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5th May 2016 - Intro.
The open beta of Overwatch is going to begin today so I thought I'd keep a blog for the days that I play it just to give a general feel to what the game plays like and what I think of it. Obviously being a beta test there will be certain features unavailable to what there will be in the full game, but the main crux of the game will be clear so I can give a general review.
Incidentally I don't know much about this game for I was more interested in Mirror's Edge Catalyst to pay it much attention. Other than the controversy of Tracer's butt I know nothing of the game and characters but maybe that's a good thing because I can approach this play test with an open mind.
Other than Mirror's Edge Catalyst on the PS4 I've play tested a game called Seed and RF Online for the PC.
I was hoping for a midnight launch for the Overwatch beta but alas it's not working yet. My first proper post about gameplay will have to be tomorrow. I'll be sure to post lots of screenshots.
7th May 2016 - First Play.
I had my first play of this game today. The download is 8 gigs but it will initially download as a 2 gig file then allow play in the tutorial mode while the rest downloads as a separate file. It's good to learn how to play the game and what the controls are while it's still downloading, the PS4 is clever that way.
You begin the tutorial as a male character named Soldier 76 where an announcer and Tracer will teach the basic controls and what the icons on the screen mean. Later you can select your character but at the time Soldier 76 and Tracer were the only characters available but that may have been due to the game still installing. Tracer is British is she has an old style cockney accent which I thought was brilliantly done, a bit over the top maybe, but it matches her cheeky personality.
The online mode reminds me of Unreal Tournament albeit with quirky characters. The only online mode had your team defending an area while others attack, I presume there'll be other online modes available in the full game. There were a couple of annoyances online, The skilled players could pretty much kill the noobs, such as myself, with a one shot kill. I hope the full version has some kind of player skill balancing. I could also hear people having inane chatter on their mics, including a toddler talking in the background, that I couldn't switch off.
It's brilliant fun with lots of maps available even within the beta. I don't recall playing a single map twice. There are lots of heath pick ups, and another player was dropping armour which I've yet to figure out how to do. Each player has unique abilities. Tracer can dash swiftly while Solider 76 has a grenade launcher on his gun. While I'm sure people will have their favourite character it's still easy to switch character mid-game during the respawn sequence, so I think people will end up with more than one favourite that they will master.
As you progress through the game you are given loot crates that upgrade your characters' skills. Often the crates upgrade characters that you're not playing but it's easy to switch characters so upgrading them all is straight forward.
Incidentally you don't need PlayStation Plus to play the online features of this beta but obviously that won't apply to the full game.
Another thing I'd like to mention is that this is one of those games that you can sit down and play for half an hour then realise you've been playing for three. Time simply zooms by.
This game's hugely addictive and while I haven't pre-ordered it I'll certainly buy the full version when it's released. I haven't played a game like this in such a long time. Think of it as Unreal Tournament combined with Time Splitters. It's so quirky and over the top yet exhilarating. It certainly doesn't take itself too seriously.
There are 21 characters in all and they all have unlockable extras such as wining poses, new skins, extra dialogue etc. Another interesting feature is that the game still allows you to view the extra items, and listen to the new dialogue, even when you haven't unlocked them yet. The only reason for unlocking them is so others can see them when you're playing online.
At first I kept playing as Tracer but she's extremely popular and it's not unusual for everyone on your team to play as her. I've also been playing as Mei with her amazing ice shield powers. At one time whilst playing as Mei and waiting for the game to start someone else on my team playing as Tracer was standing beside me and the automatic dialogue went something like:-
Tracer: Mei why are to wearing too many clothes? Aren't you hot?
Mei: Yes I regret my choice.
The character named D.VA drives a robotic vehicle and many of her winning poses remind me of the comic book versions of Ghost in the Shell. I'll do some screenshots of those poses in a later post.
8th May 2016 - No Serious Bugs.
I don't really have much to say in this post as I've pretty much covered everything. I've been playing it repeatedly and can't fault it. I suppose the only annoyance is the delay when respawning and having to watch the Kill Cam to see how you died. There is an option to disable the Kill Cam but then you watch the game continue until you respawn with the same amount of delay. This delay becomes even more annoying if you die repeatedly especially when it's a one shot kill.
