Overwatch is Blizzards first new series in 17 years, which is astonishing given the quality of games that blizzard is known for. I suppose when you have been managing the growth of mammoth series like Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo, there isn’t a lot of time left for developing totally different ideas.
In this case Blizzard has managed to hit it out of the park, Overwatch is fantastic and it already feels so well polished and complete, even while still being in closed beta. That isn’t to say things haven’t changed a lot over the beta process Blizzard is still pushing to make sure that their newest game is the best it can be before it launches.
Since Overwatch was announced, Blizzard has been doing a fantastic job at getting people invested in their newest universe. This is evident from the announcement trailer for the game, which amazed people with the Pixar quality of its animation. It was amazing to watch this new world unfold in front of my eyes, and already be intrigued by who these characters are and what their stories will be.
Blizzard has continued to build excitement for this new universe by releasing two more high quality animated shorts that focus on particular characters, giving us a further glimpse into the stories this new world has to tell.
The first of these shorts is “Recall” which focuses on the gorilla scientist Winston, and shows a bit more of the mysterious character Reaper, who also appeared alongside Winston in the announcement cinematic for Overwatch. Second to be released is the short titled “Alive” which focuses on the assassin named Widowmaker and her conflict with Overwatch’s mascot character Tracer.
These cinematics provide small glimpses into the world of Overwatch, but they give just enough information to make you interested in the stories of these characters. At this point I can’t wait to see what Blizzard has in store for us with the rest of the content they have planned for Overwatch.
All of this talk about story and setting is important, because it flows so well into the gameplay itself. Every playable character feels unique, interesting, and full of life, and most characters are easy to jump in and start to play with. This is an important factor as it shows Blizzard is interested in applying the idea of “easy to learn, hard to master,” which is something they have taken from the success of Hearthstone.
Take Overwatch’s mascot Tracer for example, she is able to warp around the map at high speeds dealing damage then warping away to safety. However she doesn’t have a large health pool, and as such she can’t take a lot of damage, but once a person masters Tracer they are very hard to deal with. She will constantly warp in behind you and take you out before you have time to blink, and even if you do manage to start putting damage on her a good player will have timed her recall ability properly and have warped back in time, and now be at full health and far out of your reach.
Overwatch sets itself apart, by adding the gameplay hook that whenever you are in your team’s base you are able to switch to any character you want, this leads to some interesting strategies, as teams will alter their make ups at different points in a match. This also means that some characters are more useful in certain situations. Mei for example is excellent at control point matches as you are able to wall off routes for a short while, as well as slow down and freeze enemies allowing your team to make quick work of them.
As the game evolves it will be interesting to watch different strategies evolve as people figure out which characters are the best to play at certain points in a match. It is also good to note that Blizzard has done a good job of making characters for every type of player. Do you want to heal and have the ability to resurrect your team? If so use Mercy. Or do you want to protect your team from incoming damage? If so use Reinhardt and his massive shield. You could also use Pharah and her jump jets to rain rockets from upon your enemies.
The personalities of these characters shine through into gameplay, as they are constantly chatting with each other, and as you play the game more you grow fearful of hearing the voice lines that announce an enemies ultimate ability is on the way. Such terrifying lines as “Its high noon,” “Justice rains from above,” or “I’ve got you in my sights.” Not to mention characters talking to each other before a match starts, like Mercy mentioning to Pharah how proud her mother must be of her.
It is all of these elements being brought together that make Overwatch such a great game, and at this point I can’t wait for the game to have its full release so I can have even more people to play this fantastic game with. Overwatch release on the 24 of May this year, so if you like multiplayer online shooters with interesting characters and a fascinating world, then pick it up. I know I will.