“Overwatch” is an alternate take on an old genre: first-person shooters

 

“Overwatch,” released this past May, is arguably the most popular video game released this year. Created by Blizzard Entertainment, of “World of Warcraft” fame, it is a first-person shooter with 22 playable characters currently, though there’s a 23rd to be released on Halloween. The characters are separated into four classes. Much like the other popular game of the same genre, “Team Fortress 2,” “Overwatch” has offense, defense and support, though also has another class of its own, tank. Each class has different abilities and styles of play.

Offense and defense rank the highest in amount of characters per class, at six each. Both tank and support have five characters. Offense, much like it sounds, is the most active class, and hosts both the storyline’s main characters, Soldier: 76 and Reaper. Defense, the most reserved of the fighting classes, is host to characters better suited to defend control points in various rounds. The tank class is filled with characters with high health and good for protecting other players on their team. Support, the last of the classes, is not a fighting class, instead filled with healers and characters better suited at giving offense or defense players assistance.

Unlike other first-person shooters, though, “Overwatch” has an intense storyline. The storyline is set 60 years in the future, after a robot (called omics in-game) rebellion, and the building and subsequent destroying of the peacekeeping organization called Overwatch. The story, however, isn’t revealed in-game, but through a series of videos and animated shorts on Blizzard’s official “Overwatch” YouTube channel, PlayOverwatch, along with other promotional materials.

Photo courtesy of overwatch-blizzplanet.com
Photo courtesy of overwatch-blizzplanet.com

“Overwatch” began as another Blizzard project, called “Titan.” After the success and renown of “World of Warcraft,” Blizzard was looking for another game that would be as lucrative as the last. They settled on “Titan,” but later on realized that they no longer found making the game fun, according to Blizzard co-founder Michael Morhaime. Production on “Titan” was cancelled in 2014, and the project was overhauled to what would end up being “Overwatch.”

Perhaps the most unique part about “Overwatch” however, is the cast of characters. Unlike many games, “Overwatch” has diverse representation, including characters from all over the world and with all different kinds of body types, outfits and ages. All of the characters are rendered in a style unlike many other games of today, with multi-colored outfits in a bubbly art style. On top of this, each character has uniquely voiced lines that can be triggered during game play, and special animations and poses for winning rounds, and plays of the game.

“Overwatch” can be bought on PC, PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. The full game is $60 on both Xbox One and PlayStation 4 for the full game. For PC, the game without special Origin skins for the characters is $40, while with the skins it is $60. However, some skins can be earned in game, and it can always be upgraded to the more expensive version later.

Overall, “Overwatch” is a game that will continue to be played by gamers across the world for months, and possibly years, to come. It’s a fresh take on a genre that’s almost as old as gaming itself, and doesn’t feel like a re-skinned or rebooted version of anything else. “Overwatch” comes highly recommended from many major game magazines, and not without reason. It is well worth the money spent on it, for hours worth of fun gameplay.

Photo courtesy of deadlytoys-studio.com
Photo courtesy of deadlytoys-studio.com
  • Not a fan of it myself. But then I am a bigger fan of single-player games.. and prefer RPG, simulation and strategy to shooters of any type. Give me Skyrim, Fallout, XCOM any day…