Xenoblade Chronicles 3: how Monolith Soft pushes its Switch technology to the next level

Since its acquisition in 2007, Monolith Soft has become one of Nintendo’s most prolific development partners thanks to both its assistance on first-party projects and, more importantly, its work on Xenoblade Chronicles. This large-scale RPG series has become one of Nintendo’s key pillars in the RPG space and for good reason – its robust technical underpinnings, gorgeous vistas and strong storbytelling all work in tandem to create something unforgettable and Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is no exception.

With its fresh cast of characters, enhanced technology and outstanding soundtrack, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 builds on the experience the team has acquired since its inception and comprehensively addresses a key weakness of the last series entry: image quality. In targeting higher end visuals, something that to give, with resolution taking a big hit. Dynamic pixel counts that could hit 540p docked and 360p in mobile mode were mitigated via a relatively simple spatial upscaler, paired with intrusive sharpening. Xenoblade 3, however, represents a colossal leap forward in that respect. Monolith has both improved the overall visual quality while greatly boosting image quality, achieving this via what looks like a temporal super-resolution solution, taking those lower pixel counts up to a passable rendition of 1080p when docked and 720p in portable play.

The drawback to this solution is that with fast motion, visible break-up can occur revealing the lower resolution nature of the image but in most cases, image quality is perceptibly sharper than anything you’ll see in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – and the implementation is particularly impressive in portable mode, delivering one of the sharpest images from all the high-end titles we’ve seen on Switch – a far cry from the exceedingly blurry Xenoblade 2. Yes, the resolution slips to similarly low levels but what you see by eye is noticeably sharper, which is what matters.

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