Overwatch Review (PS4)

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Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment

Main Review

Review in Context: I have played many FPS games and most Blizzard Entertainment games.
Date of Playthrough: May 25th, 2016

Overwatch is a multiplayer, hero based, arena, first-person shooter, where teams of six must fight over various objectives, with a heavy focus on hero-based. It’s a game that’s very easy to pick up and start playing, Overwatch is all inclusive, meaning that even those who are not exceptional at FPS’s can play and have an entertaining time.

In the near future on planet Earth a group called “Omnic” caused a global uprising by all robots, which brought the world to the brink of destruction. The United Nations created a taskforce called “Overwatch” to stop this uprising. This group consisted of gifted individuals from all over world. After succeeding they were disbanded and treated like criminals, but Earth is under attack again and it needs the remaining members of Overwatch to save it.

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The most important part of Overwatch are the heroes. There are a total of 21 playable characters, each with their own awesome design, unique abilities, and weapons. Each hero falls under one of four classes: attacker, defender, tank, and support. Attackers are your run and gun style characters, they usually have high mobility and devastating weapons that deal massive damage. Defenders are the most diverse of all the classes, with awesome damage dealers (snipers), bulkier utility characters, and a robot that turns himself into turret mowing down everything in sight. Tanks are the heroes that will eat up bullets for your squishy teammates and help allow them to deal as much damage as possible. Don’t let the tank stigma fool you though, as they are very capable of dealing massive damage if you let them, especially at close range. Support is the smallest class, with only four heroes residing in it. These are your healers, and their role is to try and keep everyone alive while the team moves toward the objective. Each hero has their own distinct personality that makes them easy to fall in love with and also enjoyable to listen how they interact with each other.

Many of the heroes, because of the different classes, do not focus solely on getting kills. Even though all characters are able take down an opponent, most are better used for such things as healing and blocking damage for your teammates. Now for someone playing an FPS this could be seen as a negative because they want to shoot enemies, but Overwatch does a great job in equally rewarding those who get kills and those who focus on team support. This is done by including all sorts of different stats that players can earn throughout a match besides kills, deaths, and assists. Such things as objective time, objective kills, healing done, damage done, and damage blocked are some of these stats. Players are then given medals; gold, silver, and bronze, at the end of the match based off of where they ranked in the stat categories for their team. This sort of system incentivizes teamwork, as opposed to focusing on kills, which creates an interesting team-based dynamic that many FPSs lack.  This may also have to do with the fact that there is no Team Deathmatch mode.

There are four game modes in Overwatch and they consist of three main objectives: Control, Assault, and Escort. In Control, teams fight over a spot on the map and try to capture it. If it is in their control a meter will start to count up and the first team to reach 100% wins. This mode consists of a best of three rounds, and the location of the objective changes with each round. Assault involves an attacking team and a defending team. Attackers must control the point before they can move on to second one, much like Battlefield’s Rush mode. The defending team has to hold them off the point until the time limit runs out. Escort has an attacking team and a defending team also. The attackers must control the cargo by standing near it, and follow it through the map until it reaches its final destination. The defenders have to stop them from moving the cargo and win if the time limit runs, just like Control. Along the way there are checkpoints that grant the attackers more time. Some maps take these two modes and combine them, so the attacking team has to control a point and then escort the payload.

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There are twelve maps total in Overwatch and this is one of the biggest flaws in the game. The game mode depends on what map is being played and that means there are three maps per mode. There isn’t a lot of diversity, and after a while you can get sick of playing the same maps over and over again. With that said, the maps themselves look amazing and play really well. Full of different heights, choke points, and flanking routes, the maps offer a lot of ways to approach the objectives or defend them. In the hybrid and Escort maps the objective progresses through the map on a set path. Along these paths are more opportunities for awesome fire fights adding more depth to the map, unless the defending team absolutely dominates from the beginning. Overall, this flaw can be overlooked because of how different each round can be based off of what heroes are chosen.

Unlike many other FPS games, Overwatch does not allow you to customize the hero’s weapons or abilities. What they have is what you must use. Some might not like this, but it adds to the personality and design of each character. As opposed to customizing their weapons, a player can earn loot crates after each level up which give other rewards for customization. These entitle such things as skins, spray tags, voice lines (so you can make the hero say something different), victory screen poses, and play of the game animations. All of these can also be bought with gold received from crates or using your own money. What this does is eliminate the idea of “paying to win.” since all the customization is is purely aesthetic. It’s similar to buying skins in League of Legends.

Another convenient part of Overwatch is that all of the heroes are unlocked from the start of the game. There is no need to grind to earn money and buy them. This gives the players the chance to use whoever they want whenever they want. An added benefit is that within a match, the player can switch heroes whenever they go back to the spawn point. This allows you play as multiple characters in a single match to help get used to each one and learn how they function. Blizzard also added a feature that enables you to see what each hero ability is while in a game, so you won’t have to leave the lobby to figure out what you should be doing.

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The largest flaw in Overwatch is a lack of single player mode. Blizzard created an excellent story and gave all these heroes awesome personalities, but didn’t go into a lot of detail on their origins. I think a story mode would have been a good way of presenting more about each character, while also giving the player a chance to get used to the mechanics without being online. With that said, the online experience is a great one, and the game does offer a user vs. bots mode.

Overwatch is not a new idea for the FPS genre, but Blizzard has done an excellent job in making a game that looks great and also plays great. Each of the heroes is spectacular in their own way and it is this aspect that makes the game so enjoyable. Its not like you are just running around as random soldier #5, Overwatch gets you attached to a hero, as opposed to a gun like most other FPS games do. Overall, Overwatch is a great addition to the genre and I look forward to see what kind of additions will be made to it in the future.

Similar Games Liked:
Star Wars Battlefront 2 (PS2)
Star Wars Battlefront (PS4)

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