Overwatch is a brand new game series from Blizzard, the makers of World of Warcraft. It’s an online multiplayer shooter where teams of 6 characters with different abilities fight it out over control of the map. I was completely unaware of what type of game Overwatch was and to be honest I think it was getting it mixed up with a few other similarly titled multiplayer games all announced at the same time (I blame you Battleborn and Paragon). Once it was out though I couldn’t get away from the unanimous praise all over social media so I knew it had to be something special.
The main mode in Overwatch is the online multiplayer, there are a few different objectives you’ll be randomly given during matches but it usually boils down to one team attacking while the other is defending. While defending your job is to either stop the enemy from taking over an area on the map or to stop them from escorting a vehicle through the level. Now this by itself is nothing special, lot’s of games have these mode but it’s Overwatch’s amazing cast of characters that are really impressive.
You get 21 characters to chose from which is a bit daunting at first but they do try and make this easier for you by separating them into different classes. Offensive heroes will be familiar to most people, they’re your standard guys and gals with guns who’s focus is on taking out the enemy. Defensive heroes are still pretty good at taking people out but also have tools like traps or gun turrets to help the team out. A tank hero’s job is to absorb damage and generally distract the enemy so the rest of your team can move on the objective. The last category are support heroes whose job it is to heal or shield their teammates and are usually invaluable to a team’s success. The game does tell you if your team composition is lacking something before you start so you do get a chance to put it right (although people rarely pay attention).
Here’s a quick overview of the characters pictured from left to right above:
Is a robot ninja who excels at running round the map and surprising the enemy from behind. He can throw ninja stars, dash through people with his sword and even deflect most attacks back at his opponent. He can also run up walls and double jump letting him get to anywhere on the map.
Is an explosive specialist who has a grenade launcher to bombard the enemy team and also has bear traps and remote mines he can use to protect objectives when defending. His special move is a giant explosive tire that you drive around which can be devastating if the whole enemy team is close together.
Looks like he just came from the set of Mad Max and uses a hook on a chain you can use to reel in smaller heros an finish them off with his shotgun. He’s great for pulling snipers down off their perch where they can’t do much and he can also heal himself so doesn’t rely on any healers.
Uses her ice gun to either freeze opponents or snipe them from a distance with icicles. Her signature ability is that she can create a wall of ice which can be used to block the enemy or help protect an area.
She can create barriers around herself and others which absorb damage and also increase the power of her own weapon. For her special she can also create a gravity well which can trap enemies in place making them easy picking.
Is a pure attack character, she soars through the sky with her jetpack raining rockets down on anyone out in the open. The trade off to this is that she can’t take a lot of hits if you get the drop on her.
Is another character like Genji who is meant to ambush unaware opponents. She can run rings around some of the slower characters thanks to her small size and ability to teleport. She also has the ability to rewind time for herself in case you zip off a ledge by mistake or want to further confuse your opponents.
Is your standard sniper character, she can use a grappling hook to get up to good vantage points other characters can’t reach. She also has a poison mine to surprise people who’re trying to sneak up on you and her special attack reveals the enemies positions to the whole team.
Is a really strange and fun character to use, in her default form she pilots a giant robot suit that can deal big damage up close and fly around the map with rocket boosters. Her special move is to self destruct her suit which deals a huge amount of damage over a wide area but leaves you on foot with only a handgun to protect you.
Does what dwarfs do best, build contraptions. He can build an upgradable turret that will auto target enemies, this can be devastating if set up in the right place. He can also give his team mates extra armor to increase their overall health.
With his double shotguns Reaper is an up close and personal character. He can teleport around the map to set up ambushes and if he finishes off an opponent he can collect a small amount of health to keep him going. His special is a barrage of shotgun blasts that is best used up you can warp into the middle of a group.
The most straightforward healer in the game she has a beam that locks onto the nearest ally that refills their health. When playing her it’s best to hang back with the group so they can protect you if it gets rough. She can also boost the damage of an ally and her special can resurrect your fallen teammates.
Another healer who doesn’t heal as much as Mercy but he can also weaken a single enemy at a time making them an easy kill. He also does a surprising amount of damage by himself but he’s not very durable and pretty slow moving.
