If you are a gamer that requires a solid single player campaign, look away now! If you are a gamer that requires any sort of single player campaign, also look away now! You don’t get a single player story. What you do get however is one of the most immersive, online gameplay experiences available today.
There are three game modes in Overwatch; Quick Play, Competitive and Brawl. If you want to play around with some of the characters without taking things too seriously, then Quick Play is your friend. If you want to delve into the realm of serious and angry gamers, where you receive a ranking based on team performance, then Competitive is where you need to be. Brawl is a weekly gimmick in where everyone will be limited to the same stipulation, e.g. female characters only. It should be noted that Competitive mode works in seasons, and when the season is finished you are forced to choose between Quick Play and Brawl. I’m not a fan of this as the game loses its competitive edge when it’s off-season, but on the flip side it makes each new season exciting and intense.
A critical aspect of Overwatch is team play. Gone are the days where you could do the grind and become so good at a game that you could carry your team and pull off an unlikely win. If you don’t have good team work in Overwatch, you will lose. Every map you are required to capture the point or escort the “payload”, which is normally in the form of a large tank or battering ram. You need all six characters to work in unison to perform these objectives. You will inevitably encounter the guy who picks a sniper and sits back when you need to push the payload (I hate that guy). While there are many ways to play these objectives, I feel there should be some more game modes available. There is no team Deathmatch or indeed any kill based games available for Overwatch, although this is something I wouldn’t be surprised to see in the future.
What I liked
The driving force behind Overwatch is the vast array (22 at the time of this review) of quirky characters on offer called Heroes. Each hero has their own weapons and abilities for you to unleash upon your enemies. You also automatically charge an ultimate ability meter as you play each match, but can fill this meter quicker with your performance throughout the game. Every hero has a counterpart it is strong against, but each also has a nemesis. It’s the balance of strengths and weaknesses which really help Overwatch come into its own. After playing Overwatch for a number of hours you will find yourself having a favourite character or two, mine being the Reaper; a dual shotgun wielding wraith who likes to get in close and devastate his enemies with close range damage. Like all heroes though, he has his weaknesses. If someone switches to the robot turret Bastion for example, I’m in serious trouble. No character is overpowered, and if they are, it isn’t long before a patch comes from Blizzard to once again level the playing field. There is a huge online community for this game and the developers listen. The constant dev support for the game is a huge plus point. In fact at the time of writing a new character by the name of Sombra is anticipated to be released soon along with two maps. The most pleasing aspect about all of this DLC, is that it is free. Given that Overwatch itself was released with a lower RRP than most new releases, free DLC is an unexpected bonus.
The visuals are excellent. There aren’t any ground-breaking graphical achievements here, but everything is clean and crisp and fits the tone of the game perfectly. Similarly, the audio is fantastic. You can hear every gun, every ability and most importantly, every ultimate when it being used/about to used. If you’re out in the open and hear McCree utter the words “It’s high noon”, it’s time to find cover or you might just take a magnum to the knee.
While this is a first for Blizzard in terms of first person shooters, the game carries itself like it has been around since the beginning. The gameplay mechanics are perfect, the visuals are great, the audio is fantastic. Due to the constant developer support that Overwatch receives, this game has so much space to move into and will continue to grow and grow. It’s fun, it’s competitive, it’s easy to play. It’s simply a must buy for fans of online shooters.