By Jerrad Wyche 6/8/2016
Overwatch is the new first-person shooter from Blizzard Entertainment. It follows a lineage of well crafted experiences Blizzard is known for creating. Overwatch's uniqueness lays within it's cast of characters and the world built around them.
It features 4 main playlists:
Vs. AI - Practice against the computer
Custom Game - Play private games against your friends
Weekly Brawl - A special game mode that changes weekly
Quick Play - Is the most popular and main playlist/play other players near your level
The hero gallery is a feature that allows you to get familiar with each character and their abilities. All of them are laid out in a digestible and understandable layout. It also lets you equip all of the cosmetic items you have happened to unlock through playing and/or loot boxes.
Unlike many other first person shooters, Overwatch offers a bevy of play styles and variations in team compositions. Whether you're shooting, shielding, healing, or buffing you always feel as though you're contributing to the team.
Overwatch features 4 main classes with a roster of characters in each:
Offense - These guys are Self-sufficient, High mobility, Decent Damage
Defense - has the Highest Damage Output, Lower mobility, Defensively Played (that being traps/range/crowd control)
Tank - 's offer the Highest health, supreme Damage Mitigation
Support - 's aid teammates with Healing, Buffing, Movement speed
It also features 12 maps with 4 distinct game modes that can sometimes overlap, those being:
Control - Assault - Escort -and Hybrid
The fact that each map offers up a unique game mode adds to the ability to play this game for hours on end with little to no fatigue. Though Overwatch is compared to MOBAs for its emphasis on team composition and objective based multiplayer, it has features making it stand out from the crowd. The ability to change characters at any point during the match allows for an ever evolving meta game and contributes to an overall more enjoyable experience. Taking the time to figure out a counter to a character that has been getting the best of you is half of the fun.
Players are given credit for eliminations for just participating in doing damage to an enemy. This is a brilliant concept that allows players to focus on the objective of the map rather than stacking up kills. Each character in the game feels well balanced or at the very least has a counter to deal with the situation. Every character you play as allows you to learn a new set of skills and entices you to try out different strategies and tactics.
The character animations are of the highest quality and the attention to detail is utterly astounding. The game runs smoothly and the gameplay lobbies transition seamlessly from one game to the next. Performance wise this is easily the best multiplayer experience I have encountered in a long while. The "loot box" system in the game is rewarding enough that the micro-transactions don't feel forced or needed.
Now by no means is this game perfect. At times the maps can become a little boring and tedious. The game launched with 12 maps which may seem like quite a bit, however the matches are so quick that you end up going through the whole set in a matter of hours.
Now Overwatch may lack a campaign game mode to deliver an actual "story", but that doesn't mean there isn't excellent lore development and world-building. The characters offer plenty of unique and interesting dialog between certain combinations.
The maps themselves are populated with a true sense of wonder and information. Now though these aren't in the game itself, Blizzard does have impressive animation shorts that give you plenty of backstory on mutliple Overwatch characters.
That being said Overwatch not having a single player campaign really is a missed opportunity. The characters are interesting, the maps are flavorful, and this universe is so enriched in lore. Each character has their own personality and it shines through immediately.
The list of achievements are nicely done and feature a blend of level benchmarks and character related accomplishments. They're fun enough to obtain naturally but challenging enough to give a true sense of completion.
Though it lacks in a large variation of maps at launch, it offers more than enough replayability through the wide array of characters, play styles, and focus on teamwork. Blizzard has a track record of providing substantial post release content and the addition of more characters and cosmetic items will only add to this. The big question is: Does this game have enough content to justify a $60 price point? That decision really comes down to the individual. The real issue is that console gamers were locked into that $60 price whereas PC gamers had the option of a $40 version with no additional content or a $60 version with some additional cosmetic items for characters. The latter is the only option for console gamers and this seems a little weird.
Overwatch is a great multiplayer experience that offers unique gameplay mechanics and a play style that can fit almost an player. The objective based gameplay allows for the team to focus on teamwork and not individual performance. This adds to the overall enjoyment of a purely multiplayer environment where normally single person performance dictates outcome. It may be a multiplayer only game but that doesn't mean it lacks staying power. If Team Fortress 2 is any indication, Overwatch will likely be around for the long haul.
- Smooth gameplay
- Top notch animation
- Variety of playstyles/characters
- Lack of maps
- Underutilized lore