Blizzard’s new IP, Overwatch, started its open beta this weekend, and a few of the staff here at CrookedManners have been playing the shit out of the game. Its an awesome game. Countless gamers who are probably now in their 30s (or 40s) started gaming via some iconic vehicles, namely DOOM, UNREAL (and much later) Team Fortress and Halo. These games were awesome, bombastic-to-the-edge-of-cartoony shooters where fortune favored the bold. After the heyday of arena shooters like Doom that ended after Halo 2, the rise of “realistic” shooters became a thing. I’m talking about your Call of Duties, your Battlefields, your XComs, your Counterstrikes. These games are all AAA titles, and they all had their moments. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t dumped plenty of hours into CoD and Counterstrike.
But all the games got more and more “realistic,” so did the gameplay. You know what realistic war gameplay is? It’s sitting in a bunker waiting for some idiot to show his grape, and then you pop his grape. Thats how Call of Duty works. Also all of these games have pretty much the same characters. You’ve got some mix of guy with AKs, ARs, and Sniper Rifles. Boring.
Overwatch builds on the class type warfare seen in old school shooters like the original Team Fortress and its offspring, Team Fortress 2. It takes the general classes of healer, tank, DPS, and sniper and infuses some character archetypes from the rising tide that is the MOBA genre.
So when you take a class based shooter and combine it with a MOBA game, what exactly do you get?
Turns out that you get an extremely accessible, extremely fun and extremely deep game. The phrase “a minute to learn and a lifetime to master” seems pretty accessible here. Among the 21 playable heroes are a wide variety of playstyles, so FPS veterans with great twitch-shooting abilities can find high-skill shooters, and players coming from a MOBA or an MMO can find a hero that requires map-awareness and position but not so much aiming ability.
Moreover, the game values teamwork and communication. Being a masterful fragger means nothing if you do not coordinate your frags with the team’s objectives. Speaking of objectives, there are a three game modes, a King of the Hill mode, a Payload mode, and a hybrid of the KotH and Payload. On each of these objectives, things like “pushing with your teammates” (a MOBA staple) and “team composition” (another MOBA/Team Fortress staple) are largely more important than “who is better at shooting the guns.” You could put Experts against 6 “just OK” players, and if the experts had a poor composition and did not coordinate with eachother, they would lose to the “just OK” guys.
We here at CM have been playing Blizzard games since Warcraft 2, hell maybe even Warcraft 1, and we’re prepared to call this the best Blizzard game since those days, maybe ever.
Featured image courtesy of wccftech.com