On May 24th, Blizzard Entertainment released its newest game to the masses: a team based 6-on-6 online multiplayer first person shooter that quickly grabbed people’s attention. Entitled Overwatch, the player assumes the role of one of the agents of an elite team named “Overwatch:” a group of heroes who saved who saved humanity from an event called the Omnic Crisis, which occurred 30 years in the past of this futuristic reality of Earth. Although the game does not have a Story Mode and lacks a narrative to help players understand why these heroes are battling each other, Overwatch is a game that is worth playing for both fun and those who wants more diversity in a shooter video game.
However, even though the game doesn’t focus on the narrative, Blizzard Entertainment does have story for its characters and events that occur in this futuristic Earth. Through the use of animated shorts, comics, and other media, players and get a more in-depth story behind the characters, events, and lore of Overwatch. If you want to know more about the history, check out Blizzard’s website in the link below. With the story just about covered, it’s time to move onto the game play.
With a selection of 21 different characters classified by their role (Offense, Defense, Tank, and Support) finding the right character will be a journey in its own. Offensive characters are the main damage dealers of the team with a variety of skills. Defense is more focused on specific skills, like sniping, trapping, or tracking. Tanks are the biggest and bulk characters, best used for protecting other plays while standing their ground. Lastly, Supports are the medics, either healing or giving extra benefits to characters, such as increased damage. If a match isn’t going well and the tides are turning against you, you can switch out characters min the middle of a match at your team respond points to help change the flow of battle to your favor.
With the limited range of game modes to choose from and 12 maps to play on, every match is going to feel like a variation of “King of the Hill” game play. The main flow of game play is centered around three different types objectives: Assault is one team trying to take territory from another team. Escort is protecting an objective from point A to point B. Finally, Control is fighting for a single piece of territory for your own team to control. Even though the game modes can be repetitive, no match will ever be completely the same due to the fact of the variety of characters to choose from. Maps are chosen at random when starting a match, so you’ll never really know what to expect until the match starts. Besides jumping to Quick Play (PvP) there is also Play vs AI and the Weekly Brawl, a game mode with different game setups and rules that change on a weekly basis. If you’re in the mood to play, but not with other players, you can do a custom match and fill the open slots with AI heroes.
Once you’re in a match and trying to get the objective, you’ll notice how beautiful and vivid the game is. The scenery and environment are graphically wonderful to look at; the city horizon on some stages mirrors that of actual cities. The detail put into every wall, corner, and even the background items makes everything blend nicely. The designs of many of these maps can easily be imagined as if they were actual places in our world today. Even though the game is about trying to take out other players, the game still has this lively feeling to it.
The animations for the characters are well done and smoothly; in the middle of a heated match, the evasion frames and movement of abilities still move fluidly. The special effects added to certain actions just makes watching players jump around on the battlefield more fun and enjoyable. Pick up the game and join a match as a spectator; the environment, characters, and explosions of battle will light up your screen.
Along with the animation and graphics, the soundtrack just adds to the ambiance. Scrolling through the menus of the game, a great selection of drums and wind instruments orchestrate a heroic melody. Just listening to it makes you feel like a hero. And jumping from match to match across different maps, you’ll hear a symphonic arrangement of a small town in Japan, to a temple high in the mountains of Nepal, and everything in between.
Blizzard Entertainment is a global champion among the gaming community, known for their PC games, especially for World of Warcraft. Using their newest creation, Overwatch is an excellent display behind what they are capable of accomplishing on both PC and console. Although Overwatch is a great game, it does fall a bit short due to the lack of game modes and the strict requirement for online-only game play. However, if you don’t mind being online and playing variations of objective game play, then Overwatch is a pretty good game to pick up. Watch out for giant gorillas, moving turrets, and a set of armor charging at you.