Overwatch (Special Episode)
THE GRINDSTONE TRIBUNAL:
Despite having plenty of people to play alongside this time, only three people were willing to contribute to the Tribunal this round. This is also the second episode in a row I gave Dreskar a break from writing… which is probably why I’m so late. Anyway, enjoy the tentative praise of Dabeer and myself, and some classic sarcastic rage from Karochi.
Oh, Overwatch; finally a game that I can say without a doubt that I really enjoy and is totally worth buying… is what I really REALLY wish I could be saying right now. Ok, it’s not like most of my other recent entries on games that I liked but was really wishy-washy about; because I can tell you right now that this game is definitely worth buying, but there is one big flaw hanging over this game that I just can’t ignore even in my positivity for this game… and no, it’s not Bastion.
To put my one issue quite simply; this game’s “loot box”/micro-transactions are utter garbage. Hell, I don’t even mind the concept of microtransactions in a game like this, especially since it is technically cheaper than most other games at $40 (even though Blizzard REALLY wants you to be paying $60 for it). No, the problem I have here is that the only way to get ANYTHING in this game is through one of the worst random loot box systems in just about any game I have ever played. Literally, the only way to get ANYTHING in the game, be it character skins, emotes, poses, voice lines, shitty, shitty sprays (I’ll get to those in just a second), and even the in-game currency actually used to get any of these items, is through the random loot boxes.
Oh, and think you can just buy, say, a skin you want or some of the in-game currency? Think the fuck again; you’re gonna buy their goddamned random loot boxes and you’re gonna like it. Now, even this might not be quite as bad if it wasn’t for the fact that, even after you get something from a loot box, there is still the same chance that you will get that item AGAIN. Oh, but don’t worry, if that happens they will “reward” you with about 1/1000000000000 (exaggerated for effect) of the item’s worth in in-game currency. And, of course, to compound the problem, about 95% of what you can even get from these loot boxes are the shitty spray decals that you can only use on the character that you unlocked it with, and are given to you multiple times.
If it wasn’t for the fact that I love this game so much, I would have quit in rage over this horrendous system… oh right, I really, really like this game! Yeah, despite that rant I have and my actual problems with Bastion (not so much the character itself but what the maps let him get away with) Overwatch is a great hero-based team shooter. All the mechanics feel tight, and each character is very unique; leaving no two characters that even feel close to the same. Hell, as much as I enjoyed Battleborn and its pretty cool story content, I gotta say, Overwatch just feels much more well put together; and definitely plays better. Honestly, if you can look past the ridiculous crap Blizzard is trying to pull with its horrible loot box system, then I can say with certainty that you need to go out and play this game.
Recommended?: YES! No matter how much I may bitch about the loot boxes, I really enjoy this game.
This is a Blizzard game alright. It’s lookin’ a lot like Heroes of the Storm, minus the interesting new take on the genre. At the moment, it’s shoddily balanced because Blizzard’s bad at making games, but that doesn’t matter because it’s a casual experience. It is a more popular game than HotS though, so it’s next up on the chopping block for becoming the Blizzard Esport. Meaning they’re now trying to balance it to make it competitive. So if you want to play Overwatch in its full glory you’re gonna have to wait a bit, though don’t wait too long because, as with every game they’ve put out, they’re gonna fuck this up and make it completely unbearable in a couple years.
Overwatch really doesn’t bring anything new to the table. It’s the same old game modes from every team shooter. I don’t play a lot of them because they’re uninteresting to me. It’s the same shit over and over. So there may well be highly unique things in here for a team shooter I’m just not noticing because I’m a pleb in that regard. Though it would still just be an amalgamation of a bunch of shit we’ve already seen in other games.
The only way real way to enjoy this game (pre-Stockholm syndrome of knowing all the workarounds to how shitty the game is) is with friends. Putting it in the same tier as the Borderlands games, Tree of Savior and hiking. My best guess to why people keep playing this when their friends are not around would be the characters. But it’s a fucking team shooter, the characters are meaningless other than what they can do. And in some of these characters cases what they can do is comparatively fuck all. Some characters are only good on some maps and learning these are a great way to get yourself more invested in the game for no reason.
Recommended?: NO, if you must play a team shooter TF2’s already free.
This game is Team Fortress 3… and I’m fine with that.
This is coming from someone who wasn’t all that into Team Fortress 2. Mostly because that fandom got a little… worrisome, and I can relay my “Uber the Sniper” story, as a perfect example as to why I despise the concept of metagaming. (And even more show when I get a particular response to it.)
Still, the fresh take is something Overwatch has going for it, and having such a colorful cast is pretty much this game’s saving grace, to compensate for its rather barebones game modes.
I still really don’t like these damned random lootboxes. They’re insidious as fuck, and both MegaGWolf and I have spent far more on the stupid things than either of us should have, and the only thing that angers me more about it, is that fact I probably will again.
In fact, psychological manipulation seems to be at the forefront of this game. It seems to try it’s damnedest to make you feel like a badass, from playing up your excitement with very select and well-timed music stings, very likely artificially stacking the deck to make sure your win-rate is always near 50%, to giving players Play of the Game and Highlight reels that feel as if you’re watching flashy movie trailers, that star YOU!
Hell, making the player the forefront of the game is even carried into Blizzard’s baffling netcoding (that I very stupidly forgot to mention in the actual review, and I really wanted to talk about.) It’s a system called “Favor the Shooter”, in which as long as your PC and connection shows you hitting someone with your shot, Blizzard’s servers basically agree that you’ve hit them. This is why some of your kill-cam clips show players firing several feet to the left of you, and somehow killing you for it. It feels like the kind of thing that will very easily be exploited, and Blizzard is absolutely terrible about fixing their exploits in a timely manner.
I hate how I can’t hide the chat at all, leaving the insipid rants of other players to brand all my highlights and lootbox openings.
I like the goofy clever way bots are labeled in this game… like having two of Soldier 76 on a team will brand the second Soldier as “Soldier 77”.
As much as I like D.Va, I find her animations in her mech to be really odd and jerky, yet there’s something really cool about the perspective from inside the cockpit, and that cool loading animation when she summons a new mech… But those stiff mirrored arm movements she does in the Heartbreaker and Bunny Hop taunts feel really really off…
Still, the game does feel like a lot of fun, and having looked at Battleborn not too far back, there are reasons I see this game taking to the market better.
It’s nice not to be fully committed to a character upon choosing them for a match. It’s nice to have every character available from the start, instead of behind an unlock wall. It’s nice to be able to offer up counter strategies, rather than hoping the enemy team isn’t going to have a perfectly countered matchup to you. It’s nice having matches so short that “surrender” mechanics aren’t a thing, so matches play out in full, and butthurt players don’t try to quit the minute things go south, making clutch comebacks a very real and possible thing. Even if someone decides to rage quit your match, they’ll be replaced in seconds, so there’s never any wasted matches because someone didn’t feel like playing.
For something purely PvP, Overwatch is definitely better designed from a community and accessibility standpoint, and that’s probably what’s giving it its advantage here.
Recommended?: YES. Though… I think I like Battleborn just a bit better…