On May 24th,2016, Blizzard’s new shooter Overwatch took the world by storm. Although I only recently joined in on the craze, I can already say that the game is different from any shooter I’ve ever seen, and played, to date. Before I continue, let me clarify that I’m playing on an Xbox One, with a microphone.
My initial reaction to the game was how amazing the graphics were. The game immediately loads up with the Blizzard logo, and then a 5 minute cinematic plays, with Winston explaining a brief background of Overwatch. It’s nothing too fancy; you’ll have to go on the official Overwatch website for comics and full descriptions of each character. My only criticism is that the cinematic always plays. Although you can skip it, it’s annoying to have to click past every time you load the game. After the cinematic plays, the game takes you into a 10 minute tutorial about the controls and such. The game automatically makes you play Soldier 76, and only focuses on his abilities. Finally, you're taken to the menu of the game, and left on your own.
I hopped into a game, and was brought into a character selection menu. On the far right was warnings about team composition, which I found extremely helpful. However, I wish that the tutorial explained the categories of heroes and how to navigate the character selection menu, which I found stressful since the game was constantly telling my team and I to add more tanks, less supports, too many snipers, along with other messages. To the left of the warnings was my teammates, and the characters they chose. Below my teammates character icons were the characters themselves, separated by plain icons indicating the role of each character. As you scroll through the characters, they each ‘pop’ up on screen largely with a full body and head shot from the waist up.
I eventually settled on mexican Sombra for no real reason but that she looked cool. The game soon started, and I was left to fend on my own with teammates. We were playing on the map Junkertown which I found extremely confusing. Whenever I died,or eliminated as Blizzard calls it, I was taken to a random spawn location. I would often get lost, and end up wandering for a few minutes before finally finding an enemy. After engaging, I was able to use a vast amount of abilities which were unique for each and every character. As I shot(very badly I might add), the controller vibrated and my ultimate percentage rose. Each and every character had a different ultimate that would hinder the other team. The
ultimates ranged from Zenyatta’s healing, to Soldier 76’s never miss tactical visor. The character I was playing, Sombra, along with the other characters, also had numerous abilities which have various cooldowns; from an 8 second Sombra hack cooldown to a mere 4 seconds for Doomfists rocket punch.
Attention to detail was something Overwatch definitely blew me away with; every characters gun, reload and idle movements are different; Bastion’s weapon swings around like it's hanging by a thread and rusted, while Soldier 76’s gun is very precise, without a piece out of line, which is very different from Call Of Duty or other shooters where the guns are purely functional and don’t display character. Another small detail that Overwatch is the unique interaction dialogue that I found very interesting. I found myself listening for the tiny quips of conversation between characters on various maps, and times. For instance, Soldier 76 shouts “Back in my day, we would of had this payload delivered by now!” if the payload isn’t delivered fast enough. There are even special dialogue for certain skins, if you choose them that is. The skins vary from simple blues, greens, or yellows to abstract dresses and backstory clothing. For instance, Pharah has colored skins, but also has one that references from when she was a security guard.
After exploring the maps, skins, and characters, I decided to embark on my final journey: voice chat. Overwatch supports the ability to plug in a microphone and chat with other players in games and parties. I plugged in my mike, and started talking. I’ve found that unless you're in competitive mode, people don’t really talk, but I did manage to compose some advice for the new mike users. When you're needing to adjust your mike, mute it. No matter what you do, you're mike will still sound like your shoving it down your throat which will annoy everyone; and don’t scream or complain. You’d think that would be obvious, but 60% of the people I’ve met on voice chat speak in screams, or complain that you're not good enough while they die for 40th time in a match.
My only overall criticism for Overwatch was reporting. After being thoroughly disappointed by the reporting system, I decided to be the worst player ever. For a week, I threw games, hollered,complained, and jumped off of cliffs on purpose. Even after hundreds of reports, I was never banned, or even warned. If Overwatch can fix that, I would be much happier. And a final tip of advice for new players: If you're coming from Call Of Duty, Halo, or any other shooter game and you're looking for a character that hits close to home, try Soldier 76. As his name suggests, his character is a soldier and a great starting point for new players just trying to get their feet wet in the world of Overwatch