I haven't found a single glitch within the game. No crashes, no falling off the map, no lag, nothing of that nature. It's a solid game that plays well. At one point the game appeared to start then we were kicked back to the character section menu but I think it was due to players leaving so may not have been a game bug, it would have to happen repeatedly for me to be sure. There doesn't appear to be a quit button on the character selection within the online play, but this counts as an oversight rather than a glitch. Basically you have to wait for the game to start before actually having the option to leave.
9th May 2016 - Ackermanshinoda.
I've just finished playing and our team totally annihilated the opposing team repeatedly due to one very special player who was relentless, the MVP (Most Valuable Player) of the game. That player was named Ackermanshinoda.
We all have a favourite characters and I often play as Mei but there was a player playing as Mercy who remained as that character four games in a row before leaving. Mercy is a healing character that blasts healing energy to members of the same team. She also possesses a more convention weapon too but it's pretty basic.
Ackermanshinoda was particularly skilled and pretty much kept our entire team alive for the duration of the game, even in some cases healing us after we died. The 'Play of the Match' game highlight at the end of the game only ever shows someone who achieved lots of kills in a short space of time, but I think this should also apply to how many Mercy has healed. Ackermanshinoda never appeared on the 'Play of the Match' highlight but was clearly the most important player.
10th May 2016 - Same Characters
After something I said in the previous blog entry I decided to look up online to see if anyone has all played as the same character then discovered this screenshot. This has so far never happened to me in this game but it would be an amazing experience if it did. I've had three people on my team playing as Tracer which was fun, but for both teams where everyone is Mei would be a wonderful experience. The entire map would be filled with ice walls and frozen players, excellent fun!
10th May 2016 - Battle Fatigue.
It happens to us all and pretty much applies to every online game, but when playing for long periods patterns in other players' behaviour become more apparent resulting in frustration with a particular player or others on your own team. This could of course just be the case of me being a bad loser.
I totally forgive new players, being a noob is a perfectly reasonable excuse and I'm fine with that. My favourite players are the ones who change character giving variety to the game, while on the other hand I know some people have mastered a particular character and have no wish to change. I love playing as Mei for instance but I'd never play as her if another on my team was, unless everyone was then that would be fun!
Back to the point at hand. I cannot stand players who play as Reinhardt and repeatedly do the same hammer wielding move over and over again, only to then play as him in every subsequent game. The amount of times I've had to change to Widowmaker so I can sniper shoot those players from a distance is beyond count. Reinhardt has a powerful shield and is ideal in certain situations, but simply to hammer bash is so frustrating for other players who can't even get near.
Another annoyance is when players don't carry out the objective and simply treat the game as a standard team deathmatch. Snipers and healers certainly should stand back but the other players should be either capturing a point or escorting a vehicle, not hopping up and down shooting at random. My team could have 100 kills and the opposing team 0 kills but they'd still win if no one is carrying out the mission at hand.
There's no protection against spawn camping in this game. If someone wishes to stand outside the opposing team's base and constantly shoot their infinite supply of ammunition there is nothing to stop them. Generally speaking it's usually just one player but if it's an entire team they invariably win by default as the losing players rage quit. Other games such as Unreal Tournament have temporary immunity for a few seconds or so after respawning, but this game has none, in fact some bases even have a ledge opposite to make the perfect location to spawn camp from.
The moral is don't play for long periods. Not only is this bad for your fingers it can become very annoying. There's always the offline mode.
10th May 2016 - Extended Beta.
Just a quick blog entry to say that the Overwatch Beta has been extended by another day so I'm going to play a lot tonight before it stops working. I'll be sure to take lots of screenshots that I'll post here. Then I'll do a summary review and this blog will end. I may make another blog of the full game when it comes out if it contains lots of extras that the beta doesn't.
11th May 2016 - The Beta Has Ended.
