Overwatch – Beta Review on PS4

Written by Amanda, @swansongwriter

From the creators of Hearthstone, Blizzard brings us a brand new first person shooter (FPS) for next generation consoles and I was lucky enough to catch the beta on Playstation Plus last weekend.

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(Image from cnd3.dualshockers.com)

So, the game begins with Winston, one of the 22 heroes you can choose to play as. He takes you through the story – why you’re there and a bit about what you’re fighting (no, no spoilers here I’m afraid – you’ll need to play it yourself to find out the full story). Throughout the introduction, flashing manga style stills illustrate Winston’s story and show some of the other heroes as well.

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(Image from https://i.ytimg.com)

Next, you are given the option to go to the tutorial, training ground or get stuck in right away. On this occasion, I decided I would be patient and go through the tutorial. I was shown a loading bay with some kind of airship and then the view zoomed in on a set of doors which opened. Standing in front of me was the hero I would be going through the tutorial with, Soldier 76, and then transferred into his first person view. I was also introduced to another hero, Tracer, who I had to follow around. The tutorial is VERY basic! It shows you how to move and look around as well as how to shoot, all of which are standard FPS controls. I don’t think this is needed for regular gamers however it’s great for the newbies! The tutorial went on to introduce Soldier 76’s weapon which was a heavy pulse rifle. It was easy to use, nothing special to note here. I was also taken through Solder 76’s special abilities; biotic field – helps with healing, helix rockets – provides a big range explosion. The tactical visor is a great ability to have on side as it maximises shots and means no misses, no matter how off the shot is – again, excellent for beginners but maybe takes the fun away for the more experienced players. For those who do decide to go through the tutorial, it’s relatively short. I’d say no more than 20 minutes. You also get taken through a few of missions and the thing I like here is that the missions are really easy to see. Even later on when it came to game objectives online, it was really obvious where I had to go and what I had to do.

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(Image from pcngames.com)

The practice arena is the first time you can select which hero you want to be. I stuck with Soldier 76, wanting the familiarity in an unfamiliar environment. The character information option, triangle for PS4 players, takes you to hero information – details about weapons and special abilities which are pretty cool if you have preferences in terms of weapons or the role you want to play in that round. Practice is really an opportunity for you to get a feel for the game as there are no enemies who fight you but you can take shots at targets etc. The first environment I went into was Volskaya Industries which was a built up outside area. The one thing I really liked at this point were the vibrant colours as it gave an overall feel of a fresh experience. Although not hugely advanced on the graphics front, I liked it. The graphics aren’t bad but they’re not hugely realistic, more cartoony. Think more Borderlands than Heavy Rain.

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(Image from https://i.ytimg.com/vi/wXdqWPVYq10/maxresdefault.jpg)

The first main game was ‘defend the point’ style (and we won!). (Your character speaks throughout play and it provides comedy throughout. The vocabulary is fairly limited however so I can imagine it’ll get a bit repetitive). Again, there was the opportunity to select which hero you wanted to be. There’s a really awesome little feature here – you are put into teams of 6 and an information point at the side tells you if there aren’t any healers or too many heavy style heroes etc. so you can select someone to make the team stronger or you can continue as your favourite. If you start with the wrong hero however and the game has loaded, you can change your character shortly after you drop into a round which is good for when you’re starting out and you’re not yet familiar with all of the heroes. I think most people will want to try different heroes as there is a lot of selection, each with their own weapons and abilities.

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(Image from https://i.ytimg.com)

One thing they haven’t provided is the onscreen mini map. I can see why when the maps are relatively small but it’s something to get used to when you’re used to having this feature on other games! With the maps being small however, it provides a lot of close combat which I personally love! Don’t worry, there are still vantage points where you can look down at the whole battle arena and shoot away. With close combat however, there comes a lot of health loss but FEAR NOT – health is stored in convenient places on each map! I also liked that the special ability seemed to be linked to your kills.

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(Image from https://bnetproduct-a.akamaihd.net)

OK, so on to other cool features… loot boxes are awarded to you after you level up. They contain skins, voices and emotes all of which add to character personalisation. There are also a range of game types you can play which is to be expected such as Defend the Point as mentioned above and Stop the Payload. The Featured Kill Cam is pretty cool which shows you the kill of the game and Kill Cam shows how you were killed immediately after you’re killed. Once your round has ended, there is a Battlefield style roundup which shows how you did in the last round and how close you are to levelling up which is always a good feature for me!

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(Image from https://d17omnzavs9b58.cloudfront.net)

On to a couple of things I didn’t understand… As the game is loading up, you have about 45 seconds prep time. It wasn’t clear what the reason for this amount of time was however maybe this is something which will become clear in the full game. On a similar point, there seemed to be a bit of empty time between rounds which again, will hopefully become clearer as to the reason why in the full game. My thoughts are that maybe you can get to vantage points or set up defences but who knows!?

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(Image from https://i.kinja-img.com)

One downside was other players and their monotonous chatter. I really hope there’s a mute button as my initial game was ruined by some kid screaming down the mic having a tantrum…

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(Image from https://i.ytimg.com)

Before I sign off on this, a few more things. The new map, Eichenwalde has been announced with a new video being posted on YouTube by Overwatch EU. I am very excited as it looks like it was based on a fairy tale with the occasional indication of destruction. From what I can I see, this map looks far bigger than the others and so I’m very excited to get my hands on this! There is also rumour of new heroes but this seems to be very much on the DL at moment. There is one we know of however and that’s Sombra! Her skills include computer hacking and crypography and she looks pretty epic! There have been lots of mentions throughout the Overwatch development however we will need to wait and see to find out more about this mysterious hero…

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(Image from https://i.kinja-img.com)

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So let’s take a look at what season 2 can bring us… There are changes to the skill rating. Previously the scale had been done on 100-point basis however, it now works on a 1-5000 range. If your skill rating is over 3000 however, you’ll need to keep active to maintain your standing (a clever way by Blizzard to keep people engaged!). For every 24 hours of inactivity, you lose 50 points – you have been warned! They have also brought in 7 tiers of skills – bronze, silver, gold, platinum, diamond, master and grandmaster. Your skill tier will be displayed next to your player name and so people can see just how bad ass you are! But fear not if like me, you’re not some crazy good shooter because there is a skill grouping implementation which means bronze to diamond get put together and master and grandmaster combat against each other. If you leave a game early however, you now receive a 75% penalty to your XP earned so in short –  don’t be an idiot and leave your team mates mid game!

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(Image from us.battle.net)

Overall, I really enjoyed the game. Although it seemed quite a basic concept, I’m hoping the full game will bring more content and context. If not, it’s still a fun little shooter to while away the time with. I’m not going to give this one a rating as I think it would be unfair but for those that love first person shooters and looking for a new game, I would recommend Overwatch from what I’ve seen.

References >

overwatch.wikia.com

overwatch.gamepedia.com

reddit.com

playoverwatch.com

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(Below image from https://overwatch-a.akamaihd.net)

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0 thoughts on “Overwatch – Beta Review on PS4

  1. I\’m utterly obsessed with this game, and that\’s saying a lot, considering I was never a fan of first person shooters! Overwatch is just so easy to pick up and play, and it\’s extremely welcoming to new and vet players a lot. Gotta love Junkrat and Lucio. 🙂

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