Overwatch Gameplay Impressions

Hands on gameplay impression of Blizzard's new game Overwatch.

Blizzard's newest game, which was a secret to everyone, Overwatch was announced at the opening ceremony at BlizzCon this year. Luckily not only were they able to announce this new original title from the company, they also provided a 600 computer demo area for attendees to try the new first-person shooter. I was fortunate enough to be able to take some extended time to try multiple characters to get a real understanding of the game at its current standing.

On the cover, Overwatch may look like a clone of Team Fortress 2. However, there more differences than similarities, really setting it apart and in some cases making it more fun than the other. If I had to compare this game to any other first-person shooter, it would have to be with Unreal Tournament because of its fast pace and aiming style. The game felt much quicker than Team Fortress 2, but still kept similar quirks such as unique characters with expressive personalities. 

The Controls

The most notable aspect of the game was its unique control scheme. It kept with the basic formula of having WASD to move and mouse to look, but took an interesting approach for attacks and spells. Each character has three spells, one for shift, E, and an ultimate type of ability set to Q. At first the control scheme felt awkward, but being a future PC release, I don't have a doubt that these keybinds can be changed to anyones liking.

The Characters


Tracer was the first character I tried and she handled almost exactly as they was portrayed on the Overwatch trailer announcing the game. You have three dashes, that are nearly instant, then a time warp type of ability, where you can go back to where you were three seconds ago. This is both position and health, so if you were in the heat of battle and got low, you could go back three seconds to recover health, and be behind cover if that is where you were.


Pharah felt like one of the most well-rounded characters I had the opportunity to play. Her main weapon is a rocket launcher with a decent size clip. She has a boost jump, which allows her to get to very high places very quickly, a grenade that would push people to the side, and a passive jetpack allowing her to glide for a small amount of time. This combo of abilities made it easy to move around the maps, as they often had windows and balconies to take advantage of to move around without being attacked. Her ultimate is what really set her apart from the pack. You are able to launch a barrage of missiles in an area in front of you, which you can control. This made it easy to clear out waypoints or roadblocks that the enemy team had set up.


The Widowmaker was marked in Overwatch as a defensive character, but she could easily be played on offense or defense. She is a high mobility character with a gun that fires like an assault rifle, but switches to a sniper rifle when looking through the scope. She has very low health, but the high mobility she has makes up for it. One of her spells is a grappling hook, which allows her to climb platforms, or even use as a quick escape from a engagement gone south. Her ultimate gives her some of the greatest intel available in the game. When activated it shows the location of every enemy through the wall. When I was able to tell my teammates where the entire team was coming from, they were able to set up a quick defense to fend them off.

Overall I am very excited about Overwatch. The gameplay felt very well polished for a first run demo and it had a decent amount of characters available. I was able to talk to one of the developers at the booth, but they couldn't reveal any information about a console release or how they plan to monetize the game.

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Published Nov. 10th 2014

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