The Overwatch beta has been out for a few weeks and I’ve been lucky enough to participate in the fun. Blizzard is planning their stress test this weekend, which will include another round of beta invites on Friday.
For those of you who aren’t familiar, Overwatch is a multiplayer first-person shooter in development by Blizzard Entertainment. The game shares similarities with Team Fortress 2 but incorporates MOBA style cooldown abilities that can be skillfully executed.
Overwatch currently has two 6v6 objective based modes where teams either defend or attack. There are currently 21 unique heroes with varied abilities that fit into four role types; tank, support, defense and offense. The defense role currently has two smaller archetypes, sniper and builder.
Blizzard’s UI offers suggestions for a defense and an offense team but at this point in the beta many teams consist of what each individual wants to play. There is a built-in VOIP that isn’t often used strategically but seems well put together. There is also a text-based chat box. You can immediately tell when you are playing a match against a team communicating and working together, while your team consists of four or five of the same ‘offense’ hero.
Thankfully, if the game is a slaughter, it is quickly won or lost. More commonly, both teams have synergy and are working the objective. These matches are magical and are incredibly addicting.
There are certainly heroes who are too powerful and will most likely be tweaked but overall the game feels balanced. Some heroes are played more often than others but within a few rounds I’ve seen every hero played. I’ve rarely tried a hero and thought it felt weak or boring. I, infact, had the opposite reaction most of the time I learned the abilities of a hero (usually warranting expletives – in a good way).
At the end of the match, a player is acknowledged for “Play Of The Game” video recap. Four players are recognized for exceptional skill and you can view your personal scores. A scoreboard showing your team’s scores is not currently available and I’m unsure it will be in the final version.
The maps are beautiful and colorful. They are thoughtfully put together, connected with the heroes’ stories and have an almost “Pixar” art style. The Hollywood map is part of Hollywood Boulevard and a film studio, containing a sci-fi film set with aliens, and an old western film set. Map Hanamura, located in a Japanese suburb and temple, is sprinkled with vibrant, falling cherry blossoms. Map Dorado is located in the Mexican city, Dorado, and is a night map, lit up by the warm glow of street lights.
The Overwatch team has made sure there is something interactive to do, while you wait for teams to build or matches to start. When teams are forming you are able to explore a map and exchange fire with the other team, in a deathmatch style mode. No scores are kept during this time and when the teams are full it will pull you out of the map into the character selection screen. This was surprisingly refreshing and allows you try out characters you haven’t played before.
Overwatch is great. It is fast-paced, fun and challenging. The only thing I am concerned about when it comes to the beta, is that it will end soon.
Overwatch is set to release in 2016 on PC, Xbox One and PS4. Find out more information at PlayOverwatch.com.
About the Writer:
Annie is an avid gamer who takes her love for gaming to the written format with her thoughts, opinions, and discussions regarding games in their current state, but as well as the industry. With her insight to PC gaming, Annie is one step ahead of the team, and looks to keep it that way.