Close range doesn't imply brawling 1v1 another ship. If a cruiser with torps is in a situation where it can yolo rush her nose in, mistakes were made. Also, at T8 I can think of Hipper Eugen and P-Bag, cruisers with icebraker that can rush even Yamato if they're allowed to.
Small but numerous guns give up overmatch for volume of shells (more chances of getting citadels) and dpm (plus the alpha strike is comparable to 406-armed ships), but require some awareness to be used. At close range, if this ship keeps the same dispersion of Tirpitz but has 2.0 sigma and 20/23s reload, it'll be much more consistent at dealing damage. Again, provided you put yourself into a favorable position. Kinda like Montana does at T10 nowadays, with 30mm+ plating cruiser and supercruisers. Doesn't shine in all situations, but when you do it right, she rewards you.
Again, I think this ship can be scary in the hands of good players and in selected situations, not the most competitive since it's roughly the same concept of German BBs and has exploitable weaknessies.