Video Game Preview: Overwatch

Overwatch is an upcoming multiplayer first-person shooter created by Blizzard Entertainment.  The game is scheduled to be released on May 24, 2016.  It will be available on PC, Xbox One, and PS4.  Blizzard has announced that they will be supporting the game post launch with additional characters as DLC at no additional cost.

Overwatch is designed to play as a squad with two opposing teams of six players each. Players choose one of several hero characters, each with their own unique abilities and role classes. The characters’ roles are iconic to this type of game. They are either offense characters, defense characters, support characters, or tank characters. Players also have the ability to change characters each time they die so it is very easy to experiment with different characters and strategies.

Overwatch can be played in any one of three game modes:

  • Point Capture: The attacking team has to capture two specific points on the map, while the defending team must stop them.
  • Escort: The attacking team must escort a vehicle to a certain delivery point before time runs out, while the defending team must stop them. The path is fixed.
  • Control: Each team tries to capture and maintain a control point until their capture percentage reaches 100%.

The premise of the game is set in the near-future Earth, years after the end of an A.I. robot uprising. At the end of this ‘Omnic Crisis’ an international task force called ‘Overwatch’ is formed by the United Nations to protect humanity, ending the Crisis.  After the Crisis, Overwatch remained in place as a organization to keep order. Eventually the inevitable rumors of corruption started and the members of Overwatch were reviled. Their organization was destroyed and some suspected it was by people who are wary of their power and caused chaos to stop their influence.

Blizzard Entertainment co-founder Michael Morhaime stated that Overwatch is intended to “create an awesome FPS experience that’s more accessible to a much wider audience while delivering the action and depth that shooter fans love.”  In keeping with this idea of reaching a broader audience, the game is animated in a Saturday morning cartoon style and was given a Teen rating from the ESRB.  The hero characters include males, females, and non-human characters such as robots and even a gorilla.  Unlike the costumes in some of Blizzard’s other iconic games, the female characters are well covered with very little skin exposed.  They are, however, wearing cat suits, but this is no different than your typical comic book based cartoon character.

In March 2016, Blizzard announced that that they will be releasing comics and animated shorts based on the Overwatch universe in 2016. It includes 6 digital comics, an animated short series, and a graphic novel called Overwatch: First Strike, which focuses on the story of several in-game characters.

The first animated short was released last week featuring the gorilla character named Winston. (You can watch it at the bottom of the article.)  It was really intriguing and entertaining to watch and my older boys were very excited about the game. Considering the game is a first person shooter, the violence level was not all that bad.  It certainly was not anything like the typical military style shooter that we are familiar with. It was more reminiscent of a Star Wars movie or an Avengers movie.  While not as tame as Splatoon, so far it seems like something I would allow my 8 and 10 year old to play.  There may be some blood, but I didn’t notice that in any trailer or preview that I’ve seen so far.

Overall, this is a game that my family is highly anticipating.  If the quality of the animated short is any indication of the game to come, and they keep up at this level, we will definitely own Overwatch. We will be keeping an eye on the violence level and update it if we see anything that becomes a concern.

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2 Responses to “Video Game Preview: Overwatch”

  1. Sky Login
    April 4, 2016 at 2:39 pm #

    remember the last time Blizzard tried hard to hype a new game of an already established genre but people still only play Hearthstone? yeah this time its not free

    • Stephen Duetzmann
      April 4, 2016 at 8:20 pm #

      Not sure I follow.

      Heroes of the Storm is doing quite well.

      Also… everyone I know who has played the beta has been very happy with it.

      We’ll see what happens.

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