Apex Legends Switch Impressions: Is It Worth Playing?

by in Apex Legends | Mar, 10th 2021

Respawn Entertainment created one of the best battle royale games in the entire space with Apex Legends, and it is finally coming to a new console platform. The long-awaited Apex Legends Switch version is here, and it has been released to the hyped audience on that system. 

Apex Legends Switch Version Is Here

The Apex Legends Switch version is one of the most exciting versions of the battle royale game to date since it is the first new console version since, well, the game launched two years ago. Ever since then, it has been available on both PlayStation and Xbox at the same time. 

Though it has some next-gen versions to play, Apex has been mostly quiet on the console front with no Nintendo version to date. But last year saw the announcement of that version. It is finally here after some delays and initially a release date alongside the Steam release.

With the release of the Apex Legends Switch version, we can finally play one of the few battle royale games that are available everywhere except for mobile, though we already know that that is likely on the way as well. Of course, this begs the question: how does it play?

PUBG and Call of Duty Warzone have yet to make an appearance on Switch to this date, making Apex the only real competitor to Fortnite that has also found massive success on this hybrid console system. As such, it must run as well as Fortnite, if not even better. 

To compete with that game in the space, it needs to bring the classic, fast-paced first-person shooter gameplay with some Overwatch-style abilities thrown in there but in a high-quality way representing what is seen on the other console platforms. 

That is where we come in. With the Apex Legends Switch version on March 9, we can dig in and see how this port stacks up against the other platforms that we already have. After spending some time with this port, this is what we have to say about it. 

Technical Performance of This Version

First and foremost, let’s break down the technical side of things regarding the Apex Legends Switch version. Courtesy of Eurogamer, we already have some details about how this version runs and plays compared to the other console versions.

According to the reports from Eurogamer, it looks like this version’s technical performance is actually both good and bad, depending on who you talk to. Overall, it is clear and necessary to say that Switch owners are probably not going to want to be playing with the other consoles and PC. 

This is because players on Nintendo Switch will be dealing with some frame rate hits that are significantly less than what we see on the other platforms at this time. The most obvious change is the fact that the Switch version, unfortunately, runs at 30 frames-per-second. 

This is by no means a surprise, honestly. Still, it is unfortunate that the other versions are targeting 60 FPS even though they don’t always hit them, especially on the previous generation of consoles. This is going to be noticeably different for existing console players hoping to play on Switch, though.

Even more than that, though, it doesn’t necessarily end there as there are some issues with the resolution. As is standard with many of these ports to the Switch, the resolution isn’t going to be 4K, of course, but it won’t be anywhere near full HD either at the same time. 

The resolution will vary depending on whether or not you are playing in the handheld or docked format. When it comes to the handheld mode, you are looking at playing at around 576p, which is pretty unfortunate, honestly, while the docked version will be able to hit 720p at least. 

But some unique factors are built into the Nintendo Switch version that players should know about that make it at least a little bit more viable. For one, you have an updated UI that is better suited for the handheld screen that many users will be playing on. 

And there is a new feature that no other platform has at this time, which is gyroscopic aiming. You will be able to aim by physically moving the system, like in other games like Splatoon 2, so that you can better aim for those users who like using it in multiplayer games like this one. Here’s how all of this works in practice, based on our time with this Apex Legends Switch version. 

Our Impressions: The Positives

There are more positives than I expected when it comes to Apex Legends’ port to Nintendo Switch. For one, the game genuinely looks better than I expected it to. Used to the PS5 version at this point; the graphics aren’t too far off that I feel like I’m not enjoying the game. 

Part of this might be helped because I was playing in handheld mode, so the smaller screen size could mask much of what was missing from the game. That said, it wasn’t as blurry as I thought it would be. The style of the game wasn’t lost. 

I kind of like the look of the characters in Apex more in the Switch version as the lesser detail has given them a cel-shaded look that is more prevalent and stylistically better, in my opinion. The lack of detail is apparent in the environments, but not too terribly so, especially when you are on the ground; it is mainly an issue in the air. 

The user interface looks great and much more significant here, helping me overall as my eyesight isn’t excellent, so this may be a solid version for players who need bigger text in general. It plays fine, and you can do all of the usual gameplay features here, on par with everything that you can find in the other versions, from the new event in Season 8 to the Clubs and so on. 

