On the 11th of April, Blizzard surprised fans of the hit game Overwatch with a brand new event titled 'Uprising’. The game mode features a Player-versus-environment level, in which 4 players must work together to defeat invading 'Omnic' robots, and successfully liberate the newly decorated King’s Row map. This event coincides with the recent release of the recent Overwatch digital comic of the same name, where characters discussed the loss of life at the hands of the robotic invaders. It is the first event to take place outside of the current timeline within the game, instead, it takes place many years before during an early mission the team was sent on. This event features the usual offerings of new skins, sprays, emotes, highlight introductions and victory poses for characters. You can find our 'Best to Worst’ list for the skins here! These cosmetics are only available to unlock or purchase with in-game currency until May 1st, 2017 when the event ends.
This event, above all previous seasonal events, features a canon story which adds further to the lore and backstory within Overwatch. It sends players back in time on a mission featuring a classic Overwatch strike team, consisting of Mercy, Reinhardt, Torbjörn, and the new recruit Tracer, for whom this is her first mission. Players take the role of one of these characters alongside 3 other online players, in an effort to stop an Omnic uprising taking place in King’s Row, the game’s London map. The map itself has been updated to show heavy destruction and anarchy. The famous statue at the centre of the map and the evening setting are both gone! Instead, there is a daytime setting and the pedestal in now occupied by an Omnic anti-aircraft unit. This creates a lovely contrast, showing the player the change in the setting over the course of time within the game. Using the day to night change also shines the map in a literal new light, highlighting the gorgeous details both pre-existing and added for this event.
At this point in the story Overwatch was starting to come under fire from government officials, and sending the team to London goes against the recent sanctions placed on Overwatch. By having the small team this really puts the emphasis on the low-key aspect of the mission, and although the game doesn’t go into too much depth on the details behind the scenes, it does well at informing the player enough. This invites players to learn more if they want to, whilst giving those who don't enough information to still enjoy the story.
Delving into the game’s backstory allows players to learn more about the roles characters held within the Overwatch team, and how their relationships used to be or how they have changed over the years. I am pleased Blizzard is giving the players more content in the form of events, and I hope it continues in future seasonal offerings. It gives the game more depth, not just in an extra game mode, but with the game not having a single player campaign mode, this is a nice way of still including story elements.
Gameplay is focused on stopping the omnic robots from invading King’s Row in London. These characters are AI controlled, and attack you as you progress over the length of the map, completing different mission objectives, including capture areas, payload escorting, and final boss enemies. This is an Overwatch first, as the previous PvE event was focused on one objective and was mostly static, so competing across the whole map was very refreshing.
Players start off defending 3 capture points, keeping the Omnic invaders at bay, before moving onto a payload which triggers horde-style waves of enemies for a few minutes while the payload is also ‘captured’. The game then shifts into a payload delivery, with players tasked with delivering the payload to the end destination at the other end of the map. Finally, this leads to an area filled with tougher Omni robots to fight off, within a time limit. This dynamic changing of objectives makes for an incredibly fun game mode, and a huge departure from the game modes usually associated with Overwatch. It not only provides an insight into the days-of-old in the Overwatch universe, but it also gives fans a genuinely fun and completely different way to play the game.
The game mode is also split into 2 separate modes, one with the classic characters in conjunction with the story, Mercy, Tracer, Reinhardt and Torbjörn; and one where players can choose any character they want, but only one of each. This was a feature frequently requested after the Halloween event, in which players could only choose between 4 different characters, so it seems Blizzard has listened and created a separate version of the mode, to give players that variety and choice.
I think the event is very invited for all players, as the 'normal' mode is fun and relaxed, giving players a fun experience outside of the sometimes stressful competitive environments. However higher difficulty tiers really crank up the pressure and provide a genuine challenge. The achievements tied to the events difficulty levels are only unlockable via the classic version of the game, but this doesn’t mean completing it with an incredibly odd composition is any less fun. In fact i found some of the most entertaining rounds were with a composition of characters that I usually wouldn't expect to work, and that was half the fun!
GRAPHICS AND AUDIO
As usual, Blizzard has maintained their high level of visual aesthetics and audio quality with this new addition to the game. The colour palette of using the blue heroes against the purple enemies with red shields works well in being distinctive, clear, and still boldly colourful. The new skins are also fantastic, with some of the characters with fewer cosmetics being given some highly unique skins this time around.
New audio lines and interactions were also added for this event, with new lines being unlocked the better you do as a team. This adds a nice extra incentive to keep playing on harder difficulties, to try and hear more of the rarer conversations. There were also new lines added which feature the commanding officers of Overwatch, giving the players instructions in a very smart, and enjoyable way. The team at Blizzard also gave fans the first example of Reaper’s voice before he turned into Reaper, and was still Gabriel Reyes, a commanding Overwatch member. Considering fans mostly know his villainous newer persona, hearing him without the deep raspy voice was a pleasant unexpected surprise.
Skins, SPRAYS AND COSMETICS
With every new seasonal event, there is a new range of cosmetic items that come with it, and this is no different! Usually, the items are appropriate to the time of year, such as Christmas hats at winter time for example. This event take this idea and gives fans something completely unexpected, with skins from the characters past! A particular highlight is the new ‘Talon’ skin for Widowmaker, which shows her before her final transformation when her skin was not yet blue. Widowmaker also receives a sweet and emotional spray, featuring her wedding to her late husband. This was before she ever got recruited by the evil corporation Talon, when she was still a ballerina. Other surprise sprays include the long speculated father of Pharah! Fans still don’t know the whole story with her family, but these small hints are fantastic at keeping the player base engaged in backstories, whilst also keeping enough under wraps for future reveals!
Some of the skins aren’t so strong, but they can’t all be complete overworks, and the non-legendaries are still fun. Though Some of the legendary skins do feel like they should be in a lower tier, for example, the ‘Cadet’ skin for Tracer. The rest of old team and Omnic skins have more basic recolours, but even then, seeing younger versions of the older characters is always fun, with a particular highlight on the less technological Mercy.
Blizzard has delivered arguably the best Overwatch event to date with the addition of Uprising, and along with the release, they have satisfied thousands of fans who were begging for a new PvE game mode. Some beautiful skin's, spray's, and emote's round out a very interesting look back into Overwatch's past. I hope this event or type of gameplay will remain in the game in some capacity, as part of the arcade or even custom game modes. Regardless though I think this has proven to many, including Blizzard themselves that there is room for a PvE mode in Overwatch and that the team can execute it excellently. Personally, I like the reprieve from constant online play, and I would welcome a more relaxed mode, with the focus on a smaller team.
|+ New game mode!||– Some skins seem misplaced|
|+ Great skins|
|+ More story!|