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Gameverse | June 24, 2017

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Blizzcon’s Overwatch has yet to impress

Jesse Tannous

Kerrigan vs. Widowmaker

Everyone is talking about Blizzard’s newest IP release, Overwatch.  This team centric, objective driven, non-twitch focused first person shooter (FPS) has many game enthusiasts excited and eager to see the official release.  I on the other hand feel cautiously optimistic at best.

I enjoy shooters as much as the next person and I’ve never felt particularly interested in being especially competitive with them, outside of my own friends of course.  So Blizzard’s first jaunt into the FPS should appeal to me considering that, as usual, they are making it as accessible as possible to hit a wider market.  While this business plan continues to provide Blizzard with steady streams of income, it also doesn’t seem to encourage much in terms of innovation or challenge.

Many people seem excited for Overwatch, but the more you read the more it becomes clear that everyone is more interested in what Overwatch could become.  Seasoned players of games like Team Fortress 2 (TF2) are hoping Blizzard will provide the matchmaking system they have been begging Valve to provide for years.  Players like myself are hoping that the world, characters, and story might redeem the company’s storytelling capabilities after disappointments like Diablo III, World of Warcraft (post WOTLK), and Starcraft II.  So far though, Overwatch seems mediocre across the board.

Now I haven’t gotten my hands on the game obviously because my only exposure was through the Blizzcon Virtual Ticket.  None the less, the characters look generic with A-typical archetypes being displayed across the various champions. You’ve got your healing angel, your sniper assassin (a re-skinned Sarah Kerrigan with extra cleavage), a dark hooded reaper named Reaper, etc.  This might be all well and good for providing traditional characters that are easily recognizable for experienced and non-experienced gamers, but it doesn’t cut it in the slightest for providing something worthy of being called “different.”

This is what I fear for Overwatch.  While on the surface the talk is nice about unique characters with backstories, it seems like Blizzard has reached for the lowest hanging fruit with each one of their newly revealed heroes.  Still, I did say I was optimistic, because with a new venture may come the willingness to adapt and give the market what it is asking for.  Let us hope then that the market asks for something it hasn’t seen a thousand times before.