Overwatch Beta Impressions

Written by Jake Tucker

February 23, 2016 | 09:58

Tags: #fps #moba #shooting #team-shooter

Companies: #blizzard #overwatch

Overwatch Beta Impressions Overwatch Beta impressions

I've wanted to play Overwatch for bloody ages - I've heard nothing but good things and from a distance, I couldn't help but coo at the gorgeous character designs.

Blizzard's magic formula has long been taking a reasonable simple concept and polishing it to the highest level. It's a formula that's found them a lot of success with Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm and StarCraft 2 each embodied that trait - take a format, streamline it, chuck out all of the genre conventions and rebuild it from the ground up.

To cut a long article short - Overwatch is more of the same. Blizzard has set its sights on the class-based multiplayer shooter, with golden era Team Fortress 2 - before they added all the stupid items - being the most obvious touchstone for those of you coming in cold. The theme veers harder towards science fiction than it's Valve-developed cousin and jetpacks, grappling hooks and even a gadget that reverses time are all in attendance.

I got into the beta a week ago and I'm happy to report that it plays like a charm. It requires more teamplay than many other shooters and if you're surrounded you'll find yourself quickly being taken apart.

Overwatch Beta Impressions Overwatch Beta impressions

Underneath the surface it feels surprisingly like a MOBA. Your weapon works like you would expect, firing and reloading works like any other game, but the real meat of the game's combat comes from abilities - from something simple like an evasive roll all the way up to complex tricks like teleporting or activating a jetpack, there's an ability with its own cooldown attached.

For the more advanced characters, using these abilities is key for getting the edge on the other team, but because of the wide selection of characters you can usually find something that fits - struggling to adjust to Overwatch's shooting at first (because I'm still playing Rainbow Six: Siege every day, itching for its combat like an addict after just a few hours without) I found myself playing the angelic Mercy.

Mercy's gun can alternately heal your allies or buff their damage and aims itself automatically, picking the best target as you hover near them. It's a simple character with an impressive contribution to the game.

Overwatch Beta Impressions Overwatch Beta impressions

Mercy is a defender, totally unique in play but fitting roughly into one of the games 4 archetypes as a Support. There are also Attackers and Defenders - self-explanatory and useful mostly when you're either attacking or defending - and Tanks.

Tanks can really soak up the damage. I found an affinity with Winston, a gigantic armour-clad gorilla with a tesla cannon (also self-aiming, although for harm instead of help this time) and a brutal pounce attack that closes the distance between you and enemies, doing damage to those you're unlucky enough to land on.
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