HEROES NEVER DIE!
What can I even say about Overwatch that hasn’t been said 500 times already? The team based, 6-vs-6 shooter from Blizzard is a mega hit and is it any surprise? People have been raving about this game since it came out, with some outlets giving it perfect or near perfect scores. However, like any other game, it does have it’s fair share of criticism. Let’s start with the good things first.
This game has been surrounded by a massive amount of hype since it was shown in 2014. Two years is a long, long time for hype to build up. Just look at all the hype around No Man’s Sky. Unlike No Man’s Sky, I think that Overwatch really lived up to all the things that it promised and more.
The game chose what it wanted to be and polished up what that was. I have never played an online shooter that has gripped me like Overwatch has since Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2. I was starved for a good online shooter and Overwatch very effectively filled that gap. The variety in characters is really what makes this game awesome. You have defensive, offensive, tank, and healing heroes, with 5-6 characters in each category.
The amount of detail that went into the characters and the universe they inhabit is amazing. You can see how painstakingly they cared for the world, from the buildings having a retro-futuristic look to the cans in vending machines having physics. Speaking of the world, each character looks like they really belong there. Junkrat looks like he is from a desert scrapyard. Widowmaker looks like a futuristic assassin. It just works.
The gameplay is quite good. The heroes have their situational strengths and have their own counters. It takes a little bit of strategy to plan out how you want the composition of your team to be. You probably aren’t going to do well without a healer or with a team of snipers. This is very different than the Call of Dutys or Battlefields. Those games are more based on the skill of the individual player rather than the composition of the team. Overwatch is the opposite. If you just do your job and stay together, then odds are you will probably do pretty decently. More of a Team Fortress 2 feel.
The game modes, though limited, are very polished. There are three modes: a king of the hill style mode where you attempt to take a central point, a mode where one team defends two points and the other team tries to take those points, and a mode where the attacking team is trying to move a payload while the defending team tries to stop them. By limiting the amount of games modes allowed Blizzard to really focus on making these three modes really good. With others games, you often have a lot of players in one type of mode (Team Deathmatch) and other game modes with largely reduced numbers (Capture the Flag).
Now, I could talk all day about the good things about Overwatch, but I feel like it’s time to move on to some of the not as good things about the game.
THE NOT SO GOOD
Some things about Overwatch aren’t necessarily bad but aren’t really good things either. For example, there is no single player mode. While this game knew that it wanted to be an exclusively online shooter, it is kind of disappointing to see this trend in gaming. Multiplayer is where companies make their money in modern days so it makes sense that single player is being slowly phased out. By not having a single player mode, you do not know much about the backstory as well as not getting any practice on the physics of the game. You are just thrown into the game with a minimal tutorial. As my parents would often say, “I’m not mad, just disappointed.”
Secondly, while there is a great variety of heroes in Overwatch, some are just flat out better than others. I have a feeling that they will slowly be fixing this with nerfs and buffs, but it is sad to see some characters just not being used and some being used in almost every match. A prime example of a just bad hero is Bastion. When he isn’t in turret mode, he is a colossal, slow moving target. When he is in turret mode, he can do a lot of damage but cannot move and has a weak spot on his back.
And don’t get me wrong, I died to my fair share of Bastions and there are some really good Bastion players out there. But his bad things often vastly outweigh the good things about him. An example of a character being just way better than others is Genji. He has almost perfect accuracy with his primary attack, can reflect anything remotely close to him back at the attacker, can double jump, can climb walls, and has an ultimate that can one shot most enemies.
Some characters have been rendered useless by other characters. Ana is a sniper who was introduced recently. She not only can heal other heroes but can do a fair amount of damage on her own. So why would anyone ever choose Widowmaker over her? Widowmaker doesn’t do anything that Ana cannot do apart from get to hard to reach areas.
Also as a side note, if you play a sniper on a map where you have to move a payload, just know that I hate you forever.
Now that that is off the table, I wanted to move onto things that aren’t very good with Overwatch.
So the elephant in the room regarding Overwatch is the loot box system. There are many, many, MANY things to unlock in Overwatch, around 55 items each for around 20 characters as well as a ton of player icons. These items are also sorted into rarity from common to legendary. Each level you get a loot box, with each box having four unlocks or coins in it. You don’t have to a math genius to see what the odds are to get a legendary item. “But don’t worry!” says Blizzard, “You can buy loot boxes with real money.” That’s a ridiculous way for a company to act. Because lets say I buy 10 loot boxes to try to get a legendary skin. I could very well get 10 crates of garbage. So it creates this atmosphere of gambling to it. Maybe this crate will have a skin. Maybe I’ll finally get the Gothic Punk Zarya skin. Maybe I’ll just spend five bucks to get some more boxes. And I’m not telling you how to spend your money, do what you want. But to have this in a game is ridiculous, especially for a company as big as Blizzard.
Not to beat a dead horse here, but I’m going to keep talking about loot crates. However, I will be shifting my focus to the aggravation that is the Summer Games loot boxes. These were loot boxes that were given out for the Rio 2016 Olympics. “Cool, they are including new content for real world events” you might say. And that’s fine, but Blizzard only had these crates available during the Rio Olympics. So once the games were over, then these crates and the ability to get these items were gone. See how this creates an atmosphere of gambling? They not only made some of these skins legendary, they also only had them available for a limited time.
You also cannot buy these Olympic items with the in-game currency of coins. You can buy any other item with coins, except for the items that are only available for a limited time. This feeds into the gambling nature of the boxes. You NEED more boxes if you want to get these items. It makes purchasing boxes with real money more and more ridiculous.
Although the ridiculous loot crate system and the lack of balancing give black eyes to this game, Overwatch is one of the best shooters I’ve played and one of the best overall games I’ve played in a long time. Good gameplay, fun but limited game modes, amazing polish, and a great online experience come together to show off what the new standard is for shooters in my eyes.
Overwatch gets a 9/10. It is pretty hard for a game to be a perfect 10 but Overwatch comes pretty damn close to it. I will more than likely be playing Overwatch tonight when I get home.