Overwatch smashed into our lives in 2016 to much praise, and has been steadily spreading to every device since – so it’s no surprise it’s finally made its way to the Nintendo Switcheroni. But does playing Overwatch on the toilet revolutionise the experience?
This screenshot looks like Sigma just dropped his favourite Pharah action figure
Overwatch actually runs shockingly well on the little bugger. Sure, you are locked hard into a maximum of 30fps while docked, and I can’t help but shake the feeling the actual resolution does not exceed 900p (confirmed, it is actually 900p), but the clean stylisation of the title just resonates well with being slightly downscaled to feel a bit more native to Nintendo’s hardware. Visuals remain crisp and clean for the most part – although the moment shit really starts to go down, that’s when the dips occur.
The issue with this flaw is that ‘shit going down’ in Overwatch is generally when the most critical gameplay moments are taking place. Being a team-based ‘action’ shooter, the flashier an ability is, the more deadly it will likely be. This then translates to a situation where a handful of ‘ultimate’ abilities being unleashed will see the game’s framerate dip to (at times) absurd levels, shaving away precious moments of reaction time as you find yourself quite literally stuck in a moment that could be key to your victory.
Quick everyone, vape my magic yellow healing stuff
Now this of course leans heavily into the side of the game’s core experience that may target the more serious/hardcore crowd, and Overwatch does have a plethora of less serious modes to employ. While I engaged in Quickplay for a lot of my review, I found myself fondly remembering the Arcade modes a great deal more. The PvE ‘mission’ experiences handily appealed to me playing undocked, because my opponents were less likely to be zipping around the place like a drug-addled gremlin – the AI involved being a lot more ‘A’ than ‘I’.
Herein lies an issue that I found hard to ignore. My review is coming a little after the game’s release – ideally I should then be in a great position to truly enjoy the thriving post-release community of the game. What I found however, was that the game’s community seemed …sporadic. It is to be expected that some game modes may have a smaller audience, but there were times where the generic ‘quick play’ option for the game seems to be lacking players. Could the new ‘role selection’ offering (a system where you predetermine what role you intend to play) be playing into it? Are we facing a World of Warcraft scenario, where people are left awaiting a ‘Tank’ to join, as a legion of damage classes and healers sit, frothing at the mouth for action? Even at times where I essentially stated I am willing to play whatever I could find myself in a queue for long enough periods to be irksome. Couple this with an odd occasion where the game would not launch, stating that the servers were ‘Under Maintenance’ left an aftertaste that didn’t leave quickly.
It was amazing to see every piece of content from the full PC release be present and accounted for in the Switch version, and the install size was also refreshingly low. Blizzard has always prided themselves on creating clients that feel at home on the system of course, and this is no exception. Every skin, every spray, every voiceline – even the incredible cutscenes that help paint the world of overwatch with the brightest hues are present to make sure that this is not a pared-down experience, this *IS* Overwatch in every way you should expect.
Get behind me, Mr. Robot President
A gripe must be had to the fact that like all other-platform versions of the game, the rich cosmetics and assorted unlocks that define the game’s loose ‘progression’ are once again not designed to factor in a cross-ownership experience. If you have hundreds of hours played in the PC copy, with all manner of lovely exclusive goodies, you will need to re-earn them within the Switch title. A niggle, sure – but when you take into account some of the situations that define ownership of a particular skin (for example, like donating to a charity for a one time offer), it gets a little heady to miss your favourite outfits and highlight intro videos.
The same incredible class-based gameplay of Overwatch is present in every way you would expect. If you can forgive the occasional dip in graphic fidelity, knowing full well that this is the price to be paid to play the game in this way, you’ll likely get a huge kick out of playing Overwatch on the toilet.
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch // Review code supplied by publisher