By Adam Schifani
If you have any presence on the internet, and even have a passing interest in video games, then you have probably seen something about Overwatch. Whether it’s the commercials Blizzard is running everywhere or friends talking about it, the game is all over the place.
Blizzard is most well-known for their MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) the World of Warcraft, which captivated tens of millions of players for a solid decade, and still does. As most developers do, Blizzard started working on a new IP some years back which they called Titan. This game was to be another MMO, but it was a doomed endeavor. Titan became one of those games people whispered about, but nothing ever happened.
Eventually Titan was canceled, and Blizzard moved on to smaller and more profitable projects like Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm, both games borrowing from Blizzard’s previous IPs. While the landscape of the video market continued to change, Blizzard dusted off some of the assets from Titan, and created a new IP, Overwatch
Overwatch is a first-person arena shooter with a colorful cast of characters who fill a variety of roles including attack, defense, support, and tank. In these four roles there is a lot of diversity in skills, abilities, and learning curve.
For those who are used to shooters like Call of Duty or Battefield, Soldier 76 is a good jumping off point. He is your generic soldier character with an assault rifle. He is one of the few characters with a sprint like ability, he can shoot a grenade, and he even has a healing field. You could say he is like a combat medic. To make his build even easier, his ultimate move makes it to where he cannot miss a shot has long as the target is within a giant aiming circle. He makes a solid attack character to get a feel for the game, and he is just one of several attack characters with a myriad of different abilities and uses.
As for defense, one of the more popular characters is Bastion. This robot can transform into a minigun turret to mow down incoming attackers. His glaring weakness in this mode is his exposed core, but getting behind him can be difficult. However, if he has support he is an unstoppable killing machine on defense.
If you need a healer, then Mercy is as good a choice as any. She specializes in patching up party members. If she has line of site on a party member (specifically a tank), it can be frustrating to take them down. Again she is one of several members of the support class, and all play differently.
RoadHog is a tank who soaks up damage from the other team while trying to complete a mission. He is extremely slow, but his self-heal, shotgun, and hook that draws other plays to him make up for his lack of speed. Lack of speed and lots of health are the only factors that link all the tanks with their various abilities and playstyles.
No matter what character you choose, the game stresses teamwork, and character abilities complement each other. When the tank Zarya attaches a shield to a tank like Rienhardt, he can become a damage sponge, and as the shield absorbs damage Zarya gets an attack percentage increase. Combos like this make teamwork a must.
The game itself is fairly straight forward. As of now playing a Quick Match puts you into a group, and you are given an objective to “defend this point”, “capture that spot”, or escort this car. To fulfill these objectives strategy is a must, and having a good team can make all the difference in the world. However, you need to remember to have fun. I recently played a match where we all decided to play as the same character for a couple of rounds. It was ridiculously fun, and infuriated the other team, however they puzzled out how to attack us effectively.
If you can find a good, positive group to run around with this game can easily bring you hours of enjoyment. When I run with a crew, they play well as a team, but they also stress having fun. Last night, I wanted to make sure I was pulling my weight for the team, and our team leader chimed in and almost scolded me. He told me not to worry about that, and to just have fun and try out every character I wished. Assuring me the necessary roles would be filled, he said, “We like winning, but just have fun man. That’s what it’s all about… but also winning.” He and everyone also laughed at that including myself.
Same as my Severed Review, this is not the type of game I usually spend a lot of time with, but I think Blizzard got it right with their colorful cast of characters, and the gameplay in general. I can see myself jumping to this game a few times per week. I would sincerely recommend trying this game on PC, PS4, or Xbox One. While the content is currently limited, Blizzard is known for releasing expansions and DLC, so content, including ranked matches, will be coming in the future.
Overwatch is an easy to pick up twitch shooter with a large cast of characters who all have a generic role to play on a team, but all fill that role in a unique way. For a guy who isn’t an online shooter fan I had a ton of fun with the game, and would recommend you give it a shot. That being said, you should try to play with some friends, it makes the game quite rewarding.
Images via: playoverwatch.com