Overwatch on the Nintendo Switch is finally here. Although the game is three years old at this point, the Nintendo Switch version does its best to differentiate itself from the other versions by including gyroscopic aim and portability.
However, the question remains, who exactly is this port for and is it worth the purchase for longtime fans of the series?
As someone who has played Overwatch since launch day back in May 2016, checking out the Nintendo Switch version was not something that was particularly exciting. Let’s face it, the game is old, the modes have become repetitive, and the meta, while constantly changing, still remains a point of debate among hardcore fans.
With a franchise that is so embedded in competitive play and has already established what it is as a game, the only real changes in the Nintendo Switch version of Overwatch are mostly hardware-based.
The game is identical to its PC and console counterparts in terms of in-game content, but due to the lack of power on the Nintendo Switch, the game runs at 30 FPS, which is serviceable, but less than ideal for a game that requires twitch shooting and quick decision-making.
However, although the game runs at a slower framerate, it still runs smooth and is easy to adjust to after a few games. So although there is a noticeable drop-off from the PC version, the game is still able to impressively shine on less powerful hardware.
For anyone who played Overwatch on a console previously, the change to a more portable version will be far less jarring than those coming straight from the PC version where mouse and keyboard is king.
The other big change that came with the Nintendo Switch version of Overwatch is the gyroscopic aim. Using the Joy-Cons or playing in handheld mode allows for movement-based aim, meaning you can point your controller or Switch in a direction, and your hero will aim in that direction.
This might seem like more trouble than its worth, however, as someone who came from playing mouse and keyboard, using the Joy-Cons to aim felt more at home than playing with just a regular controller. But unfortunately, it’s just not precise enough to compel me to keep it enabled.
The downside to the gyro-aim is that any movement you make is subjected to the gyro. Every time you move to get more comfortable or press a button, there is a slight movement on the screen as your Switch moves ever so slightly. Need to adjust your hands to get comfortable? Get ready for your character’s aim to go all over the place.
After a few games, I found myself turning the feature completely off as it was just easier to play without the hindrance of random unintentional movements.
Although the gyro aim is much appreciated and may feel more at home for you Splatoon players, anyone who is used to the other console versions will more than likely turn it off as well.
The other big issue when coming to the game from the PS4, Xbox One, or PC versions is the lack of cross-save support. Overwatch players have been pouring their time, hard work, and money into their preferred version for over three years.
Not being able to bring over your rank, competitive standing, or skins is a giant downside to the Nintendo Switch version of Overwatch.
Having said that, other than those few minor flaws, the game is still the same Overwatch we know and love.
The fact that it is able to reach a brand new audience and give longtime players a way to play on the go is much appreciated and I commend Blizzard for taking the time to bring the game to the Switch.
The question remains, is this worthy of a purchase for longtime players of other versions? That is tough to answer. If you want a version to play on the go and you don’t mind starting over at level 1, then the version on the Switch is more than adequate, but it more than likely won’t be dethroning your old method of playing.
The Switch version of Overwatch best shines for those that have never played the game before and have no previous stakes in the franchise, and I can easily recommend it for those few players. How many people out there does that encompass? That remains to be seen.
As we near BlizzCon 2019, there will no doubt be plenty of Overwatch announcements in the coming weeks. Even if you are eager to buy the game right away, it might be best to hold off for now until we know what is in store for the franchise before dropping $39.99 on a three-year-old game, despite it bring a serviceable version.
But for those who have never had the chance to drop a D.Va ultimate on an unsuspecting group of players, or never had the opportunity to hook someone off the map using Roadhog’s chain, Overwatch on the Nintendo Switch is a perfect place to have those experiences that others have enjoyed since 2016.