Overwatch – Blizzards most recent Gem in their collection might just be the next huge game to rival great competetive titles like “Counter Strike Global Offensive” and “League of Legends”. As a Multiplayer Arena Shooter it might just remind some players of Team Fortress, but it’s focus on the individual hero’s abilities is much stronger. Many players just couldn’t wait for Overwatch’s open beta week and we were obviously part of those too. The open beta ran from May 5th to the 9th and was generally well recieved, but what made many players actually rethink if they wanted to buy the game?
To start off the beta was announced to be a full version of the game, no content cuts, no necessary features removed. It featured all 21 playable characters and all 12 maps (not counting the practice range). Now Overwatch relies on multiple mechanics, which make each playstyle a whole different experience. These mechanics stem from the chosen characters abilities and their usage is mostly dependent on the objective of the current map you’re playing on.
There are multiple game modes ranging from Escort missions over Capturing vs Defending to good old King of the Hill, each packed in a different setting and a distinguishable pool of maps.
The right combination of characters on a team might often dictate the outcome of the match. To compensate for such a tough choice to make players can actually choose another character in the middle of a match. Now this feature brings some fresh wind and depth up into the “Chose your Character wisely” conventions other games stress so often.
It is now more about adapting then predicting, and that might be a good and appealing thing for more casual players, but it brings some issues with it since it does not restrict the teams from having the same character played by more then one player. Now while each champion counters another in a “rock, paper, scissors” kind of fashion, it might still be overwhelming how strong some characters are in groups compared to others. This make the game feel poorly balanced and seems like little thought put into these possibilities. While this is a rather small issue, the biggest one is just up ahead.
The actual reason many players struggle with the choice whether to buy Overwatch is because of the ammount of content it offers. The beta contained everything, and it was not hard to have played all characters on every map after only a few hours of gameplay. And there is no direct promise of more content to come in the near future. Having a beta-tester feel like having seen all of your game in just a few days, for a game that is supposed to hold up for a few years to come, is a bad thing. But enough about bad things, here is what Overwatch succeeded immensely with and made many hardcore players from different games all around the spectrum turn their head towards.
The game just feels great. The matches are short and action packed. The classes have personality and very distinctive looks and mechanics. The voiceacting is good and the graphics make you think youre watching a Pixar or Dreamworks animated movie. Playing this game just feels rewarding in any way. A good example is the “Play of the Game” feature. After each match there is a instant replay of what the game considers to be the best performing player and his actions. This rewards good players even if they are on the losing team, and makes everyone aspiring to be the one showcased. You also get instant death replays out of the perspective of your opponent, giving you the chance to reflect on your behaviour before jumping right back into the action for revenge. And with all the depth added to the game considering you can just change your strategy on the run multiple times, it is very likely to become very impactful title on the list of competetive games, once the competetive scene establishes itself. All in all Overwatch is a great game, and is definetly going to become relevant soon. Now while not all players might be statisfied right off the bat, i am sure most of them will follow soon enough.
Overwatch just might be the huge player magnet Blizzard wanted “Heroes of the Storm” to be. And with its official launch just recently it already convinced a ton of players to stay for the fun.