Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: Cloud Version | Performance Review | Switch - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: Cloud Version | Performance Review | Switch

Cloud gaming on the Switch is a simple means to an end in most cases. Some developers want to release their big, visually intensive games on the Switch but they just won’t work natively without some massive compromises. While Japan is no stranger to cloud gaming on Nintendo’s platforms (3DS and Switch), regions outside of Japan are still just about a year in. Enter Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: Cloud Version on the Switch. Although the game has been seeing critical praise for versions of the game running on other platforms, the Switch version of the game hasn’t seen much fanfare and with good reason. Let’s take a look.

With typical reviews that we do here, we go into a number of different things - visuals, story (when applicable), gameplay, sound and, of course, performance. With Guardians, I wanted to focus mainly on the performance here as you can get a good picture of what the story has to offer from the numerous other reviews out there. 

Being a cloud based game, your mileage will definitely vary when it comes to performance. I have a 1 GB connection here in Japan and get 500 Mb/s or higher wired and around 200 Mb/s on wireless with very low latency (usually around a ping of 4). For this game, I’ve been playing on a Switch OLED in both docked wired and handheld wirelessly. The speeds and latency are decent (well, there really isn’t a way to test latency on the Switch to my knowledge), but the Switch just doesn’t compare to my other connected devices. 

Just to be clear, I’m not some kind of advocate for cloud gaming taking over the gaming landscape by any stretch of the imagination. I will say that in the past, it has worked for me quite nicely with one other big game - the Japan only Assassin’s Creed Odyssey on the Switch. You can hear more about that in our review from 2018, but by and large, while there were a few issues here and there, I spent A LOT of time in the world there (over 150 hours) and was pretty satisfied with my experience. I can’t say the same for Guardians at this point. 
When playing the game on launch day and going through the mandatory test, things seemed to run pretty well for me which made me pull the trigger and buy the game outright. I don’t know if it was a coincidence or what, but when I started playing the non-demo version of the game, the problems started. 

Visuals & Audio
When things are running smoothly, the game here actually looks quite nice. It does look like a lower-spec version of the game, though, with lower quality character models and environments. This is to be expected seeing as this game is cloud based. Audio on the other hand, never really skips a beat. Conversations between characters never cut out for me, and the music and sound effects were always on point. Even if the game appears to be chugging visually, the audio was always crisp and clear. 
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cloud Version is obviously not going to look as good as it would on more powerful hardware, but it can look good given optimal circumstances. Just don’t expect the level of detail you would see in more powerful platforms, or even in better optimized Switch games, like Breath of the Wild or Mario Odyssey. 

While exploring, the stuttering and general instability can make things a bit cumbersome to look around, pick up items and make accurate jumps. When starting out ANY game just as here with Guardians, you have to learn the overall controls, get acclimated to character movement and momentum, tackle conversation choices and more. The performance issues aren’t always present, but when they are, the experience can definitely be disrupted. Combat is where the real problems lie. When the action hit, I experienced a decent amount of slowdown, making it a bit tricky to focus on enemies and take them out. Other times, things would run smoothly enough so I could get into the swing of things. It seemed worse on launch day but somehow got a bit better afterward. It was really disappointing because I thought the character interactions and the gameplay (when it wasn’t being bogged down) could be really fun. These things might be worked out over time, but as things stand right now, you may be in for a poor experience both with a wired or wireless connection. 

With Guardians, I think there is a lot to like with the actual game itself. For this version, even with a pretty ideal situation with connectivity, I can’t recommend this game at this time. Performance was just too inconsistent, sometimes running well, other times really bogging down the gameplay. It’s very possible that the cloud team at Ubitus could work things out somewhere along the line, but you shouldn’t throw down your money hoping for that day to come. 

Let’s turn things over to you. Did you pick up Guardians of the Galaxy on the Switch? What has your experience been like up to this point? Did you pick it up on another platform? Sound off in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

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