Overwatch for Nintendo Switch review: A passable but questionable port

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Blizzard’s world-renowned first-person shooter is now on Nintendo Switch, and while it’s not the ideal way to play, it’s by far one of the best third-party ports on the system to date (which isn’t saying much, to be fair).

Title: Overwatch
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (version reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows
Release date: October 15, 2019

Like many, I didn’t think a proper port of Overwatch to the Nintendo Switch was even possible. One that would, of course, run at an inferior rate than its PlayStation, Xbox, and Windows counterparts, but still be passable enough to successfully present a comfortable and casual way to enjoy the game. Thankfully, Blizzard did just that with this port, even if I still have to wonder why a port was necessary in the first place.

The big selling point of Overwatch‘s Nintendo Switch port is the portability of the system; being able to play at home, school, work, the airport, and so on. That’s fine, sure, but Overwatch is exclusively an online-based multiplayer game, offering no single player or offline functionality whatsoever, which kind of defeats the purpose and true value of ‘playing on the go.’

With that said, I still appreciate that I now have the ability to lie down in bed and comfortably play a couple matches in handheld mode. And that’s where this port shines, where many other third-parties haven’t on the Switch. While there is a clear downgrade in graphics from other systems, Overwatch still looks fairly crisp and clean in handheld, whereas other major ports have often come off muddy and blurry.

That isn’t to say the performance of this port isn’t flawed, however, because it very much is. On more than one occasion, I experienced severe frame drops (especially when turning the camera). Character models took a while to fully render or even appear, and the same can be said for textures. It’s harder to overlook these flaws when docked rather than in handheld, perhaps solely for the fact it feels nothing short of a miracle that it actually looks as good as it does in handheld. But if you have Overwatch on another platform, I don’t see a realistic way to justify playing the Switch version on your TV over any other iteration of the game.

Now, a game like Overwatch is only as good as its user base, which brings me to my next complaint/concern: the lack of any sort of cross-play functionality. I fear for the longevity of this iteration of Overwatch, simply because there are other, better ways to play the game and I just can’t imagine how many people are going to be playing this version a year or even less from now.

As that user base dwindles, so will the chances of finding matches consistently, which has already been a bit of a struggle for me here in just the first week of the port’s lifespan. I’m not necessarily having to wait a significantly long time to get into matches as of now, but it’s also not as instant as it is on PlayStation 4, either.

The lack of cross-play goes beyond that, though, as seasoned Overwatch players are forced to start from scratch on their Nintendo Switch profiles rather than be able to carry over years worth of loot and stats from their main accounts. In my limited time playing the Switch version, I’ve already unlocked three skins I would be ecstatic to have on my main account, but unfortunately, they’re tied to a version of a game I’d much rather play on a different platform. If everything could just be tied to one singular account, that would make the Switch version even more valuable to me and worth going back to.

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Those issues aside, it still runs well enough, especially in handheld, to warrant your time and attention. At the end of the day, it’s Overwatch. It feels like it, looks like it, and most importantly, plays like it. Is it inferior to its counterparts? Absolutely. But if you’re just looking to casually play Overwatch, this is a fine way to do so. I wouldn’t recommend it, especially if you own any of the other current generation of consoles or a PC, but an exclusive Switch user should not feel cheated by this port, which can’t be said for a lot of the third-party ports we’ve seen hit the platform over the last year-and-a-half.

Overwatch for Nintendo Switch. 7. <em>Overwatch</em> for the Nintendo Switch is one of the better third-party ports to hit the system so far, offering the complete experience of Blizzard Entertainment’s world-renowned first-person shooter on a portable device while not sacrificing a whole lot in the grand scheme of things. Though it is far from the definitive way to play the game, it’s surely a fine addition to the Switch library and a solid contribution to attract new and returning players in a comfortable and casual way.. Blizzard Entertainment.

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.