The open beta for Blizzard’s new FPS Overwatch ended on May 9th, and if you didn’t get to play it, I assume you were under a rock, or working? Yeah you could have been working, I guess. But no matter the reason, this is what we thought!
What Is Overwatch?
Overwatch is a competitive hero based shooter with some beautiful cartoonish art design. You have your choice of 21 distinct and memorable characters that also determine your class, kind of like Team Fortress 2, but with a lot more options. Each character has a weapon specific to them and usually has a fire and an alt fire and sometimes a side arm, such as with Mercy. They also each have a special, think grenade, and an ultimate ability that must charge before you can use it. There are 4 broad types, offense, defense, support and tank and each character falls into one of these categories. It is up to you and your team to select good complementary roles to win, and you can swap on the fly when you die if something isn’t working.
The maps are varied and there are a few game modes. You’ll be familiar with all of them if you’ve played team based shooters before. There is a mode where teams battle over a point for control, attack/defense, escorting a payload and a combination of attacking a point that then transitions to escorting a payload.
It’s About The Polish
The game is polished, I mean it, pol-ished. Blizzard isn’t about to have one of those messy launches, they’ve already gotten it right, it’s just a matter of release. The matchmaking seems good, I never felt like I was matched up out of my depth, and it was easy to drop in, having never played before, and start playing even without the tutorial. I do recommend you start with the training though, so you have an idea of how your firing modes work.
The action is fast paced and for the most part pretty balanced. At no point did I think any character was overpowered compared to any of my choices, except one time when Tracer was stomping all over my win streak and making me look like it was my first time ever seeing a mouse and keyboard. I immediately decided to try Tracer myself and realized very quickly that it was the player who was better than me, not the character. It was not easy to make Tracer that slippery and deadly at the same time.
There were certain map/game mode combinations that did feel unbalanced, where defense was heavily favored. That’s not just coming from a losing perspective, either, there were plenty of matches we won that felt like we could have held on indefinitely, even as the poorer team. Some of that comes down to team builds in this game, but not all of it. I’m sure Blizzard can see the trends in their stats.
I’m not entirely sure how they plan to monetize this game, because as of now, new maps and characters are supposed to be released for free, and all of the upgrades in the game are vanity mods. There is no pay to win here, and for that we are all grateful.
If you’re looking for a frenetic TF2 style shooter with unique hero characters, this is your stop. If you’re thinking you have to decide between 2K’s Battleborn and this, you should know they’re not the same. At all. Similarities end at heroes. Battleborn is a MOBA style game, a first person League of Legends. Overwatch has none of that, but both should be popular for e-sports.
There will be some who can’t justify the cost at $60 bones a pop minimum for console players and $40 for PC. The content was a little thin in the beta and there is no story mode of any kind. There’s no persistent world, either, so this is kind of on the pricey side for a multiplayer only shooter. I can’t think of any others that have put their price point so high. Are there enough maps? Not right now, no. Does any of that matter to me personally? No. But it might matter to you.
I had enough fun that I’m going to put my hard earned dollars into Blizzard’s coffers yet again. As busy as I can be, I need a game I can drop in and blow off some steam immediately and not feel like I have to play for a couple hours or more a day just to stay relevant and from what I saw so far, it seems like Overwatch satisfies that.
Buy Overwatch – Origins Edition – PC May 24th on all systems.