Review: Switchblade (PS4)

Review: Switchblade (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • 4K HDR

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Switchblade
Format: PSN (2.69 GB)
Release Date: January 22, 2019
Publisher: Lucid Publishing
Developer: Lucid Games
Original MSRP: Free-to-Play (US)(UK)
ESRB Rating: E10+
PEGI: 7
A code for the Legendary Pack ($19.99 Value) was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Part Twisted Metal, part reverse tower defense, part MOBA, Switchblade offers a new, fast-paced combat arena experience that took me out of my comfort zone for a few hours and made me realize that not all free-to-play games are bad.

Borrowing from different game styles and control schemes works well if you have a development team that finesses those experiences into something polished and new. The team at Lucid Games has managed that.

Switchblade is 100% vehicular combat. As such, controlling these all-terrain vehicles has to feel like an extension of your controller. Your left stick drives your vehicle in any direction, while your right controller aims the blaster mounted on your craft. This makes for a very intuitive control scheme.

Review: Switchblade (PS4)

From the moment I started the tutorial, I knew that it would control like a dream. Tight controls make for a scenario where you never have to blame your destruction on crappy controls.

What makes Switchblade an exhilarating online game is the multi-layered scenarios playing out simultaneously. Set up like a futuristic sport, your task is to destroy the opposing team’s tower. Your team consists of five members, with five classes available to choose between, and each class contributes greatly towards the success of your campaign.

I spent my first couple of playthroughs as a Medic Armored class in order to learn the ropes while keeping my teammates alive. But it wasn’t only the real players that I was responsible for, AI defense towers and offensive bots littered the battlefield.

The bots made their way through the arena with the enemy tower in their sites and therein lies the MOBA gameplay. You and your buddies aren’t the only ones on the battlefield, and it pays to team up with your little bots and keep the defense towers out of commission.

Review: Switchblade (PS4)Review: Switchblade (PS4)

Experience points are earned in real-time, and you can upgrade your weapons mid-battle which I found to be particularly refreshing. As I learned the best combat tactics using my craft, I’d place points towards upgrading my favorite weapons in the middle of a match, as opposed to having to wait for the game to be over.

Like most online games, several modes are available. I played through a few skirmishes before hopping into the ranked matches and EXP can be earned in both. There’s also an online co-op mode where you and a buddy can take on the AI in a match.

I wish there was an offline version of the co-op mode. It seems like something the PS4 could handle and it would make for a fun couch co-op experience. While I can’t comment on the longevity of enjoyment for Switchblade, the few hours I spent with it were absolutely engaging and a blast to play.

Furthermore, there are a large number of crafts to experiment with, so finding one that fits your playstyle is part of the fun. I’m always partial to the assault rifle style, but I found the strong, short-burst weapons to cause some serious damage if your aim is true.

Review: Switchblade (PS4)

Visuals:
Switchblade throws a lot of polygons at you. Explosions, missiles, lasers, blaster fire, and healing beams light up the screen, and are all handled with a steady framerate.

Character models look pretty good, considering you’re only going see them between matches and after you get killed while you’re waiting to respawn. It’s great to see that some effort was at least put into giving you options to personalize your character.

The vehicles, on the other hand, look great. Each craft and class has a distinct personality, and it extends to the way they’re represented on the screen. Quick crafts are more skeletal to keep the weight down, while the healing crafts are appropriately represented by heavy armor and extreme bulk.

Only a few maps are available, but since this is an arena-type game, their size feels just right for the amount of terrain you have to traverse to reach your opponent’s tower. Visually, the environments look clean and lush, while not being so overwhelmingly busy that they distract from the main task.

Review: Switchblade (PS4)Review: Switchblade (PS4)

Audio:
Switchblade is a “sports” game, so the feeling of participating in a huge event is always there thanks to the sound design. Each method of firepower is represented by a unique effect that lends to the power output behind each weapon. Remember that short-burst weapon that I mentioned before? Yeah, it sounds great.

Online/Multiplayer:
Aside from the tutorial, Switchblade is played entirely online. The matchmaking worked well for me, particularly since I was a Level One player and needed to get some experience before jumping into ranked stuff.

I felt that despite my entry level, getting the hang of things and being competitive was fairly simple. Since I was able to unlock updates to my weapons in real time, I never felt underpowered for too long. I even participated in one match where we were down one teammate and still managed to win.

For someone who doesn’t play online often, the game never felt foreign or unfriendly. I’d have hoped for an offline bot mode for practice, but truth be told, the tutorial gave me all that I needed to successfully participate in online matches and do well.

Review: Switchblade (PS4)

Conclusion:
I normally skip games like these, but I’m glad I was tasked with the review. Not only am I still having a great time with the game, but it’s also one of a very short list of games that manages to be enjoyable to me despite the stigma that comes with free-to-play titles.

Yes, there is still an online store, where you purchase boosts for crystals, but I found so much enjoyment with the base game and haven’t felt pressured to spend anything. And hey, even if my opinion on this game it totally off, you can try it for free and find out for yourself.

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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