Overwatch, the latest release from developer Blizzard, is the online gaming giants first, and magnificent foray into first person shooters that everyone is raving about. But if for some reason you have managed to resist the constant barrage of peer pressure and articles telling you to play it, I’ve decided to throw one more at you in hopes of tipping the scales.
Overwatch does something that Blizzard is really good at, making the mundane — incredibly interesting. I’ve played my fair share of first person shooters and no matter how good they can be, they always manage to end up feeling stale with matches blurring together and feeling the same. Blizzard found a way around that lack of excitement by fusing the genre with the already insanely popular MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) genre to create something simply brilliant.
Like in many MOBA’s you can pick from 21 unique and interesting Heroes that all come equipped with their own special abilities making them feel entirely individual from the other playable characters, each offering their own stylistic way of handling a situation. Many of the Heroes deal extreme damage but are easily killed if they are caught out alone, while others are very difficult to kill but rely on the damage Heroes to back them up in fights. Some Heroes don’t even do damage but instead hang back assisting the team with heals, other buffs and information about the enemy.
The Heroes of Overwatch are a huge part of why the game is so good but the games level design plays a giant role in keeping the game strategic. The 12 maps are large enough that you can find time to take a breath from the chaos on the battlefield but never so big that you get lost or have a hard time finding action. There are many different routes to go to find different ways to approach each battle and try to get the draw on your enemies with varying strategic points depending on the Hero you choose.
The best way the game keeps itself from getting boring is by having 4 different game modes that get randomly mixed together. These objectives are the key point to Overwatch matches. Some games will have you attacking or defending objectives while others might see you escorting a payload and some that look to put the two teams of 6 in common areas and see who can hold it the longest. Teamwork is vital in this heavily objective based game and despite it being an online game with total strangers, that teamwork is easy to come by. There is very little to no reward in having a high kill/death ratio and ignoring the objective so most players you encounter will be looking for the win.
The exciting and layered complexity of choosing the right character for the right situation and engaging in the chaotic heat of the battlefield is what makes Overwatch so great but of course there is a level system making it that much better. The game has an unlock feature that grants players cosmetic gear to customize your Heroes achieved through loot boxes you unlock each time you level up or. If you really cant wait and like to gamble, you can purchase the boxes with real money and hope for the skins you desire. By time you reach level 100 you can start over again at 1 and keep collecting more boxes and even earn a special badge to show how bad ass you are.
The graphics lean towards the cartoonish side, standard for blizzard games but still look great and help build on the amazing world Overwatch takes place in. A major benefit to this is that its not overly straining on the average PC and ports well onto console. As usual in a blizzard game the sound design in phenomenal and does a great job of building up the action and creating a connection to the fictional character you control. The music is good but unfortunately doesn’t stand out in any way.
Overwatch is by far the most addictive FPS game I’ve played and doesn’t require you to have a pre-made team of trust worthy friends to be enjoyable; though any game is better when you do. Its unique characters keep the fights feeling competitive and strategic. Although some game modes occasionally seem harder to win as the attacker, there will also be times when you end up on the benefiting end of a rarely heavily one sided match. Regardless of winning or losing the exciting game play is likely to hook people who haven’t even spent much time in the genre.
Rating: [star rating = “4.5”]