Divinity Original Sin 2 iPad vs Nintendo Switch vs Steam Deck – What Platform Should You Buy It On? – TouchArcade
As someone who owns and plays games on multiple platforms, I’m always interested in seeing how games scale up and down across hardware. With limited time and budgets, it isn’t feasible for people to spend time and money on getting multiple versions of a game, especially if it lacks any progress sync. Some games do include cross progression or cross play, making it easier to recommend a specific version. With Larian Studios’ masterpiece Divinity: Original Sin 2 ($24.99), I’ve ended up owning and playing it on iPad Pro, my laptop, Steam Deck, Nintendo Switch, and Nintendo Switch Lite recently while previously having checked it out on PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. With many folks including myself excited for the full version of Baldur’s Gate 3 on PC and PS5 this August, I started a new save in Divinity: Original Sin 2 to play with friends across platforms, and it got me wanting to compare the different platform releases for Divinity: Original Sin 2.
Before getting into the platform specifics, Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a masterpiece. If you’re only willing to play it on a specific platform, just buy it. It is a contender for one of the best RPGs of all time. I’m aiming to help those with access to a Steam Deck, modern iPad, and Nintendo Switch decide if it is worth prioritizing one platform over the other, or buying it on multiple systems in this guide. You should also read my iPad review of Divinity: Original Sin 2 here. In the past, I’ve done features comparing just iOS and Switch versions of games Stardew Valley or Dead Cells. With the Steam Deck and Divinity: Original Sin 2 being Steam Deck Verified, there has never been a better time (and game) to do our first ever iOS, Switch, and Steam Deck comparison feature.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 iPad vs Switch vs PC Steam Deck controls
The Steam Deck version of Divinity: Original Sin 2 is the PC version. This means, you can use a keyboard and mouse or the system’s own controls. You can also pair anything over bluetooth and play and take full advantage of Steam Input and community configurations. The iPad version, as explained in my review, ships with full support for all three input methods. You can use your controller, keyboard and mouse, or touch controls in Divinity: Original Sin 2 on iPad. The interface is different depending on your input method. The touch controls are fantastic. The Nintendo Switch version only has button controls for use with Joy-Cons or a supported controller. There is no touchscreen support.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 iPad vs Switch vs PC Steam Deck interface
As with the controls, the interface options are best on PC and iPad. Of the three devices, the iPad (11 inch and larger) offers the best interface. I’m not a fan of how Divinity: Original Sin 2 looks on Nintendo Switch Lite, but it is ok on the regular Switch or docked. The teams handling each version have done a great job scaling everything across, but the Switch Lite is the worst way to experience this in terms of the interface and scaling. My favorite is definitely the iPad version with its larger canvas and high resolution display. The PC version on a high resolution and refresh rate monitor is likely the best way for most people to experience it though.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 performance and visuals across iPad and Switch
I don’t have the means for precise testing with resolutions and frame rates, so I’ll point you towards MrMacRight’s brilliant analysis video of the iPad version here and Digital Foundry’s detailed and awesome analysis of the Switch version here if you’re curious about the numbers. Both videos are well worth your time and are great at showcasing how the ports scale across different devices.
In my own experience, the Steam Deck offers the best performance of the lot by far when it comes to portable systems. I don’t have an M1 iPad Pro or later and still use the iPad Pro (2020), so in my situation, the Steam Deck is the smoothest. The Switch is the worst performer of the lot. Load times are great on iPad and Steam Deck as well. A game like this isn’t held back by a lower frame rate given its combat, but a smoother performance on better portable hardware definitely helps. One thing to keep in mind is the iPad and Switch install sizes are massively lower than the PC version on Steam Deck. The iPad install size on my iPad Pro is 17.2GB while the switch version is 11.8GB. The game on my Steam Deck uses 64GB.
Visually, my iPad Pro version shines, but the Steam Deck version wins on the performance side.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 feature comparison on iPad, Switch, and Steam Deck
Divinity: Original Sin 2 on PC has the most features thanks to official Steam Workshop support, but the iPad version isn’t lacking in anything barring that. It has full split screen drop in and drop out co-op support, online cross play, cross save, and is the full game. The Nintendo Switch version has cross save with iPad and PC, but no online cross play or split screen support. Thanks to this, the Switch version of Divinity: Original Sin 2 feels like a companion to the others more than its own thing if you value cross platform play and split screen. The latter is a big part of the experience for many, but it wasn’t feasible on Switch. If you’re a solo player or have someone to play with online on Switch, these won’t matter to you.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 online cross play platforms
As mentioned above, Divinity: Original Sin 2 supports cross play online only on iPad and PC platforms.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 cross save platforms
Cross save is available through Steam, and you can do this on iPad, PC platforms, and Nintendo Switch. Thanks to cross save, I’d actually recommend grabbing the game on any combination of these platforms so you have a way to play at home and on a portable for playing on the go. The PS4 and Xbox One versions do not support cross save.
Which is the best portable version of Divinity: Original Sin 2?
Overall, the iPad version is the best since it offers all control and interface options while still retaining every feature from the main PC version barring modding. If you value a smoother frame rate above everything, the Steam Deck is likely the way to go for you. The Nintendo Switch version is double the price of the iPad version while offering worse visuals and performance with no splitscreen or crossplay support. I would’ve said the Switch version has a physical release which is always good to have for an amazing game like this, but it seems like that isn’t available anymore.
If you have a modern iPad, that’s the way to go. Not only does it offer everything you need for the full Divinity: Original Sin 2 experience, but it also excels with its superb interface and control options. If you already own the PC version and have a Steam Deck, you could save $25 by sticking to the Steam version on Steam Deck, but the iPad version is definitely better overall.
The game retails for $44.99 on Steam, $49.99 on Nintendo Switch, and $24.99 on iPad. It does get discounted across all platforms every now and then so keep an eye out if you’d like to own it on more than one platform. I have no issues with it at full price on all platforms. It is that good even with platform-specific cutbacks.
Is it worth buying Divinity: Original Sin 2 on PS5 or Xbox over the other platforms?
I own Divinity: Original Sin 2 on everything digitally and physically on PS4 and Xbox. I sadly missed out on the Switch physical I wanted to get, and hope it gets a reprint in the future. Having played it on everything now, the PS4 and Xbox versions played on PS5 and Xbox Series X are excellent since the core game itself is brilliant, but I’d only recommend those if you have people playing with you in the same ecosystem, or want to play it solo and don’t care about taking your progress with you across devices.
Hopefully this feature helped you decide what platform (s) to buy Divinity: Original Sin 2 on if you were considering playing Larian’s brilliant RPG. Hopefully we will see Baldur’s Gate 3 arrive on whatever Switch and iPad hardware is feasible in a few years as well, letting me do another comparison across platforms in the future. You can buy Divinity: Original Sin 2 on the App Store for iPadOS here, eShop for Nintendo Switch here, and get it on Steam here.