FIFA 19 is out today on Nintendo Switch. This is the second entry in the series to hit the hybrid home/handheld console. Considering FIFA 18 was an early Switch game, I would expect to see some visual improvements. And FIFA 19 Switch graphics deliver on that.
The overall quality between FIFA 19 and FIFA 18 on Switch is pretty even. EA puts most of its effort into some of the smaller details. The biggest improvement for diehard fans of the sport is likely going to come from the presentation. EA Sports added the Premier League-style animations and graphics. It now looks more like a telecast, which is nice.
But I did notice a few technical upgrades, and I’ll point those out now.
Here’s FIFA 18 recorded at 1080p60 from its launch last year, which you can compare to the FIFA 19 1080p60 footage above:
While the presentation is the most obvious difference overall, the animation is probably the biggest technical jump. Every player looks smoother in FIFA 19. It’s not a generational leap, but characters have a more fluid sense of movement.
FIFA 19 on Switch still doesn’t use the same engine as the PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 versions. EA implemented its Frostbite tool that powers DICE’s Battlefield series for those games. The publisher has used Frostbite to bring more realistic and procedural animations to FIFA on those more powerful consoles. The Switch version doesn’t have anything like that. Instead, it seems like the developer just included some frames it may have left out last year for performance purposes.
FIFA 18 and FIFA 19 both run at 1080p when in docked mode on Switch. But EA has tightened up its image processing to give characters a more defined appearance over last year.
This is especially noticeable when you are looking at a player on the far side of the field. In FIFA 18, a distant winger would have a slightly smudgy look. It was like the anti-aliasing was struggling to remove pixelated edges while maintaining detail.
FIFA 19 improves that by eliminating a lot of that fuzziness while also preserving more of the details. This is refining FIFA 18 as opposed to remaking it from the ground up. But these upgrades are noticeable — at least in side-by-side comparisons.