After almost two years of speculation, alpha-tests, beta-tests, and rumors, Blizzard Studio’s first new IPin several years, “Overwatch”, has finally hit store shelves. The multiplayer-only, online-only first person shooter has been out for a few weeks now and it’s certainly being met with rave reviews from fans and critics alike, while being called a bit too arrogant by others. While it is certainly no question that Overwatch has already garnered a large amount of respect in the crowded and competitive genre of first-person shooters, is the low amount of content with high level of gameplay worth your cash?
When it comes to Overwatch’s high points, Blizzard’s brand new poster child has several. The game mechanics are amongst the smoothest we’ve ever experienced in a game, with no particular character feeling overly clunky or hard to use from a controls standpoint. Matches are fast-paced and exciting from start to finish, with potential for a constantly changing battlefield due to players having the ability to switch characters mid-match. Whether it be a game lobby full of beginners or a Twitch stream of several top players, matches are explosive and at least a tiny bit different every time. To add more depth to Overwatch, Blizzard brought the classes of a MOBA/MMORPG into the FPS world and it’s clear people love it. Whether you choose an offensive, defensive, tank, or supportive class, each group is defined enough in their role to make a noticeable difference in the game, while still being fun for those less familiar with the system. And stemming from the class types, comes Overwatch’s crown jewel, the individual characters themselves. Not only is there a ton of variability between the game’s 21 character from a game play standpoint, but each unique personality in the debut cast of Overwatch is defined, likable, and written with shit tons of personality and backstory. It almost makes you wonder what a full-blown single player campaign could look like with such a colorful and interesting cast, which leads to the discussion of a few faults in the vibrant and exciting shooter.
Without a doubt, Overwatch brings the heat and crowd appeal when it comes to gameplay, in a way only Blizzard Studios really can, but that’s not to say there’s some things to be missed. As mentioned before, Overwatch is an online-only, multiplayer-only title. No, there’s no campaign with a compelling story, no arcade mode to mow down some NPC bad guys, and there’s not even a survival mode where a team can take on hordes of bots to achieve a high score. And on top of that, out of the box, the game only comes with 3 game modes and 12 maps. Now, if this was the case for the multiplayer mode of a game that came with a few more options, this wouldn’t be a griping point. But since Overwatch comes with a pricetag of $59.99 on consoles (and $40 on PC, which still may be seen as a bit steep), it’s tough to say that this game may be “worth it” for the avid enjoyers of a solid story mode.
Overall, Overwatch delivers in what it tries to present, and it’s certainly garnered a huge fan base in a short time. This is Blizzard’s 3rd game breaking into territory not previously tread, and arguably, their most successful new venture with already 7 million copies sold. With Blizzard announcing that there will be no pay-to-win micro transactions, it is clear that in a gaming industry that has become more and more “profit first” driven, anyone trying to save a buck has to respect that customer satisfaction tactic (as long as the future content delivers of course). With a deep and complex gameplay system that is enjoyable right from the start, and the promise of even more free content to come, it’s safe to say the future certainly looks bright for the already competent Overwatch Franchise.
Royal Blue Rating: 4/5 stars