You know what? I really like playing with Zenyatta. I think it dawned on me during my time with Overwatch at PAX East 2016 that I’ll probably main as the robotic monk from the healer class. He’s fun, and he feels awesome.
This was my first time playing Overwatch on a console, away from the precision of my mouse and keyboard. I was expecting a subpar experience. Truly, I thought this thing was going to be brutally slow and woefully inaccurate. I know, it’s a Blizzard game, I likely should have checked my expectations thanks to that fact, but I didn’t.
I rode in expecting to vastly prefer the PC version to what they’re offering on consoles.
I still prefer the PC version, quite honestly. I dig the mouse and keyboard setup for first person shooters, and that preference likely won’t change. However, I don’t think the console crowd will get a lesser experience with Overwatch. In fact, I’ll offer that potential Overwatch consumers shouldn’t hesitate to pick up the game on a console if they don’t have a gaming PC readily available or they prefer their console’s network of friends.
I spoke with Aaron Keller, Blizzard developer and Assistant Game Director on Overwatch, for a bit after my hands-on. I’ll have that interview for you early this week. Anyways, I asked Keller directly if his team thought they’d need to make sacrifices for the console versions of the game.
He told me that Blizzard pretty much always wanted to get Overwatch running on consoles. He explained that a large chunk of the team has console controllers plugged into their PCs, and they enjoy using that input system as much as they do using the PC’s mouse and keyboard.
He said that they sort of expected that they’d have to make all these huge hero tweaks and sweeping changes to the mechanics to get the game rolling on consoles. Instead, all they had to do was work a standard amount of aim assist into the game to support the controller inputs. For that, they turned to Treyarch, and the result feels great.
The game runs at 60fps on both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It looks fantastic, and feels almost as fast as it does on the PC. I didn’t fool with the options, but I imagine players who want to turn even faster can up the controller’s sensitivity in the game.
Over a single game, which we won 2-0 so just two rounds, I tried a character from each class, hoping that I’d get a taste of the precision shooting the sniper Widowmaker offers alongside a more generic approach with someone like Reinhardt. They all felt fine, though I find sniping a bit tougher on consoles. Besides that? Perfect.
Overwatch will launch for the PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on May 24, 2016. We’ll have more on the game as it comes.