• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.

[DF] The Outer Worlds Switch Review: Ambitious But Ultimately Not Good Enough

Bullet Club

Gold Member
Oct 24, 2017
9,712
22,401
1,200


Not much has been seen of The Outer Worlds prior to launch - but with developer Virtuos claiming any current-gen console game can be ported to Switch, and with 1080p docked and 720p mobile resolutions announced, we were hopeful of a good conversion. Ultimately, the ambition is there, but the cuts are too many and the final pay-off simply isn't good enough.
Bonus video

 

Branthrax

Suffers from extreme PDS
Oct 24, 2017
899
1,742
520
Switch pro is badly needed. I bought one but I just couldn’t do it. First party is okay for the most part but everything not Nintendo Developed is just bad. Pixelated slideshows. Which is disappointing because the idea has limitless potential.
 
Last edited:

Andodalf

Gold Member
Oct 20, 2013
3,949
4,594
840
23
Earth
“When in its low detail state, it almost feels like you’re running around google earth in street view, in a partially loaded map on a ten year old chrome book”

good lord. Comparisons the Skyrim PS3 and BL2 Vita
 
Last edited:
  • Love
Reactions: SEGA_2012

S77

Member
Aug 30, 2017
63
235
315
This port reminds me of Shadow of Mordor for Xbox 360 and PS3. However, like in that case, the problem is not the power of the hardware, it's the incompetence of that game studio that attempted to port the game.
 
  • Like
Reactions: darkangel-212559

Andodalf

Gold Member
Oct 20, 2013
3,949
4,594
840
23
Earth
This port reminds me of Shadow of Mordor for Xbox 360 and PS3. However, like in that case, the problem is not the power of the hardware, it's the incompetence of that game studio that attempted to port the game.
did you watch the video at all? The hardware just isn’t there for this
 
  • Like
Reactions: scydrex

-Arcadia-

Branded for life by her misdeeds
Aug 20, 2019
8,052
27,121
880
At some point in development, when the early builds were up and running, someone needed to say no.

Switch is a lovely piece of hardware, but when you have to mangle the circular peg to fit in the square hole, it’s time to stop.
 

Evilms

Posts in tech threads, doesn't understand.
Dec 16, 2018
1,862
8,093
595
Summary
  • 720p dynamic docked.
  • 540p~384p dynamic in handled mode.
  • Textures in sub low.
  • Game looks blurry.
  • Pop-in.
  • Framerate dropping below 20fps.
  • Back to the PS3/360 ERA.
 

Fake

Member
Dec 20, 2018
9,201
13,376
855
Rio de Janeiro
Switch pro is badly needed. I bought one but I just couldn’t do it. First party is okay for the most part but everything not Nintendo Developed is just bad. Pixelated slideshows. Which is disappointing because the idea has limitless potential.
With all due respect, as much I want a Switch PRO he will never solve those dev works.
 

01011001

Member
Dec 4, 2018
3,547
5,472
455
Switch pro is badly needed. I bought one but I just couldn’t do it. First party is okay for the most part but everything not Nintendo Developed is just bad. Pixelated slideshows. Which is disappointing because the idea has limitless potential.
that's not an issue of the hardware but an issue of lazy ports.

gone are the days where ports got adjusted and remade assets fitting the target hardware, be it upgraded by hand like in the Xbox ports of GTA3 and VC, or be it downgraded by hand as in Resident Evil 4 on PS2.

nowadays what happens is these lazy ass ports just use the usually terrible looking mipmaps and low LOD models the games already have and have them be the highest possible LOD.
these assets were not meant to be seen close up, and that's why they look like absolute shit.

ontop of that whole parts of the graphics are removed like foliage etc.

now let's take a look at an RPG on switch that has an even bigger open world, runs fairly smooth and still looks really good... I'm talking of course about Skyrim








at 900p and a pretty stable 30fps, running on the same hardware as this god awful port of Outer Worlds.
 
Last edited:

#Phonepunk#

Member
Sep 4, 2018
17,162
32,715
870
39
Skyrim is a game that was released in 2011. Outer Wilds came out LAST YEAR and doesn't run all that great on base consoles. ofc it will be easier to port a game that has already been ported and resold on various platforms for close to a decade.

oof looks tough next to Xbone. however, if you aren't doing direct comparison it probably doesn't matter. i would still play this portable. i can see people not really caring. N64 played most games under 20fps and people consider that a classic.
 
