Review: Overwatch

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DevinRogersIf you’ve read my Overwatch: Overpriced and Overhyped article, you may be wondering why I am reviewing the game.  “Weren’t you waiting for a price drop?”  Yes, I was waiting for the game to dip to around $30.  Fortunately, I was able to capitalize on a Prime Now discount to get the price down with my range.  Friends and family insisted I jump in to join them, and with No Man’s Sky being delayed until August, I decided to take the plunge.

The kicker is that due to a delivery snafu (in which I still received the game), my entire order was refunded.  Does a free copy of Overwatch sway my opinion of the game?  No, not so much.

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Overwatch is an online, multiplayer shooter with a class system and a focus on objective-based battles.  There are currently 21 characters that can be selected, each with their own unique set of abilities.  Matches are 6v6 and typically last anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes.

Though it is a very fun game, there are two main problems I have with Overwatch. While the large roster is awesome and everyone is balanced with a role to play, there just aren’t enough game modes. This isn’t a problem for some, but having only two variations of King of the Hill and an escort mode does not cut it for me. I think it is hypocritical to criticize games like Star Wars Battlefront and Street Fighter V for releasing with light content but give Overwatch a pass. I don’t care that it is Blizzard, and I don’t care that we will receive free updates in the future (competitive modes have been delayed to July, for what it’s worth). The game most players paid full price for at launch is light on content for a multiplayer-only title, and that fact shouldn’t be ignored nor defended with excuses.

The other big problem I have with the game is that it doesn’t do enough to reward players for playing their role or punish them for ignoring it. It is so frustrating, for example, to hunker down in front of the opposing team as Reinhardt with your shield up, and your entire team of squishies runs right through your shield into the enemy line of fire.  While I like the recognition system post-match for doing well, it doesn’t do anything to curb players who think this is a team deathmatch game.

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As is expected from Blizzard titles, the game is extremely polished. Though the visuals don’t strive to be realistic, the style is much more appealing to me than that of Team Fortress 2.  The red highlight around enemy players is a perfect touch, and there are plenty of visual cues that let you know what is going on around the map.

While the audio is generally just as good as the visuals, it doesn’t stand out as much, though the characters do have great personalities. When lots of things are happening, the sounds cluster together and it can be challenging figuring out what is going on in the chaos.  That said, Blizzard did a good job of making ultimate abilities a little louder than everything else to cue you in on stuff about to go down. My only complaint is that there is no audio (that I’ve noticed) that lets you know your health is low. Having to visually check my health could mean life or death when fighting an enemy, so some sort of audio cue would have been nice.

And that’s really all I have to say about Overwatch. I could talk about the individual characters but there isn’t anything to discuss that would add to this review. If you like multiplayer shooters, I still recommend waiting for a price drop and a few more pieces of content to be added to the game before jumping in.  However, if you can somehow pull off a free copy like I did, go ahead and give it a go!  Just don’t expect much variety in the game modes until later.

UPDATE: Ignore the image below.  This is an 8.6 (Gameplay upgraded to a 4).  Taking points off for other players playing poorly isn’t the game’s fault.

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