Is another sniper type character who uses a bow and arrow to pick off his enemies. Like Genji he can also climb walls to find a good vantage point and is overall more stealthy than Widowmaker. The thing that sets Hanzo apart is his special move where he shoots a huge dragon out in front of him which pretty much kills everything in it’s path.
A huge knight in a robo suit of armour who is an asset to any team. His big thing is he can generate a shield in front of himself which will block a lot of damage plus your teammates can shoot through it from behind. If he has to fight for himself he can rocket towards an enemy and pin them to a wall so they can be finished of with a swing of his giant hammer.
The super intelligent Gorilla who is one of the best characters for distracting the enemy. He has a jet powered jump which he can use to get in the middle of a group and make a general nuisance of himself. His special move Primal Rage refills your health and gives you new attacks that can knock enemies all over the place for a few seconds.
Is pretty unique as far as the support characters go, instead of healing she can put up shield on her allies. Her main use is to defend areas as she can place laser turrets on the floor or walls which slow enemies down and eventually drain their health is they don’t react in time. Her special is to create a teleporter so your team doesn’t have run as far from the respawn point.
This guy is probably the easiest character to use. He’s your standard assault guy who has a laser rifle with grenade attachment. He can also heal himself and allies with his bubble shield making him even more beginner friendly.
Is probably one of the most satisfying characters to play on defence. He’s basically a transformer who can bunker down and transform into a machine gun emplacement which does a lot of damage but can’t move around to dodge attacks. If you set up in the right spot you can stop an entire enemy team single handedly.
This guy attacks and heals people with the power of sound. This means that just by standing next to Lúcio you will be getting constant healing. He can use his sound gun to blast opponents away (or into pits if you’re lucky) so you can get away and hide behind more capable teammates. He can also switch from healing to a speed boost which is good for getting back into the action after a respawn.
Is a classic cowboy with a 6-shooter. He’s a good mid-range fighter as long as you’re accurate enough. If anyone gets close he has a flashbang he can use to stun enemies giving him a chance to unload and his special move lets him shoot everyone in his line of sight as long as they stay there long enough for you to lock on.
There’s No ‘I’ in Team
Overwatch is a really fun game, as I mentioned it can seem a bit intimidating at first because you’re going into a team game where other people are relying on you but the game will try and match you up with other beginner players. One of the more charming aspects of the game is the personality the characters have. They all have signature lines they spout whenever you activate you special attack or respawn after a defeat. One awesome thing I noticed is that sometimes at the start of a match while you’re all running to set up your defences the characters will chat to each other as you go. They also have plenty of unlockable outfits and colour swaps for the characters that you can get randomly out of loot boxes. You get a loot box containing 4 random cosmetic items each time you level up (or if you pay real cash) but the good stuff like costumes seem to appear very rarely.
The menus are really easy to navigate, you can be searching for a match with about 3 presses of the ‘X’ button but it also has plenty of in depth options if that’s something you want. I was particularly impressed by the amount of options it has for colorblind players like me. Since enemies and objectives are indicated by colour I was able to adjust the hue of these so I could tell the difference between the red and orange. There were many more colour options to chose from, if you want to change these colours completely depending on your needs. It’s nice to see a game be this colourblind friendly.
With the game’s main mode being online only this isn’t a game I could recommend to anyone who doesn’t have their PS4 connected online with PS+ because you’ll just be able to play matches against computer opponents. I don’t think that’s something you could play for a long time before getting bored.
This is the first online shooter I’ve gotten into since like 2010 for COD: Black Ops, I just felt like I couldn’t keep up with the kids who did nothing but play all day and I’d usually just die over and over. The great thing about Overwatch is that if you’re not very good at shooting dudes you can play a support or tank class instead. Having a Mercy keeping the team healthy or a Reinhardt shielding everyone can really change the tide of battle. I found myself gravitating towards Mercy if no one else is playing her, I’ve never played a healer in games before but I’ve been loving it. There’s no pressure to be killing other players but it’s still exciting trying to keep everyone alive. Plus watching your team’s health bars fill up is oddly satisfying. There is also no penalty for losing so if your team is defeated there’s no need to dwell, just try harder next time.
I genuinely think that as long as you are at least competent with first person games you could have some fun with Overwatch. Blizzard have made this game user friendly and as simple possible to play but there is still plenty of depth and advanced strategies for those who want to seek it out. I’ve loved every minute of this game so far (even being on the losing team) and honestly I can’t wait to go play some more.