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May 24, 2016

Overwatch (ps4)
207926What’s Good:
-Sharp and smooth visuals filled with personality
-A load of alternate costumes and other cosmetics to unlock
-Diverse range of classes which can intermingle in interesting ways

What’s Bad:
-Not much in the box
-Gamepad controls aren’t what they need to be

What I thought: “Well-made but somewhat lacking.”


“Who Watches the Overwatch?”
Overwatch is quite the odd case. It feels like this game came out ages ago, and considering that the full retail release does not include any additional modes, characters or stages not seen in the numerous betas the game has seen over the past year or so, I suppose that feeling isn’t far from the truth. It certainly makes a review of the game easier though, so there’s that.
Overwatch is a team-based first person shooter in which two teams of wildly diverse characters fight over various objectives. Sometimes the objective is a simple tussle over a single control point in the center of the map. Sometimes the attacking team will be tasked with escorting a payload to the opposing team’s end of the map, and sometimes the objective will be a combination of the two. Matches require teamwork, and teams with a balance of roles and players working together will win every time. This makes the game much more frustrating and somewhat less fun for those without a full group to play with such as myself, but it is a team-based game after all.
The maps are numerous and visually varied, and at no point does one feel identical to the next.

Overwatch does mostly everything right, and because of that, what is there can be a load of fun, but if there is one big negative I could throw its way outside of lack of content, it would be that the game lacks any sort of hook. There is nothing here that you’ve never seen before, but rather Overwatch is a melding of small ideas from numerous different games. D. Va (my personal favorite) plays like Titanfall, Soldier 76 is closer to Battlefield, Torbjörn plays criminally similar to Team Fortress 2’s Engineer, the ice-spraying scientist Mei can use the World of Warcraft ice mage’s Ice Block ability, and the list goes on. Much like how the members of Overwatch originate from all across the globe and from a range of different cultures, the mechanics of Overwatch draw from a breadth of games, and not only strictly shooters.
This is what allows for the gameplay to be such fun, as some characters inherently have difficulty with specific others. Maybe the emplacement-turret in disguise Bastion annihilates everything with next to no effort at all, but a single Hanzo or Widowmaker can put a stop to him rather simply. Torbjörn and his turrets can shut down certain areas of a map very well, but that’s only until Pharah lobs a couple rockets his way. Picking up any character is simple and generally quite intuitive, but as you play more and more, you get a better understanding for the uses of each character and his or her individual abilities.

It is the act of landing those abilities which can often be a headache.
On consoles at least, the aiming controls leave much to be desired. Cranking the sensitivity up doesn’t make it better, nor does knocking it down. For some of the less precision-oriented characters, this isn’t a big deal at all, but if you’re looking to play as someone like Tracer or McCree, especially at close range, putting the reticle where it needs to be to land your shots consistently is a nightmare. Player movement is snappy and depending on the character, very twitchy, and the gamepad aiming simply isn’t what it needs to be to accommodate.
It’s Blizzard’s first shooter, so it’s understandable that they didn’t knock it out of the park on the first go. Hopefully it’s something that can be addressed in a future patch, but for the time being it’s staving off Perfect Dark Zero flashbacks for me, as I use the movement stick, rather than the aiming stick, to aim my weapons.


“Less than meets the eye?”
Overwatch does one thing exceptionally well, and where most games attempt to shoehorn in additional modes or features which may not share the luster of the main event, Blizzard has opted to give us a polished but bare package instead.
While the fervor for this game has done nothing but grow leading up to its release, I came away from the beta hopeful for small refinements to make it more playable, and was disappointed to see no changes or additions outside of the ability to purchase the game’s cosmetic loot boxes for real world money (thanks?).
Blizzard does well in supporting their games post release, and word has it June will see the inclusion of a Ranked mode. There are rumors of fragments of unfinished characters hiding away in the game’s data someplace, and given the climate of multiplayer games nowadays, DLC would not be surprising.
As someone who walked away from the beta satisfied but less excited with what I had played, I’ll be curious to see how the playerbase for this game wavers over the coming months.
The trend of releasing a well-made yet sparse game to be made into what feels more like a full game in the months following through patches continues.

From → Games

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