Editor’s Note: For our overview on The Outer Worlds for Nintendo Switch, we decided not to score it as it’s simply based on technical impressions rather than the overall game. You can find our review of the full game linked in the article below.
The Outer Worlds has already graced the likes of the PS4, Xbox One and PC in 2019, but in 2020, the Obsidian developed RPG makes the jump to Nintendo’s portable console hybrid, for those that can’t simply contain themselves to the living room, but want to take their space-faring adventures out on the road, or just simply on the toilet.
We’ve already reviewed The Outer Worlds last year, where it scored an impressive 8/10 by GameZone’s very own Cade Onder. Like Cade, I too absolutely loved my time with the game, to the point that once I finished, I restarted again with a brand new character and a completely different skill set. Surely, a Nintendo Switch version would be a home run for me right?
The answer is a little more complicated than that, but I guess the answer is “almost” but with some really big caveats, and largely dependent on whether you can overlook them or not.
Cramming the entirety of The Outer Worlds would have been even more impressive, had CDPR not worked their magic, and somehow put the entirety of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on the Switch, DLC and all. And considering I’ve played through the entirety of that game on the Switch after binging the Netflix three times (I know I have a problem) I think it’s obvious that graphical sacrifices aren’t really a negative factor for me.
The Outer Worlds is similar in that a lot of sacrifices had to be made to make the game run on Nintendo’s little console. If you want a super in-depth breakdown of just how the game runs and performs on the Switch, I can direct you to Digital Foundry’s nearly 20-minute video, but to make a long story short, the differences are quite striking.
The environments specifically take quite a hit in graphical fidelity. Gone is the lush foliage that makes up a majority of every planet you touch down on. Texture details on things like rocks, hills, and other environmental pieces are blurry. Even little things like the skybox is now completely devoid of any clouds. Taken as a whole, its a drastic downgrade to say the least.
This also extends to character models as well. Certain characters hold up well, specifically in their face, but the rest of their outfits lose the small details that make them up and instead get replaced with blurry textures.
When you compare and contrast the two, the visual difference is striking. Couple this with the fact that the framerate isn’t great, depending on the location. When you’re out and about in the wild, the framerate is surprisingly good, staying at 30 frames per second for the most part with slight dips here and there. However, when you enter more populated zones, such as the first town hub of Edgewater, things begin to look a little bleaker. The same can be said for locations like the Groundbreaker as well.
What I can tell you is that personally, I am so engrossed in this world every time I play it, I tend to completely forget about the technical issues and keep playing. However, I also acknowledge that I am an extreme edge case when it comes to this. Many will simply see the lower graphical settings and uneven framerate and call it a day, and that’s completely understandable. It is undeniable that The Outer Worlds on the Nintendo Switch is by far the most inferior version of them all.
What I can say is this: If the Nintendo Switch is your primary means of playing games, and you didn’t get to play Obsidian’s fantastic RPG yet, I would still recommend it as long as you realize it won’t look as great as the trailers make it out to be. Does it have issues? Absolutely, but the underlying great game from 2019 is still there, completely intact, and deserves to be played by Nintendo Switch owners who didn’t get to experience the greatness quite yet.