Overwatch, the first ever first person shooter from Blizzard Entertainment (creators of the legendary MMO franchise Warcraft), launched its multiplayer beta last weekend and Nick, Will & Brad were there to test it out - by the way, the game is out TODAY.
Have Blizzard struck gold with a new franchise? Did Nick spend more time tea-bagging corpses than capturing flags? Can Will ever scrape together a positive kill-death ratio? Get ready for three different opinions from three very different gamers. We’ve also been lucky enough to get a ton of feedback from you awesome guys in the community, with the highlights included below. If you’ve got anything you’d like to share, just let us know in the comments or drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter.
How are you coming into Overwatch?
How much hype can you place on something? How much pressure can you put on PR agencies to give you an alpha or closed beta code? How much Twitch can you watch and still remain interested? Honestly, I have no idea what the answers are to any of these because I could not wait to play this game.
I’m going into this one totally ‘cold’ in that I have very little knowledge of this game before playing it. It could just as easily be an 8-bit 2D puzzler as it could be a FPS – the only clue I’ve got is the cover which shows someone with a gun. So yeah, it’s probably a shooter, right? In fact, I think this is the first time I’ve even played a game by Blizzard Entertainment! What can I say, I’ve always been a console guy my entire life. It’s exciting to get advanced access to this beta though – thank-you Blizzard!
Without meaning to make unfair comparisons (let’s face it, I’m not), I’ve been binging a fair bit of Team Fortress 2 lately, which may hopefully put me in slightly better stead, given how much my twitch reactions have lapsed since my Counter-Strike: Source days. Blizzard Entertainment will have had a lot of opportunity to learn from Valve’s nine year old success story, so combine that with the colour and polish that we’ve come to expect from a Blizzard game and I’m expecting pretty good things from Overwatch.
What was your favourite character?
B: Reinhardt is an absolute beast. With over 500 health and a shield which can take 2,000 damage it really takes a lot to bring him down. As a fairly slow-to-respond player, I need a lot of health, a like sponging bullets so need to make sure there's a big plate of armour. Imagine a knight from the future who lives by an old moral code and has a rocket hammer! I also eventually got the hang of the very fragile Symmetra who has an insane teleporter ability which can help your team keep the pressure on. You soon realise a team without support is going to struggle.
W: I started with Soldier: 76, who’s a bit of an all-rounder with solid running abilities and a good gun… and I sucked. The joy came from trying out all the different characters and finding the one that best suited my play style. I tried Bastion next, the Chapi-style robot who can turn into a minigun - but only when stationary - and fared slightly better. After trying out a few more, I settled on Reinhardt – a slow moving, heavily armoured crusader who has no gun but can rush into enemies to kill them or whack them with his giant hammer when he’s not hiding behind a massive shield which others can get behind too.
N: Given all the hype (and because I’m shamelessly British; yes I spent most of my playtime sipping tea), I jumped in with Tracer. She has a fairly high skill cap - she’s a glass cannon, who can dish out a huge amount of damage with her dual pulse pistols in the few seconds she gets between reloads, but goes down quickly if caught unawares. Generally, I found she fared best in one-on-one encounters, using blink to mess with their head or get behind them or rewinding and healing after scouting corners. This style of navigation skills tied with high damage output is somewhat replicated in another of my favourites - Reaper - whose teleport, if used correctly, can be a game-changer. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t spend a fair proportion of my time playing as Bastion, but that generally left me feeling kind of cheap, for reasons we’ll come to in a bit. Switching characters is definitely something that you’ll continue to do post-beta though - the play styles are so different that it’s not just about keeping things interesting but also staying reactionary to the map or the team you’re up against.
W: King’s Row was my personal favourite, not just because it’s based on my home town of London but the variety of the city streets, sewer and London Underground kept it really interesting and provided plenty of different places to do battle. Maps do seem a little sparse in terms of weapons and power-ups though. I only seemed to find extra health after re-spawning and as far as I could see there’s no way to pick up new weapons or ammo. I definitely didn’t find any lying around.
N: I actually have a bit of a soft spot for Lijiang Tower. It balances claustrophobic, intense firefights with enough routes around the map to leave space for the corridor duels I was starting to get more skilled at. I was tagging in and out of playing with a friend of mine, so my exposure to some of the other maps was definitely more limited but honorary mentions go to Volskaya Industries and Nepal! Anything without bottomless pits is always a plus, because… I seem to have a habit of making friends with them all too often.