Overwatch is a team-based first-person shooter developed by Blizzard. It’s been in the works for a few years and was highly anticipated. Post-release this year, after some development updates and patches, we’ve decided to review the current state of the game and if it is currently worth a buy.

overwatch-cast

Shortly behind the successful release of its free-to-play predecessors, Heroes of the Storm, and Hearthstone, community members were left shocked when Blizzard switched it up and put down a hefty price tag. Base PC edition was 39.99$, while PS4 and X1 users were forced to shell out 79.99$. This does not include the option to pay additional money for in-game customization including skins, emotes, victory poses, voice lines, etc. (These are normally unlockable through leveling up, and playing the game over a really long period of time). So, how do we justify the price tag? Is it worth buying 10 months later? Let’s jump into the offered content.

 

FREE-LC

First things first. Overwatch is a ‘finished’ title, however, it has a dev team still working hard as ever on it, improving and updating their title according to community feedback and seasonal events. It has 15 or so base maps, and 23 playable characters with a casual quick play mode, arcade mini-games, or competitive (recently added in). Considering the growing trend of paid ‘Downloadable Content’ (DLC) in the gaming industry, it was reasonable to be worried that additional content would cost players more.

Just some of the fresh new maps and modes to play over the holiday season
Just some of the fresh new maps and modes to play over the holiday season

Overwatch defies much of what we know by offering this updated content for free. Much like a gift from God, a miracle, a light in the darkness, it seems miracles do happen. Since release, there have been 2 characters created and added to the cast, multiple maps, and much more content on the way for 2017. The dev team has managed to create seasonal events for Halloween, Christmas, the Olympics, and generally any chance they get their hands on. It’s safe to assume they will continue to support the game and community, and that they will continue to give back long after you’ve paid for it.

 

IT’S WHAT’S ON THE INSIDE THAT COUNTS

Something that Blizzard has always been great at is game optimization(PC). The game has loads of customizable graphic options which help almost any setup in the last 5-7 years run overwatch with 30 FPS.

In-game controls, audio, and HUD  options are also incredibly accessible and easily manageable. The game is also balanced differently for console, making up for the different gameplay with analog sticks/controllers vs keyboard and mouse. Many recent games and dev teams are messing up this part. Things that seem obvious to players get missed by creators which result in minor inconveniences. (For example, Overwatch has no annoying super loud menu music when you alt-tab or leave the PS4/X1 on for 5 mins.) Character specific controls, and aiming sensitivity settings are available. Playing with friends is simple, and requires 2 button presses, or clicks on your end.  

 

SMALL YET BEAUTIFUL WORLD

The Overwatch world is very small. The story surrounding the game is pretty loose and vague. It basically amounts to this: Bad guys doing bad guy stuff, ‘Overwatch’ team is created to stop them.  It doesn’t really make the cut. There is relatively no indication or showcase for the story. They fight on the same team. If you don’t ask about it, it never reveals itself to you. Normally this isn’t a problem (see League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive).

However, Blizzard spends a lot of attention on its small world, which leads you to wonder why, if they won’t expand on it. Maps are incredibly detailed and have specific links to characters and their backgrounds, or seasonal/world events going on. There are loads of voice lines that cross reference other characters, hundreds of unique character interactions. All the background stuff is there, the story just needs to be told.

 

New addition 'Sombra' strutting her stuff
New addition ‘Sombra’ strutting her stuff

 

PLAY(ING) OF THE GAME

Ultimate abilities are a very important piece of the game. Every character has a unique style of play, a unique kit, and an overpowered ultimate. Many of these ultimate abilities synergize well with their teammate’s abilities into game-changing (and game-winning) combinations. This promotes a difficult balance of team play that is not often found in recent games. It’s difficult to be impactful alone. If you’ve played online games before, you have an idea of how hard it can be to bring a team together, since everyone plays differently. To keep things light, people can be resistant to management and will go off to do their own things. That’s the nature of online play sometimes.

Play of the game is the round featured highlight. It’s designed to pick up on the coolest play and broadcast it to the rest of the lobby at the end. It seems like another subtle incentive to play besides winning the round, however, AI is difficult to design, and it has produced some well known comical results.

CONCLUSION

Play of the game is really one of the only things in the game that could be improved. Overwatch succeeds at achieving almost every niche, every important element to a good game. The optimization and game configurations are incredibly well done, to the point where almost no one is limited by hardware or controller. Customization is crafted so you can alter almost every option to your liking, and manage the HUD how you like. The game menus are easy to navigate and take zero effort required to play with friends.

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Most of all, Overwatch generally feels fantastic and is a refreshing feeling in the FPS genre. It’s fast paced with a lot of work on the deeper levels of character interaction, synergy, and backgrounds. The only other beef I have with the game is the lack of single-player, or any kind of story element. This directly puts you into a multiplayer experience, which is a 50/50 gamble these days. It takes the enjoyment of your control and puts it in the hands of other people who may have a different idea of ‘fun’, as well as potential skill gaps. Thankfully, there are different game modes for different people that have been added which help solve this problem. Shout out to all the free DLC being added.

Overwatch deserves an 8/10 because it’s a very well made game with no flaws, but for the exception of those out of its control.  It is absolutely worth the buy, all thanks to its pick up and play value.

So, What are you waiting for? When does your watch start?

 

THE GOOD THE BAD
-Fresh and free DLC for seasonal events and holidays

-Something for everyone

-Great to play with friends

-Well optimized and configurable

-No story or single player campaign

-Expensive for Console

 

Game Info

First Released May 24, 2016 on PC, Playstation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Multi-player FPS

Playstation 4 Xbox One

 

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