Overwatch Beta Review: Game Modes and Strategic Gameplay!

In an era where the FPS is the dominant genre in gaming, it’s hard not to feel that new FPSs are stale after a short while. Every gamer is different, but I know for myself I’ve played my share of Call of Duty titles, and Battlefield as well. Sure, these games offered some fun experiences within the online multiplayer from time to time, but those experiences got weaker by the year with every annual entry of those games. I’ve played Gears of War, Halo, and Destiny as well, but what exactly is Overwatch? Is it another FPS  competing in an already saturated market? No, not at all.

Overwatch has been called a “MOBA shooter,” and though it may have certain elements of a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena), it isn’t one entirely.  I’d call it “Super Smash Bros. in a shooter setting” because of the uniqueness of each character. In Overwatch, you have 21 characters to choose from–spread out across four roles or classes, The classes are Attack, Defense, Tank, and Support, and even in their respective roles each character still has a unique role to play. For example, within the Attacker characters, Tracer can zip around in short bursts causing her to be the annoying pesky fly that bugs the other team while Reaper is slower and able to sneak with his shadowstep ability. That is an example of how two characters can each be unique within one category type.

Overwatch: A PvP Multiplayer Experience

Overwatch is a PvP game only, there is no campaign. So, if you’re not into multiplayer versus other players, this may not be for you. But, I would still encourage you to try it out. In Overwatch, there are 3 game types: Assault, Control, and Escort. In Assault, you must capture the enemy team’s “A” point before moving on to capture the “B” point. However, the other team will be defending these points until the timer runs out. If the attacking team captures both points, they win. If the defending team can keep at least one point from being captured until the time runs out, they win.

In Control, you have one area that both teams must fight for, and a team must hold out until control reaches 100%; even at 99% control a team can lose the control point and the other team can come back and win the whole thing! Very intense and fun!

In Escort, one team must escort a vehicle carrying a payload to the end of a set route by standing near the vehicle to move it forward. If an enemy is within the vicinity of the payload, the vehicle will stop moving forward. If the vehicle gets to its destination, the escorting team wins.  If it does not, the other team wins.

Tailoring Your Gameplay to the Game Mode

It is hard to convey the game modes to someone who hasn’t played them, but I assure you the concept is simple. Depending on the game type, you will want to use certain characters for certain jobs. I loved using the beastly Reinhardt in the tanking role for escorting the payload or protecting my team. I’m a hero like that.

As I noted earlier, this isn’t your typical multiplayer shooter, so you don’t unlock certain load-outs or variances of character abilities. You get all characters with their set abilities. There still are unlockables like sprays, victory poses, and one-liners, but my favorite things to unlock are the skins. The way you receive these unlockables is through loot boxes that are awarded to you from time to time after completing a match. And you can also receive in-game currency to save up and buy that skin you’ve been eyeballing.

Seamless Gameplay Experience on PS4

The visuals in the game are amazing. They have a clean look that reminds me of a Pixar movie. The game runs at a smooth 60 frames per second, making the visuals all the more appreciable.

The audio is especially impressive, not just in the music, but also in the voice work and accents some of the characters have. I especially love Mei’s accent. Kudos to the woman who recorded her voice.

I played this beta on the PS4, and I had no problems with the controls. I do recommend playing around with the sensitivity sliders to hone in on your perfect settings.

This game is simple on the surface, but each match can be very technical and strategic if you want it to be. I would’ve liked to have seen a better and faster way to earn currency to buy skins and one-liners for my favorite characters, but this is a small complaint. The game is a blast with friends! I’ve not had this much fun in a multiplayer shooter in a very long time! I knew I might like this game, but never thought I would love it this much! Go check it out on May 24th, when the game officially launches!

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