Overwatch. © Blizzard Entertainment

Blizzard Entertainment is on a releasing spree and one of its latest games is the multiplayer first-person shooter Overwatch. Announced at BlizzCon 2014, it will be the first game of the genre developed by the prestigious company and emphasizes the importance of cooperative games. Once again, heroes are in the spotlight and the game will be available on Microsoft Windows as well as consoles including PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Key facts about Overwatch

  • Overwatch is the first game belonging to the first-person shooter genre developed by Blizzard Entertainment.
  • The characters in Overwatch don’t belong to the constellation of games developed by the company, but include new heroes.
  • The game is played at a fast pace and each hero serves a specific role, with team coordination being essential for securing victory.
  • Unlike other games developed by Blizzard Entertainment, Overwatch will not reward players with better weapons and powerful upgrades.
  • The progression style in Overwatch promises to be completely unique and players are going to enjoy unprecedented levels of freedom.
Screenshot of Overwatch. © Blizzard Entertainment
Screenshot of Overwatch. © Blizzard Entertainment

The Overwatch games

Blizzard gave the fans a chance to explore all the Overwatch games in closed beta and the official game will bear many similarities. The videogame will appeal to those who enjoy animated series, as the characters are designed in such a way as to satisfy the fans. It is to some extent similar to Team Fortress, with powerful heroes that don’t take themselves too seriously and a tongue-in-cheek kind of humor.

The Overwatch games differ and there are various maps, all perfectly balanced and requiring players to work with each other rather than act as cowboys. Only three heroes were released initially, but dozens will feature in the roster, allowing for multiple combinations. Each of them comes with its own set of abilities and there is no universal way of defeating opposing teams, so squads setup is very important.

Many characters can inflict damage and move around on their own or pilot various vehicles, for enhanced armor and firepower. The transition from one mode to the other will come at the cost of mobility, with mechs trading movement speed for resilience and sheer power. Overwatch games encourage players to stay flexible and refrain from using the same strategies, because there is no quick fix to a problem. The idea is to make sure that no two games look the same, to ensure replayability for the new release.

All the heroes released so far look like they belong at an Anime convention, but in spite of their friendly lose, they are deadly in the virtual arena. Synchronization between teammates is important particularly when combining different characters, serving as tanks, healers and damage dealers. Blizzard will still use the popular classes, but instead of promoting the traditional traits, such as strength, agility, intellect and so on, Overwatch will use new concepts.

What is Overwatch

Overwatch is the first team-based first-person shooter developed by Blizzard Entertainment and set in a not so distant future. It revolves around a strong multiplayer game, in which various heroes go against each other and each of them has a specific role. It is the first-person shooter equivalent of Heroes of the Storm, but brings together characters that are not necessarily related to any of the games previously developed. These heroes have extraordinary abilities and use high-tech weapons to outshine their foes.

Screenshot of Overwatch. © Blizzard Entertainment
Screenshot of Overwatch. © Blizzard Entertainment

Gameplay of Overwatch

Overwatch’s gameplay is much to the liking of those who appreciate squad-based combat, as players join a team of six members. There are two opposing teams and each of them tries to complete objectives while annihilating opponents through any means necessary. In each team, players assume four of the main character roles, with each of the heroes excelling at defense, offense, support or tanking.

There are plenty of hybrids and some of the tanking characters have the ability to heal teammates, while others inflict more damage. Playing support is usually the most boring thing to do in squad-based games of old times, but Overwatch promises to change all that. Some of the heroes have the ability to inflict damage in a quick sequence, while others are excellent tanks when their energy level is at max.

Always stay on the move

The Overwatch gameplay allows players to shift from one character to the other during the game immediately after their death. This change was introduced in order to make the games more dynamic and prevent boredom from setting in. Action takes place on various maps, some inspired by real-life locations, while others being completely fictional. Players will take a virtual voyage to London, Tokyo and Egypt as well as other locations that are yet to be unveiled.

There will be three main modes in Overwatch and each of them comes with its own maps and specific objectives. Point Capture is exactly what it sounds, with players rushing to control key areas on the map, while the defending team tries to prevent them. Control is a similar game mode, but in this case it is not enough to capture the nodes but players should also try to hold them for a limited period of time.

The most challenging game mode in Overwatch is Payload, in which one team tries to protect the convoy while the other is attacking the escort. In this game mode, time is of the essence and the defending team wins if the payload reaches the destination. Pressure is equally intense on the defenders and attackers, with the balance shifting depending on the stage of the mission.

Plot of Overwatch

Overwatch is essentially a multiplayer game, but this doesn’t mean that Blizzard chose to strip it completely off a single player mode. Action takes place in the future where artificial intelligence runs amok attempting to take over Earth. It was stopped at the last moment by the Overwatch, an international task force assembled by the United Nations. These gifted heroes stepped up and put an end to the conflict, while being reduced to the role of a peacekeeping group over the next couple of years.

Screenshot of Overwatch. © Blizzard Entertainment
Screenshot of Overwatch. © Blizzard Entertainment

This is the premise from which Overwatch starts and the task force is activated again after criminal activity intensifies. Someone is clearly trying to induce the idea that this group that has protected humanity for such a long time is suddenly turning against it. Violent incidents erupt all over the world and when Overwatch leader Jack Morrison and Gabriel Reyes his second-in-command are killed, the group is dismantled and conspiracy theories grow.

The mission set is relatively short and serves the purpose of getting players familiar with the heroes as well as the general gameplay. As they complete these short missions, they get to learn more about offensive characters, the defensive ones and heroes that act as tanks as support. The complexity of the gameplay becomes self evident as players progress with the single player campaign, while the narrative grows on them. We have no intention to spoil the ending by revealing too much, so find out for yourself.

Development of Overwatch

Blizzard Entertainment is known for releasing games only when they are completely ready and this has been the case with World of Warcraft, StarCraft Wings of Liberty and its sequels as well as Heroes of the Storm. Nobody was surprised that the release date was set for the second half of 2016.

The developers later announced that the game is not going to have the deathmatch mode that everyone was expecting, instead will feature new and more creative games. Overwatch will promote teamwork and encourage players to be kind to each other, rather than get mean, cruel and cynical. Even the cast in the game was developed with the express intention of portraying various genres, ethnicities and nonhuman characters. This videogame is all about diversity in terms of characters, maps and game modes.

Where can I download Overwatch?

Blizzard Entertainment has delayed the official release of the game, to make it compatible with Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. However, the company is famous for allowing players to preorder the game many months in advance and will even offer freebies to those who place an order. You can simply use the game client that acts as a gateway to all their games to buy this videogame right now, or wait until the official release.

What are others saying about Overwatch?

Since Overwatch will be the first game of the genre produced by the famous game developer, the interest is tremendous and everyone is speculating about how the game will turn out. The beta generated tremendous interest and both reviewers and regular players turned out to play the game. They were all impressed with the quality of the game and the average review score exceeded 90 out of 100.

Overwatch tournaments

Overwatch has the potential of becoming a formidable game in the eSports, just like Starcraft Legacy of the Void or Heroes of the Storm. Blizzard didn’t express its intention to promote this new release in this game, but it is only fair to assume that it will attract the most gifted players in the world.

My rating of Overwatch

I’ve enjoyed playing Overwatch even though I had access to just three characters right now and I think that this first-person shooter shows great promise. It’s lighthearted, fun to play and the characters are every bit as deadly as they are amusing, which packs quite a punch. It is refreshing to see that Blizzard hasn’t lost its humor, but there’s no joke in rating this game 8.5 out of 10.

Overall Score