Since it was announced at Blizzcon 2014, Overwatch has easily been Blizzard’s most highly anticipated title on the horizon. The anticipation was built around the fact that the highly respected developer Blizzard was moving in to the multiplayer first person shooter market while at the same time creating a whole new universe and characters to go alongside the Warcraft, Diablo, and Starcraft universes. World building and lore is a front they never fail to impress in, the question was if they could create a solid and entertaining competitive FPS, as they have never ventured in to this genre before.
Released by in May 2016, Overwatch is best defined as a class-based team vs team shooter, much like Team Fortress 2. The matches and combat are fast paced (matches last anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes) and each hero has a very unique set of skills. One of the most interesting and satisfying aspects of the game is that each hero’s set of skills and play-style is completely unique.
Unique “Hero” Characters
For example, one match you might pick Mercy who is classified as a support hero and you will spend most of the match either flying around and healing up the most wounded of your party, or finding the perfect opportunities to boost the damage of one of your allies. The next match you might play as Junkrat, classified as a defense hero, and set bear-traps and remote detonated mines while hucking grenade after grenade toward the enemy with your grenade launcher. Two totally different play-styles, each contributing to the win in their own way, and each very rewarding when your team dominates a match in part due to your efforts. And that’s only mentioning 2 out of the (currently) 21 heroes. And that’s not to mention that you can switch characters at any time during the match.
The 21 heroes are fully available when you purchase the game and are divided amongst 4 role categories: Offense, Defense, Tank, Support. Generally, the team of 6 needs a good combination of heroes from each role. Unfortunately, if you are playing with randoms this means those that you are playing with might pick several heroes from the role you wanted to play that match, so for the betterment of the team you’ll be stuck playing a role you might not like or be good at. Fortunately, the game does not force you to pick a certain mix of heroes, so your team can be comprised entirely of Tanks if you feel like losing a game, but doing so very slowly.
What Do You Get When You Buy Overwatch
Many new games in this genre and the MOBA genre follow the free-to-play + micro-transactions model. With Overwatch, you buy the game ($40 at launch) and you get access to all current characters and all future characters. If you want to spend additional money on the game, you can do so to unlock purely cosmetic changes such as hero skins, emotes, voice lines, and sprays. With this model, Blizzard avoids the kiss-of-death distinction for a competitive game that is “pay-to-win”. As it is now, Overwatch puts all players on a completely even playing field. Sorry, no crutches here.
When you buy Overwatch you also get the patented Blizzard polish and world-building that they have recently brought to other new genres (see: Hearthstone: TCG, Heroes of the Storm:MOBA ). So if you are a fan of Blizzard or competitive first person shooters, this is a great game to check out. If you are new to the genre or Blizzard, but the commercials and/or marketing for the game have worked their evil charms on you, I can say that you wont be disappointed if you give in to the desire to purchase and participate in this game.