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Is Overwatch Getting A Pass?

In the week of its release, Overwatch has received a lot of praise by mainstream media. But there's a vocal group of gamers wondering if the game is getting a pass. As a multiplayer-only game with micro-transactions, is Blizzard's FPS getting a free pass by the media?

The main reasons for this line of thinking are due to a few different reasons. The lack of a singleplayer component and the inclusion of micro-transactions are of course among them, but the major issue seems to be the amount of content (maps, modes, etc.). One thing we have to remember is that reviews from big media outlets such as IGN, GameInformer, or any other example is just an opinion of one person. And opinions can shape how we think of a game.

We rated Overwatch at a 9/10, and while details such as amount of content were taken into consideration, the enjoyable experience held the most weight. It may not be for everyone, but Overwatch is being enjoyed by thousands of gamers each day. And reviewers are no exception.

But let's take a look at the major complaints. I've vehemently proclaimed my position against micro-transactions as the new standard model. In games like Destiny, Grand Theft Auto 5, Halo 5: Guardians, and the upcoming Gears of War 4, I think micro-transactions replace the standard DLC model instead of helping it. But in each of those cases there was a past history of what used to be. Destiny started out with a season pass including two expansions and then turned to Live Events. GTA IV had two huge singleplayer expansions and now GTA V focuses on GTA Online exclusively. Halo 4 featured big map packs on a regular basis while Halo 5 trickles out content with REQ packs tagging along. And Gears of War 3 had an insane amount of content including singleplayer and multiplayer in its season pass, compared to the micro-transaction and free map model of Gears of War 4.

So it's understandable that Overwatch gets a pass when you consider that most of the games it's being compared to aren't new IP's but established franchises. These established franchises have set a standard for their games which simply doesn't exist with Overwatch. The game even drew comparisons to Street Fighter V which launched without a singleplayer component, micro-transactions, and a rocky launch in terms of server stability. Yet Overwatch does not have a 20-year long history of a singleplayer component. Nor did it have a nearly unplayable multiplayer launch.

Multiplayer-only games are slowly becoming a excepted, but until that happens there will always be a group of people who hate the idea, as well as reviewers who will criticize a game for it. Take Evolve for example, the 2015 asymmetric multiplayer game from 2K. The only difference between Evolve and Overwatch is that people enjoy Overwatch. When you dislike a game it's easy to point out its flaws. Similarly when you enjoy a game it's easy to overlook them.

So maybe it's true. Maybe Overwatch is getting a pass. But I feel that the game is also being unfairly compared to franchises that have an established set of standards. While at the same time I believe most reviewers are genuinely having a lot of fun with the game, which leads to overlooking minor complaints.

Have you tried Overwatch yet? Do you think the game is getting a pass or is it really just that damn good? Let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.
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