Overwatch is a fantasy based first person shooter, which puts up one team of 6 against another team of 6 players. It is a versatile game and relies on teamwork in order to win. What really makes Overwatch unique, however, and differentiates it from other games in the genre is its diversity and immediate approach. There is no single player in Overwatch. You log in, find a match, choose a character and start playing. Overwatch is a great game if you want to get into the action immediately. Created by Blizzard, the same company who delivered games like Hearthstone, Diablo, and World of Warcraft made their first attempt at creating a First Person Shooter with huge success. Overwatch was nominated was 2016’s game of the year award and is still played up to this day by millions of players around the world.
Story Behind Overwatch
Overwatch may not have an obvious story, but there is definitely a story behind it. I believe that Blizzard could have opted for a great single-player experience but chose to emphasize solely on the multiplayer aspect of the game.
Overwatch takes place in a fictionalized version of Earth 60 years into the future. Overwatch was an organization of superheroes which was formed by the United Nations to protect the world against the Omnic crisis, which are robots who were programmed to serve humans. However artificial intelligence (AI) reprogrammed those against humans and that is how the omnic crisis began. That’s why the UN created Overwatch, to protect the human race against the robots, which wanted to take over the world. Overwatch managed to eliminate the threat and bring prosperity and peace to the human race.
However, Overwatch’s headquarters were attacked surprisingly and the members of Overwatch were charged for it. The organization eventually disbanded and ceased to exist. A few years later, with the absence of Overwatch, tensions between humans and robots rose again until they escalated and the Overwatch team was called back to action to protect humanity again against the known and imminent thread.
Heroes and Classes
Overwatch consists of (up to now) 25 heroes with Blizzard always adding more down the line. Those 25 characters are categorized in classes. A great balance of those classes is the most decisive factor when it comes to winning a round in Overwatch.
Classes add a certain balance in-game. The offense class is all about attacking enemies, are self-sufficient but have little health. Defense well… defends and has shields and better defensive armor against incoming attacks as well as more health and can provide protection for the other classes, the tank class has the fire power as well as the most health and is there to take the most bullets and the support class has healing capabilities which can prove very useful especially when combat starts getting brutal.
- Offense consists of Doomfist, Genji, McCree, Pharah, Reaper, Soldier 76, Sombra, and Tracer
- Defense consists of Bastion, Hanzo, Junkrat, Mei, Torbjorn, and Widowmaker
- Tank consists of D.Va, Orisa, Reinhardt, Roadhog, Winston, and Zarya
- Support consists of Ana, Lucio, Mercy, Symmetra, and Zenyatta
Each of those heroes has unique abilities which, when combined in a right way and with the right players can provide an advantage over the enemy. It is the combination of classes which grant the victory to the winning team. Overwatch is a team-based game and should be played this way.
Game Modes and Maps
There are certain game modes available in Overwatch with specific objectives, which, once taken, decide the winning team. Each game mode needs different combinations of heroes and classes and experienced players certainly have an edge over their opponent as they know the tactics to win in every scenario. Overwatch, besides a fun game to play, is also a strategic one.
Escort gives the attacking team the task of moving a payload wagon to a delivery point and the defense team has to stop them in order to win before time runs out.
Assault is a game mode in which both teams have to take control of the map. One team attacks critical points on the map, while the other team tries to put up defenses at those points against the other team.
Hybrid is a combination of Escort and Assault. It starts off with attacking and defending control points across the map and ends with a payload delivery.
Control is a game mode of 3×3, with a total of 3 rounds. In each round, the two teams are given an objective. Once this objective is captured, the team who has taken control over it wins. Then the second round starts where a new objective is given. The team with the most wins, claims victory.
Each game mode can only be played on specific maps, which are real locations redesigned to fit in the fictionalized world of Overwatch. Blizzard has done a great job of creating those maps because they added realism to a fantasy based game. This may sound like an oxymoron, but, actually, gives the players the belief that there is more behind Overwatch than just a sheer action-based experience. Real locations create the belief of a real story, which actually exists within Overwatch. Now, onto the maps:
Now, onto the maps:
- Escort: Watchpoint Gibraltar, Dorado, Route 66
- Assault: Hanamura, Horizon Lunar Colony, Temple of Anubis, Volskaya Industries
- Hybrid: King’s Row, Numbani, Hollywood, Eichenwalde
- Control: Lijiang Tower, Nepal, Oasis, Ilios
Each of those maps, as mentioned, before, is a real location. Watchpoint Gibraltar is in southern Spain, Hanamura is in Japan, Eichenwalde is in Germany and Ilios is in Greece. After playing the maps you will release the effort put into designing those. Every map has points of interest, shortcuts, and spots for snipers, healers, defense and attack players. By playing the same maps over and over again the player realizes that each one has endless combinations of heroes which will work in their favor. If a play style gives you victory, keep it, if not try something else. Overwatch is all about adaptivity and exploring different styles of playing and combinations.
