Early Impressions: Overwatch Closed Beta

Written by: Jeremy Rieske, Edited by: Casey Lightford

You know, the world could always use more heroes.
– Tracer

I finished another Overwatch beta test weekend, and I can’t be more excited for this game. I participated in the first weekend beta test in November and the latest one in April. With precious little time on my side, my goal was to find which heroes I could connect with. Interestingly, instead of finding that perfect gun in Call of Duty, or mastering a specific weapon in Halo, Overwatch is all about that perfect set of traits: How they move, use their gun, perform special abilities, and dominate the competition with their ultimate ability.

I had a hard time choosing my ideal hero last November. I expected Overwatch to play like Team Fortress 2, and while similar in scope, Overwatch plays completely different. With such a varied and large cast of heroes, it can be challenging to spend enough time with each hero knowing one might not be given a chance; the limited weekend tests made this difficult. In the end, it takes hands-on experimentation to find which hero I wanted to be.

Likely from a bit more balancing and polish, along with knowing what I was getting into, I had a blast. Sure, I couldn’t pull much off with some of the more challenging offensive heroes, but give me a Reaper, Mercy, or Mei, and I can dominate!

Not to mention this game is oozing with Pixar quality and charm, it’s nice to see Blizzard expanding the world of Overwatch and its character through shorts, mini-biographies, blog posts, and comics. I hope additional background on the story and its world is released because the lore is rich with content.

I’m readily excited to play this action-packed game in May (thanks to the pre-order beta bonus) and see where it goes from here. With the likes of new heroes, and no doubt new maps, it would be great to see them shake up the map objectives; let’s not settle for capture points and move the payload! Unfortunately, what I haven’t seen is any mention of player creation, which is strange coming from Blizzard who implement creation tools well in World of Warcraft. Perhaps I’ve missed some interview, but I would really hope to see the game expand into the community space similar to Starcraft II’s arcade section; letting players make new maps and new game types.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this game when it was first announced, especially being born in the wake of years of Blizzard’s Titan massively-multiplayer online game, perhaps it’s not the same scope, but for a new IP, it’s a welcome new-addition to Blizzard’s line up. I’ve loved this game from the moment I’ve laid eyes on it, and I have no doubt I’ll be spend hours playing this as I did with Team Fortress 2.

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