Overwatch: Not Your Usual Team Fortress

Ever since Overwatch has been announced, it stirred up a lot of discussion in the gaming world. Some said that it was a simple Team Fortress 2 (Valve’s popular free-to-play FPS) clone, and that it was Blizzard’s answer to Valve “stealing” Dota from them. Others dismissed those comments and said that it will bring enough innovation and freshness to the formula in order to be its own game. Of course, since its initial announcement, a lot of things have changed.

Although the game is still a few months away (release date: May 24 2016), it is already available for pre-ordering. Pre-ordering right now grants you the noire Widowmaker skin and early access to the beta. There is also the Overwatch Origins Edition, which gives you 5 “Origins” skins for heroes and digital goodies for other Blizzard games, as per tradition (from a World of Warcraft pet to a pair of wings in Diablo III). This package will cost you $60/60 euros, which is a bit pricy. If that’s the case, you can get the regular edition, which isn’t marketed that much, for $40/40 euros. It is unsure whether or not the Origins Edition will be available for purchase after the game is released.

When Overwatch was first announced, given the state of the game genre, it was considered to be a free-to-play title. You can just about imagine the negative impact the price reveal had on the game’s fanbase, especially when considering that all the other games of this type are free-to-play. It’s unsure how well Overwatch will do, now that it will not only require players purchasing the game itself, but it will also have a cosmetics store for skins and the such.

Price and other issues aside, Overwatch does the one thing it had to do extremely well, and that is gameplay. For Blizzard’s first FPS title, it nails both the first person shooter formula and the team-based gameplay formula, while bringing the usual cleverness and appeal which is specific to Blizzard games. There are already a lot of heroes announced, each with different roles, different abilities and different personalities. This will make game balancing a lot harder, but will ensure that the game is always fresh, as is the case with Heroes of the Storm, another big hit by Blizzard.

The art style of the game is extremely cartoony, which seems to be a trait taken from its biggest competitor, Team Fortress 2. In fact, as many fans have said it, the game bears a lot of similarities to Team Fortress 2, but in many cases, it simply takes one thing that Team Fortress 2 has done well and does it even better. This is reflected by Valve’s decision to finally add competitive matchmaking to its 8-year-old game, meaning that they know that Overwatch will prove difficult to beat, even given that TF2 is free.

Another interesting thing to note is that even though the game has only been through closed beta testing, it seems to already have a large esports crowd gathering around it, waiting for its release. Now, there’s no way to tell whether or not Overwatch will actually bring in a lot of attention, or if it will fall flat despite the hype around it, like Titanfall did.

All in all, we can only hope that Overwatch will meet expectations, and judging from the betas and announcements so far, it will probably exceed them. After all, we’re all paying for the Blizzard seal of quality, and when has that ever disappointed in the long run?