Overwatch is what it is.
Blizzard has developed an online, first-person shooter with an emphasis on teamwork. When you boot the game up to play, your options are extremely limited. There is no assortment of menus leading to different modes, there are no loadouts to manage, perks to earn or weapons to upgrade. While there are alternative pricing options on PC, here is how Overwatch is justifying its $60 price tag on PS4 and Xbox One.
- All Post-Launch Content is Free.
It’s no secret that Blizzard supports its games for a long time and with the utmost care. They have built up quite the pedigree with World of Warcraft, Diablo, Hearthstone and others. Surely, players can expect more competitive modes, playable characters, cosmetic customizations, and maps.
In a gaming landscape that is saturated with season passes, it is a relief to know that my $60 is going toward a real ecosystem. It feels like Blizzard is taking care of its customers, rather than trying to convince them to invest more money. Games like Battleborn and Star Wars: Battlefront confront you with images asking players to please visit the online storefront and check out the latest DLC. With Overwatch, I feel like I’ve bought my ticket to the amusement park and I can ride every ride I want, as much as I want. Heck, I can even ride the rides that haven’t been built yet, and those are my favorite!
- The Characters are Tremendously Likable and Unique.
I like playing as all 21 characters in Overwatch. There has never been a fighting game in which I enjoy every fighter or shooter in which I like every class. I don’t even like most Pokémon! Yet, Blizzard has made 21 fantastic and unique characters. When jumping online, you will see every character being played, and you might even play as every character.
Hanzo is armed with a bow and arrow, can climb walls, and tag the environment with a player-detecting sonar. Bastion is a transforming robot, able to turn into a turret or moving tank. Winston is giant ape wearing a suit reminiscent of Tony Stark’s best creations, and behaving just as wildly. Do these characters sound amazing? There are 18 more that are just as splendid.
Overwatch may seem to have issues with the amount of content at the surface, but the characters, the heart of the game, greatly assist in ameliorating this problem. The aforementioned archer Hanzo and iron-ape Winston behave very differently. Playing as them dynamically changes your role in any given match. It changes your options, your responsibilities, and that impossible to articulate “feel” of the game changes dramatically.
The amount of content in a game serves as cure towards keeping that game fresh. If you have a ton of stuff to do, you won’t get bored. In Overwatch, your team is constantly attempting to accomplish the same few goals, but the moment-to-moment gameplay is constantly influx depending on who you are playing, who your teammates are playing as, and who your enemies are.
If you’re facing a team of five Winston players, your experience will be different. Be ready to go bananas.
- Blizzard is Building a World of Hype.
Leading up to the game’s release and with more to come in the future, Blizzard has been releasing animated shorts that take place in the Overwatch universe. These videos star the game’s playable characters, build on the lore of the world, and most importantly, they’re fun. With nearly Pixar quality graphics and animation, these short stories have been fueling the excitement leading up to the release date. At the time of writing, the newest animated short (available below this article) has been available on the game’s official YouTube channel for just over one day and already has over 2.5 million views.
The Blizzard team is so proud of these shorts that, at special locations, fans could watch them and other videos about Overwatch in real movie theaters.
It’s clear that people are excited about Overwatch, the open beta attracted 9.7 million participants across PC, PS4 and Xbox One. For comparison’s sake, Star Wars: Battlefront achieved a respectable 9 million. People are excited to play, and it seems like they’re having a blast, which is priceless.
Time will tell if Overwatch can hold the attention of the fickle gamer’s zeitgeist. Will the issues of an online-only game hold it back? After all, playing the game the way it was intended to be played is dependent on if the online servers are up and if others are also online. Will the characters, as lovable as they initially appear to be, get stale? There is no progression system outside of appearance changes, so what are we earning? Where’s the payoff?
If you ask me, the thrill of the game is more than enough. Overwatch is not just what it is. There’s more to it than initially meets the eye, and the more you play, the more you discover. A good game may need more content around it to keep me interested, but fun is fun. I can’t help but think of the widely successful Rocket League when I talk about Overwatch.
It’s an easy prediction to make, but I have to think Overwatch will have serious legs. I’m looking forward to seeing how it performs critically and commercially. Will we all still be talking about it come Game of the Year season?
Sound off in the comments. Are you picking up Overwatch? Does the package justify its price tag? Am I crazy for needing to jump in day 1?