Overwatch takes everything about an every day FPS, blends all the great ideas into one game, and spits out something truly amazing! While repetitive in nature, Overwatch constantly finds ways to surprise you with unique approaches to every situation. The absolute only negative aspect of Overwatch seems to be the fact everyone wants more, which is a good thing.
Overwatch is a boiled down simplistic approach to shooters and we mean that in every positive way possible. You have two teams of six and an objective. Seems simple enough, but then you throw in 21 totally unique heroes that play in such drastic different ways and you never know what will happen next. One match you might dominate as a Tracer, constantly teleporting and being too fast to be shot, but the next match you need to adjust as the opposing team obliterates you with a sniper.
The characters are what really makes this game so fantastic. Every single character is purely unique to their own in design, personality, and how they apply to the battlefield. You can very easily find yourself changing characters to gain an edge or adapt to the current game. This to me is a nice feature because instead of being locked to pre-made loadouts (which may not adapt very well) you can totally change your whole dynamic with a new character. Some characters are also easier to use than others giving you a fall back point to get your stats back up instead of quitting the match. One thing I hate about MOBA's (which this game isn't one) is that your entire team is locked to their selections, and if your team clearly isn't prepared to handle the other you basically have to suffer. Overwatch doesn't do that and honestly encourages you to try new characters, with hints as to what your team could utilize at any given point.
When you play Overwatch you are learning. You learn how to utilize a character, what their strengths are, what other characters are a weakness, and you become alert. If you utilize Bastion and see Genji deflecting bullets at you, it might be best to get out of turret formation, for example. While you learn how to utilize each character you start to learn how to combat them too. If someone is dominating the map with Bastion, well you just used him so you know he is a little weak to distance attacks or flanking, so what do you do? Pull out Tracer and teleport around him, or go for Widowmaker and find a sight line.
Every character has an amazing backstory to tell which has been told via online short movies. These movies have been breath taking and really pushed me to buy the game, but the disappointing aspect of the game is that none of it exists within the title. I constantly look for videos or written descriptions just to learn a bit about each character, but nothing can be found. There is no story at all within Overwatch, you simply put the game in and play online. There are hints via quotes by each character, or the way they act, but that’s about as far as it goes.
I guess it is so lame to me because each character is so amazing. It’s like Blizzard took a whole universe from a regular game and made every single character you come across playable. You can really see the characters that perhaps would carry a game as the main hero, or the tinkerer’s and support characters. If it all came to life in some way I think people would be truly blown away.
That being said the slate of 21 characters opens the door for anyone that wants to try the game out. If you like a more typical shooter experience you can pick Soldier 76 and get a barebones shooter approach. If you like speed and teleporting around people dodging bullets, but have a risk of easily being taken out, then you can play as Tracer. My personal favorite is Mercy a support character that can provide health and revive fallen friends, while also blasting people away with a precise headshot from her hand gun. The truth is that if you want to play the game like an arena shooter you can, if you want a MOBA style approach you can slightly accomplish that too. The cool part is that opposing players really don’t hurt your effort to play how you want, and everyone will grow into their own.
The best thing about Overwatch is the amount of polish Blizzard dumped all over everything. Literally every detail you can think of has been implemented. Reload animations, how each character runs, the sound healing a person makes, the blasts from various guns. Everything in this game looks and sounds amazing. Details are so fascinating that if your character dies mid sentance, they actually grunt to their death instead of simply finishing their sentance. It's little details like this that will constantly shock you that someone took the time to implement it.
Then Overwatch continues with this fine-tuned machine with near perfect maps. Each map takes place at a location around “future Earth” and you really do feel like you step into the future with each map. Then each map blows you away with finely placed environments, giving good sight lines and open areas when you need it. In multiple maps there are choke points, but if a team can find an alternate way through then things become chaotic. However there is one or two maps where the choke point is severe and setting up any type of game plan becomes extremely hard if the defending team picks the right characters. This is why the ability to switch characters mid match becomes so vital.
This is what makes Overwatch so dynamic. You think you had the enemy in the choke point, but then your defenses slowly start to fall apart. Then they create a push and break through, now your team needs to find a way to counter it at the next choke point. Almost every match in Overwatch ends up with the assaulting team lingering on the line to victory and it becomes very tense as defenders rush out and try to keep cargo from crossing the line. Often times I find Overwatch being “quiet” as a bad thing, this means the other team is planning something and it won’t be easy combatting it.
Combining your efforts in Overwatch becomes something to praise in every match. People become thankful for everyone, and get annoyed at those that try to lone wolf things. At the end of every match you can vote for players that accomplished key things in a match. At one point I had upwards of 10 votes thanking me for healing my team (and perhaps some compliments from the opposing team) and reviving them in key moments as Mercy, then at the beginning of the next match I had people coming up to me and doing a “thank you” emoji for me. It’s a great feeling when you feel as though you compliment a team effort instead of just running and gunning people down.
I do wish that the game would highlight these efforts a little more. For example if someone is playing Mercy and giving another character a damage boost, leading to that character getting “play of the game” they could highlight both players. Put both of those profiles on the screen, and maybe even split the screen or flash between the two to demonstrate the teamwork at hand. Most “highlights” at the end of the game are often group eliminations or lucky perk rewards.
Stepping outside of actually playing online is when Overwatch becomes questionable though. As I stated above there isn’t a story, there are no backstories, and to make matters worse the only thing you really earn while playing are loot boxes. Competitive play doesn’t release until June so I’m not sure how that will play out, but as of now you only really look forward to random loot boxes.
I don’t mind it entirely because loot boxes can be fun, but the game isn’t engineered to reward the characters you play. As I stated I play Mercy a lot, she and Tracer are my top two characters, and yet I’ve unlocked 1 thing for them both out of all the loot boxes I’ve opened. Each character has customizable skins, sprays, celebrations, etc… totaling over 50 varied things to unlock. Loot boxes make unlocking these things totally random and the only other option is to unlock a specific item with in-game coins. The only way to earn these coins? Luck out with loot boxes… As of right now I have one character with over 10 items unlocked and I never use that character, all the characters I do use only have 1 or 2 things unlocked. Loot boxes are great because the only thing you earn when leveling up are cosmetic items, not something that would give experienced players a total edge. However they are bad because you can’t really gear the game in your direction.
Overall Overwatch is truly one of the best shooters released in a long time. The goofy nature, the colors, everything about it is just so fresh and unique. However I have an issue with the game when I spend 60 dollars and I only get online with only a small sample size of content. I know future updates will add additional characters and levels for free, but the only thing warming is the promise that this game will live for a long time. We could be looking at the new Team Fortress. I just wish their overall polish led to a deeper dive into the characters. Simply including their animated videos on the disc would have added plenty, but all we get is a super cool intro video. Maybe the fact that it’s so well done is what leaves me so desperate for more. (Note the game is $40 on PC and I believe that is a totally fair price.)
It’s really hard to judge this game. In one hand I love it, can’t stop playing it, and I haven’t had this much fun in ages. On the other hand I keep wondering into the menu areas looking for something and I never find anything. I think the fact I can see myself playing this game for a very long time really saves the game, and the amount of polish can't be ignored. Is it missing "something," perhaps, but I wouldn't give up this multiplayer for anything.