If you’re not already playing Overwatch, you should be. It’s one of the best FPS releases I’ve seen in a very long time. Polished and a brilliant experience from day 1, Overwatch has been one of the most surprising releases in recent memory. Though, to be honest, we probably shouldn’t be that surprised. This is the team at Blizzard, of course.
Overwatch is being called an FPS MOBA, but that’s not entirely accurate. The way I describe it is Team Fortress 2, with abilities. There’s 21 different characters, divided into 4 different classes. Damage, Support, Tank and Defense. Each character gets 2 active abilities, 1 ultimate ability and 1-2 weapon attacks. All abilities come with a cooldown, and the ultimates are charged by everything you do during combat. Do well, and they recharge faster.
Change is good:
It may not seem like it, but with these 21 characters, there’s very much a rock/paper/scissors system in place. No hero is unbeatable. If you come up against a team or player that is just laying waste to your team, then you or someone on your team needs to switch to the counter for that person. And unless you’re just doing very well as a particular hero, you should be switching characters based on the situation and the current ebb/flow of the game. Don’t be afraid to change your character.
Use your ears:
Overwatch has some of the most innovative and brilliant sound design that I’ve heard in a long time. There’s an hour long presentation from a GDC (Game Developers Conference) done by 2 of the sound engineers that talk about how they designed the sound system for the game. I highly recommend you watch it if you enjoy the game.
But here’s the important bits. All of the character sounds you hear are trying to tell you something. The voice emotes that characters use during their abilities, the dialogue from your team mate’s characters, and even the foot steps you hear all tell you what’s happening around you.
When a character uses their ultimate ability. They’ll only say 1 of 2 lines. There’s a line you’ll hear if that person is your team mate, or a different one if it’s an enemy. So paying attention to what’s being said lets you know if you should run and take cover or not.
The volume of the sound effects will also tell you something. The game uses a dynamic volume level system that prioritizes the threats to your character. There’s basically 3-4 different dynamic volume level pools; full volume, medium, low and negligent/muted. The enemy that is closest and/or aiming at you will have the highest volume level. The next highest group is for enemies that are a little bit further away and may not actively be aiming at you, and the rest is for enemies that aren’t close, pose no threat, and or are your team mates.
Even the foot steps have been engineered. Every character has their own unique foot steps, and the volume of their steps changes based on their position to you. If you listen, you should be able to tell if the enemy is above/below/around a corner, and who that character is.
Don’t be a gimmick:
This is from a personal experience/observation, but gimmick teams almost never work. If you’re in the start of a game, and you see your team is all going one character only, LEAVE. They’re more interested in getting a giggle than a win. These gimmicks will work for no more than half a match. At some point, the other team will realize what’s going on, and switch to the character that counters your idea. At that point, you’ve just lost…unless your team drops the joke and starts playing to actually win.
Fight on the point!:
I can’t tell you how many games I’ve lost because team mates chose to stand off the point we’re supposed to be capturing, and snipe, or just want to run around and rack up all the kills. Neither of these situations are helpful, if your team doesn’t already control the capture point. Just to be clear, NONE of the game modes in Overwatch can be won by your Kill/Death ratio alone. Fighting on the point also keeps you alive. You’re healed if you’re standing on the objective. Also, don’t try and tell me that you picked that character to help make a final push. If your character requires you to either be immobile to be of any use (Bastion), or to stand back and shoot people from a distance (Widowmaker), you’re not helping. Stop and consider what your team actually has to do to win, and pick a character that can actually help with that. Use common sense.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. That doesn’t even take into account the abilities for the characters. Every character has an ultimate that can turn the tide of the battle. I’ve seen several games won because of a perfectly timed ultimate ability.
There is a lot of strategy to be found in Overwatch. You can already see all the thought that was put into developing this game into the next big e-sport. Every person I know that’s played it has been amazed at how much fun it is. I can’t recommend it enough. In summary, to end this non-review of Overwatch, I give it 7 out of 4.5 stars. It is that good.