Put together two of the most important and long-lived companies in the gaming industry and you'll have something explosive. Overwatch - Blizzard's hero shooter first released in 2016 - has finally landed on Nintendo Switch, probably making one of the most interesting ports developed by the Irvine-based company for the Japanese hybrid console.
How does a tiny console like the Switch run a fluid and colourful first-person game like this though? Although we have been really big fans of the game since its launch, we can't hide that we had some small doubts about the game running solidly on Switch, but what happens once you start the game is probably one of the most incredible experiences in terms of third-party FPS games currently available on Nintendo Switch.
It's clear that in order for Overwatch to offer the same thrill that its given players since the launch on the other platforms, it was necessary to make compromises. And we aren't talking about content - the various game modes packed in the other versions are the same, as we'll talk about later on - but more a technical compromise.
We won't waste time on it - Blizzard's first-person shooter is obviously limited on Nintendo Switch, and we wouldn't be honest if we didn't start this review with the most important aspects of this port. With 60 FPS and 1080p resolution seen on the other consoles such as PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the Switch version offers two types of resolutions: 720p and 30 FPS in portable mode, and 900p and 30 FPS in TV mode. The most hardcore players could turn their noses up at such low performance compared to the other platforms (we didn't count the PC version for obvious reasons; the fight would be unequal), but trust us when we say that Switch still copes well with Overwatch!
The mere idea of being able to play wherever you want is obviously a key appeal, and it's perhaps one of the most interesting strengths of this version. The same structure of Overwatch, with its hit-and-run modes, make it really perfect for this type of console, where it's easy to dive into a game or two with a duration that never goes beyond 10 or 15 minutes.
Perhaps the best way to enjoy Overwatch on Nintendo Switch is in portable mode, where the technical compromises we talked about above aren't as noticeable. In fact, it's the way we played most during our tests. Avid gamers may prefer the PC version when they play at home, compared to Switch, but that doesn't mean Nintendo's platform doesn't bring its own benefits.
As for matchmaking, we didn't notice any kind of slowness or endless queues, just like with our PC experience. Thanks also to the new role system introduced by Blizzard a short time ago - in which the player, to find a match faster, can select their favorite hero class, knowing right away what the waiting times are - we never waited more than two or three minutes before being thrown into the heat of the game.
In terms of loading times, apart from some minor slowdown at the beginning of the game (during the character selection and in the preparatory phase of a match), when we played we have never noticed neither lag nor decisive frame-rate drops, especially when using heavy characters (as in our case with D.va, which is our main along with Moira), which could compromise the outcome of the game.
Although we're not fond of using controllers while playing shooter games, we must say that the configuration of buttons chosen for the Joy-Cons is very convenient, especially when played in portable mode. The best way to play Overwatch on Switch is by deactivating the gyro mode and using analog sticks, however, as this is far more precise.
As for the game modes, just like in the other editions, Overwatch for Nintendo Switch also has Quick Game, Arcade, Competitive Season (currently not active, as the season is already underway), and Custom Games. This version also has the special Halloween event currently underway, allowing players to collect a lot of themed items (skins, sprays, emotes, etc.) by hitting certain requirements. The same also applies to the heroes released since launch; yet another aspect that makes this version of the game indistinguishable from the others.
In terms of price, Overwatch for Nintendo Switch is perhaps the most expensive edition currently on the market, but given the opportunities it offers - especially if you can play in the company of a few friends - it's absolutely worth the expense. Among other things, the added value of this edition is the presence of a three-month subscription to Nintendo Switch Online included in the bundle, along with the fact that a lot of people playing right now are newbies too.
Despite noticing technical limits with this version of Overwatch, we were amazed by the excellent work from Blizzard with this game. The opportunity to play Overwatch anywhere, without having to be anchored to a chair or the sofa in your living room, is priceless, which in some way obscures the obvious limits (starting from 30 FPS) that this edition brings has. In general, we believe that Blizzard has done a really good job, and we can't wait to continue to play this little gem, alternating between the PC and the portable version on Switch.