Switch owners have been waiting quite a while for Apex Legends to come out on the console. Their wait is almost over, but once fans have the game on their favorite console, will they have a fair shot at competing with players on other systems via its crossplay ststem? While Apex Legends is likely to run smoothly on the Switch, there are other considerations to consider that may hinder players’ competitive edge.
Apex Legends’ Switch version was originally announced in June of 2020 during EA Play Live to release late last year. Unfortunately, the release was postponed for unforeseen reasons. The game’s release was then moved to February 2nd, 2020, in line with Apex Legends Season 8: Mayhem. As players eagerly watched the Nintendo eShop, it became clear that the day of release had not yet come. Now, with a March 9th release, Switch owners are hoping that Apex Legends will finally be within their grasp. With Apex Legends featured as part of the latest Nintendo Direct, it seems likely this release date will stick.
Once Switch players have the game in hand, they may be in for a bit of a shock when queueing up for cross-platform play. Apex Legends is on track to run smoothly on the Switch thanks to Panic Button helping Respawn Entertainment out with the port, as Panic Button brought both Rocket League and Doom Eternal to the platform with great success. Switch users’ main issues will be how small a screen the game runs on when in portable mode and the dreaded Nintendo Joy-Con drift, at least when put up against PC and console players.
Respawn Entertainment said it faced some challenges optimizing Apex Legends to run on the Nintendo Switch’s smaller screen while in portable mode. When played this way, it is the smallest screen available to play the game on. While it seems to be confident in the results, Apex Legends‘ color palette, which contains many darker greens and browns, could make some details hard to distinguish when scaled down to Switch’s 6.2-inch LCD Screen. Going from 1080p and 60fps down to 720p and 30fps may also cause issues that many players have run into with Doom Eternal in portable mode. Other battle royale games, such as Fortnite, have bright and vibrant colors, so this is not an issue for them.
The next issue may not be one that all Switch owners run into, but many will. That, of course, is Joy-Con drift issues. Since the Switch’s release in March of 2017, users have experienced problems with the Jon-Con controllers starting to drift in one direction or another. While Nintendo will repair or replace drifting controllers for free, many players do not want to go several weeks without a Joy-Con while waiting for that to happen. Drift could adversely affect an Apex Legends player’s movement and accuracy in the game, putting them at a disadvantage over other console players and even more so against keyboard and mouse players.
This may not be too much of an issue for those Apex Legends players wanting to use Respawn’s added support for the Switch’s gyroscope and motion controls. While it could still affect a player’s movement, aiming should be more accurate this way than when using the analog stick. Will this be enough to negate some of the disadvantages Switch players will encounter? It all depends on how solid the motion controls turn out to be. They may be the port’s saving grace.
Whether or not Switch players find it hard to keep up with other Apex Legends players, the upcoming port is a win for both Respawn Entertainment and Switch owners. Respawn has proven itself time and again, and while the competitive edge may be up for debate, a successful launch on the Switch will help further its reputation in the industry. Switch users will finally have Apex Legends on the go in the only (currently) mobile format available for the popular battle royale.
Apex Legends is available on the PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S. The Nintendo Switch version releases on March 9th, 2021.