Overwatch’s easy and action based gameplay is the most captivating part of the game. After entering the game, you are shown the map you will play on and then are prompted to choose a hero. Now, there are two ways of choosing a hero. You either choose your favorite hero immediately or wait to see what your teammates choose. The second tactic is what I do most of the time as I want to balance out the game by choosing every class to increase our team’s chances to win.
After getting to the actual map with your chosen hero, you may end up on the defensive or offensive team. Both teams have 30 seconds before the match starts. The offense has to wait inside the spawn room for 30 seconds and the defense heads to the objective point where they set up their defenses. In Assault, they defend the objective point while in Escort they protect the payload wagon. The spawn room is where you restart the round every time you die, as well as change your hero. You can change heroes as many times as you want even within the same round, but you have to be in the spawn room to be able to.
A red line indicates the main path your enemy is going to use to attack you and a green line shows you the way to the objective point. Before the match starts, the defense team should take the time to find spots for snipers or hide behind defense players. Tank should find spots where they can effectively attack the majority of their enemies and Support should spot the position of their team mates in order to heal them when necessary.
For example, it would be a good idea to use Rheinhardt with his giant shield to protect your teammates, Bastion to use as a bullet absorber and damage inflictor, Widowmaker as a Sniper, Zenyatta as a healer, Pharah because of her ability to fly as a protector from above and Soldier 76 to immediately attack and surprise your enemies. This is only one way of doing it. There are hundreds of combinations you can choose from and, remember, you can always change your strategy at any time.
Every hero has unique abilities which range from 3 to 5 abilities. Every hero has a bar on the down left screen which goes up to 100%. When 100% is reached, each hero can unleash their special ability to either inflict more damage, heal better, increase health or fire power. As you play the game more often and complete rounds, you level up and get access to different skins, logos, and voice lines. Yes, you have the ability to wave and say hello to your teammates and each hero has voice lines which you can use at any point in the game.
You can enter the game with a couple of friends and create a team. One acts as the team leader who enters game modes and the rest automatically follows. You can set up your own private squad chat group to interact with each other, where no one else has access to or you enter team chat where you interact with the other players of your team, in case your team consists of less than 6 people.
Graphics and Optimization
Overwatch looks quite impressive for a cartoon-like game. The map designs are great as Blizzard has done a great job of fictionalizing the real world locations in a cartoon-ish way. What really fascinates me is the fact that the game looks clean and polished. Everything you perceive around you is clear and identifiable. Nothing is hidden. Even small details like rooftops or objects inside houses give you the impression of a well-designed and polished game. The maps’ level of detail is outstanding.
Optimization is impressive as well. Even on lower end hardware, the game is playable with almost no stuttering and perfect fluidity. I am constantly hitting 80 -100PS at 1440p with the settings maxed out with my two-year-old R9 390. The game is not CPU intensive at all and does not require more than an average or even low-end CPU in order to run properly. Even an Intel Pentium g4560 should get the job done without issues. Blizzard’s attention to detail has really paid off as they have created a great looking game, which, although not being able to compete with, for example, Battlefield 1, in terms of graphical beauty, still does a great job in aspects of graphics, with its cartoonish character and map design.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Overwatch is a great game and has won the Game Of The Year award due to creativity, uniqueness and fun factor. Overwatch is really fun to play, it immediately captures your attention by throwing you into battle at an instant. It is a great adventure to play with friends and while being an excellent game in general, there are some things that, in my opinion, take away from the experience that Overwatch could be if they were implemented into the game.
Blizzard could have created an impressive single player based on the actual story behind the game and individual story of each hero. The story could include the headquarter’s destruction, the organization’s battle against the omnic robots and the interactions and dialogues between the heroes. There is so much wasted potential because a great single player experience would make the game even more versatile and unique. Many people that because of the absence of a single player, Blizzard had time to create an impressive multiplayer, but I think that Blizzard had the chance to combine both to leverage the experience Overwatch provides.
Overwatch, while being fun to play can get somewhat boring over time. While there exist a ton of combinations of playing styles, heroes, and maps after playing 10 – 20 rounds in a row the whole process gets repetitive. And that is why the addition of a Single Player would diversify the game and give it an extra flavor of uniqueness.
Overwatch is a great game, which everyone who loves first person shooters should at least once try out. The gameplay, the map, and hero designs and the general feel of the game are excellent. Overwatch’s community is still growing as more and more players start playing overwatch. It is not your usual FPS game and while other games exist, which provide a similar experience like Battleborn and Paladins, they lack the map designs, graphics, optimization and polish Overwatch has. Overall, if Blizzard would have included a single player this game would be perfect.
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But that is just my opinion. What is your opinion of the game? I would like to read yours in the comment section below.