Overwatch - Critique

Author: Vince Ingenito
Date: 2020-07-30 21:59:41
Translated from English by IGN France

Overwatch sits at the intersection of design and art, a crossroads where pure visual joy meets refined, clever design to create a rare spark of magic. As an objective-oriented 6v6 multiplayer shooter, it proves to be accessible not by lowering the level of talent required, but by broadening the very definition of it. Thus the player with the lethal trigger is no more privileged than the one able to predict when to use his ultimate abilities to change the outcome of a confrontation, or the one who has a 6th sense to find the best places to place his sentry turrets. While it didn't exactly give me a deluge of options, maps and other game modes, Overwatch comes with a plethora of tactical layers, and none of them came in between me and me. the pleasure of taking part in these intense team clashes with frenetic and thrilling action.

Overwatch does a lot of good things, but its success rests above all on the shoulders of the various characters it introduces. Its main menu is permanently dominated by one of them; their various appearances, origins and personalities are reflected in each new pose they take. Reinhardt's jet hammer lands on his shoulder with a characteristic clatter of a sword against the armor of a medieval knight, and Tracer's jovial smile is just briefly interrupted by his rebellious fuse getting trunked, obliging our heroine to blow on it to put it back in place, before resuming winking at the camera. There's also a smart, scientific gorilla, an agile blue-skinned assassin, and a Zen-adept cyborg healer. They're all as different as you might imagine looking at them side by side, but subtle visual cues scattered throughout their gear and clothing make you feel like these different characters share a common universe, even though they are. come from all four corners of it.

This sense of diversity continues to grow as you choose a hero before joining his or her cronies on the battlefield. Although the 21 characters available (all unlocked from the start) are grouped according to four “roles”, the handling of each of them is unique. If the robotic Bastion, able to transform, and the anarchic explosives launcher baptized the Jackal are both technically Defenders, they play out very differently. The former searches the map for strategic locations where to transform into a minigun turret to create points of defense while the latter prefers to throw time grenades over long distances that flash on the battlefield before exploding, an aggressive way of tell other players "Look elsewhere!" This strong sense of character differentiation is important, as it keeps the usual strategies around your team composition from drifting into simplicity. No, two Tanks, two Supporters and two Attackers is not the magic formula that leads a team to victory. You need to see beyond - and when you get there, the true beauty of Overwatch gameplay is finally revealed to you.

All you need where you need

One of the surprising ways the game uses to balance these many nuances remains the refusal to offer the player a crutch to lean on. With a few rare exceptions, none of the characters are focused on a single skill or skill that would allow them to achieve victory. Tracer's dual pistols have a high rate of fire but are not very precise, their magazines are reduced and the damage they inflict limited if you do not chain headshots. Genji's shurikens, on the other hand, cause great damage and feature near-infallible accuracy, but their low speed and rate of fire make them particularly ineffective against a moving target. Overall, the majority of primary weapons follow this pattern: they are useful, prove powerful enough when used for the right situation, but are never versatile enough for the player to rely on them alone. While these little details help to differentiate the characters, they mostly pushed me to explore their other abilities in my quest for success.

It is by looking at things more closely that I have multiplied the discoveries. Take the example of Jackal's equipment, this one does not have a reliable enough weapon to attack the enemy head-on. Obviously, he can blast grenades along the way to his target, but even if you were skilled enough to win an explosive head-to-head this way, you probably wouldn't realize the full extent of his potential.

At first glance, her other two abilities - Steel Trap and Incapacitating Mine - seem simple to master. Theoretically, one immobilizes enemies crossing it and the other sends enemies flying through the air when triggered. However, in practice they have other uses. Steel Trap can thus become an escape tool that allows you to flee from fast enemies coming your way. Once activated, its alert message lets you know when an enemy is trying to bypass your defenses, and the object immobilizes them long enough for you to retaliate. Alternatively, you can also plant an Incapacitating Mine on top of a Steel Trap and trigger its detonation when you are far from the trap and an enemy is immobilized by it. You can also use your Incapacitating Mine as if it were a good old grenade, throwing it at a group of enemies before manually activating its explosion. Its most fun use is probably being able to trigger its explosion when your character is above it, in order to rocket-jump to reach certain inaccessible areas. If only two of the same character's abilities give you so many possibilities, I let you imagine what happens when 12 characters attack different objectives using their abilities to help or attack, and the many tactical possibilities. nuances resulting from it.

Case in point: Pharah can become a real headache for her opponents when she launches into the air and hovers while raining death and rockets on the opposing team from angles making covers and positioning unnecessary. But Pharah becomes a whole different kind of problem when she receives support from the winged support named Angel. The latter's Guardian Angel ability allows it to swoop down on any ally within its range, even if it is in the sky. Thanks to her Angel Leap ability which allows her to slow down her fall, she is the only character able to follow Pharah wherever she goes, even in the sky. You eventually find yourself up against a dynamic duo flying all over the place - the first raining rockets at the enemy while the second heals and protects them from damage.

