Overwatch launched on the 24th of May and I have not been able to stop playing it! It’s so good, I was able to drag my buddies Spark and Scorpio, two gamers who hate PvP, to join the fun. I had already reviewed the beta, and loved it. But this is showtime, and I wonder if the experienced has changed. TLDR version: Nope. It’s still awesome and you should be playing it right now.
Overwatch is a Hero shooter, and had I not been reviewing it objectively, I would have ended the review here to make sure you go play it. Seriously, I will not give you any additional chances. If you still insist on reading, you will have to stay till the end. Ready? Your call, buddy. This is 10/10 game. Just take a peek at the score. No bullshit. Perfect 10.
Still here? Wow. Are you sure you’re a real gamer?
Overwatch is like American football to its brutal counterpart Rugby: bombastic, flamboyant, and at times, ostentatious. What it offers is nothing new, but how it offers it is where the Blizzard magic comes in. Overwatch does little that other games have not already done, but it does it to a T.
21 heroes, four classes, 12 maps, four modes. Though in actuality, it’s really one of two modes: control zones, or escort a payload. There are no PvP standards the likes of deathmatch or a capture-the-flag mode, something that you will have to establish for yourself if you celebrate or berate. There is virtually no story in-game, a trend Destiny perfected and I see becoming the norm, unfortunately. To satisfy your need for lore, you will have to entertain a handful of squint-inducing comics available online, and timely videos that put Pixar on the defensive.
But Overwatch is not your average run-and-gun. If you don’t coordinate with your team, you are bound to fail. There is no one-man army, and victory is assured only to those who have a confident understanding of all characters. The first few games may overwhelm you as you get the hang of the mechanics, especially when you discover that not all heroes have the luxury of sprinting or aiming.
Do you adjust your choices based on what your team lacks, or based on what the map requires? The wiser choice would be a combination on both, but with a bit more emphasis on the former. Therein lies Overwatch’s most important feature: the ability to switch heroes after every death. This may sound easy on paper, but it’s only after much practice that you will understand the delicate balance that binds the game. Is your team on the attack but lacking a tank? Don’t wait for someone to do it; step up to the plate and pick Reinhardt. Sticking to one character will almost surely spell defeat for you and your teammates. Tracer is your favorite hero? Great, but if you feel your team needs a turret, switch to either Bastion or TorBjorn. When the threat is eliminated, get back to Tracer.
As I mentioned in my review of the beta, you have a total of 21 heroes on launch, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, and in some cases, a nemesis. Pharah, my one true character, can soar to the skies and suspend herself for a couple of moments, which in itself a double-edged sword. She is equipped with a rocket launcher as a main. If you haven’t played Overwatch, you’d think she’s OP. In fact, Widowmaker, the sniper, can take a suspended Pharah down with one bullet. Consider that Pharah’s ultimate has her stay in place as she launches a barrage of rockets at unsuspecting enemies below, and you can see why a sniper is an excellent counter.
Each time you level up, you are awarded a loot box that contains up to five cosmetic items that range from skins and emotes, to victory poses and intros. You need not wait to unlock a skin, or any other item. If you ahve the right amount of money, earned from some loot boxes, you may purchase that legendary item you’ve had your eye on.
Character design in Overwatch is nothing less than brilliant. Lucio, for example, uses the power of music to attack, heal, and offer a speed boost to allies. Winston is a smarter-than-your-average gorilla from the moon equipped with a thruster pack, and Zenyatta is a Buddhist android. Each character oozes of originality and will sure to supply the cosplay scene with much to work with.
As is true with all Blizzard games, Overwatch picked an already-existing genre and reinvented. And on a technical front? No lag. EA and Activision may want to take down some notes. Overwatch took what worked best in Team Fortress and Counter Strike, and created a stellar, and highly-entertaining experience.
Overwatch is available on PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One, and PC. A review copy was made available to us via Blizzard.