The Outer Worlds Looks Terrible On Switch

The Outer Worlds Looks Terrible On Switch
Screenshot: Obsidian Entertainment

The Outer Worlds looks so bad on Switch I’m tempted to tell even people who have no other means of playing it to stay away.

The Switch port of Obsidian’s sci-fi role-playing game comes out June 5, and it’s clear the journey to Nintendo’s handheld home-console hybrid has been anything but smooth. From the couple hours I’ve played so far, the underlying game still appears to be intact. The look and style of the original, meanwhile, has taken a severe hit, with characters, objects, and environments that look at best blurry and at worst incomplete.

Image Screenshot: Obsidian Entertainment

The Outer Worlds takes place in a distant solar system where life in a burgeoning set of colonies is ruled by the futuristic equivalent of your local chamber of commerce. Corporations vie with one another for dominance while abusing and exploiting the colonists who all work for them. Though bleak, this satire of life on the space frontier is offset in part by a vibrant-looking world and gorgeous skyboxes that make The Outer Worlds feel more like space fantasy that just a gritty dystopia.

Unfortunately, a lot of that beauty and detail is missing from the Switch port. More than once I caught myself waiting for textures and other graphical details to load, only to realise they weren’t coming. This is just how things were going to look:

Image Screenshot: Obsidian Entertainment

I’ve searched for the brilliant sea-green sunrises and planetary rings filling up the original’s skies, only to see what feels like a half-finished canvas. Many of the basic elements are still there, but so scaled down they hardly feel like they even belong.

ImageYouTube” loading=”lazy” > Screenshot: Digital Foundry, YouTube

Digital Foundry has a very thorough breakdown comparing the Switch port to the Xbox One X version, in which they applaud the fact that the port exists at all while also noting the myriad sacrifices that were necessary to make it happen. The game runs at 720p in docked mode, but only 540p and sometimes even less while in handheld mode. This is a shame, since the real draw of a Switch version is being able to enjoy the sprawling RPG on the go.

Framerate drops are also an issue, and while the shooting was never great on Xbox One or PS4 to begin with, it’s even clumsier with the Joy-Con. It’s definitely still possible to play the game in docked mode with a Pro controller and enjoy some of what The Outer Worlds has to offer, but unlike the version that came out last spring, the Switch port feels like a skip.


  • How awful it looks probably wouldn’t matter as much if it didn’t also have framerate and control issues…

    It’s like they were actively trying for well below average.

      • As one of Kotaku’s resident Ark junkies (4000 or so hours now…), holy, holy shit. That made my eyes bleed and my soul weep…

  • Not that anyone would miss much by skipping it. Whole game was kinda overrated anyway. The parody of capitalism went too far into futility, and the RPG/choice aspects largely boiled down to, ‘will I be able to access that cache of consumables?’ It’s more like a half-length Bioshock with some unimpressive dialog options and fewer cool powers.

    It’s OK. But it’s not great. Not a swing and a miss… but a ball and a walk.

    • Yeah I felt the game was way over hyped. I think it just got some extra traction due to the whole fallout 76 saga.

      • Yeah. Second coming of Obsidian, FO:NV in space was perhaps a bit of an oversell.

        It was fine, though. I liked the ship AI and a couple of the companions. Some of the dialogue was occasionally funny?

    • I actually thoroughly enjoyed it on Game Pass. It wasn’t sprawling or massive, but a decent 25-30 hour game which you could play, enjoy and then put to the side.

      It may also be that it was exactly the kind of game I wanted, something with a little meat, but nothing to loose 100 hours in chipping away at. The choices were at least something more than Person A is bad and Person B is good, so do you want to be an angel or evil incarnate. But then again, I didn’t really care about most of it..

    • Eh I enjoyed it a lot more than I did fo4. It wasn’t a tripleA game, more a B game. I think people expected too much personally.

      • I think I might’ve enjoyed it more if I had gone in with lower expectations.
        I blame reviewers. The pre-release hype was ignorable, but reviewers all over were simply gushing over this thing. Reviewers I normally trust. I’m glad I played it on GamePass where it was – effectively – free, but I really need to look elsewhere for reviewers I can trust, now.

        • Thats fair. It was blown out of proportion. What it did do in term of character, it did better than fo4, but the scale and whatnot were nowhere near.

  • Sounds like it’s passable docked and as someone that doesn’t have a gaming PC or other console, should be alright to my eyes. Something to keep an eye on for a good sale I think.

  • Not surprised at all. It looked pretty rubbish on Xbox tbh. Such an overrated game, I thought.

  • What?!

    Someone on Kotaku saying something about the Switch that isn’t overwhelmingly positive?

    runs to check that water is still wet

  • I’m enjoying it so far, first person RPG’s are my jam. But yeah, oh boy, disappointed with the graphics. It looks like a xbox 360 game. When I get a PS5, I’ll be trading in the Switch for a Switch Lite.

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