Last edited:

-Arcadia-

Branded for life by her misdeeds
Aug 20, 2019
8,052
27,121
880
gone are the days where ports got adjusted and remade assets fitting the target hardware, be it upgraded by hand like in the Xbox ports of GTA3 and VC, or be it downgraded by hand as in Resident Evil 4 on PS2.
I lament this too, but isn’t it a possibility that essentially making a game twice (hopefully I’m not exaggerating — not too familiar with the process) is just too much work and money? Especially for meager (if nice) returns on the Switch version?

We used to see this, but... then again, games used to be orders of magnitude less complicated in a visual and detail sense. Redoing a PS2 asset is completely different from redoing an Xbox One X one.
 
Last edited:

01011001

Member
Dec 4, 2018
3,547
5,472
455
Skyrim is a game that was released in 2011. Outer Wilds came out LAST YEAR and doesn't run all that great on base consoles. ofc it will be easier to port a game that has been ported and resold for close to a decade.

oof looks tough next to Xbone. however, if you aren't doing direct comparison it probably doesn't matter. i would still play this portable.
that's not the point, the point is that Skyrim uses assets made for a system that's at the performance level of the Switch, while this Outer Worlds port simply slaps low LOD versions of the existing game into the port and calls it a day.

a truly good port would have remade assets that are lower quality but designed around the fact that they're seen up close.

both games are extremely similar in design and gameplay, yet one looks dramatically better than the other on the same hardware
 

Andodalf

Gold Member
Oct 20, 2013
3,949
4,594
840
23
Earth
that's not an issue of the hardware but an issue of lazy ports.

gone are the days where ports got adjusted and remade assets fitting the target hardware, be it upgraded by hand like in the Xbox ports of GTA3 and VC, or be it downgraded by hand as in Resident Evil 4 on PS2.

nowadays what happens is these lazy ass ports just use the usually terrible looking mipmaps and low LOD models the games already have and have them be the highest possible LOD.
these assets were not meant to be seen close up, and that's why they look like absolute shit.

ontop of that whole parts of the graphics are removed like foliage etc.

now let's take a look at an RPG on switch that has an even bigger open world, runs fairly smooth and still looks really good... I'm talking of course about Skyrim








at 900p and a pretty stable 30fps, running on the same hardware as this god awful port of Outer Worlds.
Skyrim is far less demanding at its core. It was designed with lower poly counts and texture resolution in mind, and authored as such. The switch port could just take advantage of what was already done. This game has an underlying feature set which is far more demanding in terms of how the game is rendered. And that’s fine becuse the game was made for much more powerful hardware than Skyrim was. IMo Skyrim looked better than OW relative to when they came out, and when you add in the technological hurdles of course it looks better now. The Outer Worlds wouldn’t even run on a comparable device, which would be the OG shield Tablet. You can say the game shouldn’t have been made, If you want to port this game to Switch, this is what it’s going to look like. If you want to make a brand new game for the switch with the same plot and Ip it would look a lot better, but would take a games worth of work. Skyrim is an insane comparison.
 
  • Like
Reactions: scydrex

01011001

Member
Dec 4, 2018
3,547
5,472
455
Skyrim is far less demanding at its core. It was designed with lower poly counts and texture resolution in mind, and authored as such. The switch port could just take advantage of what was already done. This game has an underlying feature set which is far more demanding in terms of how the game is rendered. And that’s fine becuse the game was made for much more powerful hardware than Skyrim was. IMo Skyrim looked better than OW relative to when they came out, and when you add in the technological hurdles of course it looks better now. The Outer Worlds wouldn’t even run on a comparable device, which would be the OG shield Tablet. You can say the game shouldn’t have been made, If you want to port this game to Switch, this is what it’s going to look like. If you want to make a brand new game for the switch with the same plot and Ip it would look a lot better, but would take a games worth of work. Skyrim is an insane comparison.
the thing is, games being ported and using completely different engines so they work on weaker hardware, or at least remade/heavily adjusted graphics is not unheard of.
it's just that it's not being done anymore.
now what you get is a developer that tweaks .ini files until the game runs no matter how shit it looks. I know that's not literally what's happening but that's how the results look like.

