'Overwatch' May Not Be Perfect, But It's Damn Near Close

8.5
  • Playstation 4
  • Windows
  • Xbox One
  • Shooter
2016-05-24
winston
Winston, one of Overwatch's crazier heroes Blizzard

After over a week of explosions, chain grabs and the occasional pin down, the Overwatch open beta is finally over. I’ve been glued to my Xbox and PC, playing as many games of Blizzard’s cross-genre shooter as I could play while still attempting to function as an adult. I haven’t bought groceries or cleaned the apartment, but I have perfected my Junkrat trap placements.

For those of you that have been living under a very heavy rock (or been bitter since not getting into the closed beta), Overwatch is a character-driven first-person shooter that lets you control one of 21 zany heroes, each with their own unique playstyle. When most shooters claim a playable character is “unique,” they mean that they have a slightly different gun or a broader chest.

In the ‘ watch , each hero is nothing like the last. McCree and Reaper might both be heavy damage dealers, but one uses his Revolver and Old West attitude to kill enemies, while the other sneaks through the shadows to appear right in your face to gun you down.

There are four different classes of hero in Overwatch , offense, defense, tank and support. Genji is an offensive assassin, who like to jump right in your face with his ninja stars and sword, and Roadhog is a burly tank who soaks up bullets and huffs gas. A hero can do more than his class suggests though. Roadhog can also dish out some major damage and Genji can defend himself with a swift sword deflection.

My favorite heroes to play have been Bastion, Junkrat and Winston. None of them have remotely similar kits, but they all try to play on the defensive. You set up in a spot and defend your land, like Mel Gibson in Braveheart . The payload is not moving forward while my Bastion turret is releasing some major pindown fire on the enemies. It doesn’t matter what playstyle you enjoy, you can find someone for you. My boss enjoys playing Reinhardt, choosing to support his teammates instead of running and gunning in.

Overwatch has some of the most beautiful maps ever seen in an FPS, 12 in total. Too commonly in shooters, we see the same street in Baghdad or some unknown Russian town, playing on maps that have about as much life as Lionhead Studios (badum tish). In Overwatch , the environments are just as interesting as the heroes.

Some maps, like Route 66, look like they came straight out of an old Wacky Racers cartoon. Others, like Hanamura, let their vibrant colors and attractive textures capture the eyes of inquisitive players. Over my week of play, I have definitely botched matches so that I could walk around the map and try to find all the little easter eggs.

Another unique facet of Overwatch is how it handles game-winning conditions. You can’t win a game just by getting the most kills, you have to work with your teammates to secure objectives, move payloads over or control contested areas longer than your opponent. As a MOBA player, I didn’t feel that my lack of technical FPS skill inhibited me from losing games. Normally when I play shooters (I’m looking at you Counter Strike: Global Offensive ), I feel like an idiot dying over and over until the round ends. In Overwatch , I can defend my teammates and not be entirely useless.

Will Overwatch be able to keep my attention when it goes live on May 24? The new popular thing in video games is eSports; people with money think it’s going to be the biggest trend ever so they are throwing tons of cash into the competitive ring. There will be a lot of Overwatch copycats coming out in the future, and I’m uncertain if a better copycat won’t be coming out.  

In the meantime though, Overwatch is the MOBA-shooter hybrid king. This week Battleborn came out, which has not been getting many positive reviews. Here’s what VideogameDunkey, one of the best video game YouTubers had to say about the two games:

 

 

Now let me just commend Blizzard on how well-run and seamless this open beta was. Nowadays, it isn’t out of the ordinary to have a fully released game be buggy and unplayable. While playing Overwatch on my Xbox and PC, I ran into zero lag, connectivity issues or problems finding a game. I was in within seconds, blowing up my enemies with a smile on my face.

REVIEW SUMMARY
Overwatch
8.5
'Overwatch' May Not Be Perfect, But It's Damn Near Close
Overwatch doesn't care if you've ever tried an FPS before, it holds your hands and makes you feel okay while you shoot rocket launchers, icicles and sound waves.
  • Amazing Art Style
  • Balanced Mechanics
  • Characters Keep You Coming Back For More
  • No Single Player
  • Overwhelming At First
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