Obsidian's beloved 2019 RPG, The Outer Worlds, finally made its way to Nintendo Switch this past weekend, a port that players have been anticipating for some time. Even with Skyrim already on the system, this is the closest thing to a modern Fallout game on Switch we've ever had. It should be a reason to celebrate, right? It's a free-roaming takedown of space capitalism, from the folks that brought us Fallout: New Vegas, available to play on the go. It seems like a victorious release all around. Unfortunately, that's not the case. Despite its ambition, Outer Worlds on Switch is an undeniably frustrating experience.
The core of the game is exactly the same, and anyone who has played it (or any Fallout game over the last decade) will recognize just how much there is to love about The Outer Worlds. The characters are charming, the story is exciting, the possibilities for exploration are nearly endless. It's a phenomenal game. But most folks already knew that, because it has been available on other consoles since last year. In moving the game to Switch, entirely too much of its integrity is lost in the shuffle.
Just like with Skyrim, The Witcher III, or any other massive ports from bigger systems, there are plenty of challenges in making The Outer Worlds accessible on the Switch. Sacrifices have to be made, often when it comes to frame rate or fine details. But many of those other games were initially released on previous generation consoles, so something about the Switch versions feels strangely nostalgic. Outer Worlds was released on Xbox One and PS4. Its original version is as modern as a game can get. So when you play the Switch version and notice its lack of detail and watch as it struggles to keep up with your movement, there's no fun feeling to fall back on. It's just bothersome.
The thing that this Outer Worlds port ignores most often is the attention to detail when things are in the distance. That's true of other big projects as well, most notably Mortal Kombat 11. Everything outside of the actual fights in MK11 looks blurry and messy on the Switch. It's hard to look at, but it can be ignored for the most part because the game itself takes place completely inside the fight. As much as close-up conversations are an integral part of Outer Worlds, they're far from the only element of the game.
If you're at any sort of distance from an enemy, or you're trying to strategically take out a base of marauders, I sincerely wish you luck. Anything more than 15-20 feet away from your character is blurry and out of focus, making extended combat immensely difficult. This wouldn't be too hard if guns and ranged weapons weren't the main way to fight antagonistic NPCs in the game, but they are, so combat anywhere other than an enclosed space is loads more complicated that anyone would like it to be.
Like many others, I've been shouting from the rooftops for a Fallout Switch port ever since the system was launched. I want a story I can dive into for hours on end without being directly tethered to a television. Taking that kind of RPG on plane trips, car rides, or even just to bed is a dream come true. The Outer Worlds proves, though, that maybe there's a reason dreams and reality are two different things.
This game this great shouldn't be hacked and scrubbed down to an experience like this. If the Switch is the only system available to you, it may still be a purchase you consider making. That's how fantastic The Outer Worlds is. But if you've got other options at home, the opportunity to take Outer Worlds on the go just isn't worth it.
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