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The Outer Worlds (Switch) Review

by Joe DeVader - June 4, 2020, 5:02 am EDT
Total comments: 4

6

This might not be your best ticket to Halcyon.

Looking in from outside, it seems rather obvious that the Fallout fan base holds Fallout: New Vegas in extremely high regard. I mainly mention this because it feels like the comparison between that game and Obsidian’s attempt at a spiritual successor, The Outer Worlds, is completely unavoidable. The tone is almost identical, and the gameplay is only missing a few key features, among other similarities. While Outer Worlds released on other platforms in October of 2019, the Switch port lagged behind, now finally having arrived on Nintendo’s landing pad. Unfortunately, a few sacrifices seem to have been made on its journey there.

Roughly 70 years before The Outer Worlds begins, a ship full of colonists in suspended animation malfunctions and begins drifting outside the Halcyon system, leaving its passengers in cryosleep for far longer than initially planned. One day, a scientist named Phineas Welles is able to wake up one passenger, the player, and recruits them to help him figure out how to wake up the rest of the ship as well. Upon landing on the planet Terra 2, the newly awakened player learns that the Halcyon system is a collection of colonies controlled by a group of corporations referred to as The Board. After acquiring a ship called the Unreliable, the player is sent out to explore the planets of Halcyon and make a decision as to whether they will help Welles, or take a lucrative job with The Board.

Once again the comparison to something like modern Fallout is impossible to avoid, with The Outer Worlds also being an FPS RPG. The player is able to customize the appearance of their character, and then must assign stat points to different attributes to match how they plan to play the game. For instance, there is a stat for melee strength as well as a stat for gunplay, but there are also stats for things like stealth or your ability to intimidate or lie. Having certain stats high enough will open new options in dialogue. For example, at one point a man threatened me with guards for screwing over his town, but because my intimidation stat was so high I was able to get him to call off his guards without firing a single shot. You can also gain perks as you play, allowing specific buffs in certain situations or just passive buffs such as more health. You can even gain flaws by taking harm in specific ways multiple times. After falling from high places multiple times, the game offered me the flaw of being acrophobic (afraid of heights), which would lower some of my stats but give me the ability to pick another perk. These flaws are completely optional and a great example of Outer Worlds’ approach to character building.

Unfortunately, the move to the Switch has caused quite a few problems to crop up. While I never personally noticed any slowdown or framerate drops, there were still issues that were basically impossible to ignore. Lighting bugs were near constant and shadows only came into being as I got closer to things like cliffs. On a similar note, the render distance for certain objects is mere feet in front of the player, with things like flower stems appearing right before your eyes. Textures are constantly flickering in and out of existence, sometimes based on how far away you are and sometimes just based on how far to the right or left you’re currently looking. These kinds of problems are commonplace in Switch ports, but the extent to which they occur in The Outer Worlds is sadly far too distracting for me to recommend this be where you play it. Loading times are also incredibly long whenever they occur, lasting for upwards of a minute depending on the area.

There are a lot of good points about The Outer Worlds: it’s got a very interesting setting, and the characters and companions you can pick up along the way are fun and well written. If you liked Fallout, you would likely enjoy this game, but once again I don’t think this is the place to play it. Even if your biggest factor would be the idea of being able to play it portably, sadly nearly every technical problem listed above is exacerbated a great deal in handheld mode, with the added issue of the game becoming a blurry mess on top of all of it. For some, the world of Halcyon will be a welcome place to visit, but unless you are super attached to the idea of a portable Fallout game, it is likely better to look to one of the other platforms for which this game is available.

Summary

Pros
  • An interesting setting to explore, full of interesting characters
  • The type of dark humor one might expect from a game in this genre
Cons
  • Massively long loading times
  • Plagued by a myriad of lighting and graphical issues that are essentially doubled in handheld

Talkback

LemonadeJune 04, 2020

This was my GOTY last year. Hearing about the technical issues makes me glad I didn't wait for this version

WanderleiJune 05, 2020

There is a day 1 patch to address the performance issues.

pokepal148Spencer Johnson, Contributing WriterJune 05, 2020

It sounds like that was included with the review code.

I'm still definitely planning to pick this up though since I don't have another console that can play it.

pokepal148Spencer Johnson, Contributing WriterJune 08, 2020

Yeah uh... The Outer Worlds is a damn good game but this ain't the way to play it, even if you don't have any options. If you can wait until either this version gets fixed or a better one becomes available to you, be it on the Switch 2 or on the other current gen hardware.

It's still a better port than the Jak and Daxter collection on Vita though. That's probably the only reason i've been able to enjoy this mess is because my attempt to play that abomination basically lowered my standards for how games should run. But the fact that I'm comparing this to that time Sony made a than 12 year old PS2 3D platformer run at 12fps with absurd input lag on the Vita is absolutely damning in and of itself.

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Switch

Game Profile

The Outer Worlds Box Art

Genre RPG
Developer Obsidian Entertainment
Players1

Worldwide Releases

na: The Outer Worlds
Release Jun 05, 2020
PublisherPrivate Division
RatingMature
eu: The Outer Worlds
Release Jun 05, 2020
PublisherPrivate Division
Rating16+

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