So, I’ve been playing Overwatch in the beta for a few days now. I got in on the Deluxe Edition so I when I ordered and paid at GameStop it actually came with the Xbox code to download it on the second (I’m on Hawaii Standard Time). I was pretty stoked about the site and I still am. You know that I’m a huge Blizzard fan and this is the first time in my gaming life that I was able to be in on the launch or beta or ANYTHING Blizzard or Activision.
Also, I got in pretty early with the pre-order deluxe and for the first few hours I was learning like most people. But, eventually, I had to go to bed and to work the next day. By the time I came back from work and booted up again…about 18 hours later…there were those serious gamers who were just wrecking and had me like “what the hell was that?!”
Okay, so getting right into it:
Overwatch Beta Notes:
The front screen has a large hero portrait, a highlights tab, play tab, training tab, Hero Gallery and Loot Box, along with sub-tabs for social, career profile and options.
The training is good enough to get you going and the game actually, rather strongly, suggests that you do it. This includes a basic movement, shooting, special ability tutorial with Soldier:76, a practivce range to learn the different hero abilities, strengths, and weaknesses (very handy) and a “practice vs. AI tab where you can go in and wreck with a group against computer controlled, opposing team heroes.
The Hero Gallery lets you study and peruse each hero and their ability. This is good, too, and the basic information and description will give you and idea of what hero you may want to play or try out. You can also access this feature in game by hitting left on the D-pad.
- Quick Play: Jump into a game against other players of similar skill.
- Play vs. AI: Hone your skills against a team of AI-controlled heroes.
- Custom Game: Customize the rules and play a game with your friends or AI.
- Weekly Brawl: Change things up with brawls featuring different rules sets and restrictions.
The Play vs AI allows you to team up and battle the AI…good for practice. Custom Game allows you to create your own game and select a map with friends. Weekly Brawl is kind of interesting and falls in line with the good job that Blizzard does in keeping (or trying to) their content fresh with weekly events, quests, and calendar events…much like World of Warcraft and Heroes of the Storm and even with the Hearthstone and the Tavern Brawls. This weeks (or the beta’s) Weekly Brawl is a game where you’ll spawn as a new hero each time which is great for learning but bad for mastering…particularly now, in the beta. If you want to get to know someone, you’re better off going quick play. That’s mainly what I’ve been doing and switching between my favorite heroes.
I’m not going to go into each hero in this post because we will be doing a complete Hero Breakdown at a later date, sometime around the launch of the actual game. I’ve mainly been using Soldier:76, Genji, Zarya, and Pharah. And I’ve played a game or two with Mercy. I’ve seen people wreck with a lot of heroes however, of notable wreckingness in many matches is Reaper (a little more on his frustrating ass below), Tracer (poster girl), Hanzo, and Zenyatta.
Each hero has a set of abilities, along with a passive trait, and an “ultimate”. The ultimate takes time to charge and is their most powerful weapon/ability. The game does a great job of showing you each and every ability, how to control them, and even having short video plays of the ability and/or ultimate in action.
I do like the maps. Getting used to them and knowing them is a challenge just like in any new FPS or DLC. There are advantages to some heroes that you can take advantage of. Pharah, for instance, and her jump jets and hover can get up and over some obstacle quickly OR can get you up high and reigning her ultimate “Barrage” down on an enemy group defending an area.
There are four different game modes and 12 different maps available in Overwatch!
- Assault: Hanamura, Temple of Anubis, and Volskaya Industries
- Escort: Dorado, Route 66, and Watchpoint: Gibraltar
- Assault/Escort Hybrid: Hollywood, King’s Row, and Numbani
- Control: Ilios, Lijiang Tower, and Nepal
Overall: Lots going on. Very dynamic. The heroes, due to their abilities have different weaknesses and strengths. You can have a lot going on. And, not only that, in true Blizzard fashion they’ll even help you form an effective team by assigning each hero a role and telling you (during hero selection) what your team is weak or too strong on. Traditional roles like tanks, damage, builders, healers, support, etc. The game will tell you “low amount of damage” or “no builders”, etc. So, if you’re in a group-and when Overwatch goes to esports, then you can definitely experiment with different team builds and get the exact team you like for specific maps and versus specific teams.
No 2 games will ever be the same. The maps switch, the play modes switch, players leave, players arrive, and players change heroes often. You can even change heroes at the spawn point every time you die, or you can go back to the spawn point and change characters.
The maps are rich, large and pretty diverse. Though, I think they could have made them a little more different from each other. But, again, this is beta. We’ll see what kind of surprises they have in store for full-launch.
Switching heroes in the middle of a game and re-building a team that isn’t performing well.
Loot Boxes are awarded after leveling up and they come with different skins, sprays, voice emotes, etc. There is also a loot that drops coin with which you can buy skins and other cool stuff.
Mini map, or lack-thereof. If someone is lighting you up from the front and you’re getting shot or fighting to the front…you’ll probably never know there was someone at your 6 lighting you up until kill cam. Or, you’ll hear a teammate say “behind you” and, in most cases, it’s too late. I’d rather a red indicator on a mini-map.
Seriously…can a weapon be any more over-powered than Reaper’s shotgun pistols? They’re supposed to be short range bangers but I routinely get pummeled from medium range by those things and they’re doing more damage from that range than Soldier: 76’s assault rifle and helix rockets.
The spawn time is disgustingly frustrating. I tried shutting off the kill-cam just in case the developers were trying to give me that time to see how I was killed but that wasn’t the case. You still have to wait the 8 seconds before you’re back up…and then a little bit further away than I would like to be.
I’m very much trying to get used to the aim and movement controls. It’s not that they’re complicated…it’s just that I keep wanting to pull an “aim” button and close in on a target with whatever weapon reticle I’m using…but there isn’t one.
There’s also no sprint button. Tracer has a warp forward and skip backward ability, and Soldier:76 has sprint. Other heroes have movement ability, like Pharah’s jump jet and forward but sometimes it can be trying to spawn away from the battle and have run back to it. There are others, too, but I haven’t played every hero yet. It’s really hard to get used to, or comfortable, with one.
I’m loving Overwatch. I had a feeling I would…which is why I popped for the Deluxe Edition in the first place. It’s unlike any FPS I’ve ever played and the dynamics constantly change to keep it fresh. It also has particularly familiar features that I’m used and love about Blizzard: Concentration on building the right team, strategy, the cartoony feel of the environment and characters, etc. I know that I listed more cons than pros above, but it’s easier to pick out the bad with a game like Overwatch because you’re so tuned into everything. This is a game that will remain and perform at the top of FPSs for a long time coming. And with Blizzard adding more content, more abilities, more skins, different heroes and the weekly brawl idea, it’s only going to get better and more dynamic.
Sources: Personal game play and https://playoverwatch.com/en-us/blog/20100169/
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His 2 favorite fictional characters of all time are Ned and Tony.
Ken lives a life of anguish as his love for video games and all things geek is only surpassed by how horrible he is at playing them.
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