Developed and published by industry veteran Blizzard Entertainment, Overwatch is the latest online multiplayer shooter to grace the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC.
When playing Overwatch, one thing comes to mind… Saturday morning cartoons. Back in the day, when I was young, I remember waking up – after a hard week at school – grabbing a bowl of cereal, and rushing off to the family room to watch some well-deserved cartoons. Shows much like X-Men, Captain Planet, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles dominated the airwaves. These shows were filled with characters who were vibrant, charismatic, and full of life.
Fast forward to 2016, and I find 32-year-old me waking up on a Saturday morning, making breakfast, and rushing into the family room to play a few rounds of Overwatch. A title that has generated a lot of hype since release, and ultimately reminded me of those Saturday morning cartoons that I used to love. While the hype for this title is high, and so is the marketing budget, is it actually any good? The answer is… Yes!
One of Overwatch’s biggest pulls is the fact that this title features 21 very unique characters, who are all unlocked right from the start… No DLC, no having to reach level 10 000 to unlock… They are there to be utilised and mastered from the word go. Each character is divided into a specific role/class such as offense, defense, support, and tank; however, no two characters are the same.
A character like Soldier 76 packs a heavy pulse rifle for maximum damage, but at the same time has the ability to heal himself and teammates. Then there’s Tracer, the face of Overwatch… Tracer wields twin pistols, a British accent, and the ability to rewind her own personal timeline in order to heal herself.
Bastion, much like the rest of the cast, is also unique. Bastion has the ability to transform into a mini-gun turret in order to lay waste to the opposition. Characters like Bastion can be teamed up with the likes of Reinhardt, a character equipped with a portable shield, to create an unstoppable force. To have such a diverse set of characters, who can work in tandem together, makes this one of the best titles on the market.
Another one of this titles biggest pulls is the fact that is can be picked up and played by just about anyone. Each character has a certain degree of difficulty to them to master; however, characters like Soldier 76, Mercy, Bastion, Reaper, and Pharah are easier to master than others. Granted, playing online shooters requires some form of skill, but thankfully Overwatch offers a gameplay experience that is both aimed at high-level players as well as players looking to play it casually.
Much like its diverse set of characters… Overwatch also features a set of 12 maps, which have been coupled with certain modes. Maps like the Temple of Anubis, Volskaya Industries, and Hanamura are maps where the Assault Mode is played – a mode where attackers fight to capture a series of objectives; and defenders hold them off until time runs out.
Then there is Route 66, Dorado, and Watchpoint: Gibraltar where Escort missions are played – Attackers escort a payload to a delivery point, while defenders strive to keep the payload from reaching its destination before time elapses. There are also Control-based as well as an Assualt/Escort-based maps and modes available, which total up the 12 maps.
While these maps have been crafted and created with a keen eye for detail, and also include a ton of lore and images relating to character backstory, it’s unfortunate that players cannot mix and match maps and modes the way they want to. Additionally, there are very few modes to play here. Yes, there are a plethora of characters to master… but spend 4-5 hours playing Overwatch and you will most probably experience everything it has to offer in terms of maps and modes.
Blizzard has promised additionally modes in the future, including competitive play; however, apart from its unique set of characters, Overwatch offers very little meat when it comes to modes in its current state.
While Overwatch features very few modes, it does, however, feature a ton of unlockable content. Each time a character levels up they will receive a loot box. Within these boxes, players will find new character skins, spray paint, voice over lines and a plethora of Legendary loot. This, apart from mastering each character, keeps players coming back for more.
Apart from on-disk content, Blizzard has expanded on the Overwatch experience with a variety of animated shorts. These can be found here.
Apart from the lack of modes, Overwatch is an achievement in itself. To include 21 unique characters in a title of this stature is a milestone for gaming. To add to the accolades, Overwatch is a beautifully crafted game which ultimately features crisp, clean, well-designed characters as well as multiplayer maps bursting with vibrancy and colour.
Overall, Overwatch is a phenomenal title which is easy to pick up, hard to put down, and ultimately the Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat of the FPS genre.
Overwatch was reviewed on the PlayStation 4 by Darryl Linington
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