Borrowing Beauty – Overwatch Review

“Overwatch! Overwatch, Overwatch, overwatchoverwatchoverwatch. Overwatch…”
– editorial, summer 2016.

Remember Team Fortress 2?

No, not that interactive trading platform where you can shoot a little between item exchange sessions with questionable schoolchildren, but the real Team Fortress 2, an exciting team-based game with tons of tactics, class diversity, themed celebrations, and other goodies. Remember? Well, forget about it all, because Overwatch is everything that made Team Fortress 2 great, but on a much larger, more diverse, and more fun scale.

We joined the pre-release hype very late, but fully embraced it. While the esteemed Tracer Frostbyte is calling everyone a radish and recruiting them under her banner, and the dedicated reviewers spend their evenings trying to outsmart their opponents on sunny Ilios, doubts are rapidly evaporating: Blizzard has successfully occupied another genre niche, and they have done it for a long time.

Epic play of the game

The most amusing thing is that no one really hides the fact that at its core, it’s the same Team Fortress 2. Players gather in teams, choose heroes according to their roles – assault, defense, tank, or support – and fight for control points. Except there’s no pushing of minecarts… Oh, wait, there is. Just look at these scoundrels!

But in reality, it’s a bit more complicated, and it’s not possible to explain in a couple of lines why this pathetic parody turned out to be better than the original.

First of all, Overwatch is a bit of a MOBA. Thankfully, there are no creeps and lanes, but like in all these “dota” and “lol” games of yours, characters have unique abilities, including ultimate and passive abilities that directly affect tactics, behavior, and functionality. Valve’s approach is much simpler: while there are classes with different areas of application, the difference between them is often not so colossal that it would change the feeling of the gameplay in any way. And the more hours you invest in battles between red and blue, the more unpleasant it is to realize this.

Here, every hero is essentially a separate game. Want Call of Duty? Soldier-76 even has a rifle that looks like it’s from Advanced Warfare. Craving something with a taste of Unreal Tournament? Pharah is available with her rocket launcher. Or look, there’s Reaper, consuming the souls of fallen enemies instead of medkits – isn’t that reminiscent of the new DOOM? And my colleagues suggest that Symmetra is pure The Wheel of Time, which we briefly mentioned recently. Even if the roles assigned to the characters have become too familiar, their local interpretations look fresher than ever and are different enough that you gradually want to try them all. Getting to know the intricacies of, say, the support class after two weeks of tank action is like rediscovering Overwatch. It’s a pleasure that’s incomparable to anything else.

Pharah's defense strategy

But, of course, talking about some kind of super originality in this situation is not necessary. Absolutely all gameplay mechanics, except maybe a couple of the most inconspicuous ones, without any modesty, are borrowed from other projects, and Blizzard cannot be praised for that. Their merit is rather in the fact that they were able to unite so many radically different ideas into one unprecedentedly functional, captivating, and, most importantly, cohesive mechanics. There are no Frankenstein-like seams at the junctions of foreign concepts in it – only neat stitches that unite the entire genre experience into a warm patchwork quilt. We, being rare nitpickers, have dug everything to the ground and found a dozen sources of inspiration, but when playing directly, you don’t see any “Unreal”, “Call of Duty”, or “Team Fortress”. You only see the pesky Tracer on the point and the Roadhog looming threateningly over your team’s medic with his ready-to-use ‘ult’. You only see Overwatch.

But noble plagiarism made the game friendly and understandable for everyone. Since familiar gameplay elements are bursting out of every crack, you can get used to them in just a few seconds. Nevertheless, the extremely easy mechanics, even fitting into narrow-minded console weekdays, turned out to be deep enough to be considered a new esports discipline.

Roadhog's forceful push

Overwatch turned out to be, presumably, the most team-based shooter on the current market. Some Counter-Strike: Global Offensive undoubtedly also emphasizes teamwork – but it often allows for solo performances even at a professional level. Overwatch immediately puts a stop to that: you can show off your accuracy, reaction speed – but by definition, you can’t be the best player. No matter how good you are, there will always be a hero who will counter you in a matter of moments, if you don’t have a reliable teammate behind you. Let’s remember the limit of six people per team – and whether you like it or not, you have to stick together, because every teammate is worth their weight in gold.

