Great Overall: Overwatch

A+display+of+all+the+heroes+in+%22Overwatch.%22

A display of all the heroes in "Overwatch."

Daymara Fernandez, Staff Writer

Game Title: Overwatch

Released: May 24, 2016

ESRB: T

Developer: Blizzard Entertainment

Platforms: Windows PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Our Rating: A-

Are you looking for a multiplayer online first-shooter? Nowadays, players are desperate for a different form of gameplay as “Call of Duty” has become boring and “Black Ops” does not provide the same grandeur it used to have in previous installments. However, never fear, the game “Overwatch” is here. Shaped by Blizzard Entertainment (which gave players the opportunity to explore worlds of magic and role play with famous games like ‘The World of Warcraft”), “Overwatch” is something completely out of the company’s comfort zone, which only makes it more praiseworthy.

“Overwatch” provides a change from all those mellowed out video games of the past. It starts with giving the player various characters, or “heroes,” to choose from. The game is set sixty years into the future, during which the Earth was experiencing a golden age of technological development. This period ended with the rise of the omnics crisis, which was when robots with artificial intelligence started producing robots of their own and turned them against humans. The United Nations then decided to help fight the omnics crisis by creating Overwatch, a program to eliminate the omnics threat and restore order throughout the world. The story has a lot more depth, with the later disbanding of the original Overwatch forces and their later restoration by one of the playable characters called Winston, but knowing that is not necessary to truly enjoy the game. Even though you can start playing the game without knowing any of the backstories of the characters, “Overwatch” has made it its mission to provide more than just hollow heroes. Instead, the complexity of the characters allows for greater emotional investment in the game and allows players to fall deeper into the game’s content.

Some might compare the game to “Team Fortress 2,” but that is far from the truth. As said before, the heroes have a wider selection and, while they do not all directly tie in with strategy, this actually provides an almost perfect balance due to the different strengths in the cast. Additionally, the cast is filled with different personalities and the characters each have their own aspirations and goals, making them all the more lovable and playable. The forces of Overwatch fall into four different categories: offense, defense, tank and support. All of these are specialized in specific strengths and weaknesses, ensuring that none of the players dominate the game. Once you have chosen your character, you start playing with others. People begin to even out the playing field with teams of three to six players with characters from different categories. These competing groups then have to focus on protecting, obtaining or escorting the payloads to those points across maps. Apart from this, there are mini arcade-style games and custom-made games where you can adjust almost anything for the characters, creating a completely different gaming experience. The fact that the game provides such diverse content, such as playable characters, maps and loot boxes, only further engages players and explains why it is one of the most played games online.

“I know it is not for everyone, but once you give the game a shot it is actually really good. Find who you play well as and kick some player’s butt for fun! Just do not rage too hard…” freshman Kristine Lainez said.

The game itself provides beautiful high definition graphics, which are well incorporated into all the characters’ individual fighting styles. The movements and actions of the characters are very smooth, and unless you are connected to a very poor source of internet, the screen does not glitch or act weirdly when playing both online and offline. However, the online services tend to be flawed; while online connections do not impede in the actual graphics of the game, they do affect the overall gaming experience. In addition, synchronizing accounts with friends or other online accounts can be difficult and a tad bit frustrating since sometimes it just simply does not want to cooperate. However, “Overwatch” makes up for it with its many customizing options in the settings menus, which help control all the issues with synchronization of audio and allow the player to monitor authorized friend’s play times and basic stats.

Another important detail of “Overwatch” is its ranking system, which is a feature that allows you to play with players of your similar ranking. Depending on the skill level that you are at in each game, you’ll receive different medals in categories like shooting, team kills, healing given and overall performance in the game rounds. Earning points helps provide a sense of progression in the game by rewarding players for constant playing, but unfortunately it also seems to encourage people online to judge us and the choices of players that you make which can sometimes be frustrating.

Pullquote Photo

I feel like Overwatch is a game for everyone, and that everyone has the opportunity of creating their own connections to their favorite characters and simulate their own unique way of gameplay. As a person that plays scrutinized heroes like Symetra and Mercy, I understand that playing online can be frustrating, but the overall compensation from doing well in a game and proving everyone wrong just makes it all the more satisfying.”

— freshman Joshua Silva

Overall, “Overwatch” is a fantastic game. While the diverse cast of characters is the game’s greatest virtue, it is also its greatest downfall. The problem isn’t related to the actual characters themselves, but rather their specific abilities and how “Overwatch” players perceive them. When “Overwatch” hit the mainstream, the fan base grew and attracted new players; unfortunately, they are extremely judgmental players. Many players agree that playing “Overwatch” depends on the characters you use and different levels of skills they require. For example, characters like Ana (from support) or Doomfist (from offense) are harder to play, and normally only higher skilled players choose them when playing missions. On the other hand, the fan base slowly started to hate heroes like Symetra (from support), Mercy (from support) and Mei (from defense). The players that use said players often get ostracized from games, which makes playing the game as the characters extremely unpleasant, thus making those characters all the more disliked. In other words, the “judgmental fan base” bullies players who play the hated heroes, which discourages people from playing. Eventually, everything starts losing its polish and the fan base ruins it all. Nevertheless, this does not mean the game is not great to play as this is just a very small part of the fan base. Nonetheless, the fan base originates from the source material and the “Overwatch” creators just dismiss these issues, leading to innocent players getting attacked for making “mistakes” during game-play.

I believe Overwatch is a team game that emphasizes the importance of teamwork while allowing players to have fun. The game focuses on the aspects of creative strategies and teamwork among the various characters. It also encourages communication as it gives an underlying message that many people may not see as no one alone can win a game and an uncoordinated team is destined to lose. So, to effectively play the game one must voice their opinions and must be a team,” freshman Daniel Hurtado said.

Blizzard Entertainment provides a blizzard of fun with “Overwatch,” and this is not just the fan base praising it for its excellence. “Overwatch” has won various awards for Game of the Year at The Game Awards, D.I.C.E. Awards and Game Developers Choice Awards. Not only is “Overwatch” a beautiful game, but it also provides a decent online experience, progressive rewards and awards (like loot boxes) as well as a diverse cast of characters. Moreover, “Overwatch” is constantly changing for the better: completely new characters and seasons with special skins and other collectibles are usually added every four months, or at least every year. With every new event that “Overwatch” gives its players, gamers become more and more engaged. So if you want a game that never gets old, give “Overwatch” a try: it has Tracer’s seal of approval.