PS4 vs. Switch: Which Version of Dragon Quest Builders 2 Should You Get?

PS4 vs. Switch: Which Version of Dragon Quest Builders 2 Should You Get?

A Tale of Two Dragon Quests.

Dragon Quest Builders 2 is out now on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. It's an excellent game that offers a compelling combination of building, fighting, and crafting. But while the answer to "Should I pick this game up?" is an easy "Sure," things get a little stickier when you ask, "Which version should I get?"

Making the choice between a PlayStation 4 game and a Switch game isn't the same thing as choosing between a PlayStation 4 game and an Xbox One game. Generally, picking up a Switch version of a current-gen title means trading high graphical performance for the convenience of portability. Most people acknowledge the necessity of the trade when they pick up a Switch game—after all, the Switch isn't quite as powerful as the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One—but even portability isn't beneficial if a Switch port runs like garbage. Dropped frames, poor textures, and nonexistent lighting effects are a few problems that can bung up a Switch experience, portable or not.

So, Is Dragon Quest Builders 2 Better on Switch or PS4?

I received a PlayStation 4 code for my Dragon Quest Builders 2 review, then received a Switch code some days later. While I mainly stuck to the PlayStation 4 version of the game, I had a chance to put some time into the Switch version and compare the two experiences side-by-side.

To summarize, it's hard to go wrong with either version of the game, but given how well Dragon Quest Builders 2 works as a portable experience, I think I'd give the Switch version a slight recommendation over the PlayStation 4 version. You should keep a few things in mind when making your own selection, however:

The Key Differences Between Dragon Quest Builders 2's Switch and PS4 Versions

The Switch version of Dragon Quest Builders 2 runs at 30 FPS vs 60 FPS on the PlayStation 4: You probably won't be surprised to learn the Switch version runs at half the speed of the PlayStation 4 version. Admittedly, the difference is jarring when you go straight from the PlayStation 4 to the Switch, but once you get settled into playing in handheld mode for a while, you don't really notice the gap. I kept an eye out for significant frame rate drops when playing on the Switch, but I didn't notice any. I only played through the Furrowfield chapter on the Switch, however, so drops are possible later in the game. Even the PlayStation 4's frame rate occasionally dips a bit in the Moonbrooke Castle chapter, so that might be a problem area for the Switch too.

You can Pet the Dog in both versions of Dragon Quest Builders 2. | Square Enix

Dragon Quest Builders 2's graphics aren't quite as shiny and polished on the Switch: Frame rate aside, the Switch version of Dragon Quest Builders 2 appears a little less polished and less well-lit than the PlayStation 4 version. Both versions still boast great-looking worlds with huge, creatively designed monsters, so unless you're looking at a side-by-side comparison, you shouldn't feel like you're missing out on the Switch. Note that the Switch game has low water transparency set as its default.

Initial game loading times are longer on the Switch: Dragon Quest Builders 2 takes a while to load, especially on the Switch. There are smaller load times within the game, but I didn't notice an appreciable difference between the versions. Interestingly, saving the game goes by more quickly on the Switch.

Dragon Quest Builders 2 gobbles up the Switch's battery life: I didn't time the rate of Dragon Quest Builders 2's battery consumption, but the rate is definitely comparable to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. That is, you probably won't get more than a couple of hours out of the game at best before you have to scramble for your AC adapter.

This game will give you worms. | Square Enix

There are the usual expected trade-offs with the Switch version of the game, but they're worthwhile for the opportunity to sit in bed and build. Dragon Quest Builders 2 is a relaxing experience and playing it in handheld makes it even more easy-going. That said, if you find the Switch's handheld experience a little confining and plan to play in docked mode anyway, you might as well go for the PlayStation 4 version of the game. There's no doubt it looks better and runs more smoothly, and the docked iteration of Dragon Quest Builders 2 on the Switch still has all the compromises you'll find in handheld mode.

Whichever version you choose, don't forget to have a good look at our Dragon Quest Builders 2 guides.

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Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve, About.com, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

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