The Outer Worlds launched last year on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC and received critical acclaim, even snagging a few “Game of the Year” awards. Now, the critically praised RPG has finally made its way to Nintendo Switch. Luckily for us, the core experience remains unaltered. While the Switch port does take a large hit in the graphics department, the extra features soften the blow.
The Outer Worlds Switch differences
Getting straight to the point, the Nintendo Switch version of The Outer Worlds looks significantly worse than on rival platforms. The developer claims it’s in 1080p, which it very well might be, but it’s really blurry. The textures, lighting, and foliage in the world have all been downscaled. In our comparison video that you can watch below, you’ll notice there are also reworks with the environments, with fewer trees and sometimes even fewer windows on buildings. I also encountered more bugs and glitches while playing on Switch compared to on Xbox One. Luckily, nothing was game-breaking for me. It was mostly funny bugs like NPCs doing T pose or walking into a wall over and over. Aside from that, I also noticed significantly more pop-in on Switch.
One positive thing I wanted to note was that the character models still look great. I was always impressed by them in the Xbox One version, and they barely lose any quality on Switch. The facial animations are fully intact as well.
While the Switch version isn’t ideal in the graphics department, it does offer some unique features. Portable mode plays great and looks only slightly worse than docked mode. Shrinking the game down on a smaller screen helps hide the blurriness and wonky textures present in the Nintendo Switch version. That’s not the only bonus on Switch though; it also offers gyro-aiming, and it works great! You can set it so it only works while aiming or for the whole time. The former is how I used it, and I’m happy to say I played the whole game that way.
The graphics of The Outer Worlds were never where it truly shined, so although the graphical downgrade here was jarring at first, it was easy to get past that pretty quickly. There are so many other great things the game has to offer.
Your character awakens from cryosleep to find a strange fella on a mission to save other passengers who are still in hibernation. That leads to your investigating the true nature of large corporations running the planets. This is just the setup for what will become quite a roller coaster ride of a story.
Instead of one large open world for exploring, the game offers a selection planets with decently open areas, all sporting vibrant color palettes and new things to do. This was a nice change of pace. The 2010s were jam-packed with open-world games, and I’d be lying if I said I weren’t a bit fatigued by it lately. The Outer World’s open sections are a lot less daunting or overwhelming while still offering a great sense of mystery and discovery.
Another trend in modern open-world games is padding the world with useless sidequests that offer very little in terms of world-building or character growth. This is where The Outer Worlds outshines the competition. It offers strong story-driven sidequests that can be just as enthralling as the main story. This is largely due to the game’s fantastic writing. I constantly found myself chuckling at character conversations and getting deeply entrenched into the game’s lore.
There are a lot of communities throughout the game on each planet. Learning about each faction’s views on the world and how they go about their day-to-day is really interesting. I don’t want to dive deep into story details, but I will say this is a game you’ll want to take your time with and that encourages you to think carefully before you make any big decisions.
Half of the fun in The Outer Worlds is recruiting new companions and learning more about them through their companion quests. Every character has a distinct personality that you may or may not like. Even with the characters I wasn’t fond of, I was still intrigued by their sidequests. Every time I’d try to focus on the main story, I’d keep getting pulled back into sidequests to see how those stories play out. The writing is simply that damn good.
Combat gets the job done
Despite the gunplay being somewhat generic, the mechanics feel pretty smooth, especially for this type of RPG. Luckily, some cool abilities spice things up a bit. You quickly learn the ability to slow down time to maneuver around the map taking down enemies in slow-mo. Using this slow-down mechanic with different types of weapons can be a blast. Speaking of, it’s important to try new weapons in The Outer Worlds. You’ll pick up a lot of different types throughout your journey, and if you stick to the same weapons they will slowly decay and you’ll run out of ammo. Mixing up the combat with all the different types of wacky weapons is amusing and keeps things fresh.
Each companion you bring into your crew has special attacks that you can use at any time during battle. From a deadly electric hammer to a portable torrent that shreds enemies into pieces, these are some awesome abilities that are a sight to behold. There are also perks throughout the game that can come in handy on the battlefield, from speeding up your character to allowing you to use slow-mo for longer periods, and a lot more. The amount of choice in the game is staggering, in how you choose to shape your character and the overarching narrative.
Few games offer the same sense of narrative freedom that The Outer Worlds does. The chance of anyone’s hero having even remotely the same journey is minuscule. Not long after the game starts, you’re abruptly thrown into making big decisions for a huge community, and the choices you make directly affect the world and the lives around you. And it never lets up throughout the entire 15-hour experience.
Or you could simply make no choices and kill anyone in the game. Literally, anyone. Needless to say, the replay value is out of this world. You immediately feel inclined to play it again and make different decisions throughout the game. I’ve had some of the most memorable story moments I ever experienced while playing The Outer Worlds. And that’s thanks to the amount of choice given to the player. Again, I won’t go too in-depth to avoid spoilers. But there are a few twists and turns throughout the story that will definitely have you on the edge of your seat.
However, not everything is wonderful. Along with the graphical downgrade, hopping between areas and planets can get annoying due to the load times, which are longer on Switch. Aside from that, menus are a bit confusing and item management can be time-consuming. I also think it’s odd that the game lets you make your own character and dress them how you please, but they virtually never show up in-game. The only time you see your characters is on the pause menu. Why have a character creator and different-looking gear if you never see your character? It just befuddles me. But I digress.
The graphics and performance take a hit on Switch; that’s obvious. If you can get past that, The Outer Worlds offers amazing characters, meaningful sidequests, and incredible freedom to the player — all of which remain fully intact on Nintendo Switch. It’s simply a must-play for RPG lovers.
A review code was provided by the publisher.