Overwatch Review: Simply the Bastion

The first time I ever played Overwatch was at Gamescom last year. Despite having an incredibly packed schedule, I made the time to visit Blizzard’s stand so I could see what their first ever FPS was all about. Truth be told, after having seen some gameplay videos online prior, I was not convinced that it would be anything amazing. In short, I was super skeptical, and expected nothing much from my quick hands on with the game.

After playing it for around ten minutes or so however, I was forced to swallow my doubt. Right then and there, amongst all those sweaty, smelly gamers, and after just two rounds, I knew Blizzard were onto something special. Let’s just say that I returned from Germany desperately itching for more of the shooter.

Fast forward a few months, and I’ve now poured dozens of hours into Overwatch, in both the beta and the final product. I can honestly say that I’m just as smitten with it today as I was that very first time I tried it in Cologne.

On its surface, Overwatch is a simple game. It has four modes (spread across twelve maps), and they’re all made up of age-old, tried and tested mechanics. Push this cart, control this point, defend this zone… you get the general idea. It’s the sort of stuff that could get monotonous with time.

Except, Overwatch is anything but monotonous (except for when you have to make the long journey back to an objective after dying – I don’t really enjoy that). Thanks to its vibrant and colourful cast, there is a much more complex game buried underneath those basic objectives.

There are twenty one characters on offer (with more to come), and they’re all incredibly varied. Take Tracer for example. She’s quick, agile, cheery, and just so happens to have the ability to manipulate time. She can hop into battle in a flash, and straight back out again thanks to her speedy skillset. Oh, and she has this neat little pulse bomb that can decimate an enemy or five if it’s used just right.

The thing with Overwatch that surprised me, is that I love each and every single character, almost equally. Don’t get me wrong,Ii have my favourites (like Mei, she’s cool), but I don’t play them exclusively until I’m blue in the face. I hop between the entire cast regularly, and not once have a felt that any member doesn’t fit. They’re all fun to play, and they all have a place outside of their standard offense, defense, tank, and support roles. Junkrat may be an excellent defender for example, but he’s just as useful when it comes to pushing down an objective.

If anything, I think I enjoy every character purely because the game has encouraged me to bounce between them all. Overwatch is all about momentum, and finding out what line-up best fits the situation at hand. If an entire defending enemy team picks say, six Bastions for example, it’s not time to panic and call GG. Instead, the attackers must react, and pick accordingly. A team consisting of Genji, Hanzo, and D.Va for example, is already on the right track to sorting all the annoying mobile Omnic turrets out.

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