Home Gaming Overwatch excels at making me feel special

Overwatch excels at making me feel special

5 min read
39

Overwatch (1)

I didn’t know what to think when Blizzard first announced Overwatch. A developer and publisher, who had made a name for themselves with titles that required more resource management than shooting, dipping into a more visceral genre felt like a massive gamble. It didn’t exactly ease my mind when I saw that just about everyone was jumping on the hero shooter bandwagon as well, just like the industry did with multiple failed MOBAs in the early part of this decade.

And I’m not even that big of a multiplayer fan. I generally like my games to be of the single-player variety, while I cocoon myself up in my room and start screaming the second anyone suggests that I maybe go outside and talk to actual people. Testicles to that idea. But here we are. Blizzard’s Overwatch isn’t just on the way, it’s pretty much finished its development cycle as the current open beta shows off the fruits of its success.

And it has me excited to actually jump into a multiplayer game again, as if I’m at a Quake 3 Arena LAN in 2000. Here’s what’s kicking ass for me so far:

I love ALL of the characters

Overwatch (3)

You play a hero shooter these days, and you’re going to find that one character that you like to stick with. Hell, maybe so will a dozen other people, resulting in matches where EVERYONE is tearing up the field as Shooty McFace-Stab. And that’s kind of true with Overwatch. While I’ll usually start a match off in the boots of Genji, a ninja who I’m pretty sure is yelling Japanese curse words at me when I blunder into a trap and get him killed, I’m also kind of happy to play as any other character.

Blizzard’s idea of a team-based multiplayer shooter with several distinct classes, is impossibly well-balanced. I can hit any match, and find myself changing faces like a fantastic Nicolas Cage sequel to that John Woo film several times over. Getting my ninja ass handed to me by Tracer? Balls to that, I’m going to switch to Bastion, transform into a turret and set up an ambush.

Overwatch (5)

Teammates struggling to capture a point? Right, I’m flicking on over to Reinhardt and covering their asses for them. Enemies grouped up and just waiting to be scattered? Time for some Winston action. MONKEY SMASH! There’s a massive amount of characters to play around with here, each one with their own strengths and weaknesses. And when you play Overwatch as a proper team game, those differences become very visible. It’s an absolute miracle then, how Blizzard has managed to create a cast that keeps the action fluid, and constantly on track. Which brings me to my next point:

Everything unlocked all at once

Overwatch (6)

When you’ve got a multiplayer game that forces you to put in the hours to get your hands on the characters that you paid for, you’ve done f***ed up. You’ve also created a perfectly unbalanced playing field, a barrier to entry that will drive players away. Not so with Overwatch. None of this play to earn characters nonsense. You’ve paid up front, so everything is yours.

And this also stems from the fact that we’re still living in a third-world nation. Where our online access still isn’t as godly as the connections that first-world friends enjoy. What that means, is that you’ve got to put that much more effort into a killshot than they have to, to make up for that constant lag in the action. And having a full arsenal available from the start, eases that pain somewhat.

I don’t want to live in a world where Pharrah’s rocket barrage requires me to grind through hours of gameplay to unlock. Or Genji’s sword dash can only be unlocked by killing X amount of people with melee attacks. I’m a big fan of a power fantasy, but I’m also a bigger fan of a level playing field. When it’s skill that determines victory, I’m happy.

Colour. So much colour

Overwatch (7)

But honestly? I’m also a lover of art. And art isn’t just something that can be found in a museum. It’s more than a brush stroke or an overrated Andy Warhol collection of printed soup cans. Art is more than Roy Lichstentein being a thieving f*** and making a name for himself by copying comic book panels. Video game art is so underrated these days, as the backbone of game development never gets the recognition it duly deserves.

Overwatch (2)

But Blizzard games are different. The concept art used to create their titles speaks volumes. Overwatch is this idea at its finest, a Saturday morning cartoon of good vs evil that I can’t get enough of on a visual level. In an industry dominated by depressing shades of grey and more brown than a rock concert with free acid trips, Overwatch manages to distinguish itself with a colour palette that pops.

And all thanks to an art department that deserves a helluva lot of love for dreaming up those concepts.

I feel special

Overwatch (4)

You ever get that one kill in a game, that you wish you could show off? It’s a lot easier to do just that these days, thanks to built-in capture capabilities on consoles and recording software. But Overwatch goes a step further with a highlight system that perfectly records your best eliminations. It’s a small touch, but one that speaks volumes. And having proof that I actually kicked ass, is priceless.

Hell, it took a good few hours before everything clicked for me. Before I could actually survive a round and work as a proper member of a larger team. When you’re playing Overwatch properly, that’s magical. Blizzard has managed to create something here that is insanely polished and has the potential to be the next big franchise that defines them for a new age, much like WarCraft, Diablo and StarCraft did.

It’s a brave new world, and I’m chomping at the bit to dive back into it.

Last Updated: May 6, 2016

39 Comments

  1. But I thought Geoff tells you you’re special all the time D?

    Reply

  2. Gerhard Davids

    May 6, 2016 at 14:10

    You forgot to mention how very little 190-200ms ping affects you in this game.

