CHEERS LOVE! THE CALVARY'S HERE
Overwatch is a successful merging of several concepts that have been around since the good old days of Quake, with a generous helping of Team Fortress. Overwatch is a tried and true First-Person Hero Shooter, borrowing as it does from MOBAs in the sense that each character has unique skills that set them apart from the competition. Pairing this with incredibly intelligent map design and dynamic, fast-paced moment to moment gameplay quickly made Overwatch one of my favorite shooters of all time. And besides excellent gameplay elements, it also oozes charisma and charm from every beautifully animated pore.
"Intelligent map design and dynamic moment to moment gameplay quickly made Overwatch one of my favorite shooters of all time."
There are many many things that Overwatch does really well, but the real game changer is the diverse roster. The large cast of misfits and murderers are unique as they are quirky and weird, with each interacting with their fellow heroes and the handful of maps in constantly surprising ways. You’ll immediately want to familiarize yourself with all 21 characters and it’s oddly fun getting to know everyone. It helps that they don’t feel like the wooden characters you sadly so often find in games., with all 21 heroes feeling unique in both design and ability kit—making it treat to study and spend time with each of them. Which brings up one of the best parts of Overwatch: its joyous acceptance of any playstyle or experience level. It’s a game I can confidently recommend to both veteran and newcomers alike. It’s easy to pick up any character and quickly glance at their character sheet and jump into a match, but it doesn’t cheapen or lower its skill ceiling to any degree. There are still times, even after 15 hours, where I see someone pull off a play with a character I didn’t even know was possible.
With such a large cast of characters not only will you want to spend time with each one, but you’ll also want to synergize with your comrades. The fact that Overwatch lets you easily swap between any character upon death or back at base ensures Overwatch is a delightfully ever changing landscape. Your team might swap out a few heroes for some better counters to the enemies picks, but then they might swap out their heroes for counters to your picks. It’s a constant dance that gives a 7-minute match a fresh feeling even after 40 matches on the same map. Just as I’m feeling confident in my abilities, a better player comes and puts me to shame. Forcing constant adaptation is what keeps the game so engaging. The content debate, often directed at games like Battlefront or Rainbow Six:Siege, a moot one here. If your gameplay is good enough, a handful of maps and modes will do just fine. And that’s not to say I’m against adding content— I’m sat here patiently the next content drop—but the debate of “Is Overwatch worth $60?” is a conversation I’m ready to never see again.
"It’s a constant dance that gives a 7-minute match a fresh feeling even after 40 matches on the same map."
Currently Overwatch has three game modes and twelve maps, you’ll escort an inexplicably slow car carrying important somethings, battle for control of a central point and capture two points for victory. It all sounds semi mundane but I’m less worried about what game mode I’m playing and more interested in what is going to happen in this match that blows my mind, or what play I’m going to pull off that has me dusting my shoulders like I rolled into town and blew everyone away. It’s so effortlessly engaging on so many levels, to be getting your ass handed to you and then to adjust your strategy and come back harder than ever and take a point or nudge the payload a few more meters to take the victory is so exciting and satisfying. Taking a control point back from the enemy team at 99% to rally and win is insane. You’ll be mashing buttons and draining every ounce of skill you have to push your team forward.
Visually Overwatch is no slouch either, its gorgeous animation and buttery smooth frame rate are a welcome sight, while the top-notch audio mixing spices things up. They’ll be background drones of machinery, subtle music transitions between locales, and when Mcree tell you what time it is? It’s cool. Audio is not just for show either, but plays a vital role in your ability to adapt and survive. All characters, for example, have some sort of audio cue when activating their ultimate ability; so while Pharah will let you know the weather report and Hanzo teaches you some basic Japanese, it’s all fun and games until your eating missiles or being force fed two large dragons. So pay attention to the cues, wear headphones and don’t be that guy.
Overwatch is an already impressive game in its current state, but with Blizzard already working on future updates and content, you better believe Overwatch is here to stay. It hosts some of the most impressively blood pumping and adrenaline-fueled action to hit the shooter scene in a very long time. The interesting and loveable cast of mass murdering magic orb wielding mech piloting scientist apes keep the game feeling endlessly refreshed—with Overwatch I can’t wait to come home every day and just play. It’s dumped many ideas from the Blizzard skillet and sauteed up a delicious stir-fry of gamey goodness. With such a low barrier to entry and a high skill ceiling, Overwatch is a shooter just about anyone can pick up and play, but only the devoted will master.