Blizzard’s been known to polish their games to a nice mirror sheen, and Overwatch is no exception. Constant updates to notify us of balance changes or hero tweaks they’ve been doing (and will do), as well as potential new heroes, maps and game modes show their dedication to give Overwatch longevity. The commitment they’ve shown to this extraordinary game is one of the reasons I keep coming back for more. If they keep doing what they’ve been doing since launch, they have my support. Hopefully, so will the rest of the fanbase, so long as we smartly avoid the subject of butts, body figures, and what makes a legendary skin ‘cool’ or not. But I digress.
Perhaps the best reason why Overwatch is its own thing is because of the colorful, diverse pool of heroes, each with their own unique abilities and personalities. No character is a carbon copy of each other. I’m eager to try out every single one to determine which heroes are the right fit for me and which ones I will forever suck at (looking at you, Genji). Gameplay is tight and engaging; simple to pick up, but hard to master. Visual and sound design? Outstanding. Cheesy ultimate ability lines, fired weapons, and even footsteps are so distinguishable you know exactly who is who and where they might be lurking. Map/level design? With the exception of (the cancer that is) Hanamura, the maps are generally well made and well balanced. Play the game long enough, and you begin to memorize payload routes, chokepoints, shortcuts for hit-and-run tactics, and health pack locations to retreat to. Overall, Overwatch encourages team play without K/D ratio or points being the number one focus. Victory is achieved through teamwork -- keeping each other alive and holding objectives while keeping the opposing force at bay. Skillful play is rewarded with the Play of the Game feature, showing off who pulled off a quintuple kill or which Mercy hid better from the enemy, then resurrected all their teammates to hold the objective. Not one match turns out quite the same as the next.
Part of what also makes Overwatch tick is it pays homage to shooters of old. It hearkens back to a past era when games merely had Deathmatch and Capture the Flag, yet people were satisfied enough, losing themselves in those modes alone for hours on end, honing their skills against others in tournaments and LAN parties. Overwatch scratches that familiar itch for many, myself included. And despite our desire for more content we’ll no doubt receive in the future, we’ll always go back to its Quick Play and/or Competitive core; arguably, it’s where Overwatch is at its finest (loot boxes are also a thing). For all the games I’ve played in the same vein as Overwatch, no other motivated me to learn how each hero works, gradually develop my skills, and indulge the competitive side in me I’ve always avoided. No other game (in any genre) gave me this much fighting chance to eventually stage a comeback. No other game like it has given me this much joy to play for long stretches and lose sleep because of it. Put it simply, Overwatch is something special. Hands down my game of the year.
Can't wait for Terry Crews as Doomfist.