**Editor’s Note: This is a piece written my former TGS member, Brett Stiles, who has now moved on to greener pastures.**
I guess it’s about time I got to reviewing this game, after all it did just win the 2016 Game of the Year award, so as a game reviewer, it would be irresponsible for me to not write about it, so let’s begin.
Overwatch is created by Blizzard, the same people who brought you World of Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo. When they announced they were going to create a first person shooter (FPS) game in Overwatch, lots of people were intrigued as this broke from their normal perspective. Blizzard doesn’t release a lot of games, but the games they do release are always a smash hit with great gameplay and Overwatch definitely fits the mold of excellence that Blizzard has deservedly established with their previous titles.
Overwatch is currently a game I play often with my friends with countless hours logged. Never have I nerd raged so much over a game. Rage quitting abruptly while playing with my friends, cursing obscenities the whole time at them, thusly putting a strain on our friendship and a strain with my family. I am salty. I know this. But because of this, I have some opinions to express before the review with fellow Overwatch players, so listen up.
- There is no need for an offensive Torb. Don’t be stupid.
- If you have a mic and aren’t using the push to talk function, please don’t eat chips and burp constantly.
- You may think we need a Hanzo, but chances are we don’t.
This is where I commend Blizzard on creating a FPS that really breaks from the norm of the current AAA first person shooter genre. Most FPS games feel similar. For reference, look at the Halo, Call of Duty, and Battlefield franchises.
What Overwatch does well is create a gaming experience unique to FPS that doesn’t rely heavily on what is called “twitch” gameplay. Other FPS like Halo and Call of Duty are examples of what the gaming circles call “twitch” shooters. What this term means is that the goal of these fast paced shooters are to rack up as many kills as possible. Lives are generally short. Most of the game play comprises of quick movements and leaning heavily on a reaction time to hit targets before you yourself get hit. These quick movements is how these FPS got their nickname “twitch” shooters.
Overwatch gameplay steers away from testing a player’s reaction time, and focuses more on teamwork and team composition, (which we will get into later in the article.) This is what separates it from being labeled as a twitch shooter. This separation allows for more casual fans of FPS to partake in the game and experience sustainable success. That’s because winning is more dictated by Overwatch’s gaming components and not a player’s reaction time to aim and shoot.
Overwatch was created with team composition being the most important thing to achieve success. There are currently 23 playable characters in the game with more coming down the development pipeline. These 23 playable characters all bring something different to the team and play crucial roles to a team’s success, if you get the right pieces in place, your team has the chance to be unstoppable. Each character contains something called an Ultimate. Think of this Ultimate as a special move that is unique to your player. When in conjunction with another players’ Ultimate, your team could create a devastating attack or push against the opposing team. This is where teamwork and communication becomes vital. A player’s ability to coordinate their Ultimate with other teammate’s to wreak as much chaos as possible is critical to turning the momentum of a game. This is also a great example of how Blizzard has meticulously designed this game play to create a unique gaming experience.
There is a catch to having all these playable, unique characters. At times there are overpowering characters who seem to have an unfair advantage, (looking at you Symmetra). Blizzard actively comes out with updates to correct issues that come up with characters being overpowering or not powerful enough. Although this is great of Blizzard to address these issues, it also can cause gameplay to change drastically. Once you get used to certain characters and strategies, Blizzard might come up with an update that changes multiple characters effectiveness, creating a completely different team dynamic. Right now Overwatch seems to be stuck, although I don’t believe it will be for much longer. Having 23 playable characters currently, there are only about 7-10 that are regularly used by players. This is because of the character dynamics and what they bring to a team’s composition. If you pick any other characters outside of that 7-10 bubble, chances are you will become detrimental to the team composition and won’t experience much success.
Overwatch also incorporates sound into gameplay, Overwatch also incorporates sound into gameplay more than many other games; which use it simply for ambiance. Overwatch utilizes audio cues to indicate when Ultimates are being used, which can help you counter, or if it’s a teammate’s, help you add to it. Also music changes to a more suspenseful rendition as time’s running out, letting you know that your strategy might need to change in order to win the round.
With how complicating Overwatch must have been to develop and how simple game play comes across, along with its diverse gaming crowd, it’s no wonder how it got the 2016 Game of the Year award.
Overall, I would spend $39.99 on the game which, luckily for the basic version, is exactly what it costs.