A Quick Hands On With Overwatch On The Switch

Image: Blizzard

If you're in the media, you've got one hour to quickly run around the PAX Australia floor before everyone floods in. I managed to get some hands-on time with Overwatch on the Switch. It's an interesting experience, to say the least.

First off, having to relearn console controls for Doomfist and Moira (having spent the last few years playing on PC), was a challenge. Even though the game is launching with the same roster and suite of content as Overwatch on consoles, the meta will probably devolve back to something resembling what the game was like at launch.

Mei is a massive arsehole to deal with yet again, not helped by the fact that she's in a pretty healthy spot across the board anyway. Hitscan heroes will probably have the hardest time for a while, and Junkrat is nice and easy to use on a Pro Controller, especially if double shield tank and Bastion becomes the norm.

It's hard to see that pan out in real-time on the show floor, however. The Nintendo booth was only running sessions of custom deathmatch when I went over, primarily because they wanted to set fixed times on the play sessions (it wouldn't be much fun if someone rocked up to play a session and their team lost within two or three minutes). But the deathmatch was still instructive in getting a feel for how a Switch handles Overwatch, and while I was still fumbling with the controls a little, you can see a bit of Doomfist play below.

Even with a small deathmatch crew on one of the game's smaller maps, the frame rate felt pretty inconsistent. I'm not sure how it'll hold up when you've got two full teams battling over a payload, saving up all their ultimates, but it's definitely not the buttery smooth 60fps experience you'll get elsewhere. I wasn't able to see how the game played in handheld mode, although I'd expect we'll get a much closer look at that in a couple of weeks at Blizzcon (and a lot more multiplayer sessions, to boot).

It was still a ton of fun, and another member of the Aussie press quipped that it'd be a good game to pass around while drunk. I'm keen to see how the local wireless functionality pans out — a mini LAN party with Overwatch and a bunch of Switches would actually be pretty neat, performance aside. Hopefully Blizzard's able to work a little bit more on the performance pre and post-release, however, because that responsiveness is a key factor in the game's charm.

The author's accommodation throughout Melbourne International Games Week and PAX Australia 2019 was provided courtesy of Airbnb for Work.


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