I generally do not play shooters. Yes, I had played some of them before. I have the first 2 Borderlands; I have Spec Ops: The Line; I had played some Counter-Strike, but that’s about it. I’m generally a RPG gamer.
However Overwatch isn’t so much a game but an event. Blizzard had delivered the PR campaign of the year to hype up the game and yes, I had been sucked into it. I don’t mind. I don’t mind at all. I don’t mind because Overwatch is a great game. Not just a great first-person shooter, but a great game period!
On the surface, Overwatch seems pretty much like any other shooter out there. It has a simple formula of two teams of six each trying to win a match. Victory conditions change according to the map; escort missions, control of objective points, or capture of positions. However what make Overwatch different are the heroes.
Overwatch has 21 characters called heroes and they are the heart and soul of the game. They are very different from each other. There is the giant gorilla Winston who has high hit points and can put up a circular shield to defend an area. There’s the dwarf engineer Torbjörn who can build an upgradeable defensive turret that shoot any enemy that comes into range. There's Hanzo who is a sniper and has an ultimate basically kill everyone in its path. There's Tracer who can blink from place to place and even reverse her actions to correct mistakes she made seconds earlier.
Now all the 21 heroes are categorized into 4 different areas; attack, defense, tank and support, the trick Blizzard pulls is this; several of the heroes overlap into different areas. Mercy is a strict support character, a healer who can resurrect fallen allies. Zenyatta is also a support character. He can heal but his main ability is actually a debuff that lowers the defense of enemies. He also has long range attacks to take advantage of the debuffs he put on enemies. So you have 2 supports with 2 very different play-styles. Now times that by 21 and you can imagine the sheer number of combinations this game supports.
Not only that, the game is also very charming. The world Overwatch is set in is filled with load of background info and trying to find these Easter Eggs is part of the fun for a lot of fans. The game's highly detailed character design is nothing short of superb. No two characters look alike and many times you can see the intended role of the character just by looking at it.
The gameplay of Overwatch is a hydra that is very impressive. In fact calling it “very impressive” is an understatement as the way the characters, maps and gameplay interact with each other is a lot more than that. No two matches of Overwatch are the same as players can switch characters mid-match according to the ebb and flow of the match. In fact, switching characters is almost necessary, especially in Competitive Mode, to be successful. This actually helps keep the game fresh as players faced situations that can change in a hurry. Simply put; there’s no one single way to play Overwatch. There are many ways to play the game, sometimes even in a single match.
Overwatch is also a very fast-paced game. When I first saw the demo, I was surprised by just how fast it is. I was a little worried at the pace at first but after playing awhile I think the pace might be a good thing for the game. Matches can be quite fast and it is a game I can see players logging in for 30 minutes of fun before logging out. Also Overwatch has been such a phenomenon there will be no shortage of players in the foreseeable future so no problems on that front.
Of course, there are some problems with Overwatch. For the life of me, I can’t understand why there’s no story mode. I can understand no one play a shooter for the story (look at the lack of success of Spec Ops: The Line if you disagree), but the characters and world are just begging for a story mode. The game is literally filled with them, and Blizzard clearly put a lot of effort in the lore of the world, so why not a story mode? That makes no sense to me.
Also, how much you enjoy the game will depend a lot on the players that are on your team. I lost count of the number of matches I lost because certain players on my team went chasing after the enemy for a kill instead of playing the objective. Defending a control point is especially bad when you have such players on your team. They will chase the enemy outnumbered 2vs6, get killed, and then the enemy will roll over the rest of the team 6 on 4. It just pissed me off sometimes.
On the whole however, this is one game I have to recommend. I mean I’m not a shooter guy and I can get into the game so you can just imagine how fun it is. Buy Overwatch; you own it to yourself to play this game!