Comparing Apex Legends on the Switch to Its Full Console Versions
Respawn Entertainment has been hard at work expanding what Apex Legends can offer its players. The game has recently launched Season 8 and introduced the newest Legend, Fuse, and is in the midst of the Winter Circuit tournaments for the Apex Legends Global Series. Plus, Respawn has even teased fans about the game expanding beyond the battle royale genre sometime later this year.
As the game continues to grow, so does its player base. Apex Legends is constantly reaching higher concurrent player counts on Steam, and Respawn has teamed up with Panic Button to port its battle royale to the Nintendo Switch. Now that Apex Legends is available for Switch users, many are probably wondering how well the game actually plays on Nintendo’s hybrid console.
How Does Apex Legends On The Switch Compare To Other Consoles?
nintendo switch console over artwork of desert canyon in apex legends
Before the game became available, Panic Button revealed the technical specs for Apex Legends on the Switch. The game would run at a locked 30fps in both handheld and docked mode, which would hopefully avoid huge frame drops during chaotic fights. The resolution changes as well depending on the mode, with 720p while docked, and 576p in handheld.
For frames per second, the Nintendo Switch version certainly comes in last among all consoles. The original PS4 and Xbox One models target 60fps for the game, but can often drop into the 40s, which is still higher than the Switch. The PS4 Pro and Xbox One X were slightly better, with frame rates dropping into the 50s when not at 60fps. Respawn is aiming for a base 120fps for Apex Legends with the official PS5 and Xbox Series X versions of the game, but for now just the Xbox Series X can hit 120fps with backwards compatibility. Overall, there is a serious dissonance between these systems for a game where the difference between 30, 60, and 120fps can mean winning or losing a fight.
When it comes to resolution, the Nintendo Switch once again comes in last. The original PS4 and Xbox One can range between 720p and 1080p, but will typically run at the latter. The PS4 Pro and Xbox One X will generally run at 1080p, but can go up to 1440p. Apex Legends was given a performance boost to run at 1440p on the newest consoles, producing very clean results. Unfortunately, the 576p of Apex Legends on the Switch just can’t compete, and the 720p when docked isn’t much better.
Playing Apex Legends On The Nintendo Switch
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Right off the bat, players will need to have patience as they download Apex Legends onto their Switch consoles. While the game’s approximately 25GB size wouldn’t be an issue on other consoles, downloading that amount onto the Switch over Wi-Fi can take some time. Some players reported their downloads lasting hours, as they had to deal with constant error messages that would pause the download. This could just be caused by the surge of release day downloads, so hopefully it will end up working itself out.
For players that try Apex Legends on the Switch after playing it on PC or other consoles, the difference will be noticed immediately. The Switch version of the game lacks the clarity that can be experienced in any other version. As soon as players start flying over the King’s Canyon map, it seems like players are looking through a haze as any distant object is at least a little bit blurry. There doesn’t seem to be a major quality difference between how the game runs in docked versus handheld mode, but dealing with the messy UI in handheld is a problem for many.
The most unique aspect of Apex Legends on the Switch is that players can use the gyro sensor of the right Joy-Con to control their character’s aim. This will likely have no practical use, but might end up being a way to fine tune some shots, after a bit of practice. Playing the game in handheld mode can be awkward at first as players try to engage in a fast-paced shooter with the Switch’s controls layout. Anyone hoping to dedicate time to the game may want to use a Pro controller.
This version of the game launched with cross-play, although without cross-progression. For new Apex Legends players who are just starting the game, disabling cross-play might be a smart move. In that case, players would be paired with other Switch users, and wouldn’t have to worry about enemy teams who have the benefit of the Xbox Series X’s 120fps and 1440p resolution. Cross-play is still beneficial to play with friends who are on other platforms, which would be the best time to re-enable it.
Apex Legends on the Switch is far from horrible, but it is absolutely a change of pace from other platforms. Apex Legends players on the Switch may end up at a huge disadvantage when all is said and done, and it will be interesting to see the implications of that in Ranked Leagues. All in all, players will surely adapt to playing the game within the Switch’s capabilities. Hopefully, additional improvements can be implemented for the game down the line.