Overwatch Switch Review – Switching the Competitive for Comical
OverwatchOctober 15th, 2019
Overwatch is one of the most hotly contested competitive esports at the time. It rubs shoulders with games like Rainbow Six: Siege or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and its tournaments can bring in tens of thousands of views. And now, it's also available on the Nintendo Switch.
The Nintendo Switch isn’t exactly the platform you think of when you think of competitive shooters, but I’m here to tell you that Overwatch on the Switch is nonetheless a lot of fun. It doesn't feel competitive though.
Overwatch has a thousand modes, but the most popular is the simple quick play that sees two teams of six, divided into tanks, damage, and support, battle it out of an objective-based map. This mode on PC and PlayStation 4, despite it not being the official competitive mode, is filled with angry capital-G Gamers spuing racist vitriol and precision strategies. In competitive mode, this is increased tenfold. For Switch, Quick Play, competitive, and arcade are filled with players quietly trying their best against the Switch’s imprecise controls.
For once the Switch’s limited communication is a godsend for anyone that isn’t an edgy thirteen years old, with players only able to troll through the games in-game alert system, which is much less offensive or aggressive. But if you’re after some precision shooting and intense competitive gameplay on the move, Overwatch on Switch is just not the answer.
That being said, it's still a lot of fun. Overwatch on Switch has everything Overwatch has to offer. All the game modes, all the latest heroes including Sigma, maps, and unlockables, which in of itself is quite impressive for the Switch. And its fun to play with all of these on the Switch, even if it isn’t competitive.
The controls on Switch just don’t offer the same precision as the other consoles, or a mouse and keyboard. On the one hand, it means that not everyone will be scrambling to pick Widowmaker at the beginning of every match, which is nice for sure. On the other hand, it makes it hard to successfully target enemies, rendering most tactics obsolete. Instead, the game becomes a skirmish of sorts. Running in and just trying your luck, and the thing is, it’s still a lot of fun. Sometimes it can be frustrating. As Reaper I struggled to eliminate someone using Lucio at point-blank, but for the most part, the whole experience becomes more relaxing, with all the consequences far outside your control.
The Switch’s gyro-aiming is surprisingly enjoyable too. With this method you move the joy-con, or the whole device if you’re in handheld mode, to aim. It's still very difficult to aim with any real precision, but it does get you more involved as you swing your arms around to try and line up shots. But this does mean that characters with turrets or lock on attacks are much more powerful than on other platforms. Moira is damn near unstoppable on Switch, frequently steamrolling over another team almost single-handedly. It also means that some heroes are much less useful. Ashe, for instance, is tricky to use on Switch, but if you can get her Ultimate up, you’re likely to do a lot of damage.
Despite this, the gyro-controls are fun and make the Switch version stand out against the other Overwatch’s out there, plus its less competitive feel really fits the overall comic style.
However, the graphics have taken a serious hit to be transported to the Switch hardware. The sound too, but much less notably in comparison. The overall tones of the game remain, the comic style, the bold colours, are all present, but a lot of the refinement is missing. In the middle of a fight you might not really notice that, especially if you’re moving the screen around to aim, but I found it hard to miss when it comes to your character's weapons. Each spawn you’ll get a couple of seconds to see the detail, or lack thereof, of the heroes' firearms. It's even more obvious if you are using a rare outfit that normally imposes more detail. This downgrade doesn’t hurt the gameplay, you can still see enemies and map layouts clearly. But for veterans of the series, it can be tricky leaving behind the lovely visuals on other devices.
It's hard to say whether or not Overwatch on Switch should be recommended. It is still without a doubt a good game. But Overwatch has a reputation now as a competitive game, and this rendition just doesn’t match that. This is Overwatch but muted. Overwatch with kid gloves, if you will. If players are okay having a less serious, less strategic game, then this is a fun way of passing hours. But you won’t be playing it for the fame and glory you might get from other platforms.
Review code provided by the publisher.
Overwatch on Switch is a fun experience that, while technically having everything from the other platforms, misses the very competitive edge that so many fans want from the game.
- Impressive they've fit the whole game on Switch
- Good fun
- No racism
- Aiming isn’t great
- Heroes with turrets or lock on attacks are overpowered
- Graphics aren’t as nice, obviously