Overwatch has officially launched worldwide, inviting players to engage in some of the most addictive and frenetic fire fights of this generation. Despite the lack of single player and offline modes, the online multiplayer and colorful cast of characters more than make up for that deficit creating an immersive and exciting experience.
Decades into the future a global-scale event known as the “Omnic Crisis” put humanity under the threat of the “Omnic”, a form of artificial intelligence. This created the conflicting battle between the Omnics and humans, erupting into a global scale. To put an end to the crisis the United Nations founded an international task force known as “Overwatch”, comprised of elite soldiers, scientists and mercenaries. Despite ending the war and gaining worldwide adoration for its efforts in saving humanity, Overwatch became a subject of controversy due to rumors of corruption. These accusations led to Overwatch disbanding. Five years after the fall of Overwatch, the world has once again become a darker place with humans and Omnics once again at odds with each other.
Despite the lengthy plot and detailed character bios, there is no story mode in the game. Blizzard missed a great opportunity to tell the tale of Overwatch, leaving fans to watch the animated shorts online rather than having the player experience them through an engaging story mode. The lack of offline modes and local multiplayer is also another glaring omission, leaving players to rely exclusively on online matches similar to last year’s Star Wars Battlefront. Thankfully, Overwatch’s gameplay and smooth net code easily makes up for its lack of offline and single player content.
Overwatch’s gameplay revolves around three modes: escort, assault and control. Each mode consists of various objectives that must be completed such as capturing target points on the map and defending it from the opposing team or escorting a payload to various checkpoints under a time limit. Sometimes it is required to capture and defend the payload before escorting, providing a hybrid of the two aforementioned game modes. In order to achieve victory, team composition and teamwork become the focal point of the game. Having a well balanced team and a good strategy are more important than running solo in an attempt to hog all the glory with the largest killing spree.
The roster of Overwatch consists of twenty one playable heroes with each hero playing differently from the other. Each hero fits into one of the four main roles: Offense, Defense, Tank and Support. As mentioned before, a balanced team comprised of at least one member of each archetype is vital for success. Heroes are equipped with a basic attack, usually a projectile, and various special moves. For example, Soldier 76 is attacks with an assault rifle but also possess an explosive shot and a healing field as his special moves. After dealing enough damage an ultimate ability becomes available to the player. In the case for Soldier 76 he is able to auto-lock onto his targets, ensuring that every shot lands. Switching your character throughout the game is also possible, which is vital when struggling against tough match ups. The only downside to switching your character is that your ultimate ability is resets, forcing you to charge it back up. The possibilities for team composition are endless, and with each character playing very differently from others it creates a healthy learning curve of “easy to learn but hard to master.” In the future Blizzard intends to add more heroes to the roster as DLC for no additional cost.
Since the game is primarily played online it is imperative that the net code be flawless in order to give the most amazing experience. Fortunately the earlier beta tests did an excellent job in testing the servers so the launch would be smooth for all players. The game runs at a solid 60 frames per second and maintains its gorgeous Pixar-esque visuals during the heat of battle, providing a beautiful and immersive experience.
Though the game lacks single player and offline content it more than makes up for it with flawless online multiplayer and addictive gameplay. The diverse cast of characters keep match ups fresh and exciting, and adds a perfect learning curve for beginners and experts alike. It may not be perfect but it comes pretty close.
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