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PAX East Impressions
One of the unexpected highlights of PAX East 2016 for the crew and I was getting a tremendous amount of hands-on time with one of the most hotly anticipated titles of the year, Overwatch. Although this game is a competitive shooter and I tend to steer clear of these due to my possessing copious amounts of “suckage” when firing up any of these titles, I’m interested in any game made by the great minds of Blizzard. The crew and I were fortunate enough to get to play on stage at the PAX Arena, so our n00b skills were on full-display for the world to see-you’re welcome, PAX 🙂
Just as in Battleborn (another title I’m interested in), Overwatch possesses a large roster. Each character in each class (tank, support, assault, etc.) feels different and unique. In order to verify this I played as nearly every character available over the course of the hour. While this meant I didn’t have enough time to learn the intricacies of each character, it did allow me to get a feel for each unique movement type, weapon set and abilities. I’m chalking up my horrendous K/D ratio (approximately 3-25 each round) to my desire to provide you Bros with thorough impressions. The atrocious level of skill on display was in the name of research! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
The game mode we played was an escort-type mission, requiring one team to push a car (by standing next to it) into the opposing base. Alternating between attacking and defending meant switching between multiple characters (at least for a n00b like me) was a necessity for me, and I found my tendency to play as a support class provided little benefit when attaching. Again – this is more than likely due to my lacking any type of skill whatsoever in this particular game.
UPDATE: Xbox One Open Beta impressions
Yo, Bros. If you’ve swung by the Twitch recently (or scoped the newly-minted YouTube page!) you’ve noticed your Bro participated in the Overwatch Open Beta. As I’d hoped, my time spent in Overwatch on Xbone was tremendously better than my time spent with the title at PAX East, as I’m a strict console gamer through-and-through (although I think every Bro can agree The Sims is superior on PC). I was able to alternate between multiple characters, and I walked away from the beta more excited for a PvP game than I’ve ever been.
As I’ve hammered home repeatedly on this here website, I’m not big on PvP games. However, the exquisite map design and wide-array of characters make Overwatch one of the most enjoyable titles I’ve picked up in a long, long time.
Each map is sprawling and intricately designed. My personal favorite has got to be “Hollywood” as it resembles a movie studio backlot, and for sentimental reasons reminded me of Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park (big shocker, right?). That being said, each map has a unique color scheme and I for one enjoyed seeking out as many small details as possible, such as battered arcade cabinets or vending machines. The best part of each map is the flexibility they provide players with: if you opt for heroes who are slower, you might prefer to stick to cramped building interiors in order to prevent other players from getting the drop on you. If you’re a player who likes to get vertical (either with a jetpack or as a sniper), you have the ability to find a high vantage point in every map. Whenever you’re making your way towards an objective, there are always multiple avenues to do so. You’re able to approach from different directions, which makes things interesting for both the attacking and defending team. This also prevents games from growing repetitive, as no particular avenue is “better than the other” for a given map.
I was unable to properly evaluate the controls of the game during my hands on time with the title at PAX East as I was playing on a PC. Just one round with the title on Xbox One helped alleviate any fears I may have harbored about the controls not working precisely as expected. Although some heroes come with a bit of a learning curve, each character feels unique. Some are slower, some are agile, some are hulking powerhouses, some like to get vertical-each character feels different and competitive, provided they are going up against another character who doesn’t have a distinct advantage over them. The roster is stacked, each character feels unique and I’d reckon even the most jaded of FPS players will grow fond of at least one hero.
Overwatch is a title I did not expect to care for in the slightest. As someone who typically eschews PvP entirely, it was a game which-despite the tremendous amount of associated hype-was not on my radar. While I got slaughtered during PAX East repeatedly, it did pique my interest. Playing the open beta only solidified my feelings of the title-Overwatch is one of the freshest experiences to hit PvP consoles in some time, and I cannot wait to play the full-title. Until next time, Bros!