Game review on PlayStation 4
David Hull / Sun 5th Jun 2016
1438 views / 8 bites
OVERVIEW Blizzard Entertainment's Overwatch is a purely Multiplayer experience. With quirky characters and a strict focus on quality gameplay, Overwatch is a blast. For now.
STORYLINE There isn't one. Not that we can play. Starting the game gives you a brief look back at what led to the state of the world Overwatch takes place in. A world looking to defend itself from Artificial Intelligence, but that's about it.The attempt at dropping some context is appreciated but without a way to experience it, it's easily set aside and forgotten. However...
There's something to be said for focusing purely on a multiplayer experience. Without the weight of storytelling every mechanic can be given the needed attention for optimal performance. Every character plays a specific role whether it's healing, dealing high damage or protecting their team. With 21 roles to choose from, the variety is high and you can switch regularly during each match to meet your teams needs.
As of right now the game works very well. Powers are interesting, simple to use and are readily available even after requiring a recharge. You can choose whoever you want but it is critical that you be aware of your teams progress. Should your team start to slip, you may need to choose a different character to turn the tide. The game even makes suggestions to you as you wait to begin. This leads to an issue though. A large enough portion of players are unaware or ignorant of the games mechanics, simply choosing to play as say, Tracer, the entire game.The only thing Blizzard need to watch for is imbalance, which they no doubt already have eyes on. When matches become stomping grounds for the elite, even with Skill Based Matchmaking in effect, that will require tuning lest people begin to turn away to other games.
Overwatch's visual direction is more akin to something from a Pixar catalogue. All of the characters seem straight out of Andy's toy box. Parallel to the gameplay, each character is instantly recognisable and unique. There is still an issue with over sexualisation. Many female characters within the game are small, thin and mostly clad in skin tight clothing.
It isn't completely over the top though with Zarya and Pharah filling the role of Muscular tank and Samus Aran clone respectively. But it is a bit transparent.Those with a keen eye for frame rates will notice nearly no slow down at all. In fact with all the mayhem going on at once, particularly with some of the more explosive character abilities, it's an achievement worth praising to keep such high visual fidelity in the most hectic engagements.
With a diverse roster you need diverse audio. From Hanzo's Eastern (and stereotypical) pearls of wisdom to Mei's upbeat and enthusiastic shtick, the cast provide a welcome change to the dull and militaristic "Go! Go! Go!" of other titles.Music ranges from the empowering themes of Starship Troopers advertisements to electronic filler that you barely notice.
Weapons and abilities are satisfying yet somehow hollow. Guns that could level a house are not quite as 'impactful' as expected and even smaller guns feel like shooting Wasps out of the barrel. That said it plays well with the aesthetic and when two teams are in the thick of it, trying to lock down an objective the audio mayhem is definitely entertaining with powers and weapons and shields and heals all popping off without a hitch.
VERDICT Overwatch is what you would define as well executed multiplayer. It knows its audience, it focuses on being accessible, but also open to mastery. The technical aspects are something that should be standard in all games on current hardware and the only issues are mostly theoretical.But without a narrative the game may grow stale if left without follow up content. The gameplay is well executed but that won't necessarily prevent people from moving on if it's just the same thing every day.