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Overwatch Open Beta preview

On May 12, 2016 by Aaron Meehan

Blizzard Entertainment’s new class-based online shooter, Overwatch, is an incredibly fun experience. While I played the PC and PlayStation 4 betas I found it incredibly difficult to find any major issues, with that said let’s talk about why I found the Overwatch beta to be so fun.For me, the game’s large variety of characters and roles makes the game fun as you can easily find a character that suits your style of play. If you are a Quake fan, you have Pharah who is an offensive character that uses rockets. If you enjoy supporting your team, you have the likes of Mercy who heals her allies. If you like being able to absorb a large amount of damage and capture points, you have the likes of Reinhardt who is a tank that can use an energy barrier to block damage. Overwatch offers a total of twenty-one characters spread across four roles – offensive, defensive, tank, and support. With such a large array of characters, you can surely find one or two that suits your play style, for example, I found Bastion (a robot who can become a stationary turret) and the above-mentioned Pharah to be my go to characters.

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Ok, we talked about the character variety, what about modes? Well, Overwatch has four game modes: Escort, assault, assault/escort, and control. Each mode is based on an objective, with teams of six players required to either defend or attack an objective. The modes are straightforward with escort, assault, and assault/escort having one team attempting to either escort a payload to a certain point or capturing a series of designated areas, and the other team has to stop them. Now, you probably noticed I left out control; the control mode is a two-round match that has both teams fighting over a single objective, and the team that holds the objective for the longest wins.

While I’m usually a straight up team deathmatch players the objective based modes were interesting. It was cool to see how teams would chop and change their characters and strategies to either attack or defend an objective, and yes, I think it is already clear to see what characters could potentially be the best for either the attacking or defending side. Personally, I believe if you are defending either Bastion or Torbj√∂rn is the way to go since one turns into a turret and the other can place a turret. Now, while I said I enjoyed the objective based modes I did notice some issues. Personally, one of the major issues is that the defending team can very easily camp the enemy spawn making it impossible for them reach their objective, I mean it might be fun for the defenders to get an easy win, but it’s not exactly fair for the attacking side. From what I played of the game, I feel the easiest way to remedy this would be to reduce the defenders pre-match set-up time.Overwatch-12-5 (2)

Now I haven’t mentioned the gameplay, so let’s discuss it. Each character has a weapon, two active abilities, an ultimate ability, and a passive ability, the available weapons and abilities vary from character to character. With that said gameplay is built around shooting, and the game offers some fun varied shooting that is built around hip firing, so no aiming down sights unless you are the sniper Widowmaker or Reinhardt who uses a hammer instead of a ranged weapon. I won’t say much about the active and passive abilities as they vary from character to character, but what I will say is they are all effective in their own right. As for the ultimate ability, it is an ability that charges over time and when fully charged allows you to perform your character’s ultimate attack, an attack that usually decimates the opposing, and is a move that will most likely see you receive play of the game. Now, the play of the game is a short end of game video that shows everyone who contributed the most to the game in a certain amount of time, the short videos that come up are usually those of a person killing 3+ characters in a very short amount of time.

Now as I said earlier, it was difficult to find any major issue with the game, but like the issue, I mentioned above there are some, and so I think I should go through them. For me a standout issue is the lack of single player campaign, Blizzard has done an amazing job of giving each of twenty-one characters a lot of personality, but I just feel that it is all wasted once you realise the game is multiplayer only. Another issue I had was the fact that it could be difficult to determine friend or foe, I bring this up because the only way to tell friend from foe other than shooting the person is some rather small red writing.

Now, I want to mention what kept bringing me back to Overwatch, the loot box. I know it sounds silly, but the loot boxes you get for levelling up were a huge incentive to keep playing because it meant it was something to work toward. So what does the loot boxes offer? Well, the boxes contain four random items, the array of possible items includes a new skin, a voice line, pose, spray or player icon.

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Now as I said I played both the PC and PlayStation 4 Overwatch Beta, and my take away from the two was that the PC Beta was far more competitive as I constantly came up against snipers would one-shot me just as I got around the corner etc. On the PlayStation 4 Beta, everything felt more casual and laid back, I don’t know if it was down to the fact that I’m better with a controller than with a mouse and keyboard, but the PS4 Overwatch Beta felt more natural to me. In all honest there is very little difference between the PC and PS4 versions of the beta, which I liked because for me this beta was about deciding two things, 1)Should I buy Overwatch and 2) What platform should I play it on.

So, in the end, what is my overall opinion? Personally, I enjoyed the Overwatch Beta. The game had some minor issue, but my overall experience was positive. The large selection characters made for some interesting and varied gameplay, and the objective based nature of the game modes rewarded teamwork.

For more information on Overwatch, visit https://playoverwatch.com/en-us/.

 

Author: Aaron Meehan

Hi, I’m the creator of SG Gaming Info. When I’m not working on my writing or creating content for this site’s YouTube channel, I like to relax and enjoy character driven story games.


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