I’ve been playing Overwatch on and off for months now, sometimes alone, and sometimes, with a limited pool of friends who were also lucky enough to have access. Honestly, I’ve had a lot of fun, but I couldn’t wait to have the gates thrown open to the public via the open beta, firstly, so I could finally hear what everybody else thought of the game, and secondly, so I could have more people to play with.
That, and I’ve been madly curious as to how Overwatch would be on consoles. It’s been available on PC for the longest of times now, but access on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One has been strangely absent during the whole beta period. That all changed this past weekend, where the shooter was made available on both consoles for everybody for the very first time.
How would Overwatch play with a controller? Would it run smoothly, and retain those glorious, colourful cartoon visuals I’ve been enjoying on PC? I downloaded the beta on my PlayStation 4 to find out.
First off, let’s talk graphics. I don’t consider Overwatch the most demanding of games in terms of processing power (it runs like a dream on my five year old PC afterall… on medium). I did wonder whether that same quality would find its way to consoles. I’m happy to report that it has.
Listen, I’m no connoisseur, so I’m not entirely sure if my PlayStation version lacked anything like prettier explosions or a shadow or two, but I can say that the game retained all those popping colours that make my eyeballs happy, and that it ran buttery smooth at all times. To make sure this performance was consistent, I did what any good gaming journalist would do; I picked Junkrat and later, Pharah, and for a good long time, I stood in a corner firing off all manner of projectiles that go BOOM. Not once did I experience a slow down, though I did have teammates questioning my sanity.
Graphically, Overwatch really does look the part, and it runs damn optimally. Blizzard have most certainly not done some half-assed port – that I can assure you.
This leaves me with my final curiosity – the control scheme. Shooters have been doing fine on consoles for years now, but Overwatch isn’t just some traditional run and gun title. Each character has a unique set of abilities with short cooldowns. How would all of those map out onto a controller so that they could be used frequently and accurately? I couldn’t get my head around it.
After playing some Overwatch on console now though, I think Blizzard have managed this hurdle quite well. Look, it’s not perfect (a keyboard and mouse for FPS will always be my preference), but I think they’ve done a fine job. I’d even go as far to say that some characters feel better on console (oh God please don’t shoot me).
Who my favourites were, surprised me to be honest. Tracer for example, who I thought would handle terribly with a controller, proved to be one of my top picks during my time with the beta. There was just something about having her blink ability tied to a shoulder button that I found incredibly intuitive. Dodging incoming fire and projectiles really did feel so natural, and I genuinely think I was better at it on console.
Like I said though, the controls aren’t perfect. As excellent as Tracer came across on controller, there were some niggles I picked up with her, and other heroes too.
If you’ve played the speedster, you’d know that she’s all about short skirmishes, and being in and out of battle in a flash. These little bouts yield the best results when she zips in, drops her pulse bomb, and gets the hell out. Her ultimate however, is bound to triangle, which proved to be rather irritating. Having to push that particular button meant I had to move my thumb from the analogue, which eliminated my ability to quickly adjust my throw and land it with utmost accuracy. I had to fly in, line up the shot, and just pray that my desired target decided not to move.
It’s not all doom and gloom at least. Buttons, thankfully, can be remapped accordingly for every single character. If I’d had more time with the beta, I’m sure I would’ve found something that suited me much better – a solution that alleviated this annoyance.
Other than that minor issue, I think Overwatch works on console just fine. It’s made me so happy to see that it has been received positively by most, regardless of platform.
Now if Blizzard could just address the fact that the console edition has a form of aim assist, I’d be really happy. Hanzo feels just a little too strong, and even Darryn is wreaking all sorts of havoc, which really says something!
I joke D, I joke. You can shoot real good!
Last Updated: May 9, 2016