Overwatch review - Blizzard has swept it

Author: Adam Zechenter
Date: 2016-05-30 14:08:00
The review was based on the PC version.

The giant known as Blizzard has just woken up. After a late reaction to the boom in the MOBA gaming market, the American company is again dictating the terms. The first successful production in the genre of heroic shooters has a great chance to get what League of Legends can already boast of - the position of an unrivaled leader, unrivaled in its category - and all the associated "perks": huge popularity, thousands of viewers on e-sports tournaments and ... huge profits. Today, Overwatch is one of the most original FPS games in recent years, which, compared to other games in the genre, stands out due to its refined gameplay mechanics, flesh-and-blood characters and effective comic-book graphics .

Overwatch is Blizzard's first new franchise in seventeen years. The American studio has a lot of die-hard fans around the world for a reason - it is known for releasing almost all hits. His first shooter didn't disappoint either. So get ready keyboards, mice and possibly pads - the new king of online FPS is just settling on the throne and will not get off it quickly .

The power of simplicity

The most popular online games have one common denominator: simplicity. League of Legends is one map and one mode. Hearthstone is an easy-to-learn card game. In World of Tanks , we shoot enemy tanks in the same locations over and over again. This does not mean, however, that these are banal or quickly boring productions. Their rules are simple, but achieving the championship in them turns out to be a great challenge, which motivates to return to a given title. Overwatch is more than Hearthston's proof of how well Blizzard has done their homework. The Americans prepared the product to the maximum extent of unnecessary additives. This contrasts significantly with the recently released Battleborn , whose creators, trying to make a game for everyone (there is a single, and a co-op, and a few multi modes), made the game for ... no one.

What is the simplicity of Blizzard's first shooter? Overwatch is an online FPS in which two teams of six people compete in several similar game modes. During an average match of 10 minutes, players choose (and change at any time) one of 21 characters, each with unique types of weapons and skills. The whole thing is focused on team cooperation and it works best when a group of friends gives up the fun together. And that was it - it was just 61 words to describe the mechanics of Overwatch . There are more proofs that Blizzard appreciated the power of simplicity - from the names of all the animations accompanying the game (always one word), through only a few game modes, to the memorable names and nicknames of the heroes.

Bull's-eye

Overwatch is a dynamic and hellishly satisfying FPS. I have not had such fun shooting for a long time - probably in the times of the breakthrough Battlefield 3 . Characters usually don't die as quickly as in Call of Duty , but matches are still short and lively. We play the clashes in several similar modes - usually we have to get a point or escort the cargo (often both), and at the same time the opponents try to prevent us from doing so - it is an asymmetric gameplay system known from e.g. Counter-Strike . As a result, even if we have our favorite heroes, we often change them and play with others - and this is because they do not work in defense on a given map, or ... someone has already chosen such a hero.

It was a pleasant surprise for me that for a game where you can freely change heroes and the whole team has the right to decide on one and the same, the game does not seem unbalanced. Anyway, most often the characters are not juggled in matches (for example because it involves the loss of the special ability charge) - if the team has been chosen wisely, there will be no big shuffles during the game. So if you were afraid of chaos, let me calm down - it is not there at all. Except for that dose that makes the game fun and ... hilariously unpredictable.

Strength of character

Overwatch is a shooter game rich in story like no other. All of the 21 characters available in the game are created according to the best principles of creating heroes - they have strong personalities, their own characteristics (including country of origin) and even catchy sayings. Blizzard also made sure that we slowly learn about their past and the history of the entire universe - through technically perfect animations accompanying the game or nice comics. The world of Overwatch was clearly modeled on the Marvel comics that were experiencing their second youth. This decision was understandable as the heroes in the game are basically superheroes with supernatural abilities (e.g. super jump, teleportation or time manipulation). The story presented in Overwatch - although quite banal (especially the predictable movie Dragons ) - was created with the right momentum and simply entertains. Thanks to it, the heroes are instantly recognized and remembered. So I tell them a colorful life outside of Battle.net - in fan-made graphics, cosplays or even memes. Anyway - we are already witnessing this phenomenon. In this field, Blizzard has achieved a very high level.

One drawback

Overwatch's only weakness is its progression system. It consists in the fact that from time to time we reach the next level of our account, as a reward we receive a box with four loot - these are, for example, skins for characters, various graffiti or winning poses. It is a pity that Blizzard did not refine this element more, as many of the gadgets obtained do not give the impression of something glamorous or new. For example, each character basically has three skins - the rest are just color variations on them. This is not much, and in addition, the progress in getting loot turns out to be terribly slow (see the frame on micropayments), and even worse, completely random. So if we play mainly attack characters, it does not mean that we will have skins unlocked faster for them.

The progression system is of course an addition to the game that does not affect the fun, but has a lot of potential (An unbeatable example is the Weapon Craze in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive ), so I hope Blizzard will expand this gameplay element over time . I also dream of better music - the tracks present in the game fit well with the maps, the title theme of the game is also great, but that's about it. We won't listen to the Overwatch soundtrack on Spotify (even if it was there), because it is simply not suitable for it. Blizzard has accustomed us to a good musical setting for their games, so I hope that eventually this aspect will be more elaborated.

The new king

Overwatch is an example of how to recover from the failure of Project Titan . It is also proof that simplicity is greater than excessive complexity. Blizzard has prepared a great FPS, which already, at the very beginning of its many years of existence, provides a really pleasant entertainment. Eye-catching, comic-style graphics harmonize well with the design of the (super) heroes of the game. And the dynamics and unpredictability of the game have gained a lot thanks to the use of the well-known, among others From Team Fortress, character change mechanics while playing. The whole thing is polished and hellishly satisfying. Overwatch is one of the best online FPS I've played in the last few years, and I know it's going to be permanently on my computer.

In Poland, players suffer, unfortunately, with a rather high price. PLN 170 is quite a lot, but not more than the amounts that you have to spend on other games, and I am sure that fans of dynamic Overwatch shooters will have hundreds of hours of fun. Blizzard's policy also mitigates the price. Nobody buys a pig in a poke, because thanks to long tests and a few days of open beta, anyone interested could try this title, and if they missed it, there are plenty of videos on the internet. Finally, it is worth appreciating the openness of the creators who discuss their doubts with the community without complexes, explain the intricacies of the network code or describe the problems they face. This approach boasts.

In short: Blizzard has swept it. So let's see for yourself why so many people have joined the ranks of Overwatch . However, there is no rush - the new king of heroic shooters will not leave his throne soon .