I’m happy to announce that this week, we have a guest post from a friend of mine – Aidan Parr! This is an unprecedented change and I can only assume he wants all of my ‘fame’ and ‘money’, but I’ll let it slide (this time). So, for your reading pleasure, please enjoy Aidan’s review of Overwatch on the PS4!
Having your own flat is full of little freedoms that you don’t expect, little freedoms that mean spending a large portion of your monthly income for the next 30 years on your mortgage seems slightly more worth it. These little freedoms include not having to queue for the shower in the morning, having pop-tarts for dinner, and having your own internet connection.
You see, this internet connection, this marvellous fibre optic connection, means online gaming is actually worthwhile for the first time in my life. I don’t have lag, I don’t have to wait seven hundred and thirty two hours for a PlayStation update to download (now it’s an even two hundred hours, seriously Sony, what’s up with that?) and it means I can try Overwatch.
I’ve been interested in Overwatch for a while; the Blizzard FPS has been making waves on YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, Reddit and everywhere else on the internet. Already a favourite in the competitive gaming scene, Overwatch sees two teams of six battle it out to secure objective points and/or escort a payload across a map.
What really differentiates Overwatch from Call of Duty et al. is the ‘Heros’ the players get to use. Each Hero comes with their own different weapons and skills, ranging from a sniper rifle that hurts enemies and heals friends to a chain hook/shotgun combo.
Like Liam Neeson, each Hero has their very own set of special skills. These skills, called ‘Ultimates’, are special moves triggered by filling up a bar with good play and general badassery. Like the Power Rangers’ Megazord, these Ultimates are used once or twice in a round and can even be combined with other players’ Ultimates for maximum impact (like when the Megazord combined with the Dragonzord to form the Mega Dragonzord) although these tactics require teamwork, and are usually only seen on the competitive circuit.
A few games in and I’m starting to find my feet. I’ve been experimenting with the Offence class, and Pharah has rapidly become a particular favourite. Armed with a rocket launcher and a nifty blue power armour suit with built in rocket pack (naturally), Pharah matches great maneuverability with a hard hitting weapon that is very forgiving for those of us that may not have the best aim going.
Alongside Pharah is Tracer.
Remember Modern Warfare 2’s OP lightweight-marathon combo, combined with with akimbo machine pistols? This is Tracer. Tracer is quick, nimble and has the ability to skip forward and backwards in time, managing to move quickly across the battlefield to get into flanking positions, or to get out of firefights in which she’s outgunned. In fact, when escorting my payload on Route 66, right at the the start of the match, I was able to make use of Tracer’s speed to get in behind the first line of defence and take out two of the defenders before turning and moving forward to kill three more defenders coming to reinforce the line. This was my first five kill streak, and boy did it feel good.
You see, this is what’s great about Overwatch. I’d picked the right Hero for the map mode, knowing I needed to break out of the spawn trap, and managed to make a big contribution to my team, helping us to win the game.
It’s a reinvention of the FPS, taking a game type made old and stale by year-on-year Call of Duty and Battlefield releases and giving it a whole new lease of life. It benefits from not having 14 year olds questioning my sexuality, screaming down their microphones after I’d killed them following their third leet 360 no-scope attempt, and it just looks so damn cool, a far cry from the grey and dark green colour palettes of the Call of Duty franchise.
Overwatch isn’t without its flaws. Respawn times feel pretty lengthy, I guess aimed at avoiding becoming a spam fest; however the spawn points themselves are pretty far away from the action, which means you actual combat-to-combat cool down can be close to a minute, which is frustrating when you go 0-7 in about 5 minutes of play as Reinhardt (Turns out he’s only a good tank if you use his shield. Who knew?)
If you want an accessible, cool first person shooter where a chap can fire a Gyarados from a bow and arrow to try and kill a cowboy and a space gorilla in power armour while a 19 year old Korean girl in a mech tries to flatten a 57 year old Swedish engineer, then you should probably check out Overwatch.
Or not. It’s not like I care.