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Published on March 11th, 2015 | by Justin Giza

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Overwatch PAX East Images And Hands On Impressions

2015-03-08 15.20.48 2015-03-08 15.19.33 2015-03-07 16.44.36 2015-03-06 12.10.22

 

Everyone is beyond hyped for the new game Overwatch from Blizzard. During my coverage of PAX East 2015, I was able to take a few pictures and try out this awesome game.

Though Blizzard’s release history has been notorious for years-long delays and even some vaporware (I miss Starcraft: Ghost), I can only hope that Overwatch, Blizzard’s understandably-hyped new franchise will be a little more punctual.

The line to try Overwatch at PAX East was no joke, which goes to show just how excited people are for a new offering from one of the largest AAA developers in the world. Although they had some smaller gems before (Blackthorne, anyone?), their major three franchises – Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo – have been mainstays and major players in the gaming world since 1994. Their most recent franchise, Starcraft, was introduced to the world in 1998.

While we’ve loved our time in Azeroth, our flights across Korhal and our dungeon-hacking mayhem in the world of Sanctuary, Overwatch brings a fresh cast of characters and lightning-quick gameplay that just about anyone can step into.

Overwatch is based in a future Earth, where a crack team of specialists (AKA: The Good Guys) were once brought together to fight against an evil force that threatened the world. Forced to disband, then brought together again for reasons as-yet unexplained, the game lets you step into the shoes of these legendary heroes.

Gameplay-wise, Overwatch is a team-based first-person shooter with a heavy emphasis on teamwork. Every character has unique abilities, and some can work together to do some heavy damage – or in some cases, negate it against the enemy. Movement and combat work a little differently for everyone, and suit a number of different playstyles. There are snipers, tanks, healers and more. Bringing MOBA-style abilities to an FPS may not be entirely new, but Blizzard has done so with aplomb, and every skill feels completely satisfying.

PAX East gave me the opportunity to play the Point Capture mode. Players select characters from a current set of twelve, and are assigned either to defense or offense. The goal is to capture or defend the Capture Point with the best time, and after the first round, the roles are reversed.

I chose Tracer, a speedy gunner, and immediately I realized I was out of my league. Tracer is a very flighty character, but is a great demonstration of the diversity of play-styles found in Overwatch. In addition to her two pistols, Tracer can store charges over time that allows her to perform a short-range teleport forward. By pressing another button, she reverses time and returns her to her previous location – and previous health. Each character has an ultimate, and Tracer gets a bomb she can toss or even stick to another player if you’re quick enough.

Players also get the ability to change characters on death. This is encouraged by Blizzard, as different characters will bring something different to the party. Having problems with defense? Bring in Reinhardt, who can set up a wide shield to deflect attacks. Need a heal? Mercy will have you in fighting form in no time at all.

My favorite part about the game is just how excited people were when they stepped up to the plate and got to play a character they saw in a trailer. The design is eye-catching and the implementation is smooth as anything. I saw a mother of three excitedly yelling, “Tracer! I want to play her! That’s my girl!” People are excited for these characters. They LOVE these characters. This game isn’t even out yet, and folks already want to know more.

My time with Overwatch flew by (we won a grueling match with an astounding comeback, by the way). It’s supposed to enter beta sometime in the Fall, which gives me plenty of time to upgrade my computer to run it in its full glory.

Is it so wrong that I want to find another convention so I can play another match?

 


About the Author

Justin spent many of his post-college years eating and drinking nice things and writing about them. He now resides near NYC, where he haunts the Nintendo store like some kind of horrible ghost, and moonlights as electronic and nerdcore hip-hop artist Zilla Persona.



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