Hands on preview: Vigor Closed Beta - Don't make the Switch

Published: 14:17, 15 April 2020
Bohemia Interactive
Key art for Vigor.
The Switch version... doesn't look like this.

Vigor touts a rock solid premise and strong development pedigree. Making the leap to Switch feels like a logical progression from its early access roots in Xbox Game Preview, but with the arrival of the Closed Beta, we're not convinced just yet.

There's two fundamental areas that combine to form Vigor's whole; your solo shelter, which can be upgraded and customised, and larger multiplayer instances where you're scrounging for supplies and outrunning radiation. 

Venturing out into that shared wilderness carries tangible danger, and you'll have to weigh up the risk / reward potential of engaging with other players, and making a dash for the exit. There's points of interest, location revealing comm towers, and high tier loot air drops that, in very Division 2 Dark Zone style, will potentially draw the horde. 

So far, so good. Where Vigor stumbles with this new Switch iteration is in the quality of the port work. Presentation takes a serious hit, with an overt blurriness and haze to environmental detail that can make target acquisition and combat a chore. 

Most fights devolve into a flailing mess of hip fired aiming and absurd jumping at the best of times, so to throw a visual downgrade into the mix doesn't do the game any favours. Playing with a Pro controller helps a little, but it's still a scrappy affair. 

Frame rate and draw distance are also noticeably compromised, with significant optimisation required before this transforms into a viable experience. We've seen time and again the divine miracles of Switch port work; Doom, Rocket League, Wolfenstein, Hellblade etc... run exceptionally well in both handheld and docked modes despite their respective complexity. 

Vigor's map sizes are obviously much more expansive than these specific examples, but when you look at how well The Witcher 3 runs on Switch, it becomes harder and harder to excuse the current state of play here. 

Bohemia Interactive Two Outlanders in Vigor. There's plenty of customisation options to prevent you from looking like ol' Jonny Default here.

Vigor works conceptually because there's genuine stakes. Every time you venture out into a multiplayer instance, you're rolling the dice against the incoming radiation threat by venturing further away from your nearest extraction, in the hopes of gathering vital crafting and survival supplies. Unless you've invested in insurance, you'll lose almost everything if you perish.

This Switch version, in its present state, has shone a harsh light on the importance of technical stability in a game with such a hazardous competitive arena. While things like the UI and load times have both been scaled effectively to the limitations of the hardware, moment to moment gameplay has been adversely affected. 

Bohemia Interactive have a great foundation in the Xbox One version, with its smooth visuals and consistent performance, that it makes the current state of the Switch port very much pale in comparison. Since the game is still in Closed Beta, there's plenty of opportunity for improvements to be made. 

Bohemia Interactive Scoping out the perimeter in Vigor. Height can provide a crucial advantage. Unless aiming is a struggle. In which case... GOOD LUCK.

Vigor is available now, for Xbox One, and is currently in Closed Beta on Nintendo Switch. 

Switch Closed Beta access provided by Bohemia Interactive.

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