I’m not a hardcore FPS fan or computer gamer, but I love the Overwatch media franchise. The videos, comics, stories, etc. build up different worlds for radically different characters. It almost feels like Overwatch is a crossover project, kind of like a Super Smash Bros. of first-person shooters. Of course, I’ve played and adored the game on the computer, so I was curious to see if everything I enjoyed about the PC version from a few years ago is present in the Switch version, Overwatch: Legendary Edition.
Explaining Overwatch and its new motion controls
For those who have never played the game, Overwatch is a role-based first-person shooter with teams of six pitted against each other in competing objectives. Your team will want a good mix of support, damage, and tanking if you want to have a chance at winning. Every character brings a unique set of moves to this almost cartoonish game. Literally, one of the more recent additions to the roster is a hamster in a rolling battle mech.
When you start up the game for the first time, you’re treated to a video of Winston, a super-intelligent talking gorilla, reuniting the old Overwatch team. It’s a perfect introduction to the game. A talking gorilla somehow delivers a motivating speech, backed by inspiring music. Despite all the adversity, we need to be heroes and we need to win, battle by battle, because that’s who we are. That’s Overwatch — both the team and the game.
You’ll need to connect your Battle.net account or make a new one. This is because when you play Overwatch, it’s running on Blizzard’s servers instead of having a player host the matches. After that, there are loads of menus and tons of options. Feel free to fine-tune the game to your heart’s desire. I recommend playing through the tutorial just to get the hang of the motion controls, which are amazing once you adjust them to your liking. They’re a bit wild by default, though. You’re also able to set the controls for individual characters or for all of them. This is a great option to have if you’re switching between snipers and tanks on the fly. For the most part, I played with a Switch Pro Controller.
Different styles for different heroes
Overwatch: Legendary Edition runs smoothly, even over WiFi. I never noticed any lag, and none of the other players were acting strangely. The game seemed to run a little better in handheld mode to me for some reason. In any case, the game runs at 30 FPS docked and handheld, which may feel choppy if you are used to 60 FPS.
There are three main modes at the moment: Quick Play, Arcade, and Game Browser. Quick Play offers you a reward for pledging to take on the most needed role and throws you into a random game, usually within a minute or two. Here you’ll find the bread and butter of Overwatch, with objectives including assaulting a point or controlling it, escorting a payload across the map, or some hybrid of the three. Arcade features a number of different Overwatch variants, including deathmatch and seasonal events. Find Game allows you to choose which game mode and which room in greater detail.
Cross-play and competitive modes will be coming to the Switch version later on. At launch, they aren’t present. The Switch game has launched during the game’s annual Halloween event, so “Junkenstein’s Revenge” — a mode where players defend a point from hordes of zombie robots — was playable. This is a fun variant that changes up the game to be something completely new while still keeping the same spirit.
On a smaller scale, every character can fill a variety of roles in any given match. Soldier: 76 is great at shooting things but can heal teammates in a pinch. D.Va is technically a tank, but once her special fills up she can clear an area with a massive explosion. Brigitte is a support character that heals by hitting enemies with her mace. Ana is another support who heals by sniping her teammates with medicine bullets. Regardless of the role you pick, you’ll be wearing multiple hats within a match, and this is the key to victory.
Playing Overwatch: Legendary Edition
There’s a reason Overwatch has been popular for as long as it has. Dozens of unique characters make different play styles possible, appealing to many more people than the standard FPS. Love and care shine through every aspect of the game. When you’re playing Overwatch, you truly feel like part of a team. It takes everyone to emerge victorious.
And most importantly, it feels good. You can get into matches quickly and efficiently. Every character fits someone’s preferred style. The banter between characters is charming, be they old friends or fierce enemies. Even little things like the feel of taking a shot or the fanfare that starts to play a few seconds before your team wins contributes to why people love this game.
Legendary Edition on the Switch accomplishes all of this through some kind of sorcery and lets you do it on your TV screen or in your hands. Overwatch: Legendary Edition is the rare Switch game that allows you to match up with your friends from within the game. Just go to Social and you’ll see all your friends who are playing. Getting a few matches in with a friend was seamless once we stopped messing with the interface. Our duo of Sigma and Brigitte was unstoppable.
Overwatch remains a stylish, exciting, and most of all fun game that feels at home on the Switch. While there were some concessions that had to be made to get it there, for most gamers this is a great version of a great game.
A review code was provided by the publisher.