Overwatch Storm Rising, the latest update to Blizzard’s popular hero shooter, is technically the best event we’ve had in a long time. Sadly, that in itself isn’t saying all that much. The Summer Games, Halloween Terror, Winter Wonderland and Year of the Pig all followed the same disappointing template. Skins, repeat game modes and a painful lack of new content.
I expected with a brand new archives event that things might be different this time. Both 2017’s Uprising and 2018’s Retribution offered fair but overall relatively limited narrative expansion to the Overwatch universe. Many of the events covered had already been touched upon by the comic series and whilst the new interactions between characters were fun, they themselves were not what I played the event for.
Overwatch has been starved of interesting, expansive lore since its day of release. Even without a single player story mode, there has been more than enough opportunities for Blizzard to give us an actual meaningful narrative. Instead, we get a 10-15 minute mission every year, very occasional comics and a cinematic from time to time that usually doesn’t reveal much at all. To this day, the D.Va cinematic, whilst cute and fun enough, still annoys me how they chose the origin of her ultimate as the focus. What about D.Va’s transition from eSports star to elite military soldier for MEKA? Surely there was a deeper narrative they could have chosen to explore instead. Other cinematics like Honor and Glory, The Last Bastion and Dragons are better but still only offer short of 10 minutes of actual content.
Perhaps then with all of this taken into consideration, it makes a lot of sense why Overwatch Storm Rising is disappointing to me as well as many others. The latest four-player co-op mission takes place in Havana, Cuba. Tracer, Genji, Mercy, and Winston all pursue Talon’s financial advisor Maximilian. They manage to crash his escort but find he has managed to escape from his car before they could get their hands on him. Realizing he couldn’t have gone far on foot, the team chase him through Havana.
This is where we pick which one of the heroes we want to be. I actually chose Mercy initially but a friend insisted I picked Genji as I was on my ‘BIGAkMBlades’ account so it only felt right. It feels good to be in a party where someone actually insists you take one of the DPS of the group whilst they play a healer. That’s not the kind of spirited teamplay you tend to see in competitive. Usually, in competitive, it’s a case of four DPS being picked and then the most stubborn people will get to play what they actually want whilst the other two force themselves into an unfavorable role. If only there was a system where everyone could play what they wanted and Overwatch’s notorious toxicity problem was solved *COUGH* ROLE SELECT *COUGH*.
Once you’ve all agreed on what hero everyone is to play, you enter the main event. From here on out there’s not anything particularly special to discuss. Its more or less a mix of payload pushing and horde based wave combat for each objective. You get some quirky dialogue where the team interacts with one another like other events but in terms of any kind of actual narrative progression, not so much. If you happen to ship Mercy and Genji, there’s a couple of interactions that might tickle your fancy. Otherwise, Overwatch fans are going to be left empty handed.
Perhaps one of the most disappointing aspects of Storm Rising is that in the trailer they showcased some really cool things like Tracer on a motorbike and Genji cutting open cars with his Dragonblade. Turns out, all of that was just taken from the opening cinematic. The actual gameplay of each character functions identically to how they would in any other mode. Perhaps in retrospect, expecting these complex gameplay mechanics to be introduced was too hopeful. Blizzard has never done anything like that with Overwatch so I’m not sure why I thought that would change now.
After working your way through a handful of generic objectives such as ‘Secure the Distillery‘ and ‘Survive the incoming Talon forces‘, you reach the end of the mission. There’s a closing cinematic where we find out a few things of interest. Overwatch had not captured Maximilian with the intent of keeping him hostage or forcing him out of Talon. Instead, they wanted him to provide them “an introduction,” with an unspecified individual. It then cuts to a separate cinematic set in Anubis where Doomfist offers an opportunity to a menacing looking omnic. I’m no psychic but it’s very possible that this unnamed omnic is going to the Talon tank we’ve all been waiting for. That’s pure speculation but given the community’s cry for such a character and the reveal of this omnic, I think its likely enough to happen. Even if not anytime soon.
With that, the event comes to an anticlimactic end. Everything we found out that’s new has been mentioned in this article. Considering how little that is, it’s obvious why many people have felt let down. From start to end, the actual gameplay part of this event took me around 10 minutes to finish. Considering Jeff Kaplan said this event was developed over a 6 month period, that’s poor. I’ve had quick play games that have lasted longer. They’ve been more fun too. This latest event cements concerns that Overwatch isn’t getting adequately supported by Blizzard anymore and that the development team working on it is not big enough. If this is the peak level of content that we can expect up until the game’s eventual death, it might be better that its funeral is arranged sooner rather than later.
Did you like Overwatch Storm Rising or was it a lackluster event? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to follow us here at The Nerd Stash for all of your nerdy news and needs!
I’m a passionate games critic who has been writing actively since 2015. I have a particular interest in both racing games and JRPGs as well as a love for Overwatch and its eSports scene. I consider gaming and writing my two big passions in life. So much so that I’m currently studying a one of a kind degree that covers both in one! My goal in life is simply to become a renowned critic who is respected for his opinions.