On May 24th game giant Activision Blizzard dropped on the world its newest massive success: Overwatch. Blizzard has built itself up as the parent of some incredibly successful game franchises, including StarCraft, WarCraft (and subsequently World of Warcraft), and Diablo. However, Overwatch was their first venture into the world of first-person-shooters (FPS).
Seven years prior, Riot Games launched the highly successful game League of Legends (LoL). LoL was a multiplayer-online-battle-arena (MOBA) style game, where players would choose from various hero characters, each with different attributes, strengths, and weaknesses, to fight for control of their enemy’s territory. Players could identify with various heroes in the game, gaining skills in playing one hero in particular, while forging new friendships and rivalries within the community the game created.
With the huge success that MOBA-style games were getting, especially within the realm of professional eSports (where people play these games competitively for massive cash prizes, much like major league sports), it’s no wonder that Activision Blizzard borrowed the concept to create Overwatch. Overwatch takes from the fast-paced play style and quick reaction times needed for popular FPS games and combines it with a League of Legends-like hero roster.
Each hero character operates entirely differently from all the others, with some characters being good for attack, some good for mobility, and some good for defense. It offers the player the ability to identify their play-style with a hero that fits them, rather than using a class and upgrade system that many popular FPS games – like the Call of Duty franchise – utilize.
Overwatch offers some very distinct modes of play, changing up the formula from a standard “kill the most enemies” or “capture the flag” styles many players are used to. In one game mode, players fight to control a point on the map, needing to occupy that space longer than their opponent during the round. It operates much like a tug-o-war, trying to wipe out the enemy forces from that area long enough to claim it for your team and then keep someone there at all times to gain points.
Attack and defend points are another style of match found in Overwatch. One team will be tasked with defending a point from oncoming enemy attackers. If the point is taken by the enemy, your team’s goal is then to stop the enemy from transporting the “payload” (usually a vehicle of some sort) to its destination point across the map. The payload moves only when enemy heroes are on or around it, but it does progress quicker as more enemies are in its area, making it a real struggle to keep it from moving forward.
Along with the game, Blizzard has also released several animated shorts on YouTube that give some history of the heroes you play in the game. It has been a long-running tradition for Blizzard to create rich back stories for their characters and the worlds they inhabit and Overwatch is no exception. For its interesting characters, balanced gameplay, beautiful graphics and scenery, Overwatch gets a GAGS Rating of 6 out of 7.