With a new character being introduced in Overwatch, I started thinking about why I dig this game so much. I’ve never been super into multiplayer PvP games. My childhood consisted of a steady diet of single player games. So, when I became introduced to multiplayer games like Call of Duty, I cringed a little bit. My first foray into PvP with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare soured me almost immediately. I had my butt kicked repeatedly until I decided enough was enough and went back to the campaign. Every so often, a friend asked, “Hey, let’s play ‘x’ or ‘y’ online”. I would shrug and tell them maybe some other time. I absolutely abhorred going online. Never being outstanding at twitch shooters, my reflexes weren’t up to the standards of the players that put hundreds of hours into learning maps and techniques.
Years passed until I found Team Fortress 2, and I realized there were other types of shooters out there geared towards players like me. I would play it for years and pour hundreds of hours of game time into it. I thought I’d be playing TF2 forever. It had everything I ever wanted in a multiplayer PvP shooter. Eventually, the community I played with (I almost exclusively played on the PS3) dwindled and TF2 made its way to the bottom of my game pile. I went back to Call of Duty a few times, but felt like I would never find another game quite like Team Fortress. And then I found Overwatch.
Most multiplayer games I played relied on twitch reflexes. They’re fun, but it’s not my style. Like TF2, Overwatch had a number of interesting characters. Characters counter other characters and have specific roles to the team as a whole. And they each have their own specialized abilities. There are guys who can deal heavy damage, tanks who use shields and can take heaps of damage, healers who heal (obviously), and everything in between. This is a far cry from games where you unlock the best guns and that’s all you use. Everyone essentially turns into a carbon copy of each other. Overwatch is a breath of fresh air in that department.
Visually, Overwatch is bright and colorful. Its comic book-like visuals are in stark contrast to the dreary environments that all the Call of Duty’s of the world provide. Don’t get me wrong, the realism in those games is second to none, but they can be a little oppressive at times. When you’re trying to relax and escape into a game, a wartime scenario is maybe not the most zen-like spot you can be in. Overwatch is vibrant and open. The backdrops and colors in Overwatch are a calming sight in the face of the chaos you’re being pitted against.
The primary feature that endears Overwatch to my heart though is the developer support it has. There is usually a patch a month that will change the game is some significant way. Blizzard rewards its fans’ loyalty with new characters and maps. They constantly tweak abilities to make characters more viable. and they offer up new game modes and different ways to play. AND IT’S ALL FREE! As of this writing, we now have two new characters with a third coming just around the corner, a new map, and countless changes to existing characters and none of this was paid DLC. It’s this type of support that will keep me coming back for years.
Currently, the only drawback is the main game modes. There’s really only an escort mission, where your team is either the defender or pushing the cart, and a typical control point mode. Of course, Overwatch will vary these up with modes such as random heroes, where you don’t know which character you’ll be playing as and you change characters after every death. But, if you’ve played one escort mission, you know what to expect. The changes are starting to come however. They’ve added one vs one and three vs three elimination games. They also added a competitive mode which is where the real serious players go to compete. And with their latest holiday event, we got a taste of a capture the flag mode which could be around to stay. I’m guessing the developer support I mentioned earlier will quickly remedy this issue.
As much as I appreciate Call of Duty and what games of that ilk did to multiplayer in general, they simply aren’t my cup of joe. I’m just not the biggest fan of twitch shooters. I will never be the dude that pulls his trigger a fraction faster than the other guy. Overwatch gives me a different way to play. It focuses on strategy and countering and making sure you have the right team composition. And with developer support, it is also constantly changing and evolving so that it never feels stale. I can see myself playing Overwatch over almost any other multiplayer PvP on the market right now.
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