I’m late this this party, as I am with virtually every video game ever, but lately I’ve been loving the hell out of Overwatch.
Overwatch is a fast-paced first-person shooter of team-based tactical skirmishing. Player select from a range of colourful characters with various abilities and combat roles, and run around maps shooting at each other and trying to secure various victory conditions.
Now, I am old. Very, very old.
That means I don’t have the lightning fast twitch reactions necessary to dominate all those who stray in range of my guns. Nor do I have the time to spare to learn every map by heart, nor all the cunning power combinations that create surprising and often spectacular effects.
But I know fun when I trip over it, and Overwatch is terrific fun. The large range of character options means you always have something new to try, and the various characters are rated for the difficulty of learning how to use their powers and tactical combos, which means it’s hard to get bored because you can always switch to something else.
Characters fit into the various standard tactical roles – tanks (big, heavily armed and armoured, but slow), healers, assault and defense – but every character approaches that role in a different way. Some are highly mobile, some snipe at range while others get in close for shotgun blasts or massive punches, some depend on sneak attacks, some slap down a shield and set up as a machine gun nest. It’s the variety of options that make the game fun.
(That character in the picture is Tracer, who zooms around the map at high speed, using short range teleportation and a cool time-travel effect that moves her back to where she was a few seconds earlier if she gets in trouble. I’m absolutely rubbish at playing Tracer).
If you read this post when it goes up, the Overwatch world championships are currently running at Blizzcon, the annual trade show of the game’s publisher, Blizzard (see also a couple of little-known games called World of Warcraft and StarCraft). If any of what I’ve written sounds at all appealing, go and watch the live stream (or post-match videos) of the championship matches. I’m not much of an e-sports aficionado, but I could watch those shoot-em-ups all day. (I know this because I basically have! Very disappointed that Canada eliminated the Australian team!)
And if you’re playing Overwatch on Playstation 4 yourself, hit me up. My handle is Lexifab, and I mainly swap between Mercy, D.Va and Sombra.