Overwatch is rich in this type of synergy and filled with similar duos: Reinhardt and Lucio, Zarya and Reaper or even Torbjorn and Symmetra ... There is no shortage of opportunities to strengthen cooperative play, and when you reach an experience level where the change of character "on the fly" seems natural to you in order to gain the upper hand on a failed composition of the team, you really have the feeling of being a fine tactician.

You can spend a lot of time on Overwatch before you get to that, twisting your brain with all those little subtleties behind a seemingly accessible approach, but it doesn't have to be for fun either. The simple act of switching characters, using their abilities, and roaming their world always proves incredibly appropriate, and that is due in large part to those tiny (and almost imperceptible) details. The lid of the grenade launcher worn by Jackal snaps and resonates with his every move, and Lucio's are characterized by a slight inertia that makes you feel like you're really skateboarding. Zenyatta's reload animation is probably still my favorite: I never tire of seeing him spread his arms to materialize a new set of orbs, before soldering them together in a pleasant metallic rustle. Granted, that's not much, but the sum of these minute details makes every action almost magical even if you repeat it over and over again.

The Path to Victory

Overwatch's 12 maps, all filled with lush detail, also play an important role in leveraging with some depth the unique characteristics of each character. The particularly oppressive first bottleneck on Hanamura requires the use of static defenses like Torbjorn's turret or Symmetra's Sentries, and attackers must have the right movement skills (see Pharah and Angel duo above). The gap between the left flank of the first and second capture point thus becomes a tantalizing opportunity to bypass defenders before they have a chance to reset. Other maps such as Route 66, focused on escort and assault, offer high areas on either side of the route taken by the attackers, which greatly facilitate the setting up of scenarios. 'ambushes in which Winston's Shield Projector becomes essential to protect against attacks that can come from several angles at the same time. Again, this adds another interesting layer of strategy and forces you to make some crucial decisions when forming your team. You should not only think about your character's interest in the team, but also think about the opportunities offered by the card, and how to exploit them.

Each card is directly linked to a specific type of objective, so that its construction is perfectly suited to the required action. You will therefore never know this feeling of inconsistency that can be felt when playing for example the capture of the flag and team deathmatch modes of certain shooters who share the same cards. The benefits are subtle, but significant. The cards are small without ever appearing cramped; the question of "where to go" or "how to get there" never arises, since every roundabout passage or door taken leads you exactly where you need to be. This way, Overwatch's map organization allows you to choose your vector of engagement without the risk of getting lost in areas with no action. The result is simple: zero waste of time; you are always at the heart of the clashes and you never wonder where the fight is taking place or how to take part in it.

Assigning each map to a specific mode or objective still has a small drawback, since unlike some games of the same genre, Overwatch does not have a slew of modes allowing it to offer a different experience of the maps. We're a long way from Halo, where most maps support different objectives, team configurations, and other modifiable rules. There is only one way to play on the Volskaya Factory map: you will have to attack the first point, then the second. While this lack of customization allows for finely tuned action, it limits the overall breadth and variety of experience the title offers when compared to other modern multiplayer games.

Luckily, as with characters, Overwatch's maps are filled with nuances that take time and practice for you to tame, and that's not just about the purely playful aspect of the title. So, bits of history and information about world-building can be found amidst these beautifully designed environments. Movie posters in the spawn room of one of them reveal for example that the real name of the mecha pilot PGM D.VA is none other than Hana Song, and that this one is also incidentally actress. Another map also offers a row of arcade machines, and if you have the chance to browse this map at the controls of the cyber-ninja Genji, he will remember the many hours of his "lost youth" spent playing. Finally, certain characters with a common past and who do not like each other can sometimes find themselves in the same team, and you will hear about it. Overwatch uses almost every opportunity it presents to transform its characters and maps into real people and cohesive environments, instead of vulgar puppets and other landscapes.

In terms of features, Overwatch is admittedly a bit light, but it meets most of the basic expectations for a multiplayer shooter, and in some ways exceeds them. Its impressive statistics system, assignment of controls for each character and its many accessibility options make it stand out. It also does a great job when it comes to identifying and highlighting the great deeds of your allies and enemies via a praise system and a nifty feature called “Time of the Game” allowing you to relive the game. best action of the game. The matchmaking is fast and reliable, while the cosmetic items to unlock are surprisingly attractive and regularly add to your inventory without having to spend a dime in the virtual store of the title. Having said that, I enjoyed the standard appearance of the different characters so much that I didn't want to stray too far from their original looks.