Energetic, fun, crazy, exciting, and engaging are all words that can be used to describe Overwatch, one of the most popular games released in 2016. An all-new, original game from industry titan Blizzard, Overwatch is a multiplayer online first-person shooter. It fills a void left by games like Team Fortress 2 which offer intense competitive gameplay but with a fun and comic twist as the cherry on top. Overwatch has quickly become a success with reviewers and fans and is seemingly bridging the gap between gamers of different skill levels and talents. Possibly the best game of year so far, Overwatch has injected a new energy into the genre and is something you won’t want to miss.
In 2007 rumors started to flare about Blizzard working on another MMO that would feature completely new content separate from its other main franchises. However, seven years later they announced the project had been terminated and they had instead shifted their focus to a new idea. This idea would become Overwatch and see release in May of 2016. Immediately the game was met with nearly perfect ratings and glowing reviews. Blizzard cleverly marketed the release of the game by uploading character intro videos to their YouTube channel so players could get an advance peek at the art, humor, and design the game would feature.
One of the best elements of the game is the variety of ways in which you can play. The game, at release, offered four different game modes: Quick Play, Practice vs. AI, Custom Game, and Weekly Brawl. This range of play modes ensures that newbies aren’t thrown in with advanced players and that groups of up to 12 friends can guarantee they can all play together (and with a selection of house rules available). This is a hugely smart move on Blizzard’s part because they have created a safe zone for new players to learn, while other popular online competitive games like League of Legends have a more toxic environment for new players to enter.
The playable characters or ‘Heroes’ in Overwatch are also a strong move by Blizzard, as it makes the game accessible to players of various skill levels. With a total (so far) of 21 different characters with a variety of genders, ethnicities, and personalities, Overwatch delivers an impressive variety of styles of play to engage in. Some of these options include: Widowmaker, a French assassin sniper; Genji, a cyborg ninja who wields throwing stars and a katana; McCree, a wild west cowboy slinging a pistol; and Junkrat an Australian demolition man with a wild sense of humor. These heroes offer four completely different approaches to fighting the opposing team, and there are many more, so whether you prefer aggressive, defensive, or supportive gameplay, there is at least one, if not more, heroes you can excel with.
With a game set up of 6 vs. 6 on a variety of maps that span the globe, and different objectives on each map, the possibilities feel somewhat endless. Playing each round is a completely unique experience in which you may have to develop a new strategy with your team in order to secure the win. Overwatch is a fast-paced and exciting game that lets players of all skill levels get a chance at the win. Minor issues with the game do exist but none that seem impossible to improve moving forward. One such issue is apparent in the somewhat weak algorithm for deciding which player earned the coveted ‘Play of The Game’ highlight. However, with a slim list of mistakes and a massive list of successes, Overwatch has earned its spot among the most thrilling standout games of the year and possibly of the genre altogether.