In May 2016, Blizzard did it again - they launched a game that invited players from around the globe to immerse themselves into a brand-new world and lore. Overwatch, the multiplayer first person shooter, was released on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, and within its first month of sales, it was reported to be the third best-selling retail video game.
Originally, I was skeptical about a game that had no campaign, as I'm usually more attracted to story-driven games such as the Uncharted franchise and The Last of Us. But, in all truth, the lack of a campaign does not ruin the story of Overwatch at all, and in fact, is the main reason as to why I fell in love with the game and its colorful cast of characters.
Gameplay consists of two teams of six - choices of characters coming from four different classes: offense, defense, tank, and support. And, each character is built with their own unique movements, abilities, and attributes. This allows for each player to adapt easily to a character, giving them what they'd consider their 'main'. Yet, it remains important to get to know other characters as well, so you can easily adjust to what your team needs.
Personally, I tend to main the offense characters: Soldier 76 and Reaper being my absolute favorites, but I've learned to adjust and play Tank and Support whenever needed. Overwatch lays a heavy emphasis on teamwork which is far important when it comes to defending control points and escorting the payload across the map. And given the chance to change characters while playing, you're able to choose who is most needed after getting a feel of the other team and map.
There are several ways to grow a bond with the band of characters. With animated shorts and even digital comics being released, we can discover the backstories of our favorites. From Genji and Hanzo's brotherly issues to Widowmaker and Tracer's fight, we learn more as to where they come from, and how they fit into the Overwatch story.
An extra way to get to know the team is by paying attention to minor detail, and listening to the quips between characters on certain maps. For example, Zenyatta can be heard saying, "I sense the rage in you that once consumed your brother," and Hanzo responding with, "I am nothing like him," a hint to what's occurred in their past.
These added details that gives a game without a campaign an in-depth story isn't the only reason as to why I consider this game to be one of the best of 2016. It barely even grazes how exceptional of a job Blizzard did, once again. Lists upon lists can be written to describe how impressed I am, and it still wouldn't be enough.
On just appearance, the graphics and art-style are beyond phenomenal and aesthetically pleasing. The map of Hanamura being my absolute favorite to play on due simply to its color scheme. Characters are also impressively created; a wide range of different races and body types keep the choices very diverse. With leveling up, you're even rewarded loot boxes that hold more skins to choose from, along with new voice lines and victory poses.
All updates for the game are free which is an added plus! New characters are added with these updates, along with bug fixes and gaming events. As of so far, events have consisted of Lucioball during the Olympics and Junkenstein's Revenge that was created for their Halloween Terror event. Here's to fingers being crossed for a Christmas event in December!
After all of that though, my main favorite aspect of Overwatch is the community! Everyone that sits behind their controller and brings these characters to life tends to be very friendly and supportive. I have yet to witness a bad experience with any of my teammates. And there's something heartwarming about all the players waving at each other through their characters as the team waits for the control point to unlock. Blizzard even encourages fans to come together and create artistic content based on the game.
For me, Overwatch isn't a simple multiplayer first person shooter, but instead, it's an amazing community to be a part of.