Overwatch (PC) Review

By Ian Soltes 03.06.2016 7

Review for Overwatch on PC

Blizzard is one of those names to be wary of in the gaming world, but in a good way. Unlike certain other companies who shill out the same product constantly, Blizzard is well-known for releasing high-quality products. Almost every one of their titles has been a big hit. Overwatch, their attempt to enter into the team-based FPS market, will likely keep and maintain this pattern as well. Full to the brim with fun and excitement, it almost achieves that legendary status with little work, but sadly, it has some very annoying shortcomings.

Overwatch is part of a newly forming market of 'casual-friendly' shooters that has chosen to deviate from the model of 'modern' FPS titles like Call of Duty by focusing on being easy to enter into. On its surface, Overwatch may seem to fit this mould perfectly, but a second glance reveals that it's easily as deep as Team Fortress 2 and requires plenty of skill to excel at.

The concept is simple. Upon playing, a map is chosen, each having its own varied objectives, before each player picks from one of several champions. Each of the champions fits into one of four primary categories. Attack, which focuses on aggressive play, defence, which focuses on area control, tank, which focuses on disruption and taking blows, and support, which focuses on aiding other heroes. It seems straightforward at first. Then each of the unique champions comes into play, and it rapidly becomes much deeper.

Screenshot for Overwatch on PC

For example: Tracer. Tracer is an offensive hero who sports the ability to both dash forwards over short distances and 'rewind time,' returning her to the location she was at 3 seconds ago as well as returning her health to what it was at the time. This makes Tracer great for running around champions who are either slow or have slow/inaccurate weapons. However, her health is also low, and her damage, while not lacking, isn't enough for her to safely fight a more durable champion at close range without problems. A champion such as Mei, who is defensive and focuses on creating walls (which Tracer can't blink around), can make herself invulnerable and heal for a time, and has a 'cryo-thrower' weapon (like a flamethrower, except ice), can wreck Tracer. Likewise, when the enemy is all grouped up on a defensive point, having a sniper like Widowmaker or a tank like Roadhogg will be much more useful.

The game also allows players to change their hero and class in the middle of the match whenever they die or are in their own base. As a result, people can easily pick a counter to the opposing team. As such, learning multiple characters and not remaining locked to one or two can be a major game-changer. A player who is a master at playing Tracer may end up losing to a Tracer who isn't quite as skilled but willing to switch out to a support hero and help her team complete the various map objectives.

Screenshot for Overwatch on PC

These varied map objectives are also what decides a game. No matter how many kills (or lack thereof) a team gets, in the end, it's whoever completes the objective that wins. As such, a hero like Reinhardt, who isn't likely to net many kills but comes with a major built-in shield to protect his allies, can be a far better and more useful hero to the team than a Tracer who just blinks around and gets a sizable chunk of kills. Not that getting a kill doesn't help (the victim will be off the field and have to get back to the objective, after all), but the goal is to capture objective points, play king-of-the-kill, or escort things. As a result, even new players can come in and at least offer something to the team despite far more capable players excelling elsewhere.

To help newcomers even more, there is even a weekly mode with varying modifiers: things like reduced cooldowns or boosted health, etc. These modes can serve as an easy introduction to the game for newcomers while more experienced players can enjoy the general insanity of super-fast cooldowns or whatever thing is up that week.

Screenshot for Overwatch on PC

The game, however, has two major weak points. The first is that it lacks a single-player mode. While some people will not be bothered by such a thing, with many of these characters having clear and distinct personalities and histories, it is an utter shame to see them regulated to being only (well-made) shorts and voice quips. Especially since there is a clear story going on in the game involving humans and robots, but it isn't explored in the slightest. It is unknown which side a champion such as Mei falls on in such a story, and unlike Star Wars: Battlefront, it doesn't have a movie series to fall back on. Not to mention that it would be very hypocritical to chastise Battlefront for its lack of single-player, then give Overwatch a pass.

The second is the game's micro-transactions. Unlike in League of Legends or even Heroes of the Storm, things like skins, voice lines, tags, and the like come not via purchasing them, but instead by opening up 'loot crates' earned via levelling up. The loot inside is randomized entirely, however. As such, forty crates can be opened in an effort to get a skin for a particular champion, only to end up getting stuff for practically every other one. Thankfully, there is a bit of a reprieve in that duplicate items get turned into gold, which can then be used for purchases, so given enough time, it is possible to get everything without spending a dime beyond the initial purchase. However, between said initial purchase and $40 USD price tag for 50 crates, the game is clearly focused on trying to siphon money. All the items within are cosmetic and hold no impact upon the game, meaning that they can be ignored entirely by those who don't care about such a thing or are willing to wait.

Screenshot for Overwatch on PC

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Overwatch has all the glitz and polish expected of a Blizzard game, with all the usual underlying quality. It is highly unlikely that this game will go under or stop being supported, as well. However, its volume of content is a bit questionable for a game that costs $40 to even play. With that said, every other aspect shines, and is helped heavily by its unique MOBA-esque character system and the ability to switch in the middle of a map. It has been said that new champions and the like will be free, and if that's true, Overwatch will only climb uphill.

Developer

Blizzard

Publisher

Blizzard

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

My game of the year so far. Outstanding and so well polished.

I would love to get into this, since I enjoyed the beta a lot, but just got so many other priorities right now. I don't think I can handle putting time into another online game when I have so much FF14 to hammer through.

It's great to see a "AAA" game turn out really good after so long in development, tho. I think the great thing for me is that I never really heard much about this prior to its release; it sorta just came outta nowhere. Whereas you get something like Watch Dogs, which was hyped to hell and back by Ubi, yet turned out to be utterly diabolical in the grand scheme of things. This has kept a rather low profile and then come out and smashed it outta the park. At least, that's how it seemed to me. The only thing I heard about Overwatch prior to the beta was some controversy over Trace's arse pose.

This is one of those games I really want to try before I buy. It looks great, and I like watching other people play it, but I'm 90% certain I'll be terrible at it, get frustrated, and never play it again in a huff [see Team Fortress 2].

Jambo said:
This is one of those games I really want to try before I buy. It looks great, and I like watching other people play it, but I'm 90% certain I'll be terrible at it, get frustrated, and never play it again in a huff [see Team Fortress 2].

I'm really not into FPS games at all and not that good at them (I hated TF2), but this game is so much more fun, wether you lose or not and because it's all team based you don't have to worry too much about being a super soldier. It's all based on team work and so are the objectives (not about getting the most kills).

You can even play as Mercy, and just stay on the back lines heal other players or give them a better damage output. She's actually really great and one of my favourite characters to play. Smilie

The diverse cast makes it way more interesting than other team shooters, too. They're all amazing in their own ways and there's someone for everyone really.

( Edited 03.06.2016 22:43 by Marzy )

So it's sorta like an FPS MMO, where each person has a a different role/class in the battle? Like, just thinking about FF14, you can be a DPS, tank or healer, but then there are different jobs for each of those, too, like DPS has archers and mages for long range, or gladiators and ninjas for close combat, etc. Pretty cool. I didn't play with everyone in the beta, but I could see they all had very different playstyles.

Yep, you have Offence, Defence, Tank and Support and then each of the characters in those classes also have unique abilities that can help out in different ways. It's not always about playing your favourite character, really and sometimes you need to switch mid-game to work around the enemies defences or vice-versa, if you're on a defence objective.

 

Switching characters mid-match is a pretty cool feature.

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