Review: Apex Legends on Switch
By: Sahara McGirt (DarthSagaSwag)
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platforms: Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, PC
Apex Legends dropped onto the Nintendo Switch on March 9. Ported to the Nintendo Switch with Panic Button's help, Apex Legends will be playable on 'its smallest screen yet' according to the game's press release.
New and old Apex Legends players get access to a Legendary Nintendo-themed Pathfinder skin, 30 levels of the Season 8 Battle Pass, and double the XP. Be sure to login before the end of Season 8, May 4, to receive this special Pathfinder skin.
Before you download the Switch port of Apex Legends, be warned, the game takes up a whopping 18.9 GB of space. For a Switch, that's a pretty significant amount of memory. Be sure to have a memory card with open memory space for the game.
The Switch port of Apex Legends happened in the midst of Season 8 and during the Chaos Theory Collection Event, which I was already playing on my Xbox Series X. I have played the game for about two days on my Nintendo Switch Lite, and I have my verdict over the game's port to the Switch and its playability and performance.
Upon beginning gameplay, players have to take the tutorial of how to play on the Switch. There did not seem to be any way to opt-out of the tutorial. As a seasoned Apex Legends player who could have figured out how to play the game pretty quickly, that was a minutely annoying event to have to go through. Funnily enough, I encountered the tutorial glitch in which I could not place Lifeline's care package for about 10 minutes. It's not something I encountered my first go around, but it's apparently a commonly encountered glitch. It seems not even ports are free of the game's original glitches.
Getting into the initial rounds of games, I noticed one thing while I was playing; the resolution of 4k HDR10 televisions has spoiled me and my Xbox One X and Xbox Series X.
Boasting a performance of 30 fps at 720p resolution when docked or 576p resolution in handheld mode, the game is nowhere near as beautiful as it is on a PC or a well-performing console. That was to be expected in porting to such a small screen. Playing Apex Legends on the Switch felt like playing an early Xbox 360 or late release Playstation 2 game, at least graphics-wise.
The game itself is playable. The smaller screen is not as much fun when it comes to sighting and sniping enemies across the map as players cannot really see that far on the Nintendo Switch's lower resolution.
The controls on the Switch are familiar. However, sustained playing on the Switch Lite is uncomfortable after a few hours of gameplay. Playing on the Switch Lite would be fun for about 3 or 4 rounds of Apex Legends for casual players. For those gamers interested in hours of playing Apex Legends, it might not be as much fun, at least not on the Switch Lite.
There were problems while playing where the performance did drop, and textures took a minute or two to load up. I encountered these at the beginning of matches, but the game's performance stayed pretty consistent once loaded up.
After two days of gameplay, I don't see why anybody already playing at higher resolutions would want to play on the Switch, even for portability. If you have an Xbox and a mobile device with the Xbox app, you've already got a way to play Apex Legends on a mobile platform.
However, newer players with the Nintendo Switch might enjoy the chance to play Apex Legends, particularly with crossplay enabled to play with their friends on other consoles and PC, which is a pretty nice feature.
Frankly, I'll be sticking to my Xbox Series X to play Apex Legends.