Overwatch: Super Early First Impression

overwatch

It’s here, it’s finally here…Overwatch open beta weekend has arrived!  I’ve been looking forward to getting my hands on this game since I saw the early promos but was not fortunate enough to get into the closed beta.  Upon seeing the first clips and trailer it’s pretty apparent that this is Blizzard having a go at a Team Fortress 2 styled game.  I love TF2 like few other things in this world, so I was very excited.  Blizzard has a bit of a track record for making games that are derivative of previous titles from other publishers while putting their own spin and a high level of polish on them.  Heroes of the Storm, their riff on DOTA and League of Losers Legends, is a prime example.  How would they fare with a class-based team cooperative shooter?  Here are my quick takes from playing for about 10 hours over the weekend.

THE GAMES ARE SMALL, SO TEAMWORK MATTERS

Overwatch features a 6v6 format as opposed to TF2, which can see upwards of 15 players per team.  Because the teams are so small, it is imperative that you balance classes and work together.  A team with 3 snipers is usually going to get slaughtered, as will a team with few hit points (no tank) or no support classes.  Finding a team that communicates and properly balances classes can be a challenge as the quick matchmaking system means players are always dropping in and out.  Playing solo can be frustrating and I was fortunate to have 2-3 buddies to play with most of the time.  The game does have VOIP chat, but I had it turned off in favor of using Teamspeak with my mates.

It’s very easy to spot Call of Doody Duty players in Overwatch because they are always chasing kills rather than playing the objective.  My team lost a number of rounds in the Escort game mode because teammates were chasing enemies around the map instead of gathering at the payload to push it the last few feet.  In one particular game, we only had 9 feet left to go with over 5 minutes on the clock and lost as half the team played Team Deathmatch instead. PTFO, Kids!

Hanzo is a great asset to your team. Three Hanzos are a definite sandbag.

Hanzo is a great asset to your team. Three Hanzos are a definite sandbag.

A GOOD SUPPORT PLAYER CAN CARRY A GAME

Doing damage and killing mans is an important part of any shooter.  You can’t clear a capture point or advance the cart without murdering the fuck out of the enemy team.  A competent offensive character like Pharah or McRee or Reaper can certainly leave piles of bodies in their wake.  It’s very difficult, however, for sheer firepower to carry a team to victory.  It’s the support players and their level of competence who really decide who wins and loses.  If your team is without a healer and has to keep trudging the full distance from spawn to objective with every player death, it gives the other team plenty of time to take the upper hand.  Symmetra’s teleporter can also provide a shortcut from spawn to objective and helps you keep the pressure on as your players magically appear back in the fight after respawning.  Zenyatta and Lucio’s buffs and de-buffs can amp up your team’s abilities while handicapping the opposition.

As this is beta, many of the players out there are focusing on damage dealing characters in the Offensive, Defensive and Tank categories.  Support is usually neglected as those characters have relatively limited firepower and require a team first approach to play.  My play has skewed heavily toward Mercy the healer.  I give Maximum Effort toward keeping my teammates healthy and using Mercy’s revive power to pick up the fallen.  With so few players on the field, keeping you team healthy maximizes their ability to put boots to asses.

Mercy, Mercy me...healer is the class for me

Mercy, Mercy me…healer is the class for me

BLIZZARD NEEDS TO PUT THEIR OWN STAMP ON THE GAME

Aside from the number of characters and the way their powers charge, Overwatch feels like a re-skinned version of TF2.  That’s a good thing in a lot of ways, because TF2 is one of the most perfect shooters I have ever played.  Overwatch feels so much like a clone, however, that I’d like to see Blizzard add something unique to the mix.  The game modes are lifted from TF2, as are the classes and even the majority of the maps feel like TF2 maps (Route 66 is almost exactly Badwater Gulch, amirite?).  Certain characters were cloned from TF2; Tracer is Scout, Pharah is Solly, Torbjorn is Engie, etc.  I know there are some seriously brilliant people working for Blizzard and they need to be turned loose to wreak creative havok.  Don’t get me wrong, I already love Overwatch and can’t wait for it to be released on May 24th.  I’d still like to see something separate it from the original to make Overwatch truly its own game.   At the very least, give us a new game mode.  I’ve been playing Payload and King of the Hill since 2007, for fuck’s sake.

There will always be comparisons back to Valve’s masterpiece, but I’m still waiting for the first time I feel like “ah, now THIS is Overwatch.”

This all seems very familiar...

This all seems very familiar…

~ by schlippo on May 10, 2016.

2 Responses to “Overwatch: Super Early First Impression”

  1. I can only imagine the “Call of Duty” syndrome was worse for the consoles… poor simpletons.

  2. You’re a total dork

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