Unless you’ve had your head in the sand almost anyone interested in gaming will have played the MMORPG World of Warcraft at some point in the last ten years. It’s genre defining and a genuine classic. Blizzard – Wow’s makers – have also produced Starcraft, Hearthstone and Diablo which it could be argued easily also define their genres. Two years ago they announced a new game – Overwatch. Overwatch is a fast paced team first person shooter in the style of Team Fortress. The full game will launch at the end of the month but we had access to the open beta for the last weekend and a chance to put it through its paces.
The game runs on short play times – anywhere from 5 minutes to half an hour or so and players get to choose from 21 characters who fall into 4 main types – attacking, defending, tanks and support. You can switch from one character to another when you die (or run back to the beginning) and you’re tasked as a team to attack or defend a position or carry out an escort quest. Sounds simple? It’s far less so in reality. Each character has their own unique abilities and your team will win or lose to a large degree on which are deployed in what combination and when so you’ll switch around a lot! Each hero can counter and in turn be countered by other available hers – think rock, paper scissors in an FPS.
It’s a cartoony, fast paced often chaotic but beautiful mess.
Blizzard have invested a lot of time and effort in developing the back story of the heroes in the game with everything from limited edition comics, documentaries, a surprising number of adverts and short animated stories and it’s worked very well. From the first time you jump in you’ll find yourself gravitating to a particular character and play style and when that gets boring there’s many others to jump to. Ranked play was not available in the open beta, although it did appear in earlier closed betas.
Included in the box: Full game access. There are two other versions of the game available which add skins and in game pets but they’re cosmetic and not required.
Paid Extras: None. There is no subscription required.
Blizzard was formed in 1991 and scored their first big hit in 1994 with the original Warcraft. They’ve been through a huge number of changes since that point including merging with Activision and currently have almost 5000 employees and an annual revenue over 1 billion dollars a year.
- Genre: First Person Team based PVP Shooter with an AI training mode
- Several fixed maps that are used in different ways depending on the team orders
- Length of game: Gameplay sessions from 5 minutes to half an hour depending on map and how long things draw out.
- Style: Cartoony non-graphic but some violence.
- Immersive – fast paced and requires full attention.
- PEGI/ESRB rating T (Teen) Provisional
- Platforms: Xbox One, PS4 and PC
- Number of players: Two teams of 6 people
- Diverse, wide ranging audience with ranked play planned on release
- Difficulty settings: one difficulty setting but teams are assembled based on the the player’s level and the opposition is matched to that.
Overwatch is available currently for £29.99 for the preorder game directly from Blizzard and has popped up on discount sites for as low as £22. Blizzard have c omitted to no ingame sales of non-cosmetic items and no subscription fee or season pass leaving a AAA game at under £30. That would be a very good cost for most games for a Blizzard game that looks like it’s got a great chance of being game of the year its a steal.
Operating System: Windows 7, 9 or 10
Processor :Intel Core i3 or AMD Phenom X3 8650
Video :NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460, ATI Radeon HD 4850, or Intel HD Graphics 4400
Resolution: 1024 x 768 minimum
Memory :4 GB RAM
Storage: 30 GB available hard drive space
Internet: Broadband internet connection
Processor: Intel Core i5 or AMD Phenom II X3 or better
Video: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 or AMD Radeon HD 7950 or better
Memory: 6 GB RAM
I’ve rewritten my verdict three times already. Every time I came across too gushing and too uncritical. Fourth time lucky. If you like FPS’s you should be getting this game. If you have ever liked a Blizzard game you should be getting this one. If you like fast paced, sci-fi and well characterized games you should be getting this game. In short if you’re a gamer Overwatch should be on your radar. Highly recomended.