At this point screaming to stop multiplayer games is moot, especially games trying to capitalize off of Fortnite. So, might as well see what curveballs there are to the formula. Switchblade takes something familiar – let's see what it does differently.
The plot of Switchblade is simple. So many other games have done it: Basically it's the future, and instead of playing physical team sports, people are sent down into vehicles to blow each other up. Sometimes you need to protect robots, sometimes you need to destroy them, but it's basically battling and doing the opposite of what the other team does. YUP. It is fun as a premise admittingly, but since it's just a retread of a lot of arena vehicle games out there, it needs something else.
Controls are fine. Driving, turning and shooting are pretty easy to follow. Playing on the PS4, the camera sorta feels like turns where you do, making the controls that much more reactional – this is the type of game where you yourself lean into turns, so controls are at least decent when they make you do that. Besides a few button mixups here and there, it's pretty solid.
I don't know what the hell the graphics wanted to be. It was one part Fortnite, one part Halo from a few generations ago, one Part GTA V (but from the PS3 era) and all parts not knowing what it was. Some parts were realistic, other parts were very Overwatch cartoony. Some parts were seamless graphics with no flaws, while others were gritty with grass and things clipping out. Individually the graphic styles weren't bad, but together it was a terrible mishmash. They needed to pick a lane here.
Gameplay itself wasn't bad. You have different vehicles to choose from with different weapons and purposes, and it really feels cohesive to fight together. At times it felt like Team Fortress 2 with all the types of combos you could use. The problem is that the fighting gets pretty limited over time. Drive and shoot. That's all it becomes. Protect. Fight the other. Defend. One team or another. It's quick out of the gate, but it fades in the stretch.
Besides some techno-rock at times, there's no real music in this. During matches it's all ambient. And I think this works to an advantage. The sound itself is pretty good. Shots sound like shots, and there's a wide variety of clunks, and bullet hitting surfaces and in-game sounds right out of a Fox NFL game when there's a score update that it feels pretty great. I don't know, but there's something about the roar of an engine, seconds of silence, then launching an attack with no music that really draws you in. It was a little bold but it pays off.
I encountered a few glitches here and there. At times, when driving across a battle field, my vehicle would suddenly go up 45 degrees on the side despite no terrain change. It happened a few times out of nowhere. A few other times my vehicle would fly up as if it hitting something even though it didn't. Not sure what was going on, but something was up. The frame rate also got choppy a lot of times. Surprisingly never during a fight – it was always on the way to getting someone, like a calm before the storm.
Switchblade has it's ups and downs, but if you can get past some of the errors and indecisiveness of the game, I'd say it's worth a play. There's a real team atmosphere, and even if you hate multiplayer, something shines through. I don't know what exactly, but there's this spirit of working together that so many games, like Fallout 76, just couldn't achieve.
Final Score: 7 out of 10
A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of review.