On the surface, Overwatch is a gorgeous game. Blizzard’s high polished graphics, detailed environments, and satisfying gameplay really stand out. The game gets off to a great start initially in these areas but ultimately spreads itself thin. After accumulating a modest amount of time in the first-person shooter's combat zone (18 hours) and spending some time with the game’s diverse group of 21 selectable characters, it is easy to say that there is a ton of potential. However, the lack of content is cause for some concern.
While some of the more recent franchises in this type of genre have seen releases without a campaign, the developers have at least given players additional missions that showcase a quasi-story. In Overwatch’s case, there is no campaign for players to tackle and is simply just an online competitive multiplayer experience. This is truly disappointing because it only makes Blizzard’s first-person shooter look that much thinner on content. Even with plans to release downloadable content in the future, my optimism for any sort of story-based content is extremely low.
Players that would like to explore the game’s lore outside of the game can do so by visiting the official site. It is on this site in which players can explore each of the 21 characters and learn about their origins as well as interact with fellow community members. From the looks of it, there is a ton of information with more on the way. While the option to gain additional information is great, the comics and videos that are on the site could have easily been incorporated into the game. This minor issue doesn’t necessarily create a roadblock to the data, it would be sweeter if it was closer to my fingertips.
The strongest aspect of Blizzard’s first-person shooter is the 21 selectable characters it presents players with. The diversity amongst Overwatch’s cast of characters cannot be overstated due to how unique each of their respective playstyles is.
Source: Photo by Unknown Reviewer at Windows Central
Each one of these characters comes with their own unique primary weapon, passive/active abilities, and their own ultimate ability. It is worth noting that these ultimate abilities aren’t guaranteed kills and rely on skill in order to execute them efficiently. For example, Genji’s ultimate ability is the Dragonblade and requires the player to perform a melee attack with his katana. However, a player can miss if not close enough to the opposing side.
Players that are familiar with games such as Battlefield, Call of Duty, and Destiny will feel comfortable with characters such as Reaper or Soldier 76 due to their “traditional” playstyles. While these characters will enable players to essentially pick up and learn Overwatch’s intended style of gameplay, they are in no way going to provide an edge over the rest of the lobby.
In fact, players who use Pharah can quickly dispose of the opposition using her Rocket Launcher, Concussive Blast, or Barrage that fires 30 rockets at once. Others that can be similar to Pharah can disrupt or in some cases shift the momentum of the game in a heartbeat.
There is definitely something for everyone here in Blizzard’s Overwatch no matter the play style. For me, I ended up enjoying Reaper and Genji the most because of the way they looked as well as the way they played.
Having played with the majority of the characters in this game, I feel that I have only scratched the surface of what this game is truly about but with the lack of content I cannot see myself justifying a return and that is a real shame.
One of the first issues that I noticed was that the shooter only has 4 modes to choose from. These modes consist of Escort, Assault, Hybrid, and Control. In Escort, the objective is to move the “payload” to a delivery point on the map while defending it from the opposing team.
Assault tasks players with capturing control points and defending them before the players run out of time. Hybrid – Overwatch’s best mode in my opinion – is a combination of Assault and Escort. The two parts within this mode are played just as if you were playing the stand-alone modes.
Control is a game mode that will feel familiar to those that have been playing some of the more established franchises. In this mode, two teams battle over 3 objective points in a best-of-three format. There are up to 3 rounds in which teams will try to make progress toward capturing an objective and whichever team gets to 100% first wins that round. Currently, there are 12 maps in the game but they are restricted and divided between the 4 game modes (Ex: Hybrid – King’s Row, Numbani, and Hollywood). Personally, I would have liked to be given the option to choose which map to play on.
Overwatch is very much a first-person shooter but with certain limitations. In some of the other franchises, either L1 or L2 aims your weapon and R1 or R2 fires your weapon. This is not the case in here as you forced to hip-fire your weapon by using the R2 button, which can be similar to some of the older franchises such as Halo.
Abilities are accessible using L1 or R1 depending on the ability that you want to use. Using an ultimate ability does not require a button combination but a quick press of the triangle button. These are minor adjustments for a seasoned player in the first person shooter genre and only took myself about two matches before I became comfortable in the matches that I participated in.
As you continue to participate in matches, your level increases with experience points. With each level that players rank up, they are awarded a loot box. These boxes, when opened, contain randomly generated items that can range anywhere from alternated skins victory poses. These items can be applied to your character as soon as you acquire them but since these randomly generated you make not get what you want right away. Anyone who plays Bungie’s Destiny knows exactly how painful that can be at times.
Sound of Music
One of the pleasures that I received while playing the game was the sound. Guns and player movement sounded exactly as expected and when I was able to initiate an ultimate ability the sound made me feel like something was about to go down. My favorite element in all of this was how real everything came across. Truly a testament to the sound design team over at Blizzard Entertainment.
When making a comparison in terms of musical score, Team Fortress and Halo come to mind. The musical score in those games really added an additional layer to what is considered by many to be an amazing pair of games. Overwatch’s music fits each of the 12 maps in such a way that could only be deemed artistry.
The really interesting aspect of the sound quality was that it captured my attention so much, I could not assess the music at times. That, to me, means the balance between the music and the sound is simply lacking in this first-person shooter. It does not ruin the mood but the difference between a good game and a great game is being able to find the balance based on all of the elements presented.
Hardcore vs Casual
The multiplayer in Overwatch is interesting because for the first 24 levels it seems to cater more to the casual player and has nothing to offer the hardcore player. Once players reach level 25 they unlock a “competitive” mode and have the option to participate with other hardcore players. As a hardcore gamer myself, I think this is a great option for those who do not want the game to become stale or want to have ultra-serious sessions.
It also gives the casual players the option to test out their abilities in order to see if they are making progress or not. However, it is worth noting that this particular mode was cut from the game during the Beta at the last minute but will be reinstated sometime in June. It is definitely going to be interesting to see how this will work out in the coming weeks.
Players who simply expect nothing more than to jump from map to map while enjoying the frenzied chaos that Overwatch brings to the table will be met with tons of satisfaction. Even if you are used to some of the more established franchises, this game should and will feel fresh and in some cases… rewarding. Just don’t expect to pick this game up and see content geared toward the single player experience because you will be extremely disappointed. With promises of downloadable content in the future, there is no reason not to think that the shooter could see some story based content later on. However, some may find it difficult to justify the $60 dollar price tag – $40 on PC – given the game’s current state.
Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch is a game with a lot of promise with its nice graphics and diverse group of characters. However, the lack of content aside from the 12 maps that are playable within the 4 game modes is a huge disappointment. The game ultimately misfires due to how thin and dry it is. Since there are no additional missions, no campaign, and a limited amount of modes it is impossible to think of this as a complete experience. Maybe in coming months things will improve but my initial experience does not leave me with much hope for the future.
|+ Stunning Graphics||– No Campaign|
|+ Relaxed Multiplayer||– Limited Modes|
|+ Cast of Characters||– No additional missions|
|+ Great Sound|