After having spent dozens of hours on the Xbox One version of Vigor, the Nintendo Switch version caught our attention, bringing forth the idea of going out on a mission, gathering items, and facing down against others like myself. However, it was the time to ask ourselves: Can a game this demanding work on Switch?
With many states in some form of lockdown, it seems it was more than a perfect time to jump into something new, which for me, came in the form of being given the chance to jump into Bohemia Interactive’s critically-acclaimed free-to-play title, Vigor, which I’ve been spending a significant amount of time with on Xbox One.
Given the chance to dive into the Nintendo Switch version, it gave me the chance to play a game I’d come to love, but in a completely different light. I enjoy working my way through every little house in each and every locale while scavenging for supplies in order to improve my dilapidated home I’d get to restore over time. I was equally as surprised by the Nintendo Switch version if I were to be completely honest.
For years, I’ve spent a lot of time with Bohemia Interactive titles and their brutal and unforgiving games ranging from the critically-acclaimed and long-running military sim series, ARMA, and even its DayZ mode. I’ve even spent adequate time in Vigor, which launched last year on PC and Xbox One.
“Vigor is a game that requires practice, one where every match will bring in new challenges and your situational awareness will get tested”
But to give you an idea of what Vigor is, you need to understand the setting. Vigor puts us in Norway after World War III has come to an end, resulting in an all-out nuclear war. Out of all the countries, Norway was one of the few that didn’t get into a highly-radiated zone. While there is room for more story, let’s just say there isn’t one, and unfortunately, those of you wanting more won’t likely get it.
The story is simple after that: You’re a survivor, a scavenger of sorts and you’ve found a home in a crumbling house that becomes your safe haven and you must restore it to its fullest. As you do upgrade the hub, you’ll gain access to new weapons, new ammo types, better healing items, and more resources over time.
As part of the mechanics of the game, you’ll find yourself alternating between two elements of it: third-person battle royale style matches where you harvest materials, weapons while taking out other players if you must. Vigor is a game that requires practice, one where every match will bring in new challenges and your situational awareness will get tested to the absolute best of their ability with each and every match as your skills improve.
” They ensure you won’t run into one another very quickly unless you go hunting for each other from the very start.”
Matches are made up of 11 other “Outlanders”, which is what they call the survivors in Vigor. A fair enough title for those looking to survive throughout their matches. Each match takes place on massive maps, each one set in different parts of the Norwegian wilderness. Some will take place near farming villages, sending players to send a cascade of bullets down the side of a cliff at an unsuspecting Outlander in hopes to retrieve their loot.
However, it doesn’t start that way and how it does start is much more different than you’d expect. Matches start out slow paced, putting you and the other ten outlanders in varied placements throughout the map. They ensure you won’t run into one another very quickly unless you go hunting for each other from the very start.
As you will note on the map, there are special locations if you use it at the start, each location comes with a varied amount of resources depending on how much players chipped in to boost loot, what the supply drop will have or what to expect from the lockbox assuming you can find it.
“How well does it run? Are the controls smooth? Does it eat through battery life? How long can we expect the game to last?”
On the map you will notice two things: A radio tower and a drop location communication point. These two points are significant as one will allow you to see where other Outlanders are on the map while the other will let you choose where the supply drop lands. Once that new location is chosen there is not a way to change it to another location. All you can do if someone beats you to it is double check where it’s going to land.
As these maps are absolutely massive, a few key talking points we wanted to know in comparison to its sibling releases are: How well does it run? Are the controls smooth? Does it eat through battery life? How long can we expect the game to last? Because these are legitimate areas of discussion, we focused on those during our preview period with the game.
First up, the game plays as you would expect: Graphical downgrades are beyond noticeable, sometimes so much that things can be hard to see, especially in snow-based maps where there’s a lot of texture drawing, landscape elements and locations within that map. There were times it was hard for me to even see due to how blurred the game would get in either docked or handheld mode.
“These resolution-based issues are something we hope Vigor doesn’t have when Bohemia Interactive releases the full-release version on Nintendo Switch.”
This is an issue I haven’t run into with either the Xbox or PC builds of the game, which was quite surprising as the Nintendo Switch has some games that are absolutely impressive when it comes to graphics and they didn’t have to use dynamic resolution scaling are tuning down of their graphics capabilities.
Framerate itself is quite different than the other platforms, often hovering just under what felt like 30fps at 720p or lower, sometimes quite possibly significantly lower due to the hardware limitations of the Nintendo Switch. However, for what it’s worth, this is only the closed beta build and we could see some significant changes from the full-release build.
One thing, however, we did take notice of: It populated quickly. Every match was never hit with extreme lag, not a single match would see jumps across the screen. It runs as you would hope when the going gets tough and the tough gets going, but that’s, again, when the resolution drops become a major issue. These resolution-based issues are something we hope Vigor doesn’t have when Bohemia Interactive releases the full-release version on Nintendo Switch.
Battery life here is almost non-existent as Vigor comes off as a rather demanding game on the Nintendo Switch. It is fun, do not get us wrong, but you’ll want to keep an approved battery pack or keep a charger near if you plan on a few good long sessions with the game. We ended up charging several times per session, sometimes letting sessions run 5-6 hours at a time.
“Vigors controls are easy to learn and aren’t hard to adapt to when moving from Xbox One to the Nintendo Switch”
It’ll definitely be a problem moving forward with almost anyone game though. The Switch wasn’t built for games as demanding as many of the ones today. Unlike other platforms, however, Vigor won’t be what you’re hoping for if you want a game with cutting-edge graphics that pushes modern hardware to its limits. This is a game that simply is what it is – a scavenger survival experience.
When moving about though, one thing we all want to know is how well the controls actually handle. Fortunately enough, the development team spent a lot of time with this one and ensured fans would get the most out of it while they can. The controls are easy enough to use, meaning that you won’t have a very high learning curve when said and done.
Vigors controls are easy to learn and aren’t hard to adapt to when moving from Xbox One to Nintendo Switch. The button layouts are actually the same, making it all the easier and to some, that’ll be a godsend as they’ll have little time needed to readjust to the game outside of performance changes, which to some, should be a welcomed feature as we hate spending time to learn all-new controls on games we’re all-too-familiar with.
That aside, there’s a lot of promise with this one and with some final tweaking, this could be one of the strongest titles from a third party developer to hit the Nintendo Switch yet.
About the Writer(s):
Dustin is our native video game reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook where he interacts with his followers quite a bit!