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Your Move

Your Move: Overwatch Introduces Variety To A Classic Premise

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Blizzard Entertainment is best known for the wildly popular World of Warcraft, but about a decade ago they started development on a shooter game codenamed Titan. It was a huge, ambitious project, not unlike Warcraft - which fit the Blizzard of ten years ago perfectly.

Since then, Blizzard and the larger gaming industry have changed, with the company finding success with much smaller-scale games like Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm. So it was no surprise to me when Blizzard announced Overwatch, a much more focused version of what Titan may have been.

Overwatch is a first-person arena shooter, often compared to Valve’s Team Fortress 2. The comparison is apt, with most matches following some variation of “Capture the Flag” or “Defend this base.” This basic premise isn’t terribly original, but what sets Overwatch apart isn’t the core gameplay, but the ridiculous number of characters you can choose to be.

The twenty-one characters fall loosely into four categories - offense, defense, tank, and support, but even within the same category, two characters may play completely differently. Take for example the offense characters McCree and Pharah - McCree’s revolver and flashbang grenade are great for close-up duels, but he suffers at long range. Pharah, on the other hand, has a long range rocket launcher and a jetpack that keeps her above the fray, but the rockets don’t work well at point-blank range. All of the characters are colorful, have detailed back stories, and fill very specific niches.

Keeping a balance of the different types of characters is important, especially if the opposing team is doing the same. You can switch characters several times during a match, and I found myself doing so pretty often. I had the most fun playing as support characters - sometimes I’m not great at shooting (or being shot at), but if I can heal other characters, set up shields, or make the tanks do more damage, I can be much more effective.