Overwatch Review

Lookout World! Blizzard’s on a rampage

I personally try not to call games before they’re released, especially with a multiplayer only game because they are so dependent on player base – a younger shinier game could snatch a majority of your player base in heartbeat. I’ll have to call it on this game….ready? Overwatch is going to be one of the greatest shooters of this generation; the game would join the pantheon of great FPSes such as Halo, Call Of Duty and even Counter Strike Global Offensive. Even before the game’s actual release, Overwatch had amassed a cult like following with the gaming community; access to the closed beta were highly sought after. On streaming sites like Twitch and Youtube Gaming, Overwatch was one of the most watched games on the respective platforms, beating out its genre contemporaries such as Call Of Duty and Counter Strike. Fortunately, Overwatch does live up to its hype in its current state, the game strips off the fluff and gimmicks that have popularized the multiplayer shooter space and what’s left is the bare essence of what makes a multiplayer shooter fun.

Overwatch is a hero based multiplayer shooter aka a hero shooter, which is a new fangled genre of shooters who combines the colorful hero diversity and objective based gameplay of MOBAs with the lightning fast action of First Person Shooters. Overwatch flies right out of the gate with 21 playable characters at launch (with post game content following soon after), 12 maps and 4 game modes.

Single-player  I mean Multiplayer

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The single player component of Overwatch non-existent with the exception of matches with A.I bots but let’s be honest here, you’re probably not going to pay an upwards of 50 plus dollars for A.I games. They might be great to try out some newfangled tactics and jumps but that’s about it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually happy that Blizzard decided to forgo a single player experience for a more robust and polished multiplayer. In this day and age, a shoehorned single player mode just to check off a box on some executive’s checklist would take away valuable time and resources away from the meat of the game… Multiplayer.

The quintessential Overwatch experience involves having a bunch of friends to play and communicate with because of the game’s 4 major classes: Offense, Defense, Tank and Support.  All 4 roles classes overlap each other in terms of ability and utility although the abilities of each individual character are vastly different from one another. Take Reinhardt and Winston, they are both Tanks with the ability to shield; Reinhardt’s massive shield could allow the team to slowly inch towards the enemy and his trusty hammer would smash all that stands before him but only as far as it can reach; Winston on the other hand is able to leap over obstacles and barriers before crashing down and wrecking havoc on squishy heroes such as healers and offensive heroes with his Tesla Cannon, his dome shield would offer him protection whenever he leaps in behind enemy line and his overall health pool allows him to stay in the fight long enough to for his team to back him up. Team composition is the name of the game in class/role based games so I’ve developed a habit of finding a single role and sticking with it but the accessibility of the roster allowed me to diversify my Portfolio and branch out into roles I’d normally never play. I’m more of an Off Tank man myself, I naturally gravitated towards characters like Roadhog and Winston(which I still main btw) but the after several games, I found myself gravitating towards Soldier 76 and Reaper because of how accessible and powerful each of them are in their own right. Though it’s worth noting that some hero requires more skill than others, case in point; Widowmaker, sure she might be deadly when her bullet hits home but only  when her bullets hit. A Widowmaker who misses 9 times out of 10 would be better off playing someone like Roadhog or Reaper whose bullet spread would hit foes 8 times out of 10 even at medium ranges.

Around the world in 12 maps

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Each of Overwatch’s 12 maps are a delight to play in,  each map are chocked full of alternate routes and vantage points that are only accessible with certain heroes e.g Genji and Pharah  would be able to dash/fly across chasms to get behind the opposing team. There is an insane attention to detail in each map; in the Attacker’s initial spawn point in Hanamura, you can see nods to Blizzard’s other franchises turned in to classic arcade games e.g Starcraft version of Metal Slug featuring Jim Raynor.

Dem Sweet loot

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Progression in Overwatch is purely cosmetic, the difference between a level 10 and a level 50 player is the time he or she have sunk into the game. XP would be given after every game, once you earn enough XP, you’ll rank up and receive a loot box which is a pack of 4 random cosmetic items, ranging from skins to emotes – just like Hearthstone. It is rather enjoyable to rank up and see what the next loot box have in store for me. For those who really care about how their characters look, loot boxes are available for purchase via the in game store with real money.

Ranked or Unranked…That is the question

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Although a Ranked mode was briefly added during the closed beta, the mode was subsequently removed at launch. Blizzard assured us that it is still being developed and reworked as post game content. It’s reassuring to know that a more polished Ranked mode would be released rather than a rushed mess.

The world could always use more heroes

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Overwatch is a game I foresee myself playing for at least 2 years – yes, as long as National Service but definitely more enjoyable. Blizzard has a perfect storm on its hands, a brand new IP, a tried and tested genre and a focus on E-Sports. This is Blizzard’s new IP in more than a decade and I foresee the Overwatch joining the likes of Master Chief and Cpt Price in the Pantheon of great Shooters.

Ratings: 4.5 out of 5 stars

By Chen KangYi

© POPCulture Online 2016

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