Dragon Quest Heroes II is easily one of my most anticipated games of the year so when I heard that there was a demo available on the Japanese eShop on Switch I immediately went to download it and play through it. If you played the first game then you’ll know exactly what to expect. You, and a party of three other people run around various environments killing horde up horde of enemies. There are different objectives, that usually revolve around defending a specific point or taking down a specific monster, that you need to complete along the way. The first game was available on PS4 here in the US and the Switch is getting a bundle of the first and second games in one package, though a release date for the US has not yet been announced.
We do know that the PS4 is getting a US release of Dragon Quest Heroes II and earlier this week a demo dropped on PSN for the game allowing players to be able to see what the newest installment in the series is all about, this time with English text so you can read about what’s going on. I thought it might be a good chance to see how the two versions of the game compare as the demos are identical to each other.
Let me begin first by saying that I knew going in that the Switch version wasn’t going to be identical in terms of features and visual effects. This is not to show how “inferior” the Switch version of the game is, but to show how different the two games will look and help you to inform yourself and make the decision which version of the game you might want to play. Having played both I can say that the Switch version plays perfectly fine on that system. There are a few moments where framerate was an issue. It runs considerably more smoothly on the PS4, but the Switch version wasn’t so much different that it was unplayable or ‘worse’ than the PS4. In this article the Switch screens are the ones on top with the Japanese text.
First, we have an shot of the opening of the demo. Here you can see the party members as they first walk out into the world. I immediately notice that the party members are different, depending on which version you are playing. This won’t be completely indicative of the final game as you can mix and match party members at will. I don’t know why the two parties aren’t the same for the demo. The one thing that really jumps out to me, and this will be visible across all the different comparison shots, is the amount of foliage on the screen. The Switch version doesn’t have as much tall grass growing as the PS4 version of the game does. You’ll also notice that the steps are more rounded and not as jagged on the PS4 version as they are on the Switch. Keep in mind that screenshots on the Switch are captured in 720p while the PS4 captures in 1080p.
Next we have a shot of the first NPC that you run into. She tells you about some monsters attacking people and asks you to help get rid of them so people can travel freely again. You’ll notice, again, the difference in the amount of foliage on the screen. The colors are also brighter on the Switch and that there is more depth of color on the PS4 version of the game. Clouds are another thing I’ve seen when comparing the two games. There are more clouds in the sky on the PS4 version than there is on the Switch.
A shot of an open field leading to the first main objective in the demo. You’ll see again that there is more grass in the PS4 game as well as a larger depth of field. You can see much more on the PS4 version of the game than you can on the Switch. This is also the first time that you see, by glancing at the map, the difference in the amount of enemies that you’ll be fighting. The PS4 game has considerably more enemies than the Switch game does. It’s also the first time I really noticed a big difference in the performance of the demo. The PS4 held smooth as large numbers of enemies came on screen. Playing the Switch version in portable mode would cause the framerate to drop at times during battle. This was alleviated some if I was playing on the TV. Again, it wasn’t a huge performance drop, but it was noticeable and could cause some issues for people who are far more sensitive to framerate issues. This is also a good chance to see some differences in the textures visible in different parts of the environment. That will be much more evident in this next shot, though.
This closeup of a wall really highlights the differences in the amount of texturing visible in the game. If you get up close to this wall you can see the PS4 version is much more defined. You can see how individual bricks really stand out from those around them, whereas on the Switch version it’s much more muddy, blurry and doesn’t looked as well defined. In motion, much like with Breath of the Wild, it’s not a big issue, but if you get some moments where you zoom in on things you’ll see just how much better they’ll look on the PS4 compared to the Switch.
Lastly, let’s take a look at this shot of the entry to this castle. You’ll see a much bigger difference in the shadows that are being cast. They contrast more on the PS4 with the areas of light than they do on Switch. You can see the textures on the towers are much greater on the PS4 as well, and the difference in the clouds in the sky, again.
Which version will I be getting? Most likely, I’ll end up with the Switch version. The visual and performance differences are not so great to think that it’ll be a far inferior version to the PS4. You also get two games for the price of one. The ability to have the game on the go and on the TV at the same time is more important to me than the game simply looking better. The Switch has convinced me that my time and getting to choose how I play a game is more important to me than it simply looking better. From everything I’ve seen aside from the graphical and performance differences the game will be identical so it’s not like I’ll be losing out by playing the Switch version of the game. The Switch is just simply not as powerful as a PS4 so it’s not going to be able to handle all the same things the PS4 can. I’m willing to lose a few enemies on screen, a few blades of grass and a few particle effects to play the game when I want, where I want.