity: Original Sin 2 - Definitive Edition for Nintendo Switch over its other console counterparts. It's Divinity: Original Sin 2, one of the best modern RPGs, running on Switch. You can take Divinity: Original Sin 2, a masterpiece of role-playing, wherever you go and when you're back home, sync it back up with your PC saves. It's frankly magical that this is a real thing. So if you haven't played it, pick up Larian's RPG on Switch. It'll give you some good grounding before they drop Baldur's Gate 3 on everyone.