When I was finally able to experience Overwatch, launching this summer, during an exclusive event in Dubai, I was mesmerized. I’ve played my share of competitive games, but with Battleborn, Paragon, and Gigantic launching soon, and an inevitable COD game in November, the battle for multiplayer game of the year is going to be messy. Well, I say bring it on, and may the best one win.
Of course each of those games possesses unique elements and one could arguably play all of them, but some decision making will have to be made. Battleborn or Overwatch? Paragon or Gigantic? I’m expecting the e-sports field to expand and introduce the world to new clans, and as someone who follows up on international championships, I can not wait to witness the bloodbath.
Overwatch is built with games like Team Fortress 2 in mind, but as with all things Blizzard, you need to throw a ton of adrenaline and a bad case of the sugar rush to attain the desired effect. It is a multiplayer-only, class-based FPS that truly focuses on teamwork as it will have players plan their tactics and modify them on the go. However, don’t expect to be finding modes the likes of TDM or FFA, becuase, well it’s Blizzard, and we know they don’t play by the book; they take what’s already there and redefine it.
There are three modes currently slated to launch with the game:
1- Assault: Opposing teams try to capture and defend two points on the map.
2- Control: Both teams will compete each round to gain control of a point on the map.
3- Escort: One team escorts a payload to its final position, and the other team attempts to stop them before time runs out.
4- Hybrid: This is meant to be a combination of multiple modes. Currently the only one revealed is that which starts with Assault, and ends with Escort.
Whenever a team-based game is around, you can bet your pixels that there would be a set of accompanying classes for you to choose from. The list is expected and predictable, but don’t tell Blizzard we said that.
1- Tank: Tanks are the bullet sponge giants who are meant to divert all opposing fire towards them, allowing teammates to execute their tactics with one less, very important thing to worry about. They come equipped with shields and have strong crowd-control capabilities.
2- Defense: Defensive characters plant mines, erect walls, and place turrets. They are what mainatins your command of high priority areas, and are usually equipped with long-range weapons with which they can slow the enemy’s progress while retaining their siege of an area.
3- Offense: Offensive characters are ranged fighters who use their agility to move around the map while dealing mass amount of damage simultaneously.
4- Support: Support character deal little damage, but they more than make up for it with their healing and utility abilities that aid teammates in combat.
Unlike most other similar games, each game mode in Overwatch is allocated a unique list of maps. This means that if you were fond of a certain map, you better be fond of the mode that was built for it. For example, Control maps that may include Ilios, Nepal, and Lijiang Tower for the final release, will not be made available for other modes. The maps that were available for us to test in the beta were dynamic, and balanced in terms of teamplay and progression.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the game, and asides from some semblance to Team Fortress 2, especially in regards to its aesthetic, its inner DNA is inspired by that of COD games.
Is your child a great COD player who is too young to involve himself/herself in its e-sport chapter? Overwatch may just be the game you can encourage them to play. I am expecting a whole new arm of e-sports to be developed soon, one that will embrace the younger gamers who had been until this point residing in not-so-earnest silence in COD lobbies.
You may switch characters in-between rounds and every time you fall. This will add a wealth of customization and approaches to your tactics. Some maps may favor a class in one round, and another in another round of the same map. This feature is excellent also for a multitude of other reasons. How many times, for example, did you find yourself in the middle of a match wishing you could change your class/specialist to adapt to incoming players and new tactics?
Overwatch may be played with a classic keyboard/mouse setup, but I’m certain it was developed with a controller in mind. No cross-platform play is in the works as the developers believe that such a fast-paced game may offer an advantage to keyboard/mouse players who would be able to turn around much faster than those playing with a controller. Nevertheless, I played it on a PS4, and it worked like a charm.
Blizzard is serious about Overwatch and they will do all their best to support the game in the Middle East. A dedicated server may be made available should enough regional players join the madness, and Blizzard has promised to monitor the game closely to adjust and tweak the game as need be.
Overwatch is slotted for a May 24 launch for the PC, PS4 and Xbox One. For those of you keen to get your hands on it, an open beta will start on the 3rd of May for all who pre-order it.