Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is Much Better in Docked Mode

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is Much Better in Docked Mode

A new technical analysis from Digital Foundry shows low, low resolution when playing portably.

If you're at all like me, then you probably wasted many hours trotting across vast giants this weekend alongside Rex and the controversially-dressed human-sword Pyra in Xenoblade Chronicles 2, the latest expansive JRPG from Monolith Soft. Also if you're like me, you maybe tend to play your Nintendo Switch primarily portably, not docked on your shiny television, not getting the most out of your tiny tablet system.

After a new analysis by our friends at Digital Foundry, maybe the latter, at least for Xenoblade Chronicles 2, is a bad idea. (Or at least, not a great one.)

When Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is played docked, the full visual splendor of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is on display. Its seas of clouds; its packed towns of NPCs. Like the Wii U's Xenoblade Chronicles X, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 runs at 720p when docked to the television. It's when the console leaves the dock that things get a little rough. Sometimes resolution ranges from as high as 552p to as low as 368p. The resolution of the Switch undocked also has a sharpening filter to make images more defined as a result of the low resolution.

Compared to other Nintendo games on the Switch this year, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, according to Digital Foundry, feels like a step down. With its noticeably lower resolution (some of the lowest since the PlayStation Vita), it's the rare Switch game that begs to be played one particular way only: on your tv, not on-the-go.

While I've been playing Xenoblade Chronicles 2 both ways, I've definitely noticed a stark difference between the two ways to play. If you're not mega-particular about graphical finesse when playing portably, then maybe this technical analysis means nothing to you. But if you want the most out of your copy of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, docked mode is probably for the best.

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Caty McCarthy

Senior Editor

Caty McCarthy is a former freelance writer whose work has appeared in Kill Screen, VICE, The AV Club, Kotaku, Polygon, and IGN. When she's not blathering into a podcast mic, reading a book, or playing a billion video games at once, she's probably watching Terrace House or something. She is currently USgamer's Senior Editor.

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