Review: Apex Legends on Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch is an amazingly powerful device. Over the years we saw dozens of impressive Switch versions. Unfortunately, Apex Legends isn't such an impressive port.

Apex Legends is now playable on Nintendo Switch. As you might have guessed, the hybrid handheld version has to compromise on many levels. For example, the resolution is drastically reduced to 720P in TV mode and 576P in handheld mode. In addition, you always play with a maximum of 30 frames per second. Both docked and in handheld mode. In addition, the graphic quality of everything has been scaled back to bring the frenetic Battle Royale to the Nintendo Switch. Unfortunately, all these compromises are still not enough to provide a playable experience.

Apex Legends

A Battle Royale from the creators of Titanfall. Apex Legends is set in the same universe as the popular shooter series from Respawn Entertainment. It is one of the most refined battle royale titles to date. Especially because of this fact, it is a shame that the Nintendo Switch version leaves a bad first impression on many players.

In our review from more than two years ago , we already talked about the likely success of the game. Now, two years later, we see what a good foundation can do in the battle royale scene. Respawn's Apex Legends is going like a rocket and we are already in its eighth season. Each season, Respawn Entertainment introduces a new character and changes to the play areas. From brand new playing fields such as Olympus from Season 7 to major adjustments to existing playing fields.

These adjustments don't just happen but are exposed a bit in advance through trailers, teasers and release videos. There is always some sort of story or event that leads to the arrival of new Legends and changes in the world. Just before Season 7, for example, you saw the giant Olympus map appearing closer and closer. You could see some sort of gigantic flying ship in the distance and everyone wondered what this meant. Respawn seems to be taking Fortnite as an example here to make their game always feel alive. She's doing pretty well. Every Season Apex Legends feels fresh.

Nintendo Switch

Players on Nintendo Switch will start in the eighth season of the game, and a little bit late. That's why every Nintendo Switch player gets 30 Battle Pass levels for free. There is a free and and paid line in the Battle Pass. The paid line costs about a tenner and gives you instant access to some unique skins for certain characters and weapons. The more you play, the more cosmetics you unlock. If you play enough you will even get enough coins to purchase the next Battle Pass at no extra cost. There are 110 levels in the Battle Pass and since the seventh season the progress feels a lot slower than before.

Of course you only get the best reward at level 110. This is an alternative version of the skin you get at level 100. These are always two weapon skins with unique effects.

Are you already well on your way with the Battle Pass on PC, Playtstation or Xbox? Unfortunately, despite the game having cross-play, there is no cross-progression. Everyone starts on Nintendo Switch with a clean slate. No levels, no skins and no extra characters. It is of course very nice that you can play together with all your friends on Xbox, Playstation and PC, but for your own pleasure turn off this cross-play option at the moment . As a Nintendo Switch player, you are directly at a disadvantage because of all the limitations that the Switch version entails. All other versions run up to 4K and up to 144 FPS (PC).

How does Apex Legends play on the Switch?

We are not averse to Apex Legends. Every season, Respawn manages to pull us back to the King's Ravine. So we couldn't just ignore the Nintendo Switch version. We tested this version on a Nintendo Switch Lite in handheld mode and on TV via a Nintendo Switch dock with a standard Nintendo Switch version. In both cases, the experience is far from optimal.

In the Nintendo Switch version, Panic Button (makers of the Switch port) introduces motion controls. This is a positive addition for Switch players. After all, many FPS players on Nintendo Switch are used to these control options in, for example, Splatoon 2. Unfortunately, this control does not yet work as you would like. Horizontal movement requires that you move your controller, or Switch, in that direction, instead of lifting it in that direction. Horizontal movement does work as expected.

Playing a shooter with handheld controls on the Switch is not optimal, so you can always connect a Switch Pro controller to optimize your experience. But here too you may notice as a console veteran that you don't make much of it. What's wrong?

Performance

The Nintendo Switch version runs at a maximum of 30 FPS, but in many cases this target is not achieved. Even picking up stuff becomes a job that requires you to look crooked while sticking your tongue out. The performance is just really bad. This is most noticeable during firefights and everyone literally shoots the stars from the sky because you absolutely cannot adjust with the low frames. Not even with the half-acting motion controls.

I ended up in a 3 on 1 fight. If we won this one it meant the first Switch Victory, but alas. Since I only had a Triple Take and R99 I lost to the enemy with a Spitfire in no time. Due to the bad performance of the Switch version, this weapon is without a doubt the only chance in a firefight. Fast and very slow weapons cannot be adjusted in combat due to the low frames.

Verdict

Apex Legends is a great Battle Royale and an even better shooter. It's one of, if not the best battle royale game right now. Unfortunately, the Nintendo Switch version leaves a very bad first impression on a large group of new players. Perhaps EA and Panic Button should have let this version cook a little longer, until, for example, the Nintendo Switch Pro?

 

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