Title: The Outer Worlds
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Publisher: Private Division
Genre: Role-Playing, First-Person, Action, Adventure
Release Date: June 5, 2020 (Switch), October 25, 2019 (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
Version Tested: Switch
It’s always difficult for a game that’s been out on multiple platforms to generate buzz when it releases on a fourth one. That was the conundrum faced by The Outer Worlds when it launched on the Nintendo Switch, June 5. The good news is when a game is as good as Obsidian’s game is, the buzz comes built-in, to some degree.
For those who haven’t played The Out Worlds yet, the game is an intentional homage to Fallout 3 and Fallout 4, but set in space. The art style is similar, the traversal is a callback and the interactions with characters are intentionally left up almost entirely to the player.
There are RPG elements and first-person shooter elements included. The absolute best thing about the game is there’s plenty to say and do and you can absolutely decide how you want to behave. If you want to be bad, you can be very, very bad. If you want to be good, you can tow the company line.
The company line is something that is plenty important. The universe of The Outer Worlds is all about either working for or fighting against corporations that have taken over to the point where everybody tends to spout their mottos.
This is still the game we saw on the Xbox One and PS4. It’s the one we then saw on the PC and that’s a good thing. That doesn’t mean it’s all good.
Handheld The Outer Worlds Is Still Really Enjoyable
One of the things that drives me absolutely batty about Switch ports is the lack of attention to text size. It’s always seemed to me that if you know you are putting something on a device whose big selling point is the ability to “play anywhere” a developer needs to make sure a game can be played “anywhere.”
Nothing has been more annoying to me than when I go to play a game in the handheld mode, only to need a magnifier glass to see text or items. There are simply too many games out there that are clearly just shrunk down. Things are a bit different when it comes to The Outer Worlds.
To be clear, this game is one that was always getting plaudits for its accessibility options. The developers clearly wanted as many people as possible to play The Outer Worlds. That extends to the Switch.
It’s not entirely clear if they did a ton of redesign for this console or whether the stuff just carries over well. The ability to make text bigger and pick the color its going to be, certainly help make it more enjoyable in handheld. That’s a big plus when someone is asking the question, why should I play this on the Switch instead of the many, many other options out there. No, The Outer Worlds doesn’t look great here. But it’s bearable in spite of that.
The Graphics Downgrade in The Outer Worlds
This wouldn’t be a proper review of the Switch port if I didn’t talk about the big shortcoming. While I was able to get past the fact that it just doesn’t look as good as it does on other platforms, there was something there to “get past.”
I took two different viewpoints on this topic. The first is that of course, it’s not going to have the same fidelity it does on an Xbox One X. It would be foolish to think a console that is obviously less powerful is going to be able to go punch for punch with Microsoft’s beast. That’s also not an excuse. This game isn’t being offered for any less than what it was on the PS4 or Xbox One. In fact, it’s actually more expensive than the other platforms. The Outer Worlds has been out for almost a year at this point on console. It’s deeply discounted.
As a general rule, I don’t like getting bogged down in the cost of a game. A game is either good or it’s not. But when a company is offering an obviously inferior product at the same price it offered the higher quality product, it’s worth mentioning. A review, after all, is at least in part there to tell you whether it’s worth your money.
Verdict: While the graphics download is kind of a bummer, it really was something I was able to overlook. The Outer Worlds is still a very good game that is tons of fun to play, especially on the go. You can run a little mission on your way to work, or when you have a few minutes. The fact that Obsidian has said there’s a patch coming to improve the look of the game is good news, though that doesn’t really help now. This game is worth playing on the Switch, even if you’ve played it elsewhere. The handheld mode sells it well.
- Humor stands up
- Ability to do anything and determine your own path is still a lot of fun
- Handheld version text is readable and fun to play
- Obvious graphical downgrade
- Glitches here and there