Overwatch: A much-delayed short review

Adel Gabot

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6:06AM

It’s been over a week since I bought a store copy of the full Overwatch game for my PS4, and so far I’m having a blast. What took me so long?

In that week, I tried to get my rank up to 25, the level which opens up competitive multiplay, but I’ve only gotten it up to Level 23. Man, it’s tough playing against people who have a four-month head start; I’m envious of those who are in the 80s or 90s. But I’m getting there.

It’s been over a week since Blizzard opened up the game to players for free for an entire weekend to players not yet won over to the shoot-’em-up. It worked, at least on me.

I had been resisting it since it was released late last May, (correctly) assuming it was just another in a long, tired tradition of First Person Shooters like the Call of Duty or the Battlefield series. But somehow they’ve injected new life into the FPS genre, and there’s something about it I can’t resist.

Blizzard has had a stellar record of releasing wonderful MMORPGs, and with Overwatch it branched out into FPSes for the first time and apparently (although I didn’t think so at the time) it’s come up with another hit again.

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There’s something about the clean, bright graphics, the stellar, arresting gameplay, varied, interesting maps and the smooth animation. More importantly, Blizzard has managed to create a roster of 22 unique characters with different and distinct personalites and abilities that makes playing each one a pleasure and gives longevity to the game. There are six each in offense and defense modes, and five each in tank and support roles.

I quickly settled on a favorite, the robot Bastion, who can convert from a rampaging blaster-equipped fighter to an immovable, formidable turret with a gatling gun. I made it a practice to scope out the maps and find distinct, unassailable positions where I can settle down with my back to a wall and open up on my enemies from a distance.

After a few days though, I tried out the other characters and found each of them very capable and useful each in their own way. Some of them, like Mercy, are strictly for support and have limited assault capabilities, but can heal and make teammates temporarily invincible. (Another one of them, ice queen Mei, looks uncannily like a friend of mine named Stef, which makes her interesting to play.)

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One niggle though is the long wait times to get on a game: some days it takes less than a minute for the program to find an online game for you to play on, but on other days it can take up to 30 minutes to almost an hour before they locate a game for you. And there are instances when you’re “reinstanced” (which I don’t really understand) and thrown out in the middle or towards the end of a game and are put back on the game queue. Eh?

And I’ve noticed a pattern in playing too. If you play a game, the next one starts the pre-game process and says its “waiting for other players,” but (almost always) bumps you back out to the game queue to wait again. It’s damned irritating, but what can you do?

This isn’t really a comprehensive look at the game, and there’s more to the game than this kinda-sorta review indicates, but I’m just giving you my initial impressions. And those impressions are largely favorable, at least for now.

We’ll see.


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