The Outer Worlds On Switch Is Still A Mess, If Somewhat Less So

October 22, 2020

When it was announced earlier this week that The Outer Worlds on Nintendo Switch would be receiving a big update, I was excited. I absolutely loved the game on Xbox One X and was severely disappointed by the terrible quality of the Switch port. With the promise of some extra detail being added to the world and more details to come, I redownloaded the game in preparation. After downloading the patch and playing the game today however, I can confirm that it doesn’t completely fix the biggest issues that The Outer Worlds faced on Switch.

More detail has most definitely been added to the worlds in The Outer Worlds on Switch, with buildings increased in complexity and skyboxes added to the game, but the resolution and framerate are still massive issues. The resolution still drops far enough in both handheld and docked mode for models to turn into blocky messes, with handheld mode in particular looking pretty horrific at points. As you can see in the screenshot below, playing The Outer Worlds in handheld mode on Switch becomes an experience that wouldn’t look out of place on PS2 in some firefights. As much as the added details on building are nice and the additional props here and there fill the world out a bit, I feel like the effort might’ve been misplaced here.

On framerate, The Outer Worlds is still an utterly horrific experience on Nintendo Switch, despite plenty of work being done to reduce CPU and memory usage in the patch. Once again, this is most apparent in and around Edgewater. Roaming the landscape at a sprint still causes the game to completely stop and load, with the game’s world streaming still unable to keep up. This issue in particular doesn’t seem to have been improved much by this patch at all. Entering into encounters and firefights with enemies still causes the framerate to absolutely tank, although it feels like it doesn’t bottom out to quite as low a point as it did before. That isn’t really saying much though, given it still becomes a stuttery mess in combat.

Both of these issues aren’t just contained to exteriors, with interior environments such as the Groundbreaker still suffering from framerate drops in areas where lighting kicks in or the environment gets particularly busy. Again though, the framerate drops don’t seem to go quite as low as they did before. Now it feels more like slowdown, as opposed to the slideshow it could sometimes become in those busier interior environments. This progress bodes well for the future, although it still isn’t in a state I’d like to see.

Despite big hopes for this patch, it isn’t transformative in the same way that something like The Witcher 3’s patches were. There’s some added detail to the world and the framerate drops aren’t quite as severe, but they’re still bad enough to actively harm the experience of the game. The world streaming and resolution drop issues previously reported on are still there, and seemingly in full force. Overall, I still can’t recommended buying The Outer Worlds on Nintendo Switch, but the progress is promising enough that it will hopefully get to a point where I can in the future.