Version Tested: PC
Available On: Xbox One, PS4, Windows
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Genre: First-person Shooter
Official Site: https://playoverwatch.com/en-us/
Release Date: May 24th, 2016
Where to Buy: Xbox Store, PSN, Official Website, Local Retailers
Now I know this may seem trivial, but I have to say, one of my favorite things about Overwatch on PC is that I can use my Xbox One Elite Controller. I really fell out of PC Gaming a number of years ago, with the last title I remember owning being Command & Conquer: Generals. When I built my first PC a few months ago to get back in the fray, it was quite an adjustment using a mouse and keyboard. When it comes to Overwatch, though, all I have to do is plug in the controller and I’m ready to go. No pesky settings to adjust in the menu and the icons on screen immediately switch to match the controller. Little things like that for me go a long way.
Overwatch is a 6v6 team based shooter with a wide variety of unique characters. When it comes to multiplayer shooters, I have to admit, I’m a bit of a lone wolf. I generally like to go off on my own and do my own thing. In Overwatch, this method will only succeed in helping the other team mop the floor with your cartoonish body. It’s important to realize that Overwatch is a TEAM game, which is why there is no Deathmatch mode. The game is designed to work around team effort as opposed to individual kills. It’s interesting to note that at one point during game development 12v12 and 9v9 matches were also considered; however, 6v6 was decided on as the sweet spot.
I did enjoy Overwatch. It is definitely a game that will be a considerable amount of fun if playing with people who communicate or with friends. If you’re new to the game, the character selection menu will inform you if your team makeup is weak in any areas. For instance, on one occasion the character selection screen told me “No support Characters” and another time it let me know we had no snipers on the team. The game will also inform you when any teammates switch characters in the game allowing for constant awareness of your team composition. Being able to switch characters on the fly in the game was another bonus for me because at times I found myself getting steamrolled when trying out a new character and I did not have to be stuck with this character for the duration of the game/round.
The downside of Overwatch is that it is currently very limited in what it offers in terms of game modes and no single player campaign. Believe it or not, there is actually a pretty in-depth story to Overwatch and its characters, which new players wouldn’t expect at first glance. If you ever happened to see the reveal trailer at Blizzcon in 2014, you would have thought you were watching something from an upcoming movie. When it comes to the game, however, the story is really left out for anyone who doesn’t already know it.
The game modes that are available are escort, control, hybrid, and assault. These can easily get repetitive after a good chunk of play but where Blizzard really makes up for this is in its characters. There are such a wide variety of characters and each will change the dynamic of how you play. This is one of the real treats of Overwatch that kept me coming back. I could play every map with one character and then switch to another and have the gameplay offer a completely different experience. This could continually offer hours and hours of play as you sort through all the different types of characters, figuring out their attacks and timing to use specials. Then again, depending on the type of player you are, this could be seen as a negative. We all know that one person, that as soon as they find something that works for them that’s it – that’s the character they have to play with. So you can easily find yourself on a lopsided team when playing with randoms. This could severely limit your team’s ability to win or you could find yourself trying to play with characters you’re not used to.
And just what is a team based shooter without Loot Boxes, huh? Loot boxes are gained as you level up through gameplay and they can also be purchased with real cash in the main menu. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Great… this is another pay to win game.” Don’t worry, because it’s not. When it comes to the loot boxes, it’s a matter of customization only. Player skins, emotes, victory poses and character dialogues are what’s offered here and not special weapons or characters. Although Overwatch is expected to introduce new heroes over time, they will not be obtained in a Loot Box. For those that may be hoping for a single player campaign, don’t hold your breath because one is not currently planned.
When it comes to team-based shooters, Overwatch has not only cleared the bar but raised it. In the first week of launch for Overwatch, over 7 million players have registered with 119 million hours played and like a fine wine, we can only expect Overwatch to get better with age. Recently Blizzard has come down hard on cheaters and future updates have already been laid out to the public which includes the introduction of competitive play, a new matchmaking system, balance changes and a potential new character. Unless you generally like to play on your own, I highly recommend Overwatch and I look forward to seeing you on the field of battle.
- Gameplay: Fun, Face paced with no two characters being the same
- Graphics: Vibrant colors and characters and map design make it a pleasure to play
- Sound: Fantastic soundtrack
- Presentation: A fast paced team based shooter is what’s offered and it’s exactly what you get
- Character selection
- Map Design
- Available game types
- No single player campaign