Overwatch is The First Game in a Long Time That I’ve Been Addicted To
We all remember those games that demanded our attention no matter what other task you may be doing at the time. I’m talking about those games that you think about at work. I mean the type of games you think about when you are at school, sitting in class, and none of what the teacher is saying is resonating with you because your mind is in a completely different place. Overwatch is one of those games.
It’s been a long while since I’ve had a game hook me like the way Overwatch has. Every day, the moment I get home from work, before I change my clothes or put my bag away, I turn on my PlayStation 4 because I know in that moment, all I really want to do is play the game. I haven’t had a game do this to me since maybe Grand Theft Auto V and before that, Portal 2. Overwatch does what special kinds of games do. It crafts a gameplay experience so marvelous and polished that there’s no other way to describe it except, fun.
Overwatch is a team-based first-person shooter. It differs from a game like Call of Duty because you have to play roles on your team and if those roles aren’t fulfilled, you are at a disadvantage. Matches are objective based and completing these objectives are the only way to win. The idea of the game is simple, but the real meat of it can be found in its diverse characters. Each of the many characters have unique abilities that can support their team in one way or another.
Overwatch’s presentation is second to none. It has an aesthetic that can be described like that of a Pixar film. It takes place in a cool utopian future and is centered on a group of heroes called “Overwatch”. This is an awesome amount of context and story given that Overwatch does not have a single–player mode. These story bits are given through supplemental pieces of content (inside and outside the game), pieces of dialogue, and more. The care given to the world in Overwatch is better than that of many single player games. The game is beautiful and that’s not to even mention the playable characters. These characters feel like they were designed by that very creative kid that went to your high school. You know, that kid who drew anime characters in his notebook. These characters are bright, colorful, unique, and most of all stylish. They each have personality which is not something that is said about many multiplayer shooters.
Overwatch’s gameplay is different from many conventional first person shooters. There are roles and characters for many different playstyles and a well-coordinated team can easily be the difference between victory and defeat. The reason why this works so well is because Overwatch gives characters abilities that are rewarding to use, and this includes the abilities to support your team. Being a healer in Overwatch is fun because the game finds ways to actively show you the difference you’re making. Choosing a character like Hanzo and using your support arrow to reveal the enemies’ position is not only useful for your own self, it’s useful for your team and Overwatch tells you this by telling you when your teammate eliminates an enemy because of your support. The characters are very balanced and each character has its own strengths and weaknesses. This is where the gameplay loop comes from. Continually trying new characters and mastering those characters feels very fun and enjoyable in Overwatch.
My only issue with Overwatch is the progression. The fact that the only unlockable rewards in Overwatch are all cosmetic items is a smart decision that I can respect and prefer. However, the cosmetic items are substantial enough to get me excited when I earn a new loot box. Sprays, voice lines, poses are all decent but are all things that I don’t really care for and can’t imagine that a great amount of players do. These loot boxes filled with these types of items are the only thing that become unlocked with progression and that is not okay. A multiplayer only game like this needs to provide the player with something to work for and look forward to otherwise the progression feels meaningless, thus playing the game feels meaningless outside of the inherent fun you have while playing. I understand that the argument can be made that the fun is the reward. This argument doesn’t work in 2016.
Overwatch is an incredible game. It’s addicting in a way that is actually been detrimental to my everyday life and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I can easily see this game being a benchmark for how competitive shooters approach design and balancing different classes. The way the game rewards the player may be an issue but compared to how the game plays, and the future content to look forward to, this is an easy thing to overlook. Everyone should play Overwatch.