The Ninjabot

Hands-on with OVERWATCH at BlizzCon 2014

Posted on November 10, 2014 at 11:05 am by Justin Cavender

Torbjorn Overwatch

BlizzCon 2014 is officially behind us, and one of our biggest takeaways from the event was the announcement of Blizzard’s new IP, Overwatch, the team-based shooter with colorful heroes. We had the opportunity for some hands-on action with Overwatch and walked away feeling cautiously optimistic about the game. Of course it’s still in the early stages of development with beta testing arriving sometime in 2015. The artistic style and playful tone certainly adds flavor the mix, but at the same time, it’s hard not to compare Overwatch to a game like Team Fortress 2. Obviously, being compared to TF2 is not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination. I’m just a little surprised a new IP is so similar to a game that’s been out for seven years. Especially, when Blizzard hasn’t announced a new IP in 17 years.

The game features 12 unique heroes divided up amongst four different class roles including Tank, Offense, Defense, and Support. Keep in mind, this is an objective-based game, meaning the idea of a straight up deathmatch is out the window. Sure you’ll be killing players on the opposing team, but there’s more to it than that… at least, that’s what Blizzard is aiming for in Overwatch. For example, the support class heroes don’t even fire weapons–their only job is to keep players alive long enough to reach the objective.

For the sake of the demo, we had to take turns playing as attackers and defenders on the King’s Row map. The goal was to first capture or defend a specific area in a short amount of time. If the point was captured, the attacking team had to then deliver a payload to a designated delivery point with the defenders trying to stop them.

After watching the game’s cinematic trailer, which premiered during the BlizzCon opening ceremonies, I immediately wanted to try out both Tracer and Winston. While Tracer has some fun teleporting abilities like Blink and Recall, I never really fell in love with her gameplay mechanics.

Unfortunately, Winston ended up in the same boat. The giant Gorilla takes on the role of the tank class and provides extra cover for the rest of the team. His abilities include a jump pack and shield generator, which turns into mush pretty quickly if an opposing player can attack with their Ultimate Ability.

Once our team lost the offensive round I decided to switch things up again by taking on the role of Torbjörn (Defender Class). Right off the bat I knew this guy was going to be my kind of hero. He’s a weapon designer and engineer, equipped with a giant hammer to build powerful and upgradeable turrets. Finding key positions to defend capture points is your top priority. You’ll want to find a place to set your turret where it can only be damaged from up close, while still maintaining line-of-sight of the capture point. Otherwise, the opposing team can destroy your turret from across the map. Next you’ll want to upgrade your turret by collecting scraps off dead bodies. This takes almost no time at all and you’ll be mowing down fools faster than they can curse at their monitors.

When the final round was over, we had stopped the attacking team from delivering the payload and my kill/death ratio was 52/4. As far as I’m concerned, our team not only won the match, but BlizzCon as well. Muhahahaha!

Follow Justin on Twitter @Edgyarmo for more geek news.

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