Growing up, I was never interested in video games. This was probably the result of my short attention span, and my inability to stick with a game and finish it. The only games I can say I ever got hooked on were made by Nintendo and lacked a storyline; classic games such as Animal Crossing and Nintendogs. Of course, I have long been an enthusiastic fan of the Sims franchise, but that doesn’t exactly make me a gamer—while playing the Sims 3, I was more interested in the game’s build mode than anything else. Besides the basics, my knowledge about video games has always been pretty limited.
So, for the past few months, when I heard somebody mention a game called Overwatch, I just ignored them. What they were saying clearly wasn’t intended for my uncultured ears.
But, I was intrigued. Routinely, I would come across advertisements for Overwatch. Short film style ads for the game frequently played before YouTube videos, yet I still had no idea what it was about. Why did the game’s characters look like they had been drafted out of a Pixar movie? Was there a main character? What kind of game was it? And why did so many of my friends keep talking about it?
A little over two weeks ago, I learned that there was a collegiate Overwatch championship that a team from Emerson was competing in. I also discovered that there were professional Overwatch players across the world, which I thought was interesting. What I realized was that if some people were taking the game this seriously, it must be a good time. At last, I made up my mind that I was going to try playing it.
One of my friends was already an avid player and had downloaded Overwatch on her PC. Since the game is only available on systems I don’t have: PC, Xbox, and PS4; playing on her computer was my only hope. Thankfully, she agreed to let me play!
The first thing I learned about Overwatch is that it’s basically the Avengers in video game form. Though it’s a multiplayer first shooter game that doesn’t have much of a plot, there’s tons of lore behind the game. Blizzard, the company behind the game, has distributed several short films detailing the game’s backstory. It’s a story that includes robots and a team of super humans, tasked with restoring order to a future, fictionalized Earth. That team was then dubbed Overwatch, hence the game’s title.
In Overwatch, you play as a 6-person team with other random players. You are then pitted against an enemy team. At the start of each game, you are given 22 playable ‘hero’ characters to choose from. Every hero has their own unique strengths and weaknesses. They each fit into one of four categories: offense, defense, tank or support heroes. It’s up to you and your other teammates to form a balanced lineup for the duration of your game.
There are too many characters to highlight here, but my current favorite is a robot named Bastion. I’m still learning, so he’s the only character I’m decent at so far. His greatest selling point is that he can transform into a stationary, sniper, machine-gun robot. I love him.
Some characters are easier to play (in my humble opinion) than others. Soldier ‘76 (aka knock off Steve Rogers) is a good character to start with because his abilities aren’t too complicated. Bastion is also a good starter, mostly because like I said, you can’t really go wrong with a machine gun robot.
Overwatch includes a variety of game modes and maps. Many of the map locations are based on real-world locations, for instance, there is a location that clearly resembles Greece (named Ilios) and another that resembles Japan (named Hanamura).
The objective of each Overwatch game is to capture or defend a particular point on each map. Sometimes you will be tasked with either defending or escorting a “payload” (a car) across the map. Overall, the game’s a lot of fun and you should figure it out pretty quickly once you finally get to playing it.
Since playing Overwatch for the first time, I’ve been hooked. It’s lucky then, that my roommate just purchased the game for her Xbox and has invited me to play it.