It has been a long time coming; with a 10 year development cycle littered with massive amounts of starts, stops, teardowns, and rebuilds, we finally have our hands on Blizzard’s over ambitious project that became one of the most distilled games in recent memory. Was it worth the wait or is it selling itself purely on Blizzards name and butt controversies?
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC (PS4 Reviewed)
Release Date: May 24th, 2016
Players: 12 Player
MSRP: USD $59.99
Overwatch simply looks amazing. You can’t ask for a more beautiful FPS PVP game when it comes down to it, but that said beauty comes at the expense of verity. Sure there are 21 characters in the game with multiple skins, but realistically only 2 of those skins are truly different. The rest are just color pallet swaps, and lazy ones at that. The arenas you fight in are a bit stale out side of about three maps; over time they get extremely boring and the pathing becomes so visible that you can predict where others will show up. It will have you developing visual fatigue very quickly.
Gameplay is where this game truly shines, it is damn near perfect and is why people will keep coming back to the game. Outside of the standard balance issues games like this tend to have, every character feels unique and fun to play. The game is very friendly to new players, having a quick menu to see what your skills do just in case you are getting a bit confused mid match. There is one major problem though, and that is with the player to player hit detection. Being that it favors the shooter, people with extremely poor internet connections will be given a massive boost. While reviewing this game I was using a direct wire connection with about a 100-200 MB download speed and 20 MB upload speed, and I found that people not even near me were getting odd kills off on me, and then when it showed their kill-cam they were right on my ass. It does not happen all the time but when it does, and it breaks your 15 kill streak, it will be bound to make you angry.
With that said, there is really nothing in this game outside of the tutorial and the 4 game modes: Quick Play where you are thrown into a random game and mode with others, Play VS. AI which is the same thing with AI instead of other players, Custom Mode where you can tinker with the rules and play vs. AI or your friends which is a missed opportunity for players to look through others games and play something different, and finally the Weekly Brawl which is a game mode that changes every week with the rules dictated by Blizzard and is extremely hit or miss. Example: first week, lets have all characters have more HP and instant skill use vs this week where its only play as Shimada brothers Genji and Hanzo. Wait times for games are also a problem; I have experienced a 7 minute wait times just to get into a game with an average being around 3 minutes. This game just came out, and there are wait times like this? What is the landscape going to look like in the next 3 months?
There is a superficial leveling system in the game, but it really does not get you anything but loot boxes which can net you character skins, emotes, victory poses, voice lines, spray paints to tag(think Team Fortress 2), and highlight intros. The loot boxes are one of the most disrespectful things they could have put into a $60 title that has very little content as is, it’s inexcusable. They even have the gall to charge $1 per loot box, which only has 4 possible drops. At the current time of review my level is 30, and I have an average of 4 items per class. It takes almost 2 hours just to gain a level at this point, sometimes longer depending on wait times to get into a match. This freemium stuff in a game you pay $60 for is unacceptable, and Overwatch is a clear cut example of it at its worst.
What little music they do have in the game is nice and fitting, but you will not be hearing it much outside of little jingles. Sound on the other hand is really well done, and everything from a foot step to a gunshot fits really well. The voice acting is over the top in a “Hey I’m so wacky look at me!” sort of a way, but it is done rather well and can bring a smile from time to time. Other then that there really isn’t anything going on environmentally speaking, or at least if there is, it’s being covered up by everyone else running around, blowing each other up.
The story is non-existent in game besides an intro back-story that does not fit the game whatsoever. I am not even going to entertain the excuse that the promotional material they have released (comic and CG work posted on Youtube) as their to supplement. This is a $60 title with almost no content.
This game is not worth the money, plain and simple. Sure it has some good multiplayer gameplay going for it with some cool aesthetics, but outside of that there is no substance. This would have been better off as a free to play game, at least if it was there would be more people playing it. This is a painfully mediocre release that will have lasting visible stretch marks and c section scar left on the ones that birthed it.