imagine a studio like Bluepoint would take the outer worlds and remake all the assets to fit the Switch's specs while looking nice on it. that's also not unheard of because they already made such a port just the other way around.
their PS4 port of Gravity Rush basically got all new higher quality assets made by Bluepoint, for a low budget game with realistically speaking pretty low sales expectations compared to Outer Worlds.

of course a port like that would be way more expensive to make than what was delivered here, but given how well Switch ports sell I bet it would be worth it, especially if word of mouth would spread how great the port is
 
Last edited:

Romulus

Member
Mar 21, 2019
4,076
4,959
450
that's not an issue of the hardware but an issue of lazy ports.

gone are the days where ports got adjusted and remade assets fitting the target hardware, be it upgraded by hand like in the Xbox ports of GTA3 and VC, or be it downgraded by hand as in Resident Evil 4 on PS2.

nowadays what happens is these lazy ass ports just use the usually terrible looking mipmaps and low LOD models the games already have and have them be the highest possible LOD.
these assets were not meant to be seen close up, and that's why they look like absolute shit.

ontop of that whole parts of the graphics are removed like foliage etc.

now let's take a look at an RPG on switch that has an even bigger open world, runs fairly smooth and still looks really good... I'm talking of course about Skyrim








at 900p and a pretty stable 30fps, running on the same hardware as this god awful port of Outer Worlds.
Skyrim is from 2011 and ran well on XB360, a console chipset finalized in 2004. Lol. Its definitely the hardware when it comes to modern games.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: scydrex

01011001

Member
Dec 4, 2018
3,547
5,472
455
Skyrim is from 2011 and ran well on XB360, a console chipset finalized in 2004. Lol. Its definitely the hardware when it comes to modern games.
the point is, look at both games. they are extremely similar in terms of mechanics and such, honestly Skyrim is way more complex overall.
yet one looks like absolute shit while the other looks pretty good even today... on the same hardware

it doesn't matter from when each game is. one looks good and runs well, the other looks shit and runs awfully
 

Andodalf

Gold Member
Oct 20, 2013
3,949
4,594
840
23
Earth
Skyrim is from 2011 and ran well on XB360, a console chipset finalized in 2004. Lol. Its definitely the hardware when it comes to modern games.
A much better comparison would be the OG crysis on 360, as this video points out. A game running on hardware that was not made to run it.
 

Romulus

Member
Mar 21, 2019
4,076
4,959
450
the point is, look at both games. they are extremely similar in terms of mechanics and such, honestly Skyrim is way more complex overall.
yet one looks like absolute shit while the other looks pretty good even today... on the same hardware

it doesn't matter from when each game is. one looks good and runs well, the other looks shit and runs awfully
Mechanics? Crysis 3 and Turok N64 have similar mechanics, means nothing in terms of how demanding it is.
Visuals tax the hardware. Every modern game ported to Switch has been ambitious but looked awful, Doom(even that's old now) Witcher 3's vaseline port, and Wolfenstein. It's just not up to the task without massive sacrifices. It makes perfect sense why it runs skyrim well and not Outer Worlds.
 

nordique

Member
Sep 17, 2011
2,126
307
735
Skyrim is from 2011 and ran well on XB360, a console chipset finalized in 2004. Lol. Its definitely the hardware when it comes to modern games.
The switch version is based on the enhanced edition, as noted by DF as well in those respective videos

the point is made in the video: you can’t simply take those assets and shrink them and expect the same game. Too many sacrifices are made. They would have needed to make it specific to the switch, which they didn’t do.

the hardware is not there for the same experience but he does mention this would have needed to be a case of a retool rather than a straight port

I wonder what a switch pro could reasonably offer, and if the hardware would be enough of an upgrade to justify any differences
 

Saber

Gold Member
Jan 30, 2019
3,095
2,940
640
Can't agree with the ambitious part. Theres nothing in this port that can be called ambitious.


At some point in development, when the early builds were up and running, someone needed to say no.

Switch is a lovely piece of hardware, but when you have to mangle the circular peg to fit in the square hole, it’s time to stop.
Thats something I heard quite often.

I think the primary fault here is that most of Switch users don't care at all. They're dumb enought to say "I just want to play on my work or bathroom".

