Overwatch

Who's Overwatching The Overwatchers?

By John Hoskin -
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Welcome to this twelfth day of November, 2014.   I’m John “Boomjack” Hoskin and this is Here Comes The Boom – EP #33


Who's Overwatching the Overwatchers?

BlizzCon was a wild ride.  It always is.

My son and I walked through the doors of BlizzCon. Happy gamers were skittering and careening through the Anaheim Convention Center like so many water bugs looking for their next thrill.   What dawned on me, as I traversed this incredible palace of joy was that I felt at home, and it appeared, so did just about everyone else.  
 

When was the last time that you walked down the street and people looked your way, hoping to talk to you because they knew that you had something in common?   Nearly everyone was looking at name badges hoping to pick out the name of an online friend or reading the witty t-shirts that nearly everyone was wearing.  It was a smile-fest. 

I don’t remember ever having this feeling or at least having it of this magnitude outside of an event like BlizzCon.    It was a feeling of belonging and as my son and I walked through the event halls it only heightened.   Not only was I enjoying this incredible time, this incredible feeling, but so was he.  There was a common consciousness that seemed to put everyone at ease amidst the flurry of activity and sensory overload.  

No lineup, and there were certainly plenty of lineups exuded more comradery than the Overwatch line.

I wish I could have played the game dozens of times, but coverage of the StarCraft II World Championships and other “must see” areas of the show floor ate up precious time.  Some much to do and so much to see.  I could have used two more days.  In the end, I was able to go hands-on twice.   It was a blast!

For those that haven’t seen the videos, I will include a few in the column today.    None is better than this cinematic trailer.

The Disney / Pixar vibe that you feel from the trailer translates directly into the game.  It’s brilliant.  Truly brilliant.

It has been 17 years since Blizzard unveiled a truly new IP, which makes Overwatch all the more exciting. 

First up, Overwatch is a shooter, a first-person-shooter to be exact.   The most similar game on the market today (with a following) is Team Fortress 2 by Valve.   Overwatch is not a competitor to Call of Duty or CS:GO which are tactical or military shooters that play at a slower pace.    Old school gamers can think of Overwatch as a hybrid of TF2 and Quake or perhaps a melding of Unreal Tournament and Tribes, but neither of those examples does it justice. 

It was clear from the first second that I laid hands on the game that it had eSport potential.   It is team based, but a single player can have moments of glory.   The controls are agile, intuitive and every player except one poor soul in our test groups seemed to be able to grasp the concept of how to succeed.  

The action wasfast-paced and intense, but the cartoon style graphics kept the mood light.   One gripe that both my son and I had was that the movement of some characters seemed incredibly slow.   Bastion, Reaper and other character choices seemed to move incredibly slowly across the field while characters like Widowmaker, Tracer and even Reinhardt (if used properly) could get from point A to point B in a hurry.      It may just have been that the action was so much fun that I wanted to get right back into it, but even if that is the case then as a player, let me have my fun.   The slow run back after a death was the worst part of my experience with the game.

The best aspect of the game for me were the abilities.   You use them and you use them often.  The cool downs are short and a feature taken directly from MOBA titles, an ultimate, gives you a feeling of incredible power.  Some ultimates are pure damage dealers, while others are team savers.   Mercy’s ultimate, for instance, resurrects your entire team which is very valuable when Reaper has used his ult to kill them all. 

Here are some gameplay videos from characters that I tried at the show.   My favourite was probably Widowmaker.

Reaper

Widowmaker

Torbj√∂rn 

Reinhardt

Bastion

It’s far too early to be excited about Overwatch, but I find myself eager to play again and enthusiastic about the possibilities.   If the line-ups and feedback received during BlizzCon are any indication then Overwatch just may be the game that fills a void in the shooter genre. 

Fingers crossed.

I’ll be playing Warlords of Draenor tomorrow.  I reside on Area-52 and play Horde.  Ping me if you are online!

You can sign up for beta access on the official Overwatch website.


Now on  to your regularly scheduled nonsense…

Vin Diesel Fact: An angry Bruce Banner becomes the Hulk.  An angry Hulk becomes Vin Diesel.

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Because the real world is usually more humorous than the virtual one.   Here are some real world stories.  You can’t make this stuff up.

 

If you received even an iota of enjoyment from this then please support both myself and TenTonHammer by doing one of more of the following:

 

 Thanks again.  I appreciate your support.   Who’s awesome?  You’re awesome!

 

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About The Author

John "Boomjack" Hoskin
Dissecting and distilling the game industry since 1994. Lover of family time, youth hockey, eSports, and the game industry in general.

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