The Nintendo Switch is no stranger to “wow, they got that on Switch?!” ports. Games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, DOOM, Wolfenstein II: The New Colussus, XCOM 2 and more show the potential for Nintendo’s portable machine. Yes, each game took some visual or performance changes in order to run on Switch, yet the end result has turned out quite well so far. The Outer Worlds is the newest example of this, a great current generation game making its way to Switch. Although it might be rougher than some of the ports listed above, if you haven’t played The Outer Worlds, then the Switch version is a great experience to play.
In our original review of The Outer Worlds, we said, “The gameplay, environments and graphics are great, and the game offers players an amazing adventure with great humor, creativity and a real sense of control and power through the involved decision-making that is included. The game is futuristic and retro at the same time.” For this review, we’re focusing on the Nintendo Switch version.
The Outer Worlds on Nintendo Switch is really a unique experience. There’s nothing quite like it on the platform, which is missing that Fallout-style RPG game. This alone makes The Outer Worlds stand out on Switch. What you get in the Switch version is everything found in the other versions of the game, including many of the quality of life fixes the game needed at its original launch. Things like text scaling, which may at first seem like a small thing, really come in handy in this game (as the default text size is remarkably small). The Switch version features gyro-aiming, a highly requested feature on the platform, and surprisingly, it works quite well. In reality, the Switch version is the complete package, and the people at Virtuos (who did the Switch port) did a great job at bringing the title to Switch with all these quality of life fixes.
This brings us to the extremely obvious and quite debated aspect of the game. The Outer Worlds on Switch is remarkable considering it’s built for PS4, Xbox One, and PC hardware. It’s awesome to see the whole experience on Switch…with obvious downgrades. The first thing you’ll notice, even if you haven’t played the game elsewhere, is a blurriness to everything. Much like with The Witcher 3, getting this game to run on Switch took a lot of scaling back. Also just like with The Witcher 3, this issue is less noticeable in handheld mode, which is my recommended mode for this game. Putting the game in docked mode shows all the scaling back needed to bring the game to Switch. Characters have less detail, environments have less detail, buildings have, you guessed it, less detail. Again, it’s less of an issue in handheld mode, where the game looks and runs well. If you’re looking for the prettiest version for your big screen TV, then this isn’t your version.
The other aspect of the game that’s gotten a bit of attention is performance. Again, this issue largely fixes itself in handheld mode. While docked, the game is running at 1080p, which might be pushing things a bit much to render these giants worlds, environments, and all the craziness happening during a battle. This can cause the game to have a few moments of slowdown, normally only during larger scale battles. In handheld mode, I’ve not run into this issue once during my 20-hour playthrough so far. Loading times can be a little bit long at times, although the game on PS4, Xbox One and PC also has this issue.
The truth is The Outer Worlds is a perfect handheld game on Switch, and it’s really the only “playstyle mode” I’d recommend it on. Docked mode isn’t terrible, but much like The Witcher 3, the game truly impresses when you’re playing it handheld on your couch (or wherever you play in handheld mode) versus the TV screen. If you’ve never played The Outer Worlds before, I highly recommend picking up the Switch version. It’s a truly unique RPG on Switch, and there is nothing quite like it on the platform.
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment; Virtuos (Nintendo Switch port)
Publisher: Private Division
Platform: Nintendo Switch (also PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Release Date: 25th October 2019 (PS4, Xbox One, PC), 5th June 2020 (Nintendo Switch)