Some obvious sacrifices have been made, but it still makes for a solid port overall.
The Nintendo Switch might be leagues behind its competitors when it comes to raw power, but we've still seen some excellent third-party ports released over the years. Doom Eternal and Skyrim are just two absolute miracles that looked and ran great on the hybrid system whilst pushing it to its absolute limits. Cloud-based versions are now becoming more prevalent these days, but one of the latest titles to receive an unexpected fully-fledged port on the Switch is Dying Light: Platinum Edition. This enhanced version of the 2015 original includes all previously released DLC and a handful of console-exclusive features such as motion controls and touchscreen support.
As we already reviewed the original Dying Light back in 2015, I won't be focusing too much here on its core mechanics. What I will say though is that the gameplay has held up really well all these years later and it still feels exhilarating. The melee-focused combat always had me on the edge of my seat, as a makeshift weapon has the potential to be rendered useless after a matter of swings, and the stomach-churning splatter of taking a rusted pipe to a zombie's head isn't a sound that I'm to be forgetting soon. The first-person parkour is, of course, excellent here, and dashing around and throwing yourself up the sides of buildings is a thoroughly addictive and a sometimes much-needed way to escape those hunting you.
When it comes to the visuals on the Switch, the open sandbox of Harran pretty much looks like the outside world when I forget to put on my glasses. Everything looks pretty good here up close (shadows and textures have been dialled back though), but a lot of detail in the distance has been lost. When walking around objects would pop in from the distance and textures that appeared blurred and unrefined received more definition and clarity. Obviously, this isn't a deal-breaker, it's still Dying Light on the Switch, after all, but the grand sense of scale and the stunning detailed views seen in the original release have been compromised.
When it comes to the framerate, Dying Light on Switch targets 30fps, but it isn't locked like in the Xbox One and PS4 versions. When I encountered huge mobs of flesh-hungry creatures clawing at my eyeballs, the frame rate did noticeably drop, but never to the point where it was a detriment to my playing. I tried the game in both docked and handheld mode, and fortunately, I found a pretty consistent performance across both methods of playing.
Whilst the Switch version has seen several sacrifices, it also includes some console-exclusive features. Motion controls are now present for both melee and ranged weapons, and I actually found it to create an added sense of immersion when swinging my Joy-con around as though it was a machete or a plank of wood. Touch screen controls are present too when playing in handheld mode, which is a nice inclusion, but I never found myself using them as it felt more straightforward to continue using the traditional button setup. HD rumble is also present in the Joy-cons allowing for an added sense of impact during moments like smashing in a zombie's head as if it was a watermelon.
Another advantage that the Switch has is that it's bundled with two Joy-cons which makes it perfect for playing the game in local multiplayer. The drawback that it does have when it comes to multiplayer though, is that it doesn't feature a party system or in-game voice chat. This is, of course, problematic when you're playing online with strangers and you can't communicate things such as which quests you should go for next.
£44.99 might seem pretty extortionate for a near seven-year-old game on a less powerful console, but the amount of additional content here is plentiful. The Platinum Edition includes all four major DLCs (The Following, Hellraid, The Bozak Horde, and Cuisine and Cargo), and 17 skin bundles. You might just roll your eyes when reading about skin bundles, but the skins here are pretty fun and many come with weapon blueprints and new buggy designs. Whilst fighting through the horde, I was able to dress up as a Viking, a pistol-toting cowboy, and a 1920s-era gangster, and I loved that your current look is displayed on the title screen.
Obviously, skins aren't the main draw here though. Techland has done an excellent job supporting Dying Light since launch and the included Hellraid expansion received an update as recently as this month! Hellraid, for me, was the highlight of the entire package due to how comically far-removed it feels from the base game. Taking place within an old medieval castle, the DLC sees you take on waves of skeleton warriors and other old-timey foes by using magic and medieval weapons such as swords, axes, and hammers. The Following is also worth spotlighting too, as it's a sizable expansion that adds a new story and a new map.
All in all, Dying Light: Platinum Edition has made for a pretty solid conversion to the Nintendo Switch, but it's pretty obvious where sacrifices have been made. Playing Dying Light in handheld mode is pretty mind-blowing though, and it's great to have all the DLC released on a cartridge in one package. Additionally, it's still the same great game deep down and its gameplay has aged surprisingly well in the last seven years. I can't be too mad at the compromises to the visuals here, but what I will say is that they will only seem more pronounced when the PS5 and Xbox Series versions release sometime in the near future.
7 / 10
All DLCs are included here. The game holds up well seven years later. Playing in handheld is pretty mind blowing.
It's obviously not the prettiest version out there. Frame rate can dip noticeably. Online multiplayer suffers from lack of voice chat.