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Overwatch Hands-on Event – First In SEA!
Blizzard invited us down for the first hands-on event in Southeast Asia for Overwatch, and here’s our recap of the day!
Full disclosure, none of us at GamerMalaya have had access to the Beta, and this was our first time trying out the game.
Overwatch is the next new IP coming out from the amazing folks at Blizzard, and to say the hype and excitement for the game is huge is an understatement. Just look at the people clamoring to get their hands on the hero shooter!
After being ushered in for the Press-only hands-on part of the event, we got our greedy little hands on Overwatch for the very first time!
Greeted by the colourful artstyle that has been the signature of Overwatch ever since its initial reveal, each team of 6 were given access to all 21 heroes. Separated into 4 distinct classes, the Offense, Defense, Tank and Support, each character has their own unique weapons, active, passive and even movement skills.
Genji, for example, is an Offense class character that is part cyborg, part ninja. With the ability to climb walls and a dashing melee attack, he plays differently from a Support class like Lúcio. He can buff teammates with increased movement speed or regenerate health with his music, or providing shields for the team. The Tanks provide the bulk of the protection while Defense classes do their best work hunkering down and repelling attackers.
Of particular note, the Offense hero, Soldier: 76 was particularly easy to use. With his automatic rifle, a secondary Helix Rockets attack and the ability to sprint, he plays like a traditional FPS character. Other characters, though, like Reinhardt (a Tank), requires timing to protect your teammates effectively and to charge in with your melee abilities. There is definitely a learning curve to the game for sure.
For those of you with reservations about the complexity of the game, do not fret. While seasoned players can easily get into the flow of an FPS that is also skill-based, beginners can learn about their character with a useful tooltip page. However, nothing beats learning on the job, and off we go!
We played in two modes, Escort and Assault. The Escort mode is played on the map, Numbani – a futuristic city, where the attacking team has to move a payload to the delivery point while the defense must stop them at all costs until time runs out. Assault is played on the Hanamura map, a beautifully realised locale with Japanese inspirations. Similarly, the team on offense has to capture critical objective points while the defense must maintain their control till time ends.
With so many different playstyles for each of the heroes for each of the class, the possibilities seem endless in terms of team configuration. Of course, the standard rules of MOBAs and hero-based shooters apply. A team with a balanced selection of Offense, Defense, Tanks and Support heroes will go much further than a stacked team. Thankfully, you get to change your hero each time you perish, allowing a change of strategy on the fly during a round, and hopefully a comeback.
I definitely enjoyed the moment-to-moment gameplay, timing your skills and utilising the unique movement of various heroes. The slower movement of heroes seems a deliberate choice for a game more dependent on skills rather than outright gunpower. While the pick-up-and-play nature of Overwatch is appealing to newcomers, there is a definite learning curve to mastering the nuances of this new IP.
The game, albeit a Beta, ran great and looked extremely stylised and beautiful to boot! This is certainly expected from the team at Blizzard, and Overwatch looks like another quality addition to the lineup of precious IPs from the Irvine studio, we cannot wait for the May 24th release and for more you to get your hands on the game. Until then, we have the Open Beta to look forward to on May 3rd!
Thanks to Reuben.C Photography for the event coverage!