Overwatch – Quick Game Preview

Overwatch – Quick Game Preview
Overwatch (PC [Reviewed], XBO, PS4)
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment

Overwatch is a class based multiplayer action FPS that has a lot in common with Team Fortress 2.

I played in both of the Overwatch open betas for several hours, although, I’m not quite sure exactly how long since I lost all track of time. I really, REALLY enjoyed the game so much, it has everything I loved in Team Fortress 2, but SO much more.

Even though the heroes all fall into 4 groups (offense, defense, tank, or support), some of the classes will act as other roles depending on the map selection. Much like in Team Fortress 2, all of the characters are completely unique in design, and playstyle. In fact, a few of the Overwatch classes have some similarities to the TF2 characters.

As someone who played a ton of medic in TF2, I absolutely love the diversity of the support classes in Overwatch. They do so much more than just healbot the rest of the team. Some of them have buffs, debuffs, and other neat abilities that makes people WANT to play them because they can still do a good amount of damage while providing utility.

One notable difference between Overwatch and TF2 is the team size. Overwatch is 6v6, where as TF2 team size can vary depending on the server you join.

All classes have an ultimate ability in addition to their regular abilities. The ultimates charges up over time, and while playing. These ultimates are typically very strong abilities that can really change the outcome of team fights when used correctly. The ultimate charge is persistent through death, but the charge is refreshed if you change classes.

Pros:
  • LOTS of classes (21 right now), with unique weapons, abilities and playstyles – many players will be able to find at least one that suits them
  • everyone is equal; there’s no pay to win or pay to get ahead (like many games), or even weapon drop advantages (like in Team Fortress 2.)
  • future heroes, and maps after launch will be free and not behind a DLC paywall
  • Brawl mode is similar to the Tavern Brawl in Hearthstone – every week a new Brawl with different rulesets rotates in (these can be a fun and silly change of pace from the traditional matches)
  • games are quick, and fast paced
  • purely cosmetic loot items like skins, emotes, voice lines, sprays, that have no effect on gameplay
  • excellent cartoony graphics style – reminds me of TF2, except it looks even nicer and more colourful!
  • great audio, and the characters voice interactions with each other are awesome
  • built in voice chat feature is very helpful for team communication
  • most (but not all) ultimates are decently balanced and can be countered depending on team composition and positioning
Cons:
  • potential issue with imbalanced casual games matching premade groups or mixed skilled players
  • no option to choose which maps or map types you want to play before queuing, and no map voting for the next map
  • no dedicated servers to join the map/modes (i.e. 24/7 2Fort), so all the maps you play will be random
  • same as in all multiplayer games: you are eventually bound to come across spammers, trolls, and toxic players
  • there are a couple ultimates that I think should be toned down a little bit
  • no access to the lore or cinematics from inside the game

Personally, I’m a big fan of objective maps, so I’m really glad to see that all of the maps in Overwatch are different objective maps. There will be 12 maps at launch, and 3 maps of each type: king of the hill, capture point, payload, and hybrid maps. 
There are casual, and competitive modes, as well as some training and customs matches. You can join and leave casual games at any time. There is no time penalty for leaving casual games, but I expect ranked games to have rating loss/time penalty for leaving. There is a small incentive to keep playing on the same server in casual though, since you get bonus xp for consecutive matches. 

Conclusion:

The game has tons of replay value. I have put over 2,000 hours into Team Fortress 2, and I hope to do the same with Overwatch. I’ve already pre-ordered the game, I can’t wait for release!