overwatch

Blizzard’s Overwatch is finally here, and if you’re not yet playing it…you’re doing it wrong.

Overwatch has an interesting history. Not only is its Blizzard’s first new core IP in more than a decade, it also began life as the mythical MMO Titan. When Titan didn’t turn out to be as fun as they’d hoped, the development team switched gears and made Overwatch. The result is a much-needed shot in the arm for PC multiplayer first-person-shooters as Overwatch fills a growing void that’s starting to appear with the slow decline of Valve’s Team Fortress 2.

In a way, Overwatch really is the successor to Team Fortress 2. The games are very similar with the core class archetypes, although the variety of characters in Overwatch diversifies the play styles more so than in Team Fortress 2. There are defensive characters, offensive, utility, etc, but with so many choices to choose from everyone will find their favorite while still being able to fill in a gap with a difference character when needed.

And that’s what makes Overwatch what it is and why it’s so fun. The gameplay resolves around the fluid nature of the maps and being able to easily switch characters within a game to respond quickly to changing conditions. Is the other team pressing an objective really hard and you need more defense? No problem, you can quickly switch to your favorite defense character to hold the line.

There are a lot of these character-based shooters either on the market or coming soon. Gearbox foolishly released their Battleborn right before Overwatch, a miss-step that will likely bury that game’s player base forever. Then there’s Lawbreakers coming, but some people are having trouble getting into that as it just looks like another gritty Unreal shooter. Overwatch benefits from the traditional Blizzard polish, which includes a great art style, slick UI, and an even better soundtrack.

The game’s available on the PC (no Mac, in a Blizzard first), PlayStation 4, and Xbox One and no matter what you prefer to play on you can play Overwatch right now. The differences between the PC and console versions include some aim assist on the consoles, and as such the three play on segregated servers.

It’s still early in 2016, but Overwatch will go down as not only one of the best games of the year but a new classic IP in Blizzard’s line-up.

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