Overwatch is, without a doubt, a fantastic game worthy of all the hype and popularity it’s receiving right now. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, Overwatch is simply one of the most fun games to come out in recent years. However, despite all the media coverage and fan homages to Blizzard’s newest IP, it’s been under fire from a minority of players that are complaining about the price tag attached to the multiplayer-only game.
Released both on consoles and PC, I don’t hear too many complaints about Overwatch from the former, but PC players, on the other hand, have a lot to say about it. Being directly compared to the nine year-old Team Fortress 2, Overwatch has been criticized for a hefty price tag despite having the same kind of multiplayer content AND has a cash shop as well. While it’s all well and good to have your own opinion on certain things, sometimes, misinformation can be the downfall of a game, its player base, and even those that hate on it. So let me clear the air up on a few things so that folks who haven’t a faintest on how the game works will have a clearer picture of what it offers.
Overwatch: A TF2 Clone?
It’s pretty much Yes and No for me on this one. Come now; it’s a shooter. Like all shooters, they’re all pretty much the same. You run around and kill people and win through either most kills, wiping out the enemy team, objectives, or a combination of the three. At their very cores, what shooter actually differs? With the exception of the Portal series, the only differences between games of the genres are the sorts of gimmicks it has to set it apart from the rest. But as it was said, these are just gimmicks and do not, at all, become huge distinguishing factors. Creating a shooter certainly isn’t breaking any new ground, as with all genres and IPs, but what would matter here is the delivery of the IP.
So, to be honest? In the case of Overwatch, it’s pretty clear that the general hype surrounding the game is based off of the sheer charisma of the heroes available.
Yup, heroes, heroes, and more heroes.
The Hero design, both in physical aesthetics and in personality, are just so attractive that it is hard to resist the pull of it. I’m pretty much in that same boat; as an avid hater of the FPS genre and the sort of “players” they spawn, along with Mobas, I was at odds about buying the game due to its genre but was persuaded anyway because of those very same heroes that line its roster.
I can talk about how awesomely awesome Tracer is with her control of her own time, bubbly attitude, and fantastic playstyle, or Reinhardt’s “Main Tank” feature that seems to be pulled out from the holy trinity of the basic MMO and was able to fit in just right in a shooter, minus the taunting, along with his foolhardy but noble nature. It is these characters in Overwatch’s roster that made it all the more appealing to a non-FPS player like me.
If Overwatch is simply nothing more than a “reskinned TF2 clone,” then it is hardly believable that the game has been such an immense success. Why play a clone over the original? Oh, I’m sorry, League of Legends players. But that’s exactly my point; LoL was pretty much in the same boat as Overwatch, initially in the shadow of the original Dota. But time has proven that its solid IP and roster of immensely interesting characters and great gameplay to boot is enough to make it into a top contender in the esports scene.
I look at Overwatch in that same light; a budding esports scene that is inspired from the classic 90’s shooters, including TF2, entertaining us endlessly with one of the greatest rosters in recent years. To further prove my point, before Overwatch was even released or before it was even in beta, people have already been going nuts about the heroes and fan art, animations, and even NSFW works have already littered the internet. It’s just that huge.
If this doesn’t hype you, then nothing will.
Unfortunately, that seems to work as a double-edged sword for Overwatch because, with how uniquely interesting its characters are, there is no campaign mode to speak of in order to fully relish in what appears to be a rich and promising, but unexplored, lore. This is where people start throwing out their hesitance for Overwatch: With a minimum of $40, a lot of people are going to be initially paying for the game to experience more of the characters and lore it has to offer, but is then cut short with it being multiplayer only, much like the initial problems of Titanfall when it first came out. But, again, the difference with Titanfall is that Overwatch is not only banking on its superbly polished FPS Moba gameplay, but also in its cast of characters, something that Titanfall didn’t have the luxury of having to maintain a solid fanbase.
Granted, I still can’t take away from people feeling that a multiplayer-only game isn’t worth the price tag in question, especially for lore and story buffs, but one has to admit that the tug of Overwatch’s heroes is a powerful one. Besides, Blizzard decided to put out bits and pieces of the story so far or, at the very least, the background of the world these heroes are waging a perpetual war on. Going the Dark Souls route, there are loads of information in every stage that players can piece together to form their own conclusions. In conjunction with the animated shorts and some of the very few comics released about Overwatch, it’ll make a whole lot more sense when put together. I appreciate that kind of story telling ever since Dark Souls popularized the concept and I certainly can’t ask for more. It’s this lack of direct information that makes Overwatch even more appealing; it puts out a standard of being only able to understand the heroes as you play them. The more time spent owning with a character and hearing their conversations with other heroes on your team, it makes you beg for more. It gnaws at the brain that makes you more and more curious.
Gameplay Specifics – Worth the Price?
Yes. This is a big, resounding yes. I’ve no qualms about the gameplay and I certainly can’t tell you anything you haven’t heard of before. So, this section is pretty much a misnomer. But just to talk about the separation of Team Fortress 2 compared to Overwatch, the former has a fewer selection of characters, but a customizable loadout that can make nearly every player unique, while the latter has static abilities for each character, but has much more characters for an FPS. All things considered, it IS a Moba in the first person shooter sense, akin to the stylistics of Smite.
These arena games, whether they be LoL, Dota, TF2, HotS, Overwatch, HoN, and pretty much anything else under the sun can be considered “repetitive.” I found that argument thrown around a lot about Overwatch and I would agree; but it’s the genre of the game. It’s a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena. What else is there to expect from them? We all know Garen pops out from the brush and goes Demacia on people’s asses, but how he does it is what is interesting. Owning a whole team with your superior skill or watching someone do so is what makes these games attractive. Of course it’s going to be repetitive, but we enjoy these types of games with the way they are played. Repetitive is a pointless and moot argument and I’ll have none of it as you can say it about everything else.
Some folks have also expressed fears about the in-game cash shop of Overwatch considering that Blizzard promised that it wouldn’t have any micro-transactions. People keep looking at the idea of a cash shop as if it’s made of ebola. While Overwatch does have a cash shop, it’s nothing more than the option to purchase loot boxes that contain 4 pieces of random aesthetic pieces for your heroes. Folks who haven’t played Overwatch don’t know that you receive one loot box every time your account levels up. How do you level up, then? Play the game.
There isn’t anything in the foreseeable future that indicates that Blizzard will be dropping in cash shop-only skins or colors. Everything can be obtained by just playing the game and not spending an extra dollar for anything. Again, the cash shop is just an option; if you really want some certain skin and don’t mind gambling for it, then by all means, go right ahead, but no one is forcing anybody to purchase from it. Look at this as simply a little bonus extra for Blizzard if someones DOES buy something.
If anything, I’ll end with this: If you like the open world type of game or a grand, but linear, story to follow, then Overwatch isn’t for you and you are certainly interested in a completely different genre of game. Do you like the FPS and MOBA genre? Then, yes, Overwatch is definitely a must-buy CD Key. Starting at $40 with endless and free updates for life, you certainly can’t go wrong with a purchase here. It’s not the most perfect game, but it’s damned good fun with a quickly growing esports scene. Hell, even a pro LoL player quit his team because of how damned fun Overwatch is. Legit, amirite?