Naturally on all these types there is a defending team trying to thwart the attackers. Control maps are unique in that both teams are attacking a point, and then trying to hold onto it. While this may seem like a small number, there is plenty of variety in the game play thanks to the diverse selection of characters on offer. If you are concerned that there isn't enough in the game to last, I'd suggest you take reassurance from Blizzard's track record of supporting their games post release. They have already gone on record to say that future maps and heroes will be added for free, as I mentioned earlier the first additional hero has been released already.
I mostly tend to stick with the quick play mode, but there are also Competitive and Weekly Brawl modes to dive into. As the name implies, competitive play includes the concept of player ranking and tends to be taken a bit more seriously. It was added to the game shortly after launch, and lets players see how they stack up against everyone else, assigning you a number of 1 – 100 depending where you’re currently at. (I’m not a number I’m a free man!) Weekly Brawl will be familiar to anyone who has played an amount of Hearthstone. This is a playlist that imposes restrictions on which characters can be used or other rule changes, and is useful for forcing you to step outside your comfort zone and play someone you might not be used to.
At this point it is unlikely that you've managed to avoid seeing plenty of Overwatch everywhere, but if you are still on the fence and enjoy putting your gaming prowess to the test online, it's definitely worth checking out. I'm playing on PC where Blizzard games always feel to be at their best for me, but the PS4 and Xbox One editions have also been well received.
So, how 'bout dem microtransactions? While I'm always disappointed to find microtransactions in any full price retail game, I can generally live with them so long as they aren't providing any paid for advantages. Fortunately, that is the case here, with only cosmetic changes up for sale. Each of the characters has a variety of skins, voice lines, emotes, and sprays (a sort of graffiti image you can spray on walls in game) to obtain. These are unlocked via loot boxes, which contain 4 random items of varying quality. You get one of these boxes for free every time you level up. Blizzard are happy to sell you the loot boxes directly. I may be guilty of buying a few of these myself, ahem.
Overwatch has drawn some criticism for being a bit light on content. There are currently 12 maps in total, 3 each of 4 different types. Assault maps involve an attacking team trying to capture a couple of objective points. Escort maps have a vehicle for the attacking team to try to move from A to B. Hybrid maps are a mix of the previous two, where the attackers have to capture an objective to trigger an escort section.
When you first start the game you're encouraged to play the tutorial, which puts you in the shoes of the hero 'Soldier 76', whose skillset will instantly feel familiar to anyone who has played other FPS games. A few minutes spent to complete the tutorial will cover the basics of the game, and have you just about ready to jump online. If you can be a little bit patient though, hold off from hitting that 'Quick Play' button just yet and head to the firing range. Here you've got a nice open area with a range of friendly and hostile robots that will just ignore you. You're free to test out and get a feel for all the various heroes, and it's well worth getting used to a hero or two from each class so you've got some idea of who to pick when you first start playing.
The diversity of the heroes goes much beyond their playstyles, and Blizzard should be commended for including such a selection. Indeed, when the one traditional white, military shooter guy is called the amusingly generic ‘Soldier 76’ you do get the sense Blizzard are somewhat mocking the genre standards. His name may as well have been ‘CoD Guy 69’. Things do get slightly problematic when it comes to the various skins that can be unlocked, with Overwatch receiving accusations of cultural appropriation for some of their choices. This shouldn’t take away from the progress made so far, and hopefully this will be something the industry as a whole just gets better at.
The game is as polished as you would expect from Blizzard, the interface is slick and the social features are robust. It's easy to invite your Battle.net friends to a party, or request to join theirs if they're already grouped. There is always a ‘go-to’ game for my online friends, that one game we all default to when we happen to be on together. It is interesting how often this has been Blizzard titles, Diablo 3 and Heroes of the Storm being recent group timesinks. Overwatch has comfortably taken this spot for us now, and it is important to note that the game is improved immensely if you have buddies on skype to queue up with.
Overwatch Follows the Team Fortress approach to multiplayer. Two teams face off to complete objectives using a variety of player classes to perform different roles within the teams. Where this differs from Team Fortress though, and seems most influenced by MOBAs, is the broad range of heroes within these classes. Overwatch features 21 heroes spread across 4 classes (22 now with the last patch adding the healer/sniper hybrid Ana as an additional support).
The classes themselves are fairly standard, Offense, Defense, Tank, Support, but the variety amongst the characters means there are some very different play styles on offer. Each hero has a selection of basic skills, some of which may be passive, such as the ability to run up walls, or have a limit on how frequently they can be used. In addition to this, there is a unique 'Ultimate' skill for each hero, which have the capability to change the course of a fight, or to fizzle away to nothingness if you use them at the wrong time. Ahem.
Published by Chris Smith
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BY THE GEEKS FOR THE GEEKS.
So we’re probably a bit late to this party, but hey I’m new here and I figured I’d better start with a game I’m currently playing.
Having applied their unique 'Blizzard' style to the MOBA space, releasing Heroes of the Storm to steal a slice of the pie previously being enjoyed by DOTA2 and League of Legends, and going on to convince us all to play World of Magic the Gathering Warcraft, sorry, Hearthstone, Blizzard are at it again. This time taking aim at the multiplayer FPS.