This past weekend I was able to try out Blizzards first foray into into FPS Overwatch. There is a forced tutorial which isn’t too long winded and gets to the point, interestingly it assumes no prior knowledge of computers it seems for example the first instruction informs the player on how to move the mouse around to look. Afterwards you’re recommended to try out a sandbox training mode area to get a hang of the various characters and their abilities which I found quite nice. Then I just dived into about 4 hours of live play it was overall fun.
Available in this weekend test were 3 modes:
- Capture Point – Fight to conquer or hold areas.
- King of the Hill – Fight over a single area.
- Payload – Escort a cart to the end of a stage.
The modes were exactly the same as from experiences from other games. However one big difference is that the games can be over quite fast, a game can be over in 5 minutes (rare but it happens). Also this game seems to be Multiplayer only at the moment.
In Overwatch you don’t pick up weapon powerups or even configure a load out. You pick a character which has a set weapon(s) and set abilities. To make up for this though, there are a lot of characters (21 in the beta). Each character is drastically different and feel very different to play for example Soldier 76 feels like you’re playing Call of Duty but Pharah feels like I’m kind of playing Quake. No-matter what your preferences are you should be able to find at least 1 character suitable to your play-style. You can switch character any time you’re in base or when you’re dead to counter-pick enemies so you’re not stuck.
Whilst playing this game I was immediately reminded of Team Fortress 2 so afterwards I played some TF2 to juxtapose.
Gameplay-wise both games feel kind of similar at the surface level except for 2 things, movement and game length. There are many characters in Overwatch that move very fast and have mobility options like wall-climbing, flying and teleporting which I feel are the main contributors to the faster feel and shorter games. TF2 isn’t necessarily slow-paced, its just that progress feels more deliberate. These two differences make the games very different.
The characters options are samey in my opinion, TF2 has few characters that you customise to change gameplay where as Overwatch has many fixed characters.
Content-wise it seems Overwatch doesn’t have many maps at the moment, but I assume that map pool will improve considering the price-tag.
No doubt the game is great fun however at the moment, you get a handful of maps and a few game modes. The developers have promised post-launch content to justify its price tag, but for me tangible results are more important than intentions as we’ve all seen those expensive season passes which eventuate into only a few updates. After currency conversion I paid approximately 55 USD for the base version (other versions just have character skins). Thinking about the enjoyment I’ve gotten from other FPS and their current prices I think a list is important for comparison.
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive 14.99 USD
- Team Fortress 2 Free
- Insurgency 14.99 USD (Goes on sale often)
- Quake Live 9.99 USD
- Overwatch 55 USD
To be fair those games are much more mature in their life-cycle than Overwatch and their game-styles aren’t exactly the same but even at launch the games I’ve listed were not much more expensive than their current price. It is very hard for Overwatch to justify its price as it has less content then any single of those games and is more than 3 times more expensive.
Should you buy?
For the more directly comparable games, you’ve got Quake and Team fortress 2 which are available so much cheaper if you need your arena shooter or team-based fix. However if you want to play the latest shooter which will have a high population of players you may want to get Overwatch for 2 reasons, firstly its new, people like new things and secondly brand name, Blizzard’s name is strong and their titles sell well regardless of quality.
Overwatch is lacking content and not worth it, I have purchased the game however my decision was motivated mainly by friends playing as well.