Effective communication often determines whether you will successfully overcome all enemy obstacles – or end up on the embarrassing side of the “Play of the Game” where they teabag on your corpse. Suddenly, completely random groups of people really start to worry about the team lacking a healer and what the tank is doing; the chat is buzzing with discussions of potential strategies, for which role combinations are formed, and after the introduction of competitive mode, the voice channel is finally used not only to announce discouraging diagnoses and discover unexpected family ties. In general, everything is like in staged demonstration videos – beautiful and smooth teamwork. Only here, no staging is required, because players naturally come together to interact, and that is very, very cool. Rarely does an online game focus so much on task completion rather than personal achievement.

Mercy's crucial healing
Zarya's powerful attack

But not a strong shooter component as a whole. In addition to that, Team Fortress 2 is distinguished by a well-thought-out universe, bright and memorable characters, and small but extremely significant story inserts in the background. Since for many, this is still the main reason to respect Valve, their creation had to be put on its knees in this field.

The first impression, however, is mediocre: some kind of monk-robot, korean girl in a pink fur coat., typical russian female bodybuilder, Clint Eastwood is of small stature. The insane palette of characters would be suitable for a F2P trinket, the art director of which clearly went overboard with caricatures in his school years. However, once you delve into all this chaos, the game reveals a hidden depth, where every character, without exception, has a detailed biography that forms an immense and constantly expanding lore. You can easily find out, for example, what this “Overwatch” is all about, where it came from, and why it is so popular. giant gorilla their academic degree and why D.Va, that girl with the exoskeleton, speaks in gamer slang. Rest assured, nothing comes out of nowhere here. Not even a Russian female bodybuilder.

It is noteworthy that no one imposes this information from the threshold. Moreover, some facts are discovered only by the most curious players. The local history is pieced together from official short films, spontaneous in-game dialogues, ARG events, and many other sources – even down to the design of maps filled with Easter eggs. Blizzard fully utilizes it. our new narrative methods, unexpected for a thoroughly online game, and leave the acquaintance with the epic background completely up to you.

As a result, even if you come here solely for the multiplayer, sooner or later the desire to delve into the plot depths arises. And when this happens, it is almost impossible to tear yourself away: by tracing the logic of the depicted world through such details, you involuntarily become genuinely interested in it, and the initial wariness towards the characters quickly turns into extreme sympathy. I swear, if Overwatch had such charisma, the path to the heart of the mass player would be at least twice as difficult for it.

In addition to this, there is also a visual range, simultaneously expressive and highly readable. After it, games like Battleborn start to bleed eyes abundantly, not to mention seasonal blockbusters that year after year lose their vibrant colors. The somewhat Disney-esque stylistics do not confuse at all, on the contrary – in simple lines and textures, the silhouettes of the heroes are instantly identified, and their hyperbolized movements easily reveal what they are doing, and each piece of scenery has a distinct mood. So, for example, you will never confuse the gloomy King’s Row in Victorian tones with the high-tech tower of Lijiang, and jumping around the (for now) modest list of maps will not get boring thanks to the colorful design.

Cosmetic customization, as expected, is on the spot. There is not so much variety yet, but this is a profit.

Cosmetic customization is in place, as it should be. There aren’t many options yet, but it’s a growing matter.

The overall impressions of everything described above are fantastic. When the new Blizzard project was just looming on the horizon, we couldn’t even imagine that we would spend the summer studying facts from life. Fatal widow And pushing the ungrateful role of support onto each other. Sleep no longer seems like such an important procedure in the light of the impending prestige, for the sake of which you want to squeeze in a match or two on busy weekdays. Do we really need new ideas if executing the old ones correctly is so interesting?

If you don’t cling to titles, Overwatch has hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of fun, challenge, and satisfaction in reserve. Well, if you still want to label it – yes, it’s the best multiplayer of the year. They won’t be able to do that anytime soon.

PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS5, Switch, Xbox Series X
Action, Multiplayer
Blizzard Entertainment
Blizzard Entertainment
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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