Sadly the beta has ended and if you attempt to play you'll get a can't connect to server message. The full version of the game doesn't require an online connection for a single player game, but the beta won't let you. It's been quite a strange few days and I can't believe how I played a game so often in such a short amount of time. It's been a mixture or great fun and some annoyance too. I certainly will purchase it when the full version comes out next month.
I'm not really sure how to summarise how I feel about this game due to having spoken about it so often in this blog already. This is one of those games that you can pick up and play for half an hour then leave and come back to later. It's not full of cutscenes or story like so many modern games, it's just switch on and play. Although having said that, if you did attempt to play for half an hour in no time you'll realise you've been laying for three hours. It's addictive and you'll constantly just want to play one more game before switching it off.
While the beta has ended this blog hasn't because I still have masses of screenshots to post, so be sure to check back over the next few days.
13th May 2016 - Buttgate.
I promised myself I would do this so here it is. With all the controversy surrounding buttgate on Youtube, Twitter, Reddit etc I thought I'd have my say on the subject, so here's my response. Below is a selection screenshots showing various character's arses. If anyone finds such things offensive I really don't care.
14th May 2016 - Winning Screens.
When your team win a game there's a group photo where you and the rest of the team will pose together in whatever pre-selected pose you set up in the Hero Gallery menu. New poses and outfits can be unlocked from this menu too. I didn't unlock many so most of my winning poses are of Mei in a kneeling position.
This winning pose will then be followed by something called Play of the Game that shows a highlight of an event that tends to be someone getting lots of kills within a short space of time. To be honest the game is more about cooperating as a team than getting lots of kills so I personally don't like Play of the Game so much. It's not just soar grapes that I never once was featured in a Play of the Game other than one of the players getting killed.
Anyway, I've posted a lot of screenshots of winning screens for you to enjoy. I particularly like the one set in Hollywood with the old movie style of group photo.
15th May 2016 - Random Info.
For the final entry of this blog I thought I'd post some screenshots I had left over. Incidentally the full game comes out on the 24th of this month for the PS4, which is different to what I said previously in this blog.
Each character can spray paint their tag anywhere within the map. The default is a team symbol but there are others that can be unlocked unique to the character you selected. If you spray at another location your previous tag will vanish.
This mystery cave later becomes a respawn location and contains a little museum about aliens and monsters. There are lots of secret little places like this hidden around the game maps. It's interesting to have a good look around so long as the opposing team don't shoot you in the process.
The amusement arcade is fun. You can't play any of the games unfortunately although you can smash them if you so wish. There are also a lot of posters on the walls and hidden "Easter eggs" for the observant.
I'm not sure if this counts as a gaming glitch, or a mistake in game design, either way it's very annoying. One of the characters named Hanzo can send a dragon after you killing you upon contact, unfortunately this is our base and I haven't left yet. This goes way beyond spawn camping!
If the game begins then people decide to leave, rather than boot everyone else, the game will let you play for a while without keeping track of progress. A free play so to speak while awaiting other players. Once there are enough players you'll all be kicked back to the character selection menu ready to begin the game properly.
There are giants attacking the city in the distance. That looks like fun but alas it's just a background graphic nothing to do with the main game or the task at hand. There's lots of things going on such as this, so if you have time have a good look at the far edges of the play area.
This is a glitch though not a very serious one. When you go to the Hero Gallery to upgrade your character abilities Genji will always be highlighted yet he's the third character in the list.
It seems the characters are all good friends even to the extent of having personal photos of each other within their base. Ironically the opposing team are also made up of the same selection of characters so in terms of a story it kind of doesn't make sense.
This happens a lot in modern games for the sake of realism and also applies to Overwatch. It's started raining and there are puddles on the ground.
At the end of each game the players who did best will be highlighted upon the screen and you can vote for the best player. Your team is blue and the opposing team red. So if you wish you can vote someone on the opposing team as the best player. Friendly rivalry, after all it's only a game.
That's it for this blog. I hope you enjoyed it, thank you for reading. Many of this is likely to apply to the full game too so you can think of it as a review. I may post more entries if the full game is vastly different.