There’s always a lot of hopes and dreams riding on a new Blizzard game. The expectations are high when it comes to the quality of the game, the easy to pick up gameplay that sinks its teeth in and keeps you coming back for more. Back in the day, they were masters of the RTS and action RPG, then the MMORPG, but recent years have taken them to unfamiliar territories, with digital card games and now a first person shooter of their own.
That game is Overwatch, a multiplayer FPS married to a plentiful cast of characters that help it break out of being a class-based shooter. We’ve previewed it a few times before, but now that more people on the team have had a chance to give it a go, what did they think?
Jim’s kept a close eye on Overwatch right from its first cinematic trailer. The gorgeous Pixar-esque art style, certainly helped to draw him in, but as is a common topic, he noted that it’s a very different game to Battleborn.
Instead of shacking up with the growing list of MOBA action game hybrids, Blizzard’s latest title is a straight-up online shooter. The only overlap here stems from its focus on individual characters, each with their own spread of unique abilities. These allow for a diverse range of strategies and synergies to come into effect while encouraging a plurality of playstyles. Lone wolves can snipe from above using Widowmaker or run circles around their enemies with Tracer. Meanwhile, those who feel comfortable playing support can lend allies shield buffs with Zarya or even heal team-mates with characters such as Mercy.
The only concern I have is how long it will take before the novelty begins to wear off. Although Blizzard get a thumbs up for unlocking all characters and maps from the get go, this means that the only rewards available to players are cosmetic. That said, the feel and polish of the game makes it incredibly hard to put down, even in beta form!
Miguel had also kept a beady eye on the game for a long, long time:
I had been excited for Overwatch since it was announced, but that excitement waned a bit the longer I went without being able to actually play it. Then came the comparisons to Team Fortress 2, a game I’m awful at. It got worse once I played the Battleborn beta and fell in love with that game. I wasn’t sure if Overwatch would be able to live up to my expectations.
Thankfully, I was proven so, so wrong. Overwatch is fun, beautiful and addictive. It oozes style from every pore, with beautiful character designs and sleek menus. The gameplay is fun and simple, but each character adds an interesting layer, and being able to switch your character on the fly can lead to awesome strategies and comebacks. I’ve been loving my time with Overwatch, and definitely plan to pick up the full version as soon as I can.
We’ll make it three from three with the Battleborn comparisons – as if we hadn’t definitevely cleared that up already! – but Dave first agreed with Miguel about the game’s flexibility:
Even with its large and diverse roster with distinctive abilities and personalities, it’s easy to just pick one and go at it, but once you settle into the game, you should really use the ability to switch whenever you respawn to adapt to the situations as they arise. If one character just isn’t working out for you because someone has Bastion raining on your parade, switching to Reinhart and charging them into a wall is beyond satisfying.
It’s a huge misconception that this and Battleborn are related, as Gearbox’s game has more in common with a MOBA than Overwatch does. The gameplay modes on offer here are more akin to what’s found in Team Fortress 2, with the difference being that there are more characters, you can switch on the fly, and the abilities you can have really can change any given situation. I for one had a fantastic time with it and will be itching to grab the full release as long as I can grab a few friends together for some matches. It’s the best of a hero shooter with all the charm of a Blizzard game.
And now, it’s over to you. With the open beta coming to a close today, have you been able to sink a few hours into the game? What did you like or dislike about Blizzard’s latest? Let us know in the comments.