So last weekend I played the beta for Blizzard’s newest offering, Overwatch. This fast paced First Person Shooter (FPS) game is really a Massive Online Battles Arena (MOBA) in disguise, and is crazy addictive. The match lengths make for quick turn arounds which make you lose hours very easily. This game is well made, fairly well balanced and extremely fun. While not being perfect, it’s great fun.
This game kind of has a story and some lore to it that Blizzard are slowly releasing through a series of animated short and a comic series, both of which have been beautifully done. Each character has an extensive and intricate back story, which has influenced the arena’s that we play in. Most recently the animated short called Dragons, features Hanzo and Genji, two ninja characters that are at odds and fight through a familiar temple. At one point Hanzo is thrown through a door, shattering it, which is visible in the level. I think this is a neat idea that I hope carries out through the rest of the shorts/comics.
So basically there are 4 classes, Offense, Defense, Tank and Support, while building your team the game offers tips and hints to build a better, well rounded team, by telling you what roles need to be filled. Each class has 4 to 6 heroes, all of whom are unique and balance each other out. Each hero has 3 abilities that go on a cool down as you use them, and one ultimate that has a much longer cool down, along side a constant auto attack that only has a few second cool down when you reload, in true MOBA and FPS fashion. The other neat aspect of this phase of the game is that you can change your character at anytime in your base. While this is great to make mid game adjustments it can lead to having odd teams and since multiple people can play the same hero, it can lead to some frustrating games as well.
The characters are all fairly well balanced which leads to one of the first problems with this game. There is a character named Bastion, basically a walking robot who can turn into a turret and a tank, who is very overpowered. One of his abilities is called Sentry, where he turns into a turret that loses it’s ability to move. While in this mode he is pretty much invulnerable to harm, except for a small patch on his back which causes high damage when hit. This sounds good but if you put your back to the wall, it’s nearly impossible to hit as Bastion has 360 degrees of vision, and can rebuild himself. He is crazy over powered and annoying when he camps on an objective. He needs to have a limited time in this form or not be able to heal himself or have a limited field of vision, allowing someone to actually approach him.
The only other issue I have with this game is that you can have multiple people playing the same character. This goes hand in hand with my problems with Bastion. If you get 2 or 3 Bastions on a team that team is probably going to win. I love that I can change my character mid game but I would prefer if there was a limit on how many people can play the same hero, even if it is capped at 2 or 3.
There are a lot of really good things about this game. The game play is smooth and really fun, being a near perfect mix of MOBA abilities and FPS basic attacks and first person targeting. The classes are all fairly fun, except support, I hate support. My personal favorite heroes are Soldier:76, a commando who plays a lot like a Call of Duty character, having a machine gun and being a super soldier, Mei, a defensive character who wields an ice gun and can build walls as well as snipe people, and finally D.Va, a South Korean pro gamer who drives a mech unit that is basically a one person tank. It’s a good idea to try to become good with at least one of each class of character but honestly all of the characters are really fun and you will probably play as a bunch of characters regularly.
Overwatch is a really great game, an 8 out of 10 easily, with great game play, quick, objective capturing game modes, and colorful characters and levels. I highly recommend this game when it comes out on Tuesday.