Blizzard’s new first person team based shooter ‘Overwatch’ has built up some serious hype, and after one day of playing the game in the open beta I would say that the hype is well founded. Overwatch looks stunning, controls very smoothly and most importantly is an absolute blast to play. The beta allegedly contains all game modes, maps and heroes playable in the full game once it’s released so it’s a great opportunity to get a real feel of what the whole game will be about. The Overwatch are an international task force of heroes set on bringing peace to a war-torn world and of course you can play as the baddies, too, although the story has virtually no impact on the game itself.
In terms of graphics, Blizzard has opted to go for a cartoonish style, however, with the refined and vibrant colour scheme along with some impressive textures, it is still a very appealing game to look at. The maps also feature a lot of verticality as snipers such as Widowmaker and Hanzo, for example, both have traversal abilities to get up walls or onto ledges and in a position to snipe the opposition. Widowmaker has a grappling hook and Hanzo can quite simply just climb up walls. Not all characters can get to these positions, though, and that is where teamwork becomes paramount; if you are playing a hero such as Reinhardt who is a melee character with relatively low mobility, rendering him unable to reach high positions that are inaccessible by stairs, then you have to rely on your team to remove said threats.
Overwatch currently features 21 playable Heroes that all have unique abilities and play styles so there are plenty to play around with and you will most likely find a few you particularly like quite quickly. After one day of playing, my personal favourites are Pharah, who can jump really high, hover and has a rocket launcher… what’s not to love about that? Hanzo the archer/sniper and Roadhog the tank with a hook to pull enemies within range of his devastating shotgun, who also says “I’m a one man apocalypse” every time you spawn into a game – nothing gets you ready for a game of Overwatch like a cool entrance line. The heroes are split into 4 classes: you have the offensive, who are short to medium range with high damage, good mobility and low health; the defensive, which tend to be long-range with both high and low mobility, high damage and low health, great at holding down and fortifying locations; then come the tanks with low mobility, medium damage at short to medium range and a lot of health; support heroes who are there to keep the team alive with healing abilities and improve team efficiency with buffs. Every class is equally unique and enjoyable in its own way… yes that includes support. A personal favourite unique touch that Overwatch has is the play of the match, at the end of every game the best play of the match is replayed for all to see, makes for some great viewing and feels even better if it’s you everyone is watching.
Now for my one issue with Overwatch which is the price, £54.99 on the PS store for a digital copy or £42 for a physical copy from Amazon. In my opinion it is unjustly expensive for what you get. 21 heroes is respectable but 2 or 3 game modes and a handful of maps is everything Blizzard offers for that price. It does include any future heroes, game modes or maps without having to pay anything extra but we don’t know when or what to expect from that. After playing the beta for a while I went to look at pre-ordering Overwatch expecting a price of £20-£30 but at about double my estimate I found the price to be very deterring. Personally, I think the game would have worked better as a free-to-play (what it originally was) with in-game purchases or a cheaper price with later DLC as oppose to free updates. I could well be wrong but the lack of content and steep price may put off quite a few people. Nevertheless it is a fantastic game and a joy to play so if you play the beta and enjoy it then by all means buy the game once it releases just keep in mind the content is currently quite lacking. Perhaps Blizzard will be generous with the free updates and the price really will be worth it in the long run? Overwatch is due to launch on May 24th, 2016 for the PS4. As always, there are plenty of pre-order bonuses including the Noire Widowmaker skin as well as some exclusive bonuses such as the ‘Memory of War’ metal coin and metal badge bundle exclusive to Amazon. Embedded below is the latest cinematic teaser. Let it tease you.