Game of the Month is back, and this time we’re taking an in-depth look at Overwatch. With a starting cast of twenty-one kick-ass characters, Overwatch gained over 10 million players just three weeks after launching on May 24, 2016. Since then, an all-new character has joined the Hero ranks and Competitive Mode has launched, bringing an all new level of intensity with it.
Overwatch is a hybrid of the MOBA and FPS genres. It offers fast-paced gameplay while stressing strategy and cooperation. And make no mistake – strategy is a huge component of the game. Whether you enjoy run-and-gunning with Soldier 76 or prefer eating up bullets like a boss as Reinhardt, you’ll need to work in tandem with your teammates to take the game. In fact, strategy is so important to succeeding in Overwatch that it won’t only win you the game – it’s the main selling point of the whole Heroic experience.
In the world of Overwatch, teamwork is mandatory. The game isn’t about getting the best K/D ratio, it’s about supporting your teammates to take a given objective together. Some Heroes, such as Ana or Tracer, may or may not get more than a couple of kills in a given match. That’s because they can help their team in other ways: Tracer is akin to a mosquito that can zip in to sting an enemy and zip out before she is swatted. Ana, as an adept sniper, is usually better focused on healing her own teammates in contrast to combating the enemy.
Even so, many characters, including Ana and Tracer, can play well beyond their designated class. Take Mei for example. Although she is a Defense character, her ice walls and endothermic blaster are perfect for trapping enemies in a corner with an angry Winston, or impeding their escape from D. Va’s self-destruct during a final assault. Mei’s Ultimate is perfect for securing objectives as well as putting enemies in place for other teammates to help take down.
But diverse move sets alone aren’t what give Overwatch its strategic charm. The game truly shines with the way players can change characters as the match progresses.
The option to swap characters upon death means that the map state is always changing, making for a dynamic and challenging experience. Is a low-flying Pharah trying to take out an allied turret? Back it up as Widow-Maker and blast her out of the air while Torbjörn himself protects you from being flanked! Or, if you’re on the receiving end of said turret, jump back in as Junkrat and lob grenades until there’s nothing left but charred Torbjörn.
There are countless strategies to consider, but do keep in mind that individual skill level is important too. Being familiar with a wide range of characters will allow you to read situations faster and make vital decisions on the fly. And that’s what makes Overwatch’s core gameplay so rewarding: when you get a group of six smart and reflexive players working together, it will take six more of the same caliber to challenge them.
Overwatch is a game that loves its lore. Overwatch comics detailing the past of some of the Heroes are available on Blizzard’s website, and there are cinematic trailers as well. Despite its obvious adoration of its cast, Overwatch does not include much bonus content in the game itself. Sure, there are countless skins to collect, but where are the bonus cinematics in-game? Where are the character bios, even?
For as great as Overwatch is, it could stand to see a bit more love for lore. The multimedia lore available online is great, and so will the Darkhorse comics set to release soon – but it could bring so much more the the in-game experience as well.