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Overwatch Open Beta Preview

The Open Beta for Overwatch has officially come to a close.  We thought we would recollect our experience with the game and share our thoughts on what is an anticipated new IP from veteran Diablo studio, Blizzard.

Blizzard Entertainment is a studio that isn’t known for First Person shooters.  If you thinking Diablo, Star Craft or War Craft, then you in the right ball park of what usually gets produced.  When I first heard that they’re working on an arena styled, team FPS, I was sceptical about it.  Then I saw that reveal trailer.  You know the one, so good you thought it was a Pixar movie.  They had my attention, and after following on the game, I was properly intrigued.  Now finally I’ve had the pleasure of trying this very different title from Blizzard.

Overwatch plays a lot like Team Fortress 2, except that would be selling it a little short.  The basic premise is the same, 2 teams of Heroes battle it out over objectives in a stylized arena.  However, what makes this game rather different, besides the Pixar-esque art direction, is the Heroes themselves.  The characters you choose to battle with are the real star of the show.  Each one with their own unique weaponry and fixed set of abilities.  But it doesn’t just stop there.  Every hero has their own personality which shows not just in their outfits, or the type of weaponry they carry, but by voice over comments they throw around in game.   You could even tell some are buddies because of the quips they send flying at each other at the start of a match, mentioning a previous mission they did together for example.  I absolutely love that about this game, it strikes a very good balance between having interesting characters while being extremely light on story (When I say light, I mean damn near non existent).


Everyone's Favourite Butt-Poser, before her actions were redacted
Everyone’s Favourite Butt-Poser, before her actions were redacted


The gameplay itself is pretty standard FPS affair, shoot at the guys not in your team!  But Once again the characters make this game far more interesting than that.  Each one of them handles completely differently from each other.  You have characters that are slow and lumbering around but are hugely armored and dish out huge damage but again, very slow.  Some are lightning quick but low health and low damage dealing weapons.  Now matter which one you select, you will have a completely different experience.  The 21 heroes are split up into 4 category classes, Offence, Defence, Tank, Support classes.  Offence focusses on the lighter agile characters I mention earlier, usually equipped with assault rifle or pistols and attack oriented special abilities.  While the Defence guys are comprised of the sniper variety.  Tanks are the big slower characters with high damage attacks and defensive shields to protect the team.  Lastly the Support class is comprised of your medics.


Not a rip-off of Black Widow...Honest!
Not a rip-off of Black Widow…Honest!


There is no doubt about it, the gameplay is fun and extremely varied.  Simple attack/defend control objectives turn into cat and mouse rock, paper, scissors games.  It feels fluid, even though the movement speed didn’t feel particularly fast.  And you have to love the art direction, this animated near futuristic Earth aesthetic really shines through giving the environment a unique look and feel.  And ‘Unique’ seems to be a reoccurring theme with this game, because the same could be said about its control scheme.  That unfortunately is one of the things I was not impressed by.  Because each character is so unique, they’re controls differ slightly which is sometimes hard to get a hold of.  What used to be a sprint button on one character does absolutely nothing movement related on the next.  In the game’s defence though, each of the characters’ controls can be customised to your liking.


Who does not love Dual wielding ??
Who does not love Dual wielding ??


During my play through, I did experience some inconsistent lag, one match would be absolutely problem free while another would be all over the place, even kicking me back to the home screen.  Perhaps that was just a Beta issue that I’m hoping will be fixed by the time the game is released.  One glaring omission, is Remote Play specific controls.  I know what you going to say…not a lot of people have PS Vita’s anyway so why bother??  Because 12 million Vita owners who no doubt have PS4’s will be very disappointed when the TV gets kidnapped by family members and they decide to play the game, via Remote Play.  It is practically unplayable with Remote Play, Blizzard should definitely have control scheme that’s catered for Remote Play.  I know its not a deal breaker, however, every other game released on the platform has it out of the box.


DJ Speaker Shooter is in the Mix
DJ Speaker Shooter is in the Mix


All in all, this game is hugely entertaining, and I’ll delve into more detail once we get the full version of the game.  Should make for a very interesting change of FPS pace.  I cannot wait to play this game when it launches.  Overwatch launches on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on 24 May 2016.  So you really don’t have very long to wait.  Please feel free to drop into the comments section below and tell us what you thought of the Open Beta.  Stay tuned to SkyGamers for more info.