Overwatch is the latest competitive multiplayer offering by Blizzard Entertainment. The object of the game is to join up in your 6 man squad and face off in a first-person shoot out. At first glance it easy to say "what, again?" but Overwatch both takes it down, and up a notch, in this otherwise saturated game environment.
Firstly, it does not take itself too seriously by trying to incorporate realistic imagery or death and gore into its game play. The graphics are excellent, most definitely, but Overwatch has dispensed with the complexity of other rival first person shooters. Instead they have created an array of characters with varying skills and abilities to choose from, and it is up to you and your team on how to apply those characters to win. There is no choice in weapons, or character customisation etc. What you see is pretty much what you get. I found this approach surprisingly refreshing as the choice of characters is primarily where it starts and ends.
In total there are 21 characters to choose from, and they are broken down into four categories; offense, defense, tank and support.
Each one of these are great, well nearly all, I will leave it up to you to make your own choice on who is a little pointless. Each of the characters then obviously have skills that apply to their category, offense can shoot really well and are a little more agile, and tank are heavy attackers or blockers with giant hammers or shields, for example.
There are cosmetic changes that can be made to characters and weapons with skin upgrades, hero outfits, emotes and voice lines. These are fine if you are keen to tweak your characters, but there are no changes to abilities or skills. That is what I mean about this game taking it up and down a notch. This could be perceived as a weakness, but I see it as a strength. Its simplicity is easy to play and have fun. You are never going to play against an overpowered juggernaut that has paid all the micro-transactions, or has played relentlessly for weeks. All you will see are players that look a little different, on an even playing field.
There are four modes of game play to choose from, with three specific maps for each mode. Mode specific maps are a great feature of this game as it really balances the style and pace really well. The four modes are; assault, escort, control and assault/escort.
The game modes should sound familiar because they have been done before. At first you may be inclined to choose the same character you are familiar with, but that quickly changes as you realise the merit of changing characters, depending on whether you are attacking, or defending. The choice of 21 characters can make it hard to decide, but that huge choice is what mixes it up to suit the mode, and your style of play.
I liked Reinhardt with his giant rocket propelled hammer (here comes the hammer) and barrier shield. My other favourite just because it felt good to shoot n repeat (funny that) was the defense robot Bastion. I had a lot of fun with Bastion, as he could transform into a stationary mini gun. Admittedly he is easy to play without much difficulty, but who cares.
This is a polished game, it is well thought out, balanced and easy to play. Skill and team work are definitely required if you want the full lamb chop, but with this game, even if you suck, it is still fun to play. I do like that if you play this game every other night you will not be left behind with your Cocker in your Spaniel, or be expected to pay more cash to remain included. I will still play the other style of first-person multiplayer shooters too, of course I will. Overwatch, however, is refreshing in its old school straight out of the box feel, and I will be adding it to my weekly schedule of awesomeness.