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I did a little write-up last week that I have been playing a lot of Overwatch lately and I still can't put it down. If anyone is looking for more information about the game I decided to do a review on it.
What It Is- At it's core Overwatch is a shooter from Blizzard Entertainment, but it really feels like so much more than most other shooters I have played. There isn't a single player campaign with a huge story and explosive set-pieces like a movie, in fact there isn't a single player campaign at all. But where this would hurt most games it doesn't take away from Overwatch at all. It doesn't try to be something it isn't, it is an online only competitive shooter, and it is damn good at being that. The games are 6v6 on some maps one team attacks a payload trying to move it to an extraction point, and on others both teams battle to take control of a central location. This leads to very competitive gameplay that I think will lead to a lot of esport teams in the future.
Classes And Characters- The different characters and character classes is what really makes Overwatch shine. Most recent shooters have characters that can choose different weapons as you progress and level-up or different classes where you also earn different weapons with progression. In Overwatch every character and all of their abilities are unlocked from the very start of the game, which takes away the grind of most games to unlock a character you want or a gun you want to use. The characters are split into classes which are completely different but all equally important there are offense, defense, and support characters. Even characters in the same class play completely different from each other. There is a ninja that throws shurikens and can deflect projectiles back at the enemies, there is an old soldier that plays more like a traditional shooter, a girl named Tracer that can teleport back and forth rapidly while dual wielding machine pistols, and this isn't even everyone on offense. Some people will stick with certain characters and try to master them, while I try to play around a little with everyone to find out who I am good with and in what situations.
As you are playing in a match you gain progress towards game changing specials that are also unique to each character. These specials make for exciting game moments that can be really fun or frustrating depending on which team you are on and how well your opponent executes. The specials can be extra devastating if you are playing against a team that communicates well and syncs up their specials as many of them go together for extra deadly results. For example there is a defensive character that can create a black hole to suck in everyone of the opposing team if they are close enough, and an offensive character that can use a jet pack to fly in the sky and shoot rockets down. Pharah the flying character has a special that sends a rocket barrage at the other team, if enough characters are sucked into the black hole, this rocket barrage can execute everyone on the team.
Gameplay - Blizzard noticeably spent a lot of time making sure to get even the little things right in this game. Every character not only has unique weapons and abilities but even moves differently. When you are playing as a large tank you feel like you are moving slower and taking heavier steps than when playing with a faster moving lightweight offensive character. In between rounds characters will have amusing conversations with each other based on what level they are on, and all the reload animations are different for each weapon. Since every character plays differently Blizzard has included control mapping on a per-character basis, which seems like something little but can be a game changer when you play one character a lot and want something mapped specifically for them. Blizzard has said that they will be supporting the game with new maps and characters down the road, and while most games charge for these updates they will be free to everyone who purchases the game. To make up for this they did include micro transactions in the form of cosmetic upgrades but this is not something necessary and you still unlock loot boxes as you level up with normal gameplay. The cosmetic upgrades are fantastic though, blizzard has included new voice lines, sprays you can put on walls of the levels, in-game emotes, and really well done outfits that completely change the look of the character you are playing. I get excited for the possibility of cool new outfits every time I open a loot box.
Downsides - There are some downsides to Overwatch. Right now there is a limited number of maps and game modes, over time this should be addressed with additional map releases but it does have the possibility of getting a little stale after playing the same map repeatedly. And while this is a great multiplayer game it may turn some away that there is no single player mode at all, and like any online game it can be frustrating playing alone when you have a team that does not communicate or have any sort of team composition to battle the opposing team.
Blizzard will be introducing more characters over time, but right now there are only two true support characters to choose from even though there are four in the class. One heals individual characters and has a special that can resurrect characters, the other heals a large area and give a short burst of extra armor with his special. The other two provide little in the way of support and are difficult for new players to pick-up and use.
Verdict - While Overwatch might not be for everyone and will not have any appeal to people that do not enjoy playing online, it is great at what it does. Like every game it is not 100% perfect and still has a competitive game mode launching soon along with more characters and maps on the way, there is a little worry that the maps could become stale before then. But Overwatch is available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One and I think it is worth a purchase to anyone that enjoys competitive games or any shooter.
9.5 out of 10