The Outer Worlds Switch Review
It’s not often that a reviewer gets to take a second look at a game after reviewing it, but The Outer Worlds on Switch gave me that exact opportunity. Back in October of last year, I took a look at Obsidian’s latest and thought it was great. I loved the combat, the world, and the RPG mechanics, but I thought the presentation let the game down a little bit.
The Outer Worlds on Switch is all the same great stuff as the original release, with worse presentation issues thanks to the Switch’s generally lower power. That’s not to say this is a bad port though, it’s just the sort of thing you expect when porting a current-generation title over to Nintendo’s hybrid console.
Functionally, The Outer Worlds on Switch runs fine. There are some frame rate drops in bigger firefights and when loading into areas but the game is certainly playable on Switch without too many problems. The biggest issue I had was the long loading times, which were already pretty poor on PlayStation 4 before the Switch port. Obviously, this isn’t the best way to play the game if you are in it for fidelity, but there’s a whole new audience for it here on Switch, and even in a messy state it’s definitely worth playing.
The graphics take a big hit, which is something The Outer Worlds didn’t need. Textures are now muddy or take forever to load in, models look worse across the board and there's a weird effect in dialogue scenes where it seems like every character’s face isn’t quite in focus, at least in my experience. The resolution is also very variable across the board, although I’d argue that it’s never too bad. Even with these problems, The Outer Worlds still looks passable running on Switch.
There isn’t a huge difference between handheld and docked modes, besides the resolution change, but I did find it somewhat difficult to play in handheld for extended periods of time. Whether it be the FOV or the graphical changes, The Outer Worlds initially felt like it was straining my eyes after playing for too long. I even felt a bit motion sick at certain points, which hadn’t happened to me before. A lack of FOV options didn’t help this, and when playing in handheld the screen felt too cluttered to effectively play at all. To put it simply, playing The Outer Worlds in handheld takes some adjustment, and isn't the best way to play this port for longer periods of time.
There are also some neat small additions to this version of the game, including gyro aiming controls and an idle camera option in the pause menu. As someone who doesn’t use gyro controls, this doesn’t mean too much for me but there are plenty of players who will love this addition, and there’s certainly something to be said for accessibility options. The idle camera was really appreciated though, as it lets you quickly see a third-person view in-game. You still can’t play The Outer Worlds in third-person, but at least you don’t have to stand around for thirty seconds to catch a glimpse.
However, when you consider that you’ve got one of last year’s best RPG’s running on a handheld console, it definitely softens the blow a little bit. The Outer Worlds is just as fantastic in 2020 as it was last year and is arguably perfect for the Switch thanks to its perfect play-time and size. The characters are still fantastically written, the RPG elements and character choice are still extensive, and the combat is still just as fun as it was in 2019. None of that has disappeared with the technical downgrades thankfully.
To make this playthrough a little different I decided to play my character as sarcastic and unlikeable as possible, constantly talking down to people and acting very self-aware of it all. Although where I went and what I did was generally the same, it still felt really different because of how I role-played my character, which is a real show of the options at play here.
If you’ve already played The Outer Worlds then getting it on Switch might only be worth it if you’re wanting to play it on the go, as there aren't really any other additions here worth the purchase. If you’ve not been able to play it then, despite some graphical and technical downgrades, The Outer Worlds is still completely playable on the Switch and a fantastic game no matter what platform you play on.