I first played Overwatch a little over a year ago at PAX East. I've played hours and hours of it since then in various betas and named it my most anticipated game of the year. Overwatch's excellent gameplay has not really changed at all in that time. That might be the one issue plaguing the game as it slowly approaches its release date on May 24th. Overwatch is simple to pick up and play, and the characters have a lot of depth, but the limited modes on offer may prove an issue once the hype surrounding the game has died down.
The way maps are laid out in Overwatch is that each one has a set way to play for both attackers and defenders. There are very few modes that dynamically change over the course of the game, which means that once players learn the layout of a map and get comfortable with a few characters, they're going to initially tackle that map the same way each time. Adding to that issue is the fact that players are going to get to that mindset more quickly than in other games because Overwatch's maps are very easy to learn and the rounds go by quickly. Simply put, the game needs more maps that offer King of the Hill and fewer maps with round based Attack and Defense.
Another issue that players might encounter during their time with Overwatch is a problem that every class based shooter has faced in one form or another. Not everyone can be the star of the show, but there are players out there who want to be Tracer or Reaper and no one else, even if the team already has two snipers and an Agent 76. A poor team composition is a recipe for disaster in a game like this, and being the one poor schmuck on a team trying to play support while everyone else is warping into shotgun blasts is frustrating enough to make you want to stop playing altogether.
I can't see a benefit in players being able to pick more than one of each Hero for a team, and I can see that being a change implemented as the game is balanced over time. Considering that each character brings something unique to the table, there is no reason for two or three Tracers to be running around when there are multiple other offensive classes to choose from. Considering how fragile Tracer is as a character as well, a team stacked with this popular choice isn't going to be lasting very long in objectives, and I have a feeling that long-time players of the game are going to grow to hate the character in the same way that Team Fortress 2 players hate the Sniper.
Gripes aside, I'm still having a lot of fun with Overwatch, and the game seems to be a great foundation to build upon. It's missing a lot at the moment, including a promised competitive mode that has been delayed and some more obvious additions like Capture the Flag and longer Payload focused maps. It's not going to overtake the titans of the genre as it is now, but with added characters, alternate weapons, and more dynamic game modes, we could have a game that will stand the test of time.
Overwatch was previewed at PAX East 2015 and 2016, and during the Closed Beta period on Xbox One and PC.
Are you going to spend the weekend brawling with heroes in Overwatch? What post-launch additions would you like to see Blizzard add to the game? Sound off in the comments below, and you can expect TechRaptor's full review of the final product at the end of the month!