Title: Overwatch

Platform: Windows, Xbox One, PS4

Reviewed on: Windows

Genre: FPS

Players: Online Multiplayer




Written by Bad Demoman 8th June 2016



















Overwatch has been hyped up for a very long time. Over-hyped, some would even say. Blizzard has done a pretty excellent job of doing this, with the long and very exclusive closed beta and stunts such as the 15 foot tall figures. Even the controversy around Tracer and Blizzards actions against creators of fan art of the raunchy kind has served to draw ever more attention to Overwatch. So now that it's finally out, will the build-up of attention bear fruit, or will the hype serve to disappoint?

 

It's been a long time since a Multiplayer FPS has actually garnered any interest to me. Back in the day when I was an Xbox 360 player and there wasn't much better to do, I will admit I played a fair bit of Call of Duty and Halo, but ever since I've been disillusioned with the genre. Overwatch, however, has pulled me back in. This is because Overwatch does something a little bit fresher with the genre. While class based shooters have existed before (such as Overwatch’s frequent comparison, Team Fortress 2) it's rare to see one to the scale of Overwatch, which has 21 playable characters from launch. Given that it's Blizzard, each character is unique and has an interesting design and their own role in a team. Infact, something Blizzard say they found incredibly important in the design phase of each character was that they should be discernible by their silhouette alone. And it works, it’s a rare occasion that you’ll be in any confusion as to whose approaching you, even with a variety of appearance-altering skins in the mix.



























Everyone will find something to please their play style or the needs of the team. Sure, there's 5 tanks available to choose, but each one is suitable to an entirely different situation – Reinhardt is the king of the push with his massive shield to support his allies, while D Va is a mobile and aggressive tank that plays more like a mix between a tank and a damage dealer. I went in to Overwatch with an expectation of about two or three characters that I would ''main'' and find fun – which was definitely a mistake. There isn't a single character in Overwatch that I don't enjoy, and while I certainly play some more often than others there's none that I ignore. That's because each map is designed with a different approach in mind for most characters, and each character has a complicated rock-paper-scissors like relationship with all the other characters. Does the enemy team have an ever-hated Bastion blighting your team with his hail of fire? Genji's a perfect fit to take him out with his mobility and reflection, but what if the enemy team has a counter to Genji, like Winston? It's all a matter of finding that perfect fit for your team that can overcome every aspect of the enemies team, and being flexible enough to change as needed. Sometimes, mechanical skill isn't all you need to tear down a well-made defence or to defend against a vicious offence – the right composition of your team makes things so much easier.


Overwatch is most certainly a team game, and it's incredibly hard for any one player to carry a team – this is a blessing and a curse, unfortunately. You're pretty much reliant on your team being competent and making correct decisions. When it all works out, it feels great and plenty of ''GG''s in chat ensue. But when your full team of flankers all refuse to change when your team lacks both a tank and support, or someone happens to be dragging their weight more than the rest, an infuriating uphill battle is often the result. There's certain things you can do to make things a bit easier – it can be dull to play Tank and Support every single game (Unless that role happens to be your preference, of course) but playing with some friends can alleviate this problem to an extent, and this is highly recommended anyway as it makes communication that much easier.


























 

Of course, an online shooter lives and dies on its variety, and while Overwatch has an impressive roster, what about its maps? At the time of writing, Overwatch has 12 maps of four different types. The types are quite varied, but essentially they all have an element of Offense vs Defense. Control is a King of the Hill-style game mode, while Escort is a take on Payload, a favourite of mine from TF2. Assault involves each team taking turns alternately attacking or defending a point, while Hybrid will combine two other game modes. Usually, you have to take a point before guiding a payload. Some have been saying that they wish they could queue up for particular game modes, but I think this would be a pretty severe error. 12 maps might not seem like a massive amount, but because you're cycling through different game modes it doesn't get monotonous. These 12 maps are designed from the characters up – Blizzard have attempted to give each map a different approach for each characters play styles, and while certain characters definitely have their strong maps, each character feels playable on each map. Due to this design process, playing a map multiple times as different characters can feel very different, and so the small number of maps matters even less. If 12 maps still just doesn't seem enough, keep in mind that new maps were added a couple of times in the beta – and more will assuredly be added later.


























 

Overwatch is a hard game to rate. While I definitely enjoy it immensely, it can also be an incredibly frustrating game. As with any game that contains team-based elements and picking the right characters, the slightest mess up can result in some MOBA-esque outrage in the chat directed at you, and the reliance on your team can leave you feeling like you played your absolute best, did everything right, but still lost. Even so, the soaring highs are always worth the lowest of lows, and even a game where you lost pretty hard can still feel very fun. Overwatch may be overhyped – but it's still eaten up my time like a ravenous beast, and I see myself enjoying it immensely for months to come.



Pros:

An impressive roster of characters,

Varied and well designed maps,

Satisfying team-based gameplay.


Cons:

Reliance on your team can be frustrating.

 

Final Verdict,

Overwatch gets a stellar 9 out of 10.

 

Written by,

Bad Demoman



    
















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