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Overwatch (PS4) review

On June 10, 2016 by Aaron Meehan

It isn’t everyday Blizzard attempts to release a new IP, but Overwatch marks the company’s first new IP in nearly twenty years. Overwatch is a 6v6 online only first person shooter that contains twenty-one characters spread across four roles.

While Overwatch isn’t a massive game changer, its cast of characters and role specific gameplay makes the game a fun experience for all types of players. Each character feels unique with each character receiving 4 unique active abilities and 1 passive ability. The abilities help the player get the best out of their role, Overwatch’s four roles are offensive, defensive, tank and support. Support characters such as Mercy have abilities that are built around healing her allies, and offensive characters such as Reaper have abilities built around getting in and out of combat quickly and safely. With twenty-one characters on offer, I’m sure there is one in the roster for you.

The characters in Overwatch is one of the most eye-catching aspects of the game, as they all display their own distinct personality, to do this Blizzard Entertainment has released numerous animated shorts and free digital comics to flesh out each character. The game offers some small additional fleshing out with in-game small talk between characters.

Overwatch review-shot (4)

While we do have a great cast of characters, what does the game offer. The game offers five game modes, four game types and twelve maps. The five modes are Practice range, play vs. AI, quick play, custom game and weekly brawl, a sixth mode, competitive play, is currently in development. Regarding game types, there is escort, assault, assault/escort, and control. The first three are attack/defend modes, which means one team attempts to capture a payload and/or escort it while the other team attempts to stop you. Control is a round based mode where both teams fight to control a single objective, the first team to win two rounds wins the game. In regards to the twelve maps, each of the above mentioned game types have three maps dedicated to it. The maps in question are spread across several countries including King’s Row in the United Kingdom, and Ilios in Greece.

Personally, I feel the game could benefit from some non-objective based game types as it would feel like a fun fast paced experience, especially since the objective nature of the available game types usually don’t make for a fun pug experience.

Now, I only touched on the combat earlier when I brought up the characters, so let’s talk about it a bit more. As I said, each character has 4 active and 1 passive ability. The active abilities break down to your weapon, two abilities that enhance your role, and an ultimate ability. Since Overwatch is an FPS, you will be spending a lot of time shooting, even the support characters will be doing their fair of damage dealing, so with that said how does the gunplay work. The gunplay is all based on hip firing, so no aiming down sights like in most modern shooters, unless you happen to be the sniper Widowmaker or the hammer wielding Reinhardt. While I won’t go into detail on the two role enhancing abilities due to the fact that each character has their own set of abilities, I will say that they all effective in their own right. The ultimate ability is quiet simply your character’s ultimate move. Like the active abilities is varies from character to character. A well placed ultimate has the ability to change the course of a battle, for example, Mercy’s ultimate allows her to revive all fallen allies. Using an ultimate also helps you attain the “play of the game”, a post match video that highlights the best play by a single player. Play of the Game can include mass reviving allies or killing multiple enemies in quick succession.

Overwatch review-shot (13)

While it is great that Overwatch allows players to play any one of the twenty-one characters during a match, but with such a large varied array of characters, there does have to be some balance issues, right? Well, like every online shooter, Overwatch does have some balance issues, but they are surprisingly sparse. Blizzard Entertainment has done an amazing job of making each character have characters they are strong against and those that they are weak against. for example, Bastion, who is a robot who can become a stationary turret, can easily mow down nearly every character in the game, but Genji, who is an up-close ninja like character, has an ability called, deflect, which allows him to reflect projectiles, which means Genji can use Bastion’s own weapon to defeat him.

Now I think it is time to talk about something that makes me scratch my head a bit, and that is the game’s progression system. The reason why it confuses me is the fact that such a system isn’t required. There are no major benefits to levelling, as you don’t unlock new weapons, abilities or anything that can help you in battle. In my opinion, there are only two reasons why the game has a progression system and they are 1) Gives players a sense of progression, as some players like to know they are doing well so throwing in experience and levelling up helps players feel like they accomplished something. 2) An easy way to give out loot boxes, loot boxes are boxes that contain four random cosmetic items. The array of possible items includes a new skin, a voice line, pose, spray or player icon. Personally, I feel there could be a better way to hand out loot boxes, for example using a challenge system where if you win four matches you receive a loot box, the challenges could also reset or change once a week.

Now speaking of loot boxes, we have some minor microtransactions in the form of buying loot boxes with real money. Now since the boxes contain only cosmetic items it isn’t a major issue, but it does feel odd buying additional items in a game that costs between €65 and €75. For those curious on the price, the minimum is two loot boxes for €1.99 and the maximum is fifty loot boxes for €39.99, you also have the option to buy the boxes in 24x (€19.99),11x (€9.99) or 5x (€4.99).

Overwatch review-shot (5)

Now earlier in this review I talked about balance, and how each character has a weakness, but to exploit an enemy weakness you need one important thing, teamwork. Teamwork is vital to victory in Overwatch, and if you don’t work together with your teammates, you can kiss victory goodbye. Since many people are likely to be playing Overwatch in pick-up groups, Blizzard helps teams select the best set of characters by telling them if they are lacking a certain role or have too many players taking on the same role. This little hint is perfect as it does help remind people that there should be at least one tank, one healer, two damage dealers, one builder and one sniper. Of course, the hints are well hints as it is up to the team to take Blizzard’s advice, and even if they do, it is no recipe for success as I discovered multiple times.

Now, playing with random people can be fun, but I found it can be very stressful as I encountered people who deciding to completely ignore Blizzard’s helpful team selection advice or better yet, follow it and completely ignore what their role and what their team mates roles are. For example, in one match, I played Mercy, a healer, and my team mates actively avoided heals and constantly ran to their death.

When it comes to graphics, Blizzard has given Overwatch a cartoonish style that allows the game run smoothly while still looking visually appealing. When it comes to audio the game makes good use of sound effects, in particular footsteps, listening out for the enemies is a great habit the game drills into you as it can help you stop enemies from sneaking up on you.

Conclusion

Overwatch is fun online first person shooter that rewards strategy and teamwork. The game’s large twenty-one character roster also means there is a character for everyone from those who like to heal to those who like running in and do damage.

Score: 9/10

Pros Cons
+ Large selection of characters – Playing with random players can be annoying
+ Rewards teamwork – Pointless progression system
+ Well balanced characters
+ Amazing audio work
Developer Publisher Genre Rating Platform Release date
Blizzard Entertainment Blizzard Entertainment FPS 12+ PS4, PC, XBOne May 26, 2016

For more information ob Overwatch, visit https://playoverwatch.com/

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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