Riding on the coattails of Battleborn came Overwatch, a multiplayer first-person shooter game that swept every other shooter off the table and onto the floor. No, literally. They all went on our floors as we wept, yelled, and cheered at our giant TV screens flashing scenes from Overwatch’s cinematic gameplay. When Overwatch snuck onto the stage following other similar games like Star Wars Battlefront and Battleborn, no one was really expecting what was to come. And what was to come was hours of rapacious battling in a game so neatly designed, so masterfully crafted, that Game Informer gave it a full 10. And Game Informer doesn’t give 10s. Ever.
It’s not really anything new. First-person shooters? They’ve been around for ages. But a first-person shooter done well enough to equalize the playing field and force you to play skillfully? That’s a true gem. Overwatch doesn’t let you either get hammered into the ground or be the one doing the hammering. It carefully lays out the different styles of playing in order to create a balanced field where, to win, you truly have to earn it- and earn it every time. Gameplay variants range from shooting bouncing grenades to creating ice walls to focusing on healing teammates. Not a sniper? You don’t have to be. Not a shotgun-wielder? You don’t have to be that, either. The massive variety of play styles offered by each character make Overwatch easy to enjoy for any kind of player. No, really. They do. Oh, and, yes. Playing as a team is actually important, useful, and fully satisfying. Believe it.
For those of you who have already experienced Overwatch, you’ll know everything we’re about to say before we say it, and we know you’ll agree. There are 21 playable characters on Overwatch, and Blizzard has magically made each character somehow more memorable than the last. Each character features their own unique play style including a regular weapon and an “ultimate.” The variety of ethnicities and entities make the characters as static pictures pleasing to the eye and as a selection to choose from, but the customization they offer as far as your gameplay goes is something truly wonderful. If you love sticking by your teammates and providing support as they go, play as Mercy, the Russian healer. If you’re more into blowing up your enemy and setting dastardly traps under their feet, play as Junkrat, the dirty troublemaker. Each character provides something different and drastically changes how you approach every match. And you won’t forget any of them.
Each as unforgettable as the characters, Blizzard Entertainment has quite outdone themselves with the design of each of their cityscapes which range from Japan and cherry blossom trees to Egypt and golden sand. Meticulous details mirroring the actual culture of the real-life city are incorporated into these digital landscapes, making them not only charming but easily relatable. Eventually you’ll forget to appreciate how gorgeous each map is on its own as you charge through it towards your enemies, but your first experience of each map is an awe-filled journey.
Go Get It So We Can Play
At turns Overwatch is heartbreaking, rage-inducing, ferociously thrilling, and wholly satisfying. Playing well on a team has possibly never felt so good. You have small tidbits with which to customize your favorite characters like skins, poses, and catchphrases, and you’ll quickly become sucked up into the whirlwind that is incessant Overwatch gameplay. You become your characters, and your characters become you- and you’ll probably lose more than a little bit of sleep the first night you bring it home. Overwatch is addicting, and it is addicting because it is game that is extremely well done. Thanks for bringing us back to a worthy time-destroyer of a first-person shooter, Blizzard. We owe you one.