The world doesn’t need more consoles: Overwatch Switch port disappoints

Gold players across Overwatch PC and console now have the opportunity to reach Top 500 with the release of Overwatch on the Nintendo Switch on October 15. 

The popular first person shooter game has seen massive success, with the creation of the professional Overwatch League and Overwatch Contenders. However, a release of the game on the Switch was generally unanticipated. An Overwatch-themed Nintendo Switch case was leaked on Amazon in early September, and Nintendo Direct confirmed the Switch release on September 4. There is no cross-platform play available.

The game’s mechanics are identical to the PC and console versions of the game. The controversial addition of role queue has shaped the current meta, and it still exists within the Switch. The most interesting part of the Switch gameplay is that moving the console also moves line of sight in-game. The gyroscopic gameplay, surprisingly, is beneficial to gameplay. For people who struggle with controller aim because they have played with a mouse and keyboard, the gyroscopic movement makes it much easier to play the game. To some degree, it gives the same control as a mouse does. However, the gyroscopic gameplay is not practical for portable gameplay – the main selling point of the Switch port.

Players have raised questions about the Switch’s capability to run Overwatch. The ideal frames per second (FPS) would be 60 FPS at a minimum, but professional players have voiced their concerns that the Switch would only be able to run the game at 30 FPS and deteriorate the gameplay experience. While the game is capped at 30 FPS, the experience itself is not completely awful. It is not as terrible as 30 FPS on a monitor or television screen, but it is still not ideal. 

Surprisingly, the level of gameplay is different than the PC and console versions. The pace of gameplay and level of mechanical skill, such as aim, are worse. The game is new, and some players have not gotten used to the Switch’s controls. Adapting to the Switch controls is much more difficult than people anticipated. Fortunately, players are not limited to using JoyCons and can use the Nintendo Switch Pro or GameCube controller.

People who have played on PC may find it difficult to transfer their mechanical skills in-game to the Switch. The different controls are hard to grasp if someone has not played Overwatch with a controller, so the adjustment period may be more difficult for people who want to transfer their skills. However, game knowledge and game sense are universal across all Overwatch platforms, so people who have played solely with a mouse and keyboard are not at a total loss. 

A portable version of Overwatch does have its advantages, but one of the more difficult things to avoid is how tiny the Switch screen if compared to a PC monitor, laptop, or TV. Visual indicators of certain abilities are difficult to discern if the player has not optimized their settings to reduce the amount of visual clutter on their screen.

Overwatch on the Nintendo Switch is mediocre. As a game, Overwatch has had its pitfalls, but it is the same as it has ever been. The Switch contains the same problems as PC and console, but now it also has hardware limitations. The Overwatch franchise needs a hero to save the dying game, but it seems that the Switch version was not what it needed.