As most who don’t live under a rock already know, Blizzard has released a new title called Overwatch. There has been so much hype surrounding this title I am sure that the first question on everyone’s mind is does it live up to it? This is a challenging question to answer, because on one hand it absolutely does live up to the hype, but on the other some of the hype is so misguided it never had the chance. Let me explain. Overwatch has been touted as the game that will change the face of MOBAs forever, when in reality what it does have in common with what we normally classify as a MOBA is so vague you have to reach to make the connections.
The game play has zero MOBA traits, there are no lanes, minions, towers or racks, you don’t level up and there is no gear system. The most obvious parallels it draws to traditional MOBAs is the loot system, the roles, and the plethora of skins that are offered. Aside from that it is a bit of stretch to call other mechanics MOBA like. That is not to say that Overwatch does not shine in other areas, you just have to take it at face value.
In reality, Overwatch is one of, if not the, top arena shooter on the market currently; challenging games like Team Fortress 2 (TF2) with similar gameplay, better physics, integrated voice comms and more exciting characters. I found that although the lack of additional game modes and the delay of capture the flag mode makes it a bit repetitive when playing solo, but I still find myself loosing hours when partying up with friends and running unusual character combos that throw teams for a loop.
The internet has spoken, you Bast...ion.
Overwatch also brings some interesting features to the table that are unique to both arena shooters and MOBAs alike. Some of the complaints of surrounding the game focus on the balancing of certain characters (read Bastion). Where some see an issue I see an interesting and unique mechanic to the game, each of the champions available are overpowered in their own way. Phara with her nearly infinite flight ability and a rocket barrage that could bring down a heard of elephants. To subtle things like RoadHogs ability to heal himself in combat for 50% of his health every 6 seconds. While this sounds borderline ridiculous, it actually adds a very cool mechanic to the game. Just like in a MOBA you build your gear to counter the other team, in Overwatch you switch to a new champion that better counters the enemy team.
Overall, Overwatch is one of the best games to be released in 2016 thus far. The gameplay is exciting and fresh although the lack of game modes can get a bit monotonous, If Blizzard delivers with modes like capture the flag or king of the hill I may never have a real social life again. So although it may not be the FPS MOBA you are hoping for, it just may be the best arena shooter to come out since TF2. This is a solid buy and a great way to lose a few hours a day without a lot of time invested in complicated builds and gameplay mechanics.