World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, Diablo – You’ve heard of these commercial successes before and, if you’ve been stuck under a rock, that’s okay because the upcoming Warcraft movie will help enlighten you to at least one of those worlds. Blizzard Entertainment has made a name for themselves when it comes to immersive lore, compelling characters, and zany gameplay. Now they’re doing it again with the release of Overwatch.
Unveiled at BlizzCon 2014, Overwatch emphasizes cooperative gameplay using a cast of various heroes (and villains), each with their own unique abilities and roles within a team. I played the open beta on Xbox One when it came out and was instantly hooked. The game is different. Yeah, it’s a multiplayer first-person shooter. What’s new, you ask?
It’s not your typical first-person shooter. The game isn’t about finding your enemies and ending them. Each match is objective-based. Console players coming to Overwatch from Halo, Destiny, Call of Duty, Battlefield, or Shooter 5000, will probably not be used to this. In fact, in my limited time with Overwatch, this was definitely the case. Many times I’d find myself as the only one near the payload while my team would be gallivanting around the map trying to up their K/D (which means pretty much zero in this game – and in most other games). You’re also not reserved to one character during the fight. You’re encouraged to switch characters mid-game. Is the enemy Bastion wrecking your team? Try switching to someone you never thought you’d use like I did with Roadhog. There’s something satisfying about tossing out that grappling hook and just ripping Bastion out of the comfort of his emplacement.
The balance in Overwatch is spot on. As I sit here typing this, I’m watching a stream of Overwatch where the player is complaining about the enemy Tracer or a chokepoint here that makes it seem impossible to get past, but I watch as he tries the same strategy over and over again, afraid to try new things. Try new things, folks! Overwatch doesn’t advertise it, but there are usually alternative routes and, if there isn’t, a simple push is easy sometimes. Yeah, you’ll get tough teams. It happens. Just play the game, have fun, and move on.
Start as an easy character and know the roles. Assault, Tank, Defense, Support. Play support! It’s so much fun. Everyone wants to be the guy who kills the enemy team. My wife played the game with Mercy when we were seconds away from losing and she rezzed our whole team, giving us that last second push we needed to win the game. A good support character can make or break the game. The same can be said for any character, of course, but it’s awesome to see it happen with a support character instead of Bastion or Reaper or Junkrat.
I could go on-and-on about the virtues of Overwatch. So what’s the cons? There’s no single-player campaign. This might not seem like much to some but it’s a big con apparently for others. I’d like more delving into the lore than is given already, but it is what it is. Competitive mode is coming in June so that may quell some of the ‘sweaties’ that currently plague casual play. Those are the only complaints I’ve really seen so far other than the ‘nerf this, buff this, Blah-Blah is OP’ crowd.
I could throw in some witty repartee and slick comment about why you should check out Overwatch, but I won’t. Just do it. You won’t regret it.