Overwatch Beta Review

What do you think of the Overwatch beta?

It’s alright, not great. The characters seem kinda simple. Like they have 2-3 fewer abilities than they could stand to.

The ultimates all last for really short periods of time, which I guess makes sense.

Seems like the characters are reasonably flexible instead of being made for a single purpose like a lot of the TF2 classes. There’s a reasonable amount of stress on how you use character’s abilities, like precisely where and when you deploy them.

It’s hard to judge it from how much I’ve played it. There’s a lot of characters, they all function fairly differently. They each have unique powers, so there’s a fair amount of variety.

It’s funny how every tier list rates Lucio at the top. He does feel like a good character.

Junkrat was rather fun. I liked laying traps and blowing people up.

Reinhardt gives me trouble, but didn’t work out for me all that well in a high pressure situation.

Roadhog is killer up close, his HP regen can make him a pain to kill, but he goes down easy to any character that can take off all his health consistently because he has a long reload time.

Bastion gave me some easy kills in turret mode.

Widowmaker let me kill some bastions really easily. Love the way she has a functional primary fire and her alt fire is the sniper rifle. Grappling hook is cool too.

Couldn’t make hanzo work for me, was probably playing him wrong, getting in too close. His wallclimb is cool.

Genji is really cool, I like his ability to go fast and reflect projectiles. One Genji killed me as turret bastion with that.

Mei can do some neat shit with ice wall, creating choke points on the fly, as well as lifting characters and herself.

Pharah I couldn’t get to work with me, expected it to be easy since I’m normally good with rocket launchers, but might have just had a bad run. Love her super jump and rocket hover.

Mcree, I had a hard time aiming his alt fire, which fires all 6 shots instantly, but has recoil and inaccuracy. Didn’t make the best use of his flashbang.

Zenyatta, I got a surprising amount of kills with.

Mercy heals. Moves slowly. Can dash every second, and dash to her heal target. Kind of a boring character.

D.Va is a cute and shameless Eva ripoff. Has a nice cycle of building up to ult, blowing up her suit, calling in a new one, and trying again. Nice movement ability, didn’t really work out defense matrix. Average level of fun otherwise.

I think my issue overall with the game is that the characters feel kind of limited weapon-wise, since they all have basically 1 weapon, and the movement, despite the abilities on cooldown, is kinda slow and simple most of the time. You get to use abilities once every 8-12 seconds or so (was never fond of cooldowns). Most of the game revolves around positioning and flanking, much like other team shooters. It’s alright. Not great.

How does Overwatch compare to TF2?

I played TF2 years ago, so it’s a bit hard for me to directly compare the two.

Both are a bit simple as FPS games. What really drags me down about Overwatch is how most characters only have 1 weapon. And not all of them even use all the ability binds possible, E, Shift, Right Click. They do all have melee attacks readily accessible though and melee attacks are much better in Overwatch than TF2. Larger hitboxes. Actual hitboxes. Not hitscan. And by default it’s bound to mouse 4 and F.

I’m generally not a fan of cooldowns. I dislike having it so you can only really use abilities once every few seconds. It leads towards a design where abilities have no real downsides or weaknesses to them, and the only reason to not use an ability the instant it comes out of cooldown is opportunity cost. You could potentially use the ability now and not be able to for the new few seconds, or you could wait and potentially use it in a more effective context. Overwatch abilities do a decent job of stressing opportunity cost. I felt in many cases like I wasn’t playing the hero as effectively as I could be.

TF2 is a different game. They’re both simple team based shooters, but they focus on really different things. Probably the biggest difference is that TF2 is more about performing your job on the team, where overwatch is more about utilizing 3 abilities at the right times and aiming accurately the rest of the time. Overwatch is deliberately made so some teams are unbeatable by others to encourage class switching, where in TF2, class switching is just a waste of your team’s time and you should focus on doing your class’s job better rather than trying to counterpick mid-match.

Every class can headshot in Overwatch, not just snipers. Neat touch if you ask me.

I think I’m slightly in favor of Overwatch over TF2 right now, but it’s still a bit simple. The abilities each character has are spread thin on the ground. You get cases like the function of an engineer being spread across 3 different characters.

Oh, and I heard that movement is slower on consoles. I honestly never considered that you could just make an FPS game faster on PC. Why don’t more games do this?

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3 thoughts on “Overwatch Beta Review

  1. Mulgar H June 29, 2016 / 4:00 pm

    Two things I’m missing more than anything in Overwatch is air-control and explosive-jumping. TF2’s classes are pretty simple but these are some things that every class had access to, to some extent.
    When playing TF2 competitively (I know…) as Medic I had to learn how to explosive-jump on enemy Soldiers’ rockets to my advantage in order to escape many tricky situations. Once I learned that though it changed the whole game for me.

    Being able to utilise explosive-jumps as any class was mostly a hold-over from TF2’s roots as a Quakeworld/Half-Life mod and while I didn’t expect Blizzard to replicate that system I can’t help but feel like Overwatch is a bit lacking in movement options.

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    • Chris Wagar June 29, 2016 / 6:44 pm

      First, I’m pretty sure you can explosion jump as Junkrat. Second, wow, I didn’t know that about TF2 Medic, or really that you could jump off enemy explosions at all. Never considered deliberately doing that.

      I think all the FPS developers want to cut down on air control to prevent issues like the old strafe jumping air acceleration bug.

      But yeah, overwatch is a bit simple. It doesn’t have much of that type of situational awareness where you can take advantage of an uncommon opportunity like that.

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      • Mulgar H July 1, 2016 / 3:16 pm

        It’s true that you can utilise knockback as Junkrat and Pharah, but only with moves that have a cooldown, which was probably put in intentionally so that no class can go as fast as a Soldier or Demoman could in TF2.

        It’s a shame that developers seem to shun advanced movement techniques in FPS games, because I think that being able to move around in TF2 can be fun in its own right.

        Also, here’s an example of some High-Level Medic gameplay:

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