Overwatch has a lot going for it. Smash video game company, Blizzard Entertainment’s latest IP has generated an immense amount of hype from its debut trailer, it is the first time the company has worked on a first person shooter, and it’s starring characters have become fan favorites. The game’s open beta was a massive success, and was declared as one of the most anticipated games by numerous game sites and blogs. And now that the product has finally been released, it’s hard not to feel a little disappointed.
Now before everybody and their mother goes nuts let me make something perfectly clear: Overwatch is not a bad game. It is one of the most gorgeous games ever rendered. It feels like playing a Pixar movie. All the characters are unique, diverse, and fun to play as. The game is incredibly easy and accessible, especially for those who are new to shooters. And, most importantly, the game controls great. Never have I played a shooter that was so inclusive and fun.
But, the fact remains that I am disappointed with the final product. Every positive aspect the game offers doesn’t balance out its severe lack of content.
The game’s meat and potatoes are online matches, twelve players duke it out in six vs six objective based games. So, this means that unlike Call of Duty the focus is not on how many enemies you can kill, but rather how you further your team’s advancement to victory. Overwatch forces the players to be more cooperative, and less independent. However, there are only three modes in the game: assault, control, and escort. (It’s worth noting that both Star Wars Battlefront, and Titanfall had more multiplayer modes.)While each varies slightly, none of them are different enough to be unique from each other. In fact there are times that I can’t really tell the difference between each mode I’m playing, and don’t change-up my tactics. And while the game encourages team work that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. More often than not, players will run off to try and get the most kills and make it difficult for the team to win. This can be very frustrating, so the game is more enjoyable when playing with friends.
If you’re not into multiplayer gaming and want a single player experience, Overwatch is not for you. Apart from creating matches with AI bots and a lackluster training mode, the game is entirely multiplayer, which again, only has three modes. This wouldn’t be a problem if the game had more variety in its online content, but the lack of a single player campaign is not only disappointing, but it’s rather baffling. Blizzard is known for creating massive worlds with intricate stories. Now if you’ve seen the marketing story videos, you can see that Blizzard did create a world with Overwatch, but we don’t get to play it.
The main comparison for Overwatch isn’t Gearbox’s Battleborn, but rather Valve’s excellent Team Fortress 2. Both games are remarkably similar in their concepts: multiplayer only games, wildly different characters, and a cartoon like art style. However, the big difference is that Team Fortress 2 doesn’t take it self too seriously. There’s no real story in TF2, the concept doesn’t make much sense, but the focus of the game is on the game play, which is more varied and has more modes than Overwatch. There was no story or world Team Fortress 2 until Valve made videos after the game was released, all of which are goofy and bizarre.
Overwatch‘s marketing materials indicate a large story with an expansive lore inside this epic world. But, we don’t get to see any of it in the actual game. We just have to watch the videos. Apart from the fact that this feels like phenomenal false advertising, the game just doesn’t feel complete. And Blizzard asking for 60 dollars for a game that feels only half completed is overpriced.
I’m disappointed by this mainly because I want a story mode, I want to be more invested in this universe.
All Blizzard gives us are these minimal character interactions when playing the game that just aren’t that satisfying. It’s a shame, because each of these characters could easily hold their own game. I would love to play as Tracer, or McCree, or Winston or any of these characters in their own story modes. Blizzard created this huge world that references an epic war, and has these great characters that all have histories with each other. But, we only get to play a mode that doesn’t explore this world and these characters very well. What’s even more baffling is that each character has a distinct voice actor, and each of them reprise their roles in these short films Blizzard’s releasing. So, if they didn’t want to do a story mode for this game, why did they bother having these talented voice actors fill the roles.
Like I said earlier the game is a lot of fun, looks fantastic, and plays great. But great game play and a good presentation don’t justify the price tag and lack of content. I hope Overwatch expands further in the future, and we get to see more of this world and these characters, but as of now there’s just not enough to make this one of the all time greats.