Blizzard seems to be popping out games into every genre lately. With their MOBA, Heroes of the Storm; TCG, Hearthstone; MMORPG, World of Warcraft; RTS, Starcraft; and their ARPG, Diablo, the company reaches out to audiences of almost every type of game. And as you probably already know, Blizzard Entertainment is not too far off from releasing their very first FPS, Overwatch. But what is Overwatch? Is it worth buying, or is it just like any other shooter? Is Blizzard just trying too hard to reach into all of these different genres? I decided to try the beta this past weekend to find out.
Overwatch is an online First Person Shooter game with four team based objective games: Escort, Assault, Hybrid, and Control. In all of these games except Control, your team is placed on either the defender or attacker side of the map, but all of these game modes have quite a different feel to them.
-Escort: In this game mode, you are either preventing a payload from reaching its delivery point, or you are trying your best to move the payload to said point. You and your four teammates must continuously alter your strategies throughout the game as the payload passes through different strategic points throughout the map. The game ends when either the attackers reach their target location, or the defenders prevent the payload from reaching its target for the game’s set time.
-Assault: In Assault, depending on the side of the map your team has been placed, your goal is to either defend specified areas on the map until the time runs out, or to capture those point on the map within that time. To capture objectives, you must clear the defenders of the objective areas as the objective timer fills.
Hybrid: Hybrid does not need much of an explanation. So far, the only hybrid game released has been a combination of Escort and Assault, in which the game starts with an Assault and ends with an Escort.
Control: In control, your team is not placed on an attacking or defending side of the map. Instead, both teams fight over control over an objective in the centre of the map. While in control of the map’s objective, your team makes progress towards capturing it. Whichever team reaches 100% on the objective first wins the round. This game mode consists of a maximum of three rounds, with a different map and objective each time, the best team out of three games wins.
BONUS: Blizzard has also recently taken an idea from their Trading Card Game, Hearthstone, in which each week there is different featured game mode in their Weekly Brawl. Like Hearthstone’s Tavern Brawl, the Weekly Brawl will consist of completely different rules each week. In one week’s Brawl, you may only be able to play as McCree (one of the game’s offense characters) and the next, you may be able to play any character, but that character may be randomly selected for you every time you respawn. This past week’s Weekly Brawl that I was able to play in the beta was very similar to League of Legends’ Ultra Rapid Fire (URF) game mode, in which the games were very fast paced due to cooldowns being reduced drastically. As a first time Overwatch player, I played this game for the first time not even knowing what I was getting into, and halfway through the match when I finally realized what was happening, I was both embarrassed and overjoyed!
Characters and Roles
Overwatch currently has a total of 21 different heroes to choose from – that’s right “heroes”, not “classes” – and these heroes are divided into four categories: Tank, Defense, Offense, and Support. Each of these roles helps your team differently in winning your game and every hero feels completely different. No sniper feels like the other and no damage dealer deals their damage in the same way. Each and every different playstyle is being accounted for! When first starting up the game, I recommend you try each and every character out before you stick to maining just one of them. I, for instance, immediately started playing McCree after having a couple of good games with him. I had lots of fun, and felt very powerful so he was my go-to-guy. But upon exploring other characters like Soldier: 76, Roadhog, and Bastion and loving them, I found that exploring each and every character was the best way to go. You should at least find one hero per role so that you can fill in different roles as needed – and the game does a great job at telling your team which roles still need to be filled. Keep in mind that you can change characters throughout the game when you respawn, so you don’t have to stick to one character the whole time if you don’t like them!
Ah, cosmetic items: the completionist’s worst enemy. Overwatch is full of cosmetic items for you to collect – for a price. There are tons of victory poses, player icons, highlight intros, emotes, sprays, voice lines, and yes, skins All of these cosmetics are available for a set price, but are luckily also available through loot boxes: a box of four random cosmetic items that you obtain for leveling up. These are very exciting and I usually leave the lobby as soon as I level up just to see what I got. If you not sure exactly what each of the cosmetic items listed is, here is an explanation:
Victory Poses: When you win a game in Overwatch, your team is gathered in one picture and when you unlock a victory pose for a hero, this is the pose they will be in, in this picture.
Player Icons: In the main menu, you are recognizable by not only your Battletag ID, but a small portrait beside your name. Player icons range from Warcraft, Starcraft, and other Blizzard game themed to Tracer, Reaper, and other Overwatch character themes.
Highlight Intros: At the end of every game, there is a play of the game. If your play makes the play of the game, whichever Highlight Intro you have chosen, it will play before the play of the game plays.
Emotes: Emotes are short animations your character can play in game to taunt your opponent, or show off to your friends.
Sprays: I found sprays to be especially interesting. Sprays allow you to tag a picture onto walls, and not much else. Other players see these tags and can also cover them up with their own sprays. It’s just a cool and unique cosmetic that I wasn’t expecting.
Voice Lines: In the game, you may press the ‘C’ key to bring up a list of in game commands you can use to quickly tell your opponents what’s up. You may use this to say hello, or ask for assistance, but you can also choose the ‘voice line’ option, and you will say a line unique to that hero.
Skins: Skins are exactly what you would expect. They can change the colour of your hero’s clothes, or they can change what your hero looks like completely. The more expensive or rare the skin is, the more it will change your character.
When I first started playing Overwatch, I noticed I was losing quite a few matches. But then I realized that I was probably playing with people that had been playing the beta for much longer than me, and I eventually caught on and started winning more. The game is very fast paced and learning each individual hero and role takes a little bit of time, but once you do you fit right in and start having tons of fun. The controls are great and consistent throughout each hero, making each new character you try easy to learn. Blizzard has done a great job with their games of other genres, and they are doing just as well with their first FPS, Overwatch. It feels WAY different than any other FPS I have played and is not trying too hard at all. Blizzard is definitely just as serious about this game as any of their other type of game, and I’m sure this one will be just as big. This will definitely be one of the main games I start to play and I hope that the competitive scene catches on as well.
Do you plan to play Overwatch? Have you already? What are your thoughts?
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