Overwatch (PC, 2016)

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Overwatch took the gaming world by storm in May. I cannot blame anyone for liking it either. Blizzard created a fun game with a distinct cast. I originally had no intention of buying it, but after careful consideration and the peer pressure of a few close friends, I could not hold off. After a few dozen hours with the game, it is time for a brief review.

Multiplayer shooters and I have a long history together. In the last few years though, the history book has not had many pages added to it. I fondly recall the days of Quake 3, Halo 2, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. These days, there has been a big hole in my gaming life when it comes to shooters.

Overwatch is doing a good job of filling that gap. I have never had any luck with other shooters like it. Team Fortress 2 did not work for me. Other team-focused shooters proved to be more frustrating than fun. I wasted a lot of money and a lot of goodwill from friends who trusted my opinion when a convinced a whole bunch of them to go in day one on the game Brink.

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I am not having that problem with Overwatch. Sure, most games do have a couple of selfish jerks who’d rather play Widowmaker than contribute. I tend to pick tank or support because others so rarely do. Even with games being lost based on picks alone, in most matches I play, I have fun.

Better yet, the game is fun with friends, regardless of skill level. I cannot say the same for MOBAs, save for maybe the All Random All Mid mode in League of Legends. I am so tired of the focus on esports, epeens, and competition ruining friendly play. In time, I imagine Overwatch will shift further in that direction, but, for right now, it hits the sweet spot in being a game I can try to improve at while also playing with those on a different part of their progression journey or those who could not care less about getting better at the game.

With friends or without, even when I do need to pick creatively because someone else has taken what I wanted or our team needs something different, Overwatch is fantastic. All of the characters are unique and interesting. I go back and forth between Roadhog and Pharah most often, but I also like Mercy, Hanzo, and Soldier 76 in a pinch.

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Nice things aside, I had already expressed my issues with Overwatch from the beta in my last post, and those problems still stand. This game has a serious lack of maps and modes, even for a title that just released. I have tried to embrace the brawls, but they just are not fun to me. I want more maps and modes more than new characters.

Overwatch is great. I will likely play it regularly for a long time to come. After sinking a ton of solo queue time into the beta, being able to play casually with friends on a semi-regular basis has been a blast. I wasn’t going to buy Overwatch, but I am grateful that enough of my friends did. Without them, I would not be convinced, and without convincing, I imagine I’d feel like Scrooge looking in on the happy family during Christmas.

Not long ago, I got into an argument with a friend about Overwatch. He said the game should not be considered for Game of the Year. I argued it should. You cannot have a commercial success like Overwatch tabled, especially when it brings with it a zeitgeist all its own. Overwatch became an established cultural entity over night, and the Internet is still rebounding from the gravity of this sudden new IP.

I would not call it Game of the Year myself. There’s just not enough meat on the bones. Like all Blizzard products, it is the best version of someone else’s idea. And I do not mind.

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4 thoughts on “Overwatch (PC, 2016)”

  1. Your comment at the end reminds me of a comment I once got on a blog post about my favourite games of all time and how I didn’t put WoW anywhere on it. I have some kind of mental block where if a game doesn’t ever end, or can’t be beaten, I don’t even consider how it can be a game of the year or something similar. No matter how much time I’ve spent on them.

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    1. I get the argument, but I find it a bit problematic. Today’s games rarely launch feature complete. There’s big patches, big DLC, and big re-releases planned. At what point do I draw the line and say it falls in this year or another? Does it being finished matter as much as the whole being presented to me initially?

      There are a ton of great games that would be a excused from any sort of award because of this logic. I simply try to imagine the experience I had initially, associate it with the year in which I had it, and limit it to that. Otherwise, we get into some deep philosophical identity-over-time debate and I had enough of that in college.

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  2. I recently bought the PS4 version and am enjoying it, despite sucking at most FPS titles. Like you I tend to stick to support characters. Mercy is my fave because I can contribute without letting the team down due to my woeful aim.

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