By now, you’ve probably heard of Overwatch, seeing as it has been out quite a few months. However, in those short few months, it’s had hero balancing, a new map and hero, as well as Competitive Season 2, in addition to the hundreds of bugs fixed.
Graphics and Audio:
First of all, let’s look at the graphics and audio. Not a lot has changed in the last few months. The graphics are fun and bright, as well as making the whole game feel lighter. While they aren’t very realistic, more erring on the cartoony side of things, they should be enough to satisfy most people who aren’t hugely concerned with graphics but still like good looking ones. If you’ve ever played Team Fortress Two, then you’ll probably see quite a similar art style here (in fact, most of the game has similarities with TF2, but more on that later).
In terms of audio, there’s not much special here that you wouldn’t see in other games. Each character has a set of pre-recorded phrases that the player can use, such as “Hello” and “Understood” said in a variety of ways. You can also unlock voice lines in Loot Boxes. A key feature of the audio is that you can hear when an enemy is using their Ultimate, allowing you to get out of the way.
The community for the game is very important, seeing as almost all of it is online. From my experience, the majority of the community seems to fall into two categories, the happy-go-lucky Quick-players and the serious play-to-win Competitive players. When playing Quickplay, everyone seems much more relaxed about hero choice, whether they win or not and just the general atmosphere of the game. It seems more to be about having fun to them than winning. Competitive, however, seems to be a bit of a different story.
It’s tense and slightly stressing, seeing as a balanced team tends to be quite heavily enforced by a lot of players, people get a bit more annoyed over tiny mistakes and so the whole game is slightly less fun. For those who have played games such as DotA 2 and survived the intial brutal entry, then this won’t be remotely daunting or suprising to you. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still fun, just an “I played well and no-one got angry at me” fun rather than a “That was fun” kind of fun. However, for competitive, this is understandable. You get ranked based on how well you do, in a way similar to CS:GO, which is important to some people. However, the good thing about Competitive is that team communication tends to be better. More people use microphones and thus coordinating with your team is much easier. If you’re looking for pure fun go Quickplay, but if you really enjoy winning and want to be with similarly minded people, play Competitive.
Overwatch presents an exciting and fast first person shooter. You have to be constantly aware of your surroundings, and thinking about your next move, anticipating how it will affect your teammates and the enemy. Or you could play it like myself and many others, which is run around trying to kill as many people as possible. It all depends on your play-style.
The game offers four game modes over a number of maps. Each game mode is played between two teams, usually either attacking or defending. These are Assault (capturing or defending two points), Escort (pushing a payload to a destination or stopping it), Hybrid (a mixture of Assault and Escort) and Control where both teams have to capture a point or defend it and get it to 100%. Takes place over three rounds and the team with the majority of rounds won wins it overall). While there is a variety of maps (with Blizzard just having added Eichenwald, a Hybrid map), playing the same game modes over and over again can get a bit boring. What I would like to see from Blizzard is a new game mode in future updates, even if it is a common one like Capture the Flag, it would add some much-needed variety.
The game has 22 heroes at the time of writing, which are categorised into Attack, Defence, Tank and Support. Each hero has something unique to offer to each team, so play styles differ massively between heroes. Attacking heroes generally have low to medium health, do decent amounts of damage and excel at capturing points and taking out enemies. Defence heroes are similar to attacking heroes, except that they tend to perform better stationary and kill in order to get people off points. Tanks have high amounts of health, so can be effectively meat shields for the weaker members of the team, and are good at staying alive and capturing a point when everyone else on the team is dead. They do however generally have quite inaccurate short range weapons, so they do need protection from medium to long range heroes. The last category is Support, in which all but one have healing abilities. They usually have low health and low-damage weapons so must be protected by their team, so healers should ensure that their team is healthy and able to save them should they be attacked. It is important in teams to have a mixture of all four groups in order to ensure good chances of victory, but you should also try to counter what the enemy team is doing.
Multiplayer dominates the game, seeing as there is no offline gameplay, save for a tutorial and training mode. You can’t even play these offline since you have to login into the Battle.Net servers simply to access the game. Due to this lack of singleplayer, you will be forced to play with *shudder* other people. If your team is bad, then you’re probably not likely to do very well, but if you have a good team, then you’re gonna go far.
If you want to personalise your Overwatch experience even further, Loot Boxes, which can be gained either by levelling up or by purchasing them using real money, can give you voice lines, skins, player icons, sprays and much more.
Similar but different?
One game strikes me as incredibly similar to Overwatch, which I mentioned earlier. It’s TF2. They both have a similar bright art style, have a light approach to the game and both have a number of heroes/classes to choose from. If you played TF2 and enjoyed it, you might want to look into Overwatch. It really does feel like what TF2 could be like today if Valve had continued to put effort into it.
Development of the game is still very much active, with an update only in the past few weeks tweaking many heroes to ensure the game is fair, adding the Eichenwald map and kicking off Competitive Season 2. Updates in the past few months have seen a new hero added, specifically Ana, a support healer, numerous bug fixes and more balancing. In fact, Blizzard has been heavily hinting through many Easter eggs that a new hero called Sombra will be added, the speculation for which could be an entire article on its own.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a great first-person shooter, then Overwatch might be the game for you. Overwatch will cost you $89.95 AUD for the base version. This is not very cheap when considering how many free first person shooters that can rival it, such as TF2, Planetside 2 or the now free-to-play Evolve. However, Overwatch provides a fun gameplay experience that might just be worth the money.
Written by Thomas