Have you ever been impressed yet also underwhelmed with something at the same time? That’s how The Outer Worlds on Switch has left me feeling.
When I reviewed The Outer Worlds on Xbox One X last year, I was very impressed with it. Though smaller in scale, it feels like an evolution of the Fallout template and, given how Fallout 76 turned out, that’s a godsend. But part of why I enjoyed it on Xbox One X, and still do so, is its visuals. It looks absolutely gorgeous, and that makes exploring its alien worlds that bit more interesting. Even if they are a bit empty.
It’s obvious that on Switch, The Outer Worlds‘ visuals would have to be downgraded. The problem is, at times it really is an eyesore. Everything’s fine when you’re exploring smaller, confined areas; textures are decent, lighting is okay, and the framerate is stable. When you’re exploring overworlds, however, get ready for an abundance of low-res textures and a dynamic resolution that frequently drops so low that you really are playing in blur-o-vision. But then, having previously played the Xbox One X version, maybe my perception is skewed; those playing The Outer Worlds for the first time on Switch are perhaps less likely to be dismayed by the blurriness of the image quality.
“The Outer Worlds on Switch is not perfect. Not by any stretch of the imagination”
Unfortunately, there are also some technical issues. While the framerate is acceptable on the whole, during hectic moments it can sometimes struggle. The Outer Worlds on Switch also occasionally hitches while you’re exploring overworlds, presumably to load in new assets. In the first area you explore, at one point the game just couldn’t handle me running from the town to a settlement, bringing up what looked like a buffering icon while freezing the game for a few seconds. It happened again when I reached the settlement, struggling to load in a group of characters standing around a campfire. Thankfully it didn’t turn out to be a regular occurrence.
“There’s nothing else like this on Switch, and if you’ve got no other way to play it, it’s fine”
The Outer Worlds on Switch is not perfect then. Not by any stretch of the imagination. It’s underwhelmed me quite a lot. But then I think, this is The Outer Worlds playing on Switch, and I can’t help but be somewhat impressed by it. This is a game with expansive environments, wonderful dialogue, interesting characters, and engaging combat. It’s Fallout, but better in many regards. Sure, some of those aspects have been compromised during the porting process, but they’re still there. There’s nothing else like this on Switch, and if you’ve got no other way to play it, it’s fine.
On Switch, The Outer Worlds also has a trick up its sleeve: motion controls. If you like gyro aiming, you’ll be happy to hear that you can enable it in the game’s menus. It certainly makes aiming a lot easier. Don’t worry about the text being too small in handheld mode, either; you can change its size all the way from teeny-tiny to absolutely huge. There’s also HD rumble support, but you’re best turning it off. It’s just obnoxious when you fire something like a machine gun.
It would be easy to dismiss The Outer Worlds on Switch because of its less-than-stellar visuals and occasional technical imperfections, but you really shouldn’t. Read my review of the Xbox One version to understand why it’s such a compelling game that’s definitely worthy of your time. And besides, who knows, after a patch or two, it might end up being in a considerably better state. What really matters is that the core of The Outer Worlds, a current-gen open-world(ish) action RPG, is intact, and fully playable on what is essentially a handheld. That’s pretty amazing if you ask me.
The Outer Worlds is available on PS4, Xbox One, Switch and PC. We reviewed the Switch version with a code provided by the publisher.
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