The Negatives

Of course, I would be remiss not to mention the negatives in this port, of which there are some. The most glaring issue with the game is not how it looks but how it plays. It plays much slower than I would like, especially being used to the sometimes 60 FPS that the other versions can get. 

30 FPS is slow in comparison as I felt like my bullets were not going fast enough when shooting, and that dampened my experience overall. It is one of those situations where if you don’t know any better, though, you could definitely get used to playing this way and probably be good at it. 

But the slower speed was not something I enjoyed, even though I’m not a huge FPS person usually. 30 FPS isn’t so bad to me when it comes to singleplayer story-focused games, but that doesn’t feel right in an online multiplayer game like this one in 2021. 

But if you can get past the frame rate in this version, the other negatives are much smaller ones, like the draw distance and backgrounds. The immediate areas around you look pretty good, but everything else beyond that lacks texture details, for sure. 

Worse still, the game has this weird film over it that either could be from the lower resolution or an attempt to mask that. Either way, it is noticeable and annoying and felt weird on my eyes, going from playing Apex on Switch to doing just about anything else. 

Should You Play It?

While it might seem like much of my impressions with the Apex Legends Switch version are negative, that isn’t necessarily the case. I enjoy this version and could see myself using it a lot in the future for stuff like checking out new content, writing guides, and quickly jumping for a swift match or two. 

In that way, I do think it is a positive experience overall and one that I would recommend to some Switch owners. All in all, I would say that if you own a different console, especially one of the new ones, or you play it on a great PC, then you are better off staying on there most of the time. 

But if you only have the Nintendo Switch as your main source of gaming at this time, you are probably going to have a good time here if you like battle royale games. This is especially the case if you are looking for something different from the usual Fortnite formula. 

If you are like me and not a huge fan of the building aspect of Fortnite but love battle royale, then you should give Apex Legends a try on Nintendo Switch. It is similar but different enough to cater to a somewhat different audience plus the general abilities style is excellent. 

If you have been looking for more of this classic battle royale or even just general first-person shooter gameplay, there is nowhere else to look other than here on Nintendo Switch. It is a frenetic, fast-paced, exciting thrill ride that feels amazing in match one and match 100. 

Again, it is worth reiterating that this is mainly for those Switch owners who don’t have a powerful PC or one of the other consoles. If you have one of them, you are better off playing on there. After all, cross-play is available on the other platforms, so you aren’t locked out of playing with friends no matter where you are. 

However, there is no cross-progression at this time, which is more of a bummer for this port. There is no cross-progression on any of the console versions, so this is no surprise, but it prevents me from wanting to play on this version anytime soon. If you are like an active player already in Apex and me, you should probably stick to your original place. 

Nintendo Switch Pro Gives Us Hope

But above all else, there is something special about the Apex Legends Switch version, and that is the hope that it gives me for the future. As you likely already know, there are plenty of rumors everywhere for the Nintendo Switch Pro version that is reportedly coming soon, perhaps even this year. 

A new version of the console is inevitable at some point, be it an upgraded version or a successor console, and that version will hopefully be more powerful in whatever form it comes in. Apex Legends almost gives us even more hope for this to be the case. 

More and more Switch games are looking less and less useful as the console’s life goes on. Apex is one of them. It doesn’t run nearly as well as it does on the other systems. A more powerful Switch could be the solution here as it would allow players to enjoy it in a version more on par with everywhere else.

An upgraded Switch model or a sequel Switch would be, hopefully, able to play the game at the very least 1080p, if not in 4K when docked. At the same time, it would have to be able to play the game at 60 FPS as the other versions do if it wants even to have a reason to exist in the first place. 

This would make this version worth investing in at this point in the hopes that a better console will come down the line. You will be able to continue there with improved performance and graphics. It is a pie in the sky dream but something that this version gives us hopes of. 

This version is by no means bad, for sure, but it does beg the question of why having it when other similar games that would likely end up in the same situation, like Call of Duty Warzone, aren’t on here. But maybe EA, Respawn, and port developer Panic Button knows something that we don’t know and already have access to the Switch Pro devkits. We will have to wait and see for now on that one. 


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