Despite Overwatch being launched on May 24th, the game went live in the middling hours of May 23 in all regions, 4PM to be exact. Well, not really, given that it took quite a bit of time for players to enter with the servers getting slaughtered. It’s okay, though – people like me spent it watching all the shorts again to just enjoy the launch.
One of the most hyped new intellectual properties from Blizzard Entertainment, featuring a diverse cast of 21 heroes in a superhero-filled world, prepare your work sick notes, prepare your letters to understanding professors for an absent day, because the game is on. Pre-launch excitement is incredible, with high-quality fan arts, cosplay, and social media buzz everywhere. The game had launched and quickly became Twitter’s #1 trending topic, with over 150,000 tweets using the Overwatch hash tag. Twitch TV saw over 263,000 users watching high-profile players logging in. That, and over 100,000 members of the 200,000 strong Overwatch subreddit were online, crashing the subreddit. Need we be reminded that over 9.7 million players logged in to the beta?
It’s of little surprise that the game has generated the level of excitement that it has. With animation that brings cues to Disney and Pixar animation, a wonderful soundtrack that has airs of heroism and epic adventure, the game feels like a playable version of the animated film The Incredibles, which released back in 2003. The two even share similar premises.
Having played some of the beta and through playing a few games on the live servers, this can easily slaughter other games in its field. Battleborn can’t even come close to Overwatch’s level of excitement on the game play field. Even with a newly reduced $40 price tag on Battleborn, it just does not feel the same. Overwatch brings a high level of polish to the shooter genre, feeling like the shooting online games of old, such as GunZ: The Duel from MAIET Entertainment.
Overwatch puts team based gameplay together with mass killing. Players are allowed to choose different heroes at will in safe zones, giving battles infinite flexibility to create endless combinations and counters to strategies. The amazing feat about Overwatch is that it breaks many boundaries by not forcing players’s hands into choosing a specific role of tank, DPS, and healer. Unlike MMOs, being forced into one class actually restricts the play and learning experience. The game also has native communications with other teammates enabled; communication in objective-based gameplay is essential. While some people don’t necessarily speak, it does help immensely in getting players somewhat assembled to take down targets. Even with some whose sole desire is to just rack up kills, winning is still entirely doable.
The next couple of days, weeks, and months look to be very interesting. Call it Blizzard magic, but they’ve won a ton of people’s hearts and delivered a great product thus far. Excellent animation, visuals, soundtrack, and plenty of buzz to the point where it has become impossible to ignore, and you have a recipe for one of the biggest game launches in 2016. Good job, Blizzard, for a job well done. Stay tuned for our Overwatch review, coming in the next few days. Until then, the world needs heroes, so fight on!