Overview

Overwatch, a 6v6 team based arena FPS shooter which makes you keep coming back time and time again whether you win or lose. It is a well designed game with many different characters to choose from (21 with more to come). The game is much more than a “shoot em up” style FPS, it engages your creative strategist within. You are to think tactically and carefully about the character selection and team communication is key if you are to truly master the game. Many people claim that certain characters within the game are overpowered and unbalanced, however this is not the case, it is simply the character selection needs to be changed in order to counter said “overpowered” character. I personally like to think that all characters are “overpowered” in their own way. This in turn gives the game the chaotic yet fun feel when you try to achieve the objective of the game.

Character Design

The game is well polished and slickly made game with a unique engine to accompany it, thus bringing something truly new and fresh to the FPS scene. Each character is well designed to accompany many different personalities to engage with the player as well as identify with in some respects, from the valiant German Reinhart to the gamer girl of D.va. Overwatch made some headlines by introducing one of their characters, Zarya, as a female body building lesbian (quite a mouthful there). The reason as to this is because Blizzard Entertainment, the developers behind Overwatch have gone against the stereotype of females in our society which gave them critical praise and is in turn a wonderful gesture from the developers.    

Game Modes

Overwatch has a few variations of main game modes; Quick play, Play VS AI, Competitive play, Custom game and the weekly event game mode. Quick play is simply unranked matches to which new players can start to play the game online with other players around the world. Play VS AI is self-explanatory, the player can play against the AI before they are ready to face against players online yet players still play alongside other players so the sense of community within the game is not lost. Custom game is where a player can host a match and set the parameters to how they so wish and invite friends and recent players to enjoy the game that they have created. The weekly event game mode can be almost anything at all, it could be a health modifier or ability modifier or even something as simple as “Girl power” (as seen below) where no male characters are allowed to be used within this game mode. Weekly brawl does bring something new to the table for Overwatch players every week and is all round good fun to play. Competitive play I shall leave for the next section.  The game has 2 main in-game modes/styles, one of which is an assault style objective where one team is to push a payload to an objective area to win, the other team, as expected, is to prevent them from doing so. The second game mode/style is simply to capture a point. This is when both teams battle it out to capture and hold one space within the map until the counter reaches 100%. However the counter can be slowed by the opposition team jumping onto the point at the same time as your own team, this stops the timer with the word “contested” appearing signalling that the opposition is attempting to take the point. These two modes are fun to play however there is one drawback… there are only two modes! Overwatch is a fantastic game yet it does lack variation when it comes to the in-game modes in which the player can partake in.

Level Design

The Level designs within the game are of equal balance as well as catering to your role within a match, for example on the assault game mode, pushing the payload, your spawn room moves at individual checkpoints when delivering the payload to its destination whether you’re defending or attacking, your spawn room will always be updated to ensure the best possible balancing the game can provide. From a physical design standpoint, the levels within Overwatch are cartoon arcade based which goes hand in hand with the lore that has been provided behind the scenes by blizzard. All of the levels are carefully thought out to really give you a sense of immersion within the given place that your match is set, an example of which is the level “Nepal”, the level is decorated in a Buddhist temple style with giant statues of a Buddhist leader of peace in the lotus position that guides your way from your spawn to the control point. There are constant Easter eggs and nods to the lore and other games produced by Blizzard. Such things include numerous nods and acknowledgements to hearthstone, another game produced by Blizzard. The characters themselves even say certain quotes that would be easily cross-referenced within the lore of the game shown within the animated shorts produced by the Overwatch team.    

Competitive Mode

Overwatch does provide a competitive mode, this mode is where players work together to ascend the ranks of Overwatch starting from bronze all the way up to the inspiring Grandmaster rank. Yet if you truly do prove yourself you can ascend into the “Top 500” which is self-explanatory, if you achieve this rank you are in the top 500 players in your region (Europe, USA, Asia, ect etc). Do you have the skill and ability to rise up through the ranks?  

Verdict

All in all, I truly do feel that Overwatch revolutionised the FPS genre with its tactic based gameplay and dependence on team communication. With the only drawback being the lack of modes/styles within the game to play. Overwatch is a game that really can be a competitive E-Sport event that really does empathise the teamwork element within gaming as well as demonstrating the core artistic polished feel that blizzard always delivers.