Joe Anderson | 6 months ago
Overwatch is Blizzard's first steps on to a console in quite a while, we had Diablo III of course, but we've never seen how the developer would fare when it comes to the mutliplayer FPS arena. Well, it turns out they are pretty good at it.
While the game can be described as a 6v6 online multiplayer shooter, where you complete set objectives in order to win the day, thanks to its focus on characters and the choice they bring, it is also very team orientated, tasking you to work together in order to get the right balance in your squad. Each of the characters on offer are split into groups, from Defence, to Offence, Tank and Support. To form the perfect team it's obviously preferable to have one of each type in your group and if you don't then the game will let you know before your begin, so even if you aren't all talking, you can at least know that your team doesn't have the balance that it should.
With 21 characters on offer, finding the right character for you can be quite difficult, so it's good to first decide on which role you'd like to play within your team and then, all of a sudden, the choice will be a lot easier. One of the characters I seemed to fall into was Solider 76, an Offence type character who'll likely feel familiar to shooter fans thanks to his large gun and his Helix Rockets ability, which does decent damage to the enemy. His heavy pulse rifle can deal damage at any range and he can also heal, making him a good all-rounder, who is easy to use for beginners. His other ability allows him to sprint and his Ultimate power, which build up throughout the game, allows him to automatically aim at the enemy using his tactical visor.
Since there are so many characters to choose from, there are obviously different ways to play, be that by using Soldier 76 as described above or by going in a different route, such as playing as a Tank by shielding or protecting your squad, healing as Support, or sticking back, guarding locations as a defence-style character. Whatever way you decide to play you'll be rewarded at the end of the game, with bonuses for eliminations, completing objectives and healing your squad. You'll receive XP just for being active in a match and also XP based on how you perform, with more XP being awarded based on whether your performance merits a Gold, Silver or Bronze medal in each of the areas your are rated on. You'll also get bonus XP for finishing the match as the winner.
When you level up you'll earn a Loot Box, this then gains you all manner of unlocks, such as new costumes for your characters, new emotes and more. Should you get duplicates this will be converted into cash, allowing you to buy any unlocks you are yet to uncover. To use any of the unlocks you simply head into the Hero Gallery and there you will find your newly acquired goodies for each character. As you may have guessed, all items you'll find are strictly cosmetic, so no matter how many Loot Boxes you unlock, it won't give you an advantage on the battlefield.
One thing I love about Overwatch so far is that the action is just so fast paced and the game modes so user friendly. I have to admit to being a little worried if I'd understand what was going on, but it's not really that type of game at all. It's more Battlefront than Battlefield in my opinion, which is probably why it carries a 12 rating. I can honestly see this being a shooter that will see both the younger and older generation playing together, I know my son has already caught the Overwatch bug.
As far as maps and game modes go, things do feel a little light at this time, although you'll be having so much fun that you will probably struggle to notice. Every map is directly to an objective and they seem very well designed for that purpose. You'll find that you'll learn the different little nooks and crannies quite quickly, which makes getting to the objective a lot less hassle than if you were playing on a map not really designed for the mode in question, which tends to happen in most other games of this type.
Game modes at the moment are fairly lacking, with only really Assault and Escort on offer. Escort is almost identical to Extraction from Battlefront, seeing you escort the payload, while the other team tries to stop you. Defending players can interact with the payload to stop it from moving forward, while it'll roll back towards the start if no attacking players approach. Get the payload through the checkpoint and the timer will refresh, with the winner being the team that either gets it to its final goal, or stops it getting there, depending on which team you are on. Assault Mode meanwhile has you attacking or defending points across the map and is fairly straight forward to understand.
If I had a concern, it'd be that there does seem to be a lack of content and therefore after a few weeks, things may start to feel a little repetitive. It's a concern I've had with plenty of games in the past of this nature and with support arriving too late, generally people have moved on. Saying that though, Blizzard has a lot of experience in the multiplayer arena and is not going to sit still. It's already promised a Ranked mode as early as next month, while we will also get additional heroes, maps and more, all for free. If this support comes thick and fast, Overwatch could be a real contender in the busy online shooter market.
So far, so good as far as impressions of Overwatch are concerned. It looks and runs amazing on console, thanks mainly to its proprietary engine and best of all, it's just great fun. Once you start playing you'll find it really difficult to put Overwatch down. It has that "just one more game" feel to it, as well as giving you that urge to play when you've got a spare minute. Let's just hope it evolves even further by getting the support it deserves.
Words by Joe Anderson
Twitter: @_wotta | PSN/XBLA: wotta
(Version Tested: PS4)
+ Addictive and fun
+ Looks Amazing
+ Smooth as butter
+ Many ways to play
- Content feels light at launch
Edited On 27 May, 2016
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