Devs probably listen to that dumb shit everytime and say " well lets just put everything on very low, remove everything and be done with. They don't care about perfomance and visuals anyway, they just want something to buy".

No wonder Switch is the king of port begging fans.
 
Last edited:

Romulus

Member
Mar 21, 2019
4,076
4,959
450
The switch version is based on the enhanced edition, as noted by DF as well in those respective videos
True, but most of the enchancements made from the enhanced edition are paired back for switch specifically.

Not to mention it never runs at 720p undocked unless you're not moving, its dynamic resolution.

Level of detail, foilage rocks etc is reduced
Draw distance reduced
Texture work is reduced
Shadows are reduced
Ambient occlusion is reduced
Volumetric lighting is massively reduced
Depth of field reduced


The cutbacks above are compared to the PS4 version, which isn't great to begin with and already cutback. Docked shares all the same reductions as undocked except 900p. The switch version mostly an improved color palette and everything that's "enchanced" about it is paired back, drastically in many cases. It makes perfect sense why it runs on switch and more modern games don't without even heavier cutbacks.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: scydrex

Fbh

Member
Dec 6, 2013
14,147
8,443
960
Damn that's ugly.
The screenshots they showed pre-release already looked rough but it seems they actually cherry picked those to make it look better.

Switch pro is badly needed. I bought one but I just couldn’t do it. First party is okay for the most part but everything not Nintendo Developed is just bad. Pixelated slideshows. Which is disappointing because the idea has limitless potential.
It's only current gen retail games which border on being unplayable.
Lots of indie games run fine, less graphically demanding games like the Langreiser remaster work fine, games with more stylized visuals have gotten good ports like Valkyria Chronicles 4 or Dragon Quest XI, and last gen games like Skyrim, Bayonetta or Tales of Vesperia offer a decent experience that's usually a step up from their original release.

A Switch pro that can run current games better would be nice but a this point people would then just start complaining when it struggles to run Ps5/Series X games.
 
Last edited:

Jooxed

Gold Member
Aug 27, 2019
4,165
8,867
870
There is also a Day 1 patch that supposedly fixes a lot of graphical issues though i'm not sure if the reviewers had that. Still not a good look for the game.
 

Andodalf

Gold Member
Oct 20, 2013
3,949
4,594
840
23
Earth
Damn that's ugly.
The screenshots they showed pre-release already looked rough but it seems they actually cherry picked those to make it look better.



It's only current gen retail games which border on being unplayable.
Lots of indie games run fine, less graphically demanding games like the Langreiser remaster work fine, games with more stylized visuals have gotten good ports like Valkyria Chronicles 4 or Dragon Quest XI, and last gen games like Skyrim, Bayonetta or Tales of Vesperia offer a decent experience that's usually a step up from their original release.

A Switch pro that can run current games better would be nice but a this point people would then just start complaining when it struggles to run Ps5/Series X games.
100% I hope we get new hardware just for a new screen, and the hardware to run it. A switch that could run normal switch titles in handheld like Mario Odyssey in 1080p would be amazing
 

Romulus

Member
Mar 21, 2019
4,076
4,959
450
What's crazy is there will probably be at least 1-2 years that we're getting PS5 and XSX games without a new switch. Not sure what they're gonna do, missing out on all those ports or what? Or just downgrade them even further to potato mode?
 

Moogle11

Banned
Feb 7, 2020
898
904
515
Switch pro is badly needed. I bought one but I just couldn’t do it. First party is okay for the most part but everything not Nintendo Developed is just bad. Pixelated slideshows. Which is disappointing because the idea has limitless potential.
I think it's a tough spot for them.

On the one hand, they need more power if they want to get decent down ports. Even more so after the next gen machines are out and more games are targeting their specs.

On the other hand, Nintendo's strongest market it families/kids and people like me who buy it as a second or third platform mostly for Nintendo games. I don't know how many in those markets would pay more than the $200-300 price range for the Switch lineup currently. I know I wouldn't as I have a PC and PS4 (and whatever I go with next gen) for my graphic's fix and don't care much about graphics with Nintendo's cartoony stuff nor have much interest in playing multiplatform AAAs on a handheld.