    It does a great job of hiding your lag by giving shooter preference. Not making us feel like we need to wait for local servers for glob knows how long here in Africa.

    Reply

    • miaau

      May 6, 2016 at 14:12

      How do you get ping like that?

      I have a premium unshaped line and my ping to xbox live is just over 300, my speed to Xbox Live is as high as 8.9mbs, on my 10mbs line.

      Reply

      • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

        May 6, 2016 at 14:12

      • Gerhard Davids

        May 6, 2016 at 14:13

        I have FtTH, but even my adsl had the same.
        Depends on how your ISP routes traffic.

        Sounds like your is taking a silly long way round.

        Reply

        • miaau

          May 6, 2016 at 14:14

          Yeah, but the one I am on now is WAAAAAAAY faster than the one we previously had.

          I cannot get fibre yet, is close, but not at my house.

          Reply

      • Kromas untamed

        May 6, 2016 at 14:13

        Wifi connection through to Europe 190-220ms all the time.

        Reply

        • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

          May 6, 2016 at 14:14

          Same

          Reply

        • miaau

          May 6, 2016 at 14:15

          Europe? how to check?

          Reply

          • Gerhard Davids

            May 6, 2016 at 14:15

            Speedtest.net

            Pick somehwere in england or germany

          • miaau

            May 6, 2016 at 14:17

            how do you choose the server in europe?

            I am a pain

          • Gerhard Davids

            May 6, 2016 at 14:17

            It shows a map. You can drag it around in pick a server that shows luxemburg or something when you however of the point

          • miaau

            May 6, 2016 at 14:18

            ah, thanks. learnt something

          • Gerhard Davids

            May 6, 2016 at 14:19

          • miaau

            May 6, 2016 at 14:21

            OK. That must cool, I want that……..

          • Admiral Chief in New York

            May 6, 2016 at 14:29

            “That must cool”

            You need a weekend, that must cool be yar aye?

          • miaau

            May 6, 2016 at 14:33

            I have a weekend. Going away. Hah.

            MY weekend.

            And I did type must be cool

          • Admiral Chief in New York

            May 6, 2016 at 14:28

            Strange, I used to get 170ms to our UK branch a year or 2 ago, now I get 188-192

          • VampyreSquirrel

            May 6, 2016 at 14:24

            Most servers are in France though. Blizz loves Paris for their servers.

          • Kromas untamed

            May 6, 2016 at 14:24

            Yep.

          • Gerhard Davids

            May 6, 2016 at 14:25

            True, i do find speedtest to be more accurate with these however.
            Speedtest not being my de-facto standard for good tests

          • Kromas untamed

            May 6, 2016 at 14:30

            Best way to really check throughput and latency is to use a advanced router like a Mikrotik and set up btest scripts to check latency/throughput between to devices.

            I did this by creating a level3 router on a VM that I rented across the ocean.Then again it is pure overkill to do that … unless you used that device for other reasons as well.

          • Gerhard Davids

            May 6, 2016 at 14:33

            My mikrotik agrees 😉
            Was surprised how versatile they were as this is my first one.

          • Kromas untamed

            May 6, 2016 at 14:58

            Been using them for many years at both home and work. They are amazing devices as the R800 units can almost do everything the R20 000 units can.

          • Kromas untamed

            May 6, 2016 at 14:17

            Speedtest or alternatively ping blizzard auth servers. (or their wow servers although after the latest Ddos I think they may have turned off icmp)

      • VampyreSquirrel

        May 6, 2016 at 14:23

        My LTE has pings of about 200ms to EU.

        Reply

    • Kromas untamed

      May 6, 2016 at 14:12

      Blizzard is defined by their exceptional netcode (and lack of launch day servers 😛 ). Hell remember when the latest CoD had massive netcode issues? Guess who helped them out.

      Reply

  3. miaau

    May 6, 2016 at 14:12

    Hey Darryn, what platform you playing this game on? If said in the article, sorry I missed it. And am lazy

    Reply

    • miaau

      May 6, 2016 at 14:22

      Darryn there are only 3 of the 18 comments on topic. A new record?

      Edit* maybe just 2. Alien Trevor’s comment not really on topic

      Reply

    • Admiral Chief in New York

      May 6, 2016 at 14:29

      I think he is on the fawr

      Reply

    • The D

      May 6, 2016 at 14:45

      PS4.

      Reply

      • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

        May 6, 2016 at 16:33

        PS4TW 😛

        Reply

  4. Mossel

    May 6, 2016 at 14:38

    Downloading the beta as we speak. It beta be done when I get home!

    Reply

  5. Johann

    May 6, 2016 at 14:43

    I am pleasantly surprised by this game. I played it last night, thought I would just have a quick match or two and when I finally decided to get up it was 1:00am. Haven’t had this much fun in a shooter since the good old Quake 3 LAN days.

    Reply

  6. Sageville

    May 6, 2016 at 16:09

    I’m loving the beta so far….

    I did waste a lot of time trying to figure out why I can’t upgrade a turret to level 3 as shown in the Official Overwatch abilities video – turns out that was nerfed out in the beta…

    I do feel the game is missing a skill tree or something similar…. I doubt that will happen though.

    That price though….

    Reply

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