Overwatch — Late to the Party
Well, I finally got my hands on Overwatch thanks to David and the Humble Bundle. Historically, I’ve always been a buy-first and ask-questions-later kind of guy when it comes to Blizzard games, with Diablo being the first video game I ever sat down and played. When Overwatch was firstly getting hyped up, I wasn't all too interested in the concept. I just spent the better half of a decade playing Dota and Team Fortress 2, and while I'm all for crossovers, this one came a little too late. But here we are, two years down the line, and I’m looking for some good old team craziness. So while I am fashionably late to the party, better late than never.
Rather than talk about what has been reiterated a thousand times already, I think the bigger question to answer is that after these two years, is Overwatch something that's still worth getting into? Jumping into a match and getting a feel for the heroes was quick, easy, and (to my surprise) a lot less toxic than I was led to believe. Now this may just be a result of my first experience being the more casual quick play mode (as you are locked out of competitive play until you reach level 25), or because I'm on Asian servers where flaming is a lot more of a difficult task when everybody doesn’t speak the same language as you. Regardless, I did enjoy the experience. Heroes were unique enough that I could enjoy a wide range of different abilities and play-styles. With long range healing snipers, close up hammer smack-down tanks, and cyborg ninjas, I could tell quickly that while it was easy to grasp, the learning curve was going to be quite steep, but I didn't feel like I was holding my team back.
The game modes in Overwatch: Assault. An attack-defend scenario; Escort. Push the cart; Control. Holding a point on the map; and Hybrid. A combination of Assault and Escort. All are simple in design, but I have yet to be disappointed by any of them. This was a rare treat, as I usually find one game mode to be unbearable when playing similar online games. I think this is more credited to the map design than the actual game modes. The maps themselves are very distinct from each other in style, and it makes it fun to learn all the different paths and details hidden inside them. Different heroes having different voice lines interacting with the map itself is an added bonus, and so is the waiting room before the match begins. Singing karaoke, smashing up arcade machines, or even playing some basketball is a fun way to wait for each match to start.
As for the the shooty bits, I wouldn't say that I am that impressed. Though everything is smooth and the wide variety of heroes blend, nothing is making me jump out of my seat in excitement. I’m attributing this to the games pacing. The teamwork required for team fights is something you would expect from a MOBA like Dota 2, but I never felt the same risk of dying or the sense of urgency to start performing better as I did in Dota 2. Everything happens so quickly that I never feel the build up leading to an epic game-deciding team fight. The first time I team wiped someone with the D.Va ult (big self-destruct explosion), I was more like “Oh, cool,” rather than “HELL YEAAAAAHHHH I'M AN OVERWATCH GOD.” While these kinds of plays can definitely win you the round, the games go by so quickly that every epic play you make blends into the dozens and dozens of plays you might make in a day. However, this could be a good thing as a game of Overwatch is usually sub-thirty minutes. Perfect if you just want to jump on for a quick game and not commit a large amount of time.
So is Overwatch something to get into after two years of missing out? Well, yes. Yes it is. The game is easy to pick up, the community (or at least the community I have been exposed to) is mostly friendly, and the character and map designs are fun and enjoyable. The match speed is great for a more casual experience, while the competitive nature of the game is also great if you want to wreck some noobs and spam “EZ!” in general chat. I wouldn't say the game is revolutionary in any sense of the word, but its still a fun game with a lot to offer. I've been playing at least a match a day since I got the game, and I'm still enjoying myself as much as I did the first day. If you all out there are looking for a competitive game to play and haven’t jumped on the ship; I'd buy a ticket.