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Overwatch is a game that exudes personality from every pore while not telling absolutely anything through an in-game narrative. In fact, there is no history or campaign mode dedicated to leading us into the game world and letting us know about it in its various aspects; it would almost seem that there is not a story told or written that acts as a thread for the game, but in reality it is not so. In the Overwatch universe everything takes on meaning, because every single piece of information relating to the characters or the settings is told to us from the outside through additional elements alternative to the game that make up the narrative medium. The short films of excellent workmanship and the descriptions accompanying the artwork manage to frame everything in the large mosaic that we will find in front of us.
The characters, told in their most emotional side, go beyond their abilities and in-game abilities and manage to approach the player and capture him in their world. Of course, none of this is flaunted in the game which therefore remains a bit thin in this respect, but once explored it is easy to identify the various recurring elements and involuntarily remain fascinated: Winston and Hanzo, just to name a few, are characters that in the games carve out their space thanks to the short films dedicated to them. Overwatch has therefore preferred to tell the narrative background outside the game rather than inserting it in a dedicated component that would have risked distorting the nature of the game.
For all those who have not delved into the story behind the game, it can be summarized that the Overwatch division was called to collect after a period of inactivity to resolve the galactic disputes that are arising and each of its members decided to enter to be part of it after particular events that have marked the past.
Now we come to talk about the most interesting and varied part for a ‘multiplayer-only’ game like Overwatch: the structure of the gameplay. According to modern definitions that dot the current gaming landscape, this game can be called a first-person shooter with MOBA elements. This is not only because every single character has his own weapon with which to fire at enemies, but also because there are always two skills with countdowns that can be activated for each of them, which greatly expand the possibilities of play. To these is added another special ULTRA call with which, after loading the dedicated bar, it will be possible to spread panic among the enemy ranks. The frenzy of the gameplay among other things and the structure of the maps on more levels seem to refer to the fps arena of the 90s. Instead it is common to most of the competitive world the team game that is one of the founding elements ofOverwatch .
After a short tutorial and some warm-up matches against artificial intelligence, we threw ourselves into the main mode of the experience, which is the quick game.
The actual modes present will be 4: conquest, transport, control and the last one that is nothing but a hybrid of the first two. Regardless of the objective of each of these modes, the main purpose of the games is to guard an area with the greatest number of characters so as to conquer a control point or be able to advance on the map by escorting a transport to its destination. In the end the key to succeeding in winning every kind of game is to maintain supremacy in a portion of the map, as opposed to a more classic deathmatch where the one who manages to make the greatest number of kills wins.Obviously in this sense, depending on the role of attackers or defenders that we will have to clothe, it will be better to choose characters with more or less dedicated skills to guard an area or attempt a decisive sortie. This is because in Overwatch each character has unique characteristics that make it suitable for certain situations, so much so that they have been divided by the same developers into four types, namely attack, defense, tank and support.
The most tactical part of a game is to adapt your team to the situation that will have to be faced: a balanced approach is sometimes not enough to break through enemy lines and you have to resort to a greater number of tanks to better withstand the enemy fire, as well as it is also necessary to turn towards a defensive structure when, after having conquered the disputed area, we will be forced to protect it.
The games therefore express an unusual dynamism not only in terms of gameplay that always requires the utmost attention given its speed and the need to constantly timed the use of skills, but also in terms of the development of the game. The team as well as the attitudes of the individual will change during this and more times we will be forced to change character or try an alternative access route to be able to continue in the maps.
Speaking of maps, there’s a lot to say here as the work done by Blizzard is truly remarkable; in total they are twelve and they are all built around the modality that characterizes them: the result is that already from the beta each has been perfected to be the most balanced possible. The symmetry of those dedicated to the control mode alternates with the linearly progressive structure of those dedicated to conquest or transport, where particular bottlenecks or inlets could slow down the progress of the attackers if not even arrest it if properly exploited. The interesting thing about the maps is that they can be explored differently depending on the character. With the more mobile ones, including the Hanzo or WidowMaker snipers, it will be possible to climb in areas inaccessible to tanks like Zarya and Roadhog and thus open new paths to reach the goal or carve out a secluded lookout station from which to hit the enemies shot after shot.
Overwatch is one of those games that captures you in a whirlwind of colors and doesn’t let you get out. The cartoon graphics of the game can act as a mirror for the larks for any type of player starting from the very young ones. It is impossible not to be fascinated by those bright pastel colors that fill the simple polygons, but extremely characteristic of the various settings and characters. Their silhouettes are well defined and have a color that distinguishes them and that is reflected in the characteristic elements of the main outfit. Genji with green, Junkrat with yellow, Widowmaker with purple and Torbjorn with red access, are easily recognizable through these color references of which they are sprinkled.A separate discussion should be made for maps that are also very simple from a polygonal point of view, perhaps too much given the competing productions. Fortunately this deficiency is overcome thanks to a strong characterization of the environments, using characteristic elements taken from the various countries from which they are drawn; Ilio is sprinkled with white houses on top of a cliff by the sea, Hollywood is instead represented by the sets of the studios and so on. To think that all this work has been done on twelve maps is absolutely another positive note in the overall evaluation of the game.
The music itself is going to be inserted geographically in the countries that we are going to visit in the parallel universe of Overwatch , for example African melodies will introduce us to the Numbani map or read sounds from the Far East will open a match on the Nepal map. If this were not enough, always returning to the extreme characterization of the various characters, even on the audio front a painstaking work was done with phrases, some already become famous during the beta, which go to tell the various game situations, on all the declarations of the characters during the use of the Ultra; there is also the possibility of customizing these by replacing them with others unlocked by opening the chests.
From a purely technical point of view on PC the game could have been more daring on the front of models and textures, but the result obtained is still laudable, considering also the genre to which it refers and the framerate stable at 60 fps in most situations. Netcode for example, unlike many competitors, did not have any particular hesitations and proved to be solid and efficient right from the start. The experience gained during this year and a half of beta was felt and allowed the developers not to fall on the most beautiful, with waiting times for matchmaking in very short average.
For the moment we cannot fail to appreciate the good work done by Blizzard to allow players to immediately enjoy the game without major problems.
After the many betas, Overwatch was finally released. What we find in our hands is an innovative FPS that in its own way evolves the concept of shooter through a narrative conveyed from the outside and a gameplay hybridized with the MOBA genre where team play dominates the scene. Unfortunately, although the game is fun for everyone, the competitive vein means that many nuances of advanced gameplay mechanics are not easily accessible, making some characters decidedly easier to use than others. Nothing to say instead about the artistic direction that has taken care of every graphic aspect of Overwatch in the smallest details. Technically you could dare a bit more for textures and models, but given the general fluidity and the pleasant rendering on the screen there are no particular remorse. It seems that Blizzard has hit the mark this time too, but only time will manage to tell us if Overwatch will succeed in establishing itself as a new pillar of its kind.
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