At this point in my gamer life, I have played and been exposed to a wide range of video games. I’d say I have come a long way since my medium status as a gamer when I fully embraced being one back in 2009. But one of the games I haven’t played much of are games specifically designed to be online multiplayer games. Think of games like Destiny and League of Legends. These type of games don’t interest me much because it requires you to either play with a friend who owns the same game as you, or play with a bunch of strangers online if you don’t know anyone else who has the game. I’ve always been content with playing games that are singular experiences and doesn’t require an Internet connection to play. Recently, I finally took a chance on Blizzard Entertainment’s wildly successful 2016 online multiplayer, first-person shooter Overwatch.
When the game came out last year, the buzz and hype for Overwatch was huge. Games journalists often talked about the popular FPS in their latest articles, and convention floors started having plenty of attendees cosplaying as their favorite Overwatch character everywhere you turned. I may not have been too familiar with the game itself, but I knew of Overwatch and some of the characters populating social media (D. Va and Tracer being the top ones I saw either in my Facebook or Twitter feeds).
At the time, I only knew one good friend who played Overwatch and often cited D. Va as a huge favorite of his. Then two more friends discovered the game and became instant fans as well. There’s one friend who I call my regular online gaming buddy. Despite living only a few blocks away from each other, seeing each other in person has become tricky with our different work schedules. While I work the usual 9 to 5 job, she works nights at a hospital and has to sleep during the day. The only time we get to see each other in person is when she gets the time off to either attend a fun event with me, planned months in advance, or when she isn’t too lazy to maybe meet someplace nearby for a few hours on the weekends she’s off from work. We’ve made it our goal to try and game with each other every other Friday night (or Saturday night) when she’s scheduled to be off that weekend. We’ve played and completed Borderlands 1 and 2 together and we’re nearly halfway done with Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. We played the multiplayer for Mass Effect: Andromeda and went through some of Castle Crashers together. If it wasn’t for our mutual dedication to game every other weekend, I probably wouldn’t have touched the multiplayer on some of these games. Over time, we both realized we were kind of running out of games we both owned to play online together. That’s when she mentioned she got Overwatch and has been playing it often on her own.
Overwatch started piquing my interest more and more when I saw how diverse their lineup of characters are and the fact that two of my friends now own the game on the same console as me. My other friend, who has been playing Overwatch since its initial release, owns and plays it on the PC. I don’t PC game and I doubt I’ll ever add that to my list of gaming options. To have my usual gaming buddy tell me she has Overwatch for Xbox One and also needing more games to play online together, I finally decided it was time to get the game for myself. With what little I’ve played of it so far, I now get why Overwatch is being praised so highly by the gaming community at large.
As I mentioned earlier, Overwatch has a diverse array of characters coming from different ethnic backgrounds, genders, species, and races with different skill sets and special abilities to be used on the battle field. For instance, D. Va is a former Korean pro-gamer who is a heavy hitter with a mech, Tracer is a former British pilot who has the unique ability to blink in and out of areas, and Hanzo is an agile Japanese archer who can summon a dragon. That’s only scratching the surface of the selection of 25 playable characters in the game who come with their own origin stories.
I like this kind of diversity in video games, and Overwatch stands out because of their characters. With so many to choose from, you’re bound to find at least one or two characters you really love playing as. I’ve only played the game twice with my friend and the practice mode once when I first downloaded the game to my console. I haven’t fully experienced everything Overwatch has to offer a player just yet, but having played two and a half hours of matches on two separate nights with my friend, I can actually see myself doing some matches solo when she isn’t available to play with me. This is actually a first for me, and maybe telling of how Blizzard Entertainment managed to create such a stellar game. Before Overwatch, I wouldn’t really bother playing any online multiplayer on my own, especially with the reputation online gaming communities sometimes have of being verbally abusive to players who may not be as good at a game as some seasoned players or being targeted because of your gender. Luckily, there’s a reason why you can mute or disconnect the chat function when you want to blissfully enjoy a game without dealing with the few trolls who would aim to make your gaming experience a living hell.
Aside from the great characters, the maps are fun and beautifully designed to take you all over the world from the dusty roads of Route 66 in the American Southwest to the tranquil cherry blossom corners of Japan. Each time you level up, you’re awarded Loot Boxes with goodies to continuously customize your Overwatch characters with new skins or sprays to truly make each of them your own.
While I’ll admit that I still need a lot of practice with the fighting styles of each character, because I kind of suck in most online matches, I’m leaning more towards Pharah, the Egyptian soldier, being my girl in most matches with Hanzo coming in at a close second. Right now, it’s still a little too early to name who my ultimate favorite Overwatch character is. What I do know is I’ve become an Overwatch convert and fan just like the rest of my friends who discovered the game before me. I’m excited to eventually perfect my fighting skills in the game and uncover more of the glorious world of Overwatch.
Have you played Overwatch? Who’s your favorite character to play in matches?