Nintendo Switch has impressed us so far with some of its ports from more powerful platforms, but the arrival of a Japan-only Monster Hunter XX demo gives us a chance to see developers coming at the hardware from the other direction, refining and improving an existing 3DS title for the new console hybrid. The results are intriguing, with Capcom delivering a dramatically improved HD remaster with impressive enhancements in almost all areas.
The full game is out next week in its home market, but the playable demo - available to all simply by setting up a Japanese Nintendo account -is pretty substantial and gives us plenty of content to take a look at, consisting of three missions and 15 characters. And as expected, the leap is impressive bearing in mind the vast gulf in power between the two Nintendo systems: the 3DS hardware was under-powered compared to competing mobile solutions right from launch, whereas Switch's Tegra X1 GPU can still hold its head up high compared to some of the top-tier SoCs on the market today.
At the most basic level, resolution is dramatically improved - even in handheld mode we're looking at 9.6x increase in resolution (half that if we factor in the 3D rendering) in the leap to 720p, while docked mode boosts that pixel count to full-fat, native 1080p. Frame-rate stays the same, however. The 3DS version of Monster Hunter XX runs at 30fps with frame-pacing irregularities - and exactly the same configuration is in place on Switch, the off-kilter frame ordering producing judder that wasn't especially an issue on 3DS, but is much more noticeable on both the hybrid's 720p internal screen and an HDTV.