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Overwatch Beta Impressions

Overwatch is among  a slew of new games being labeled as “Hero Shooters”. But while other members of this new group feature MOBA style action, Overwatch is an FPS developed by the masterminds at Blizzard.

Taking the idea of heroes from the MOBA scene, Overwatch replaces the mundane solider of old with a colorful cast of characters. The resulting combination is an amazingly fun and strategic FPS that feels different with every match. In total there are 21 heroes (all of which are available in the beta) scattered across four different categories: Offense, Defense, Tank, and Support. Not only do the heroes have unique visual appearances, they also each have their own set of abilities, weapons, and gameplay styles.

In total there are four different game modes with three maps for each. All of the modes revolve around an objective in an attack and defend model. This is where the heroes really shine. Each team can select from any of the 21 heroes, but it is highly advised to choose a good mix from each class of heroes. A team without a support character will likely suffer. In the same way, a team with too many Tanks might not be fast enough. In this way, Overwatch is a very team-oriented FPS. In my time with the game I found that my ability to play well was often determined by the skill of my team or the enemy team.

Suffice to say, this may not be the game for the lone wolf gamer that refuses to communicate in game chat. At the same time it can be an amazingly fun time with friends.

The heroes themselves seem very diversified in their abilities and weapons. From the speedy Tracer who can reverse her steps and blink around the map, to the shotgun wielding Roadhog who yanks in opponents with a chain, each hero brings their own brand of chaos to each match. This variety makes every fight feel completely different. In comparison to other shooters where the only deviation comes from players weapon choice and skill level, every fight in Overwatch is different thanks to the heroes.

One knock people might have is the fact that it is multiplayer-only. I’ve expressed my feelings on why I believe Multiplayer-only games are no different than singleplayer-only games in the past. Overwatch is yet another example of a game that doesn’t need a singleplayer component.

Betas have been a hot topic in the last few years thanks to the death of demos. Developers have been releasing all forms of betas and demos wildly ranging in content and polish. In comparison to the Homefront: The Revolution beta which completely turned me off the game, this Overwatch beta has solidified my desire to purchase and play the hell out of the game. May 24th can’t get here any sooner.
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