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Overwatch Hands-On preview – That tight shooter feel

by Mike White | March 8, 2015March 8, 2015 2:00 pm PST

Perhaps this was just our mistake leading into the show, but we had no idea Blizzard would have Overwatch with them at PAX East. Sure! We should have checked the list a little more closely, but we didn’t.

We visited the booth early on, and we made an appointment to play later in the show. Surprise, this shooter is playing pretty awesomely.

Blizzard has a penchant for developing highly polished titles, and they release games when they’re good and ready. This is the first time either of us played Overwatch, and it felt pretty darn fantastic.

It’s not even ready yet. That’s the crazy part. Overwatch currently has no release date. It’s been announced for the PC and Mac platforms so far.

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Joey Davidson

Overwatch was pretty darn great, Mike. The line was huge all weekend long, we were able to grab an appointment late in the afternoon on Sunday, the final day of the show. And, yeah, I had more fun with this one that I thought I would.

Am I crazy?

Mike White

You’re not crazy. We were both wondering how well Blizzard would be able to pull off a shooter, but it felt good. The Blizzard art style and humor is all over this game.

Joey

Right.

And, I have to say, I don’t really think I was expecting a shooter from Blizzard to feel this tight and fast.

For me, when it comes to arena and objective driven shooters, I like my games to feel like Quake. I want them fast, precise and hard. That’s here in Overwatch so far, and I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that Blizzard is at least nailing the polish element.

The characters? Yeah, they’re really cool, too.

Mike

You know I’m the weakest link when it comes to most FPS games. I love the way they’ve designed their maps and objectives with Overwatch. I know full well I can make a contribution and have a blast at the same time.

The characters were a lot of fun to finally play. They each have a solid feel to them, even if it took a while for us to get a handle on their abilities. There’s a lot to explore here.

Joey

Yeah, I tried to toy around with as many as I could during the demo. As time wore down on our second match, I think I settled on Pharah as my favorite during this brief play.

She’s got this interesting hover and rocket jump mechanic that puts her high above battle. Then, she fires rockets for big direct and splash damage. I actually picked up the silly Player of the Game award by doing this and firing on defenders camping the objective before we rushed in and captured it.

Each character has their own special abilities, too, and it’s all about finding the right combinations in the right moments in order to dominate.

Mike

I know what you mean. I feel like everyone has a chance to make a big play, even if they aren’t on a big damage dealing character.

Every one of them has a personality too. But that’s what Blizzard brings to each genre they expand into, personality and humor. I love those little moments where you find a Zerg skull from Starcraft mounted on a wall and have to just chuckle to yourself.

I’m excited to see where they go from here.

Joey

Yes! I think you make two great points there.

It’s way too early to decide whether or not Overwatch is balanced. We played one match of offense and defense. We won one, we lost one. We each had similar K/Ds and lead our teams both times. It felt balanced. It also felt like everyone had that big play moment, which is great in team gaming.

And the personality stuff? Yeah, that’s right in Blizzard’s wheelhouse. It’s why people like Blizzard so much. They love their craft, right? And fans love to love their games. It all works out.


Mike White

Mike is a life long lover of PC gaming. His parents never believed in buying consoles for their kids because it was "too much like the arcade."...

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