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First off, I'm a huge fan of Overwatch. I also love my Nintendo Switch, especially on those long plane journeys when I most want to pass the time, almost as much as I want to eject the person in front of me for moving their chair as far into my face as possible. So it stands to good reason then that Overwatch on Switch (OverSwitch, if you will) would be, as The Cars sing, "just what I needed". Sadly, it's really not, and here's why.
It's undeniably impressive that a game like Overwatch is available on Nintendo's modest handheld/home console hybrid, and for that I applaud Blizzard for what they've achieved, but this accomplishment has come at notable cost. The visuals suffer when compared to both the PC, Xbox One and PS4 versions, which goes without saying, but that's not my main issue. The biggest problem is the controls.
If you're playing in handheld with a pair of Joy-Con controllers, you're in for a frustrating time if you can't adapt to the motion controls. Playing without them, you'll find that aiming is just not smooth, no matter how much you tinker with the controller settings.
Playing as Ashe, Widowmaker, or McCree is like playing with a severe handicap, and it's not just characters who make the most of keen accuracy that struggle. Yes, this can be offset by motion controls to an extent, using the Joy-Cons' gyros to line up shots, but if you've played Overwatch on any other platform, you'll likely just want to head back to what you know. Maybe there's an argument to be made for using the Switch Pro Controller, but I can't comment as I didn't try one of those.
As for the overall gameplay, I found the whole process to run without fault when in actual matches. It's easy to spot enemy characters against backgrounds and among your teammates most of the time, and I never found myself distracted by any frame rate drops. That being said, in handheld you can struggle to make out distant enemies, but then again that could just be my eyes losing their luster as I sleigh ride into 30.
When playing both at home and at work, I found no issues with lag, even at times when my PS4 or Xbox One might have struggled. Of course, that could have just been due to the grace of the wi-fi gods, but it's still worth mentioning.
The thing is though, I played OverSwitch when I was in one place, and that's because the nature of the game doesn't really cater to uncontrolled environments. Yes games are pretty quick, but not as fast as Splatoon 2, where you know you're all done in three minutes, more or less. Overwatch requires more time, often just to find a game, so it's not as ideal for travelling as titles like Celeste or Gris are. There's a reason those last two feel better on Switch than on other platforms, and it's how suited they are for portability.
It's hard to write this and not feel guilty because I really do love Overwatch. I took some time away from the game over the last two years but I still have fond feelings for it, and when I came back to it recently I was delighted to see my old friends D.Va and Tracer again. I just prefer seeing them on another platform.
If you don't have access to Overwatch by other means then it's still worth a try on Switch, especially as Blizzard have packaged physical copies of the game with a code for three months of Nintendo Online access. Sure, the game is three and half years old now, but it's still a contender for the best FPS game ever made, and that's testament to how perfectly made it is, and how hard Blizzard work to keep it that way with new characters and maps. You just may need to buy a Pro Controller to get the most out of it though.
Featured Image Credit: Blizzard Entertainment
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