So I'm not sure how big a market is for a powerful handheld/hybrid that can run good versions of console games. Vita tried that and failed as I think most people want to play those graphical showcase games on a big TV. I'm guessing Nintendo will just choose to stick with what's working for them since the Switch is flying off shelves and their games are selling at ridiculous attach rates and making them tons of profits. They're probably find with getting fewer third party ports now that they have a big install base established and growing as that means more people buying and playing their games which gives them a full cut vs. what ever percentage they get for third party game sales.
 

EightBit Man

Member
Jun 13, 2019
2,676
4,906
475
The Netherlands
Back to the PS3/360 ERA.
To be fair, I'd rather see games from that era, than those "ambitious ports" of "impossible games". Dark Souls, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, GRID Autosport, Alien: Isolation are all solid and amazing ports. There are so many games Nintendo-only fans missed out on during that generation, that you gotta wonder why we still haven't seen a Ninja Gaiden, Mafia II, Mirror's Edge, or many other games on the platform.
 

TTOOLL

Member
Mar 22, 2012
4,223
3,263
860
What about price? I bet it's more expensive now on Switch than other platforms.
 

MacReady13

Member
Jun 22, 2018
706
735
360
How in the fuck do Nintendo expect to compete with the next gen consoles when they are struggling to get this game running on the Switch. FFS release a Switch Pro. Just do it Nintendo!
 

Bullet Club

Gold Member
Oct 24, 2017
9,712
22,401
1,200


The Outer Worlds for the Nintendo Switch is an ambitious port of the game that has its problems. Notably poor visuals and low frame-rates. In this episode we take a look at the game and see if overclocking and a newly discovered visual enhancement patch help the game look cleaner and run better on the Nintendo Switch
 
  • Like
Reactions: AndrewRyan

Kamina

Golden Boy
Jun 2, 2013
6,702
5,176
895
34
Austria
True, but most of the enchancements made from the enhanced edition are paired back for switch specifically.

Not to mention it never runs at 720p undocked unless you're not moving, its dynamic resolution.

Level of detail, foilage rocks etc is reduced
Draw distance reduced
Texture work is reduced
Shadows are reduced
Ambient occlusion is reduced
Volumetric lighting is massively reduced
Depth of field reduced


The cutbacks above are compared to the PS4 version, which isn't great to begin with and already cutback. Docked shares all the same reductions as undocked except 900p. The switch version mostly an improved color palette and everything that's "enchanced" about it is paired back, drastically in many cases. It makes perfect sense why it runs on switch and more modern games don't without even heavier cutbacks.
And yet it still looks much better than what we got on PS360 back in the day, and it looks worlds better than what is presented in Outer Worlds.
Sure, its an older game engine, but Bethesda isnt known for optimizing thier games to run at their best potential even on PC, so it is surprising how well Skyrim looks and runs on Switch after all.
Witcher 3 looks also better on Switch than Outer Worlds, with more detail and objectives drawn at the same resolution.

Yes, the Switch is significantly weaker hardware than the current consoles, but its still more powerful than the old consoles. So the fault cant be alone on the hardware side, when seeing what miracles Nintendo can work on the device.
And yes, the Outer Worlds engine is newer and cant ported back as easily, but think the argument of “lazy devs“ can not be disputed completely here when it obvious that they have likely made the wrong decisions during ”optimization“, simply set all settings to low and ultimately delivered a broken game that should not be sold at 60 bucks.
 
Last edited:

SUPERGGK

Member
Nov 11, 2018
117
105
335
Switch is a wonderful piece of tech but I fear that it's already showing it's age and as suggested by many others, I too feel that a switch pro is definitely needed.
 

ShinNL

Member
May 2, 2006
5,656
307
1,605
Can't agree with the ambitious part. Theres nothing in this port that can be called ambitious.




Thats something I heard quite often.

I think the primary fault here is that most of Switch users don't care at all. They're dumb enought to say "I just want to play on my work or bathroom".

Devs probably listen to that dumb shit everytime and say " well lets just put everything on very low, remove everything and be done with. They don't care about perfomance and visuals anyway, they just want something to buy".

No wonder Switch is the king of port begging fans.
Can you stop being obnoxious? There's nothing wrong with liking a portable DOOM, Skyrim or Witcher 3. Don't use this bad port to excuse your terrible behavior.