Okay, seriously, it’s not a bad game. But I don’t like it and (again) that title was too damn good to pass up. Think of this as an extension to Medic’s article except written by someone far less competent. I wanted to like Overwatch, really, I did. (Lower your damn pitchforks!) I tried the beta, which for some reason would cause my router to crash and freeze every time I launched it, forcing me to play it offline.
Even when it was in a playable state in the free trial after the full game came out, I tried to ignore my gripes. But ultimately, both times, I’d uninstall for fear of grinding my teeth to the point they’d be reduced to powder. I already agree with everything Medic said so I’ll leave those points and only focus on my own issues about the game, trust me, I have enough of them.
So, what are my problems with the golden goose that is Overwatch? Well, for a start, lets talk about aim assist. I’ve seen a lot of people talk about Overwatch like it’s single-handedly revived the shooter genre with its “skill-based gameplay”. So when I jumped in-game, the last thing I expected was for my camera to spin so goddamn hard it gave me whiplash when it got within a barn’s width of a potential threat.
Seriously, I was gobsmacked with how I’d somehow heard just about every praise imaginable about this game and NO-ONE had mentioned this. Someone reading this is already typing an angry comment about how I could simply go to the gameplay options and drag it to zero… And, yeah, I could. But here’s a question for you: Why?
I’d only be putting myself at a huge disadvantage as the huge majority of players will leave it as high as possible. I remember testing the strength by firing at dummies on the target range by strafing back and forth without even touching my aim. That experience left me laughing so hard my sides hurt. It’s frankly embarrassing. Some of you may say that’s elitist.
I’d say that although I know the community are the ones who bigged it up as the “skill-based competitive” game, and not Blizzard, I’d still say it’s far too casual for a casual game. I’m going to mention a game, a few of you may have played it? A little game by the name of Team Fortress 2? Back when that came out I remember people mentioning it as THE casual game.
“Oh, well done, you pointed out that Team Fortress 2 is a casual experience, aren’t you proud of yourself?” Well, yeah… Kind of. Because I find it hilarious and tragic that a “casual” game that I vividly remember people would refer to as “for children” and refuse to pick up for that reason alone back in 2007 has NO auto-aim of which to speak and most certainly NOT the “I-win-now” ultimates and spammy abilities.
I hate how it expects so little from YOU as the player. Multiplayer is supposed to be a competition, a show of player skill where the superior player (and overall team) wins. But I just can’t shake the feeling the game is babysitting me. For a shooter, there’s a distinct lack of actually outplaying an opponent via being a better SHOT. It simply isn’t as important in the long run, especially when abilities have such short cooldowns.
Moving on, we have feedback. Actually, no, we don’t. That’s the issue. While firing weapons, the majority had weak animations with no kick at all, no weight, leaving me with a horrible sense of floatiness. This wouldn’t have been much of a problem to me if your movement didn’t amplify that feeling. There’s no weight to your step, it feels like your floating half a foot off the ground on a cloud. Even the audio wouldn’t match my steps.
This all sounds like complaining for the sake of it, but it was hard to tell where I resided spatially. On top of that, it made me feel weird. I’m not sure if I’d describe it as “motion sickness” as I’ve NEVER had that with any of the hundreds of games I’ve played, but it kept crawling up on me. The jumping was delayed and barely lifted you an inch off the ground and I’d sometimes die without ever realising I’d been at low health.
But the one gripe that really got under my skin was the massive delay between dealing damage and it registering. It’s plain stupid. Nothing will sway my opinion on that. Dealing the killing blow and seeing the health bar deplete, you stop focusing on that enemy, meanwhile you’re still being attacked by said enemy until the game finally wakes up and realises that they were supposed to be dead, suddenly ragdolling them.
Even offline! This wasn’t lag over the internet, it was just how the game was built. In shooters and fighting games, milliseconds can mean the difference between a win and a loss, so for this to be so casually overlooked and left in that state blew me away. You need that information instantly, not when the game can be bothered to muster up the effort to relay it to you.
I touched on the movement earlier, but I want to go over it in more detail. This is another thing I really dislike in Overwatch. Movement in most competitive games ties into your personal play style, but also your skill level. How you move can easily distinguish your experience from other players around you. Using it aggressively, defensively or to simply reach areas in a faster time.
But the movement of Overwatch is so stilted. Some of you may point to abilities that enhance your movement, but I don’t like those either. They’re reduced to mechanical interactions. You can’t derive anything from them to make it yours. There’s no airstrafing, bunnyhopping, or jump-crouching onto or through spaces that most people wouldn’t think of.
Movement is supposed to revolve around mastering the control of your character and manipulating the environment in conjunction with that to make the most out of it. That simply doesn’t happen outside of glitches that will most likely be patched. Even then it doesn’t take much technical skill, but nifty nonetheless. Without it, things starts to feel stale pretty quick.
I feel for a multiplayer game to have continuity, it has to be able to offer a high skill ceiling and movement is usually a large part of the learning curve. Just to visualise my point more, here’s a couple of screenshots I took in Counter-Strike: Source. These crude drawings aren’t exactly perfect, but hopefully they get across the point I’m trying to make.
(Just to clarify, I mean skill based bunnyhopping based on almost frame-perfect timing. Not script kiddies. There’s a reason they magically got perma-banned in every server I was ever on.)
But most of all, this ties in to the ultimate let-down for me. The lack of individuality. In every match I played and every one I’ve watched, none of the players stood out to me. I just saw them as the character they were. From the worst player to the best I’ve seen, they still play the same mechanically because the game doesn’t allow otherwise.
The only difference is the game sense and communication that comes with co-ordinated play. But that isn’t unique to Overwatch. I just overall find the experience to be mediocre. In a way, that’s the worst it can be. It’s not good enough for me to want to play it, but it’s still technically competent enough that I can’t tear into it. It just sits in the middle being meh.
But that’s just me. If you love Overwatch, all the more power to you, I’m glad a lot of people are enjoying it! But it simply isn’t my cup of tea, despite hoping it would be. But if we’re talking on the topic of something I really would like, then there is one teeny-tiny thing you can do for me Blizzard! It’s not that big of an ask anyway… Just errm…
Seriously! It has so much potential that it can live up to as an animated feature! The writing wasn’t exactly great as Medic also pointed out, but you totally have something here! More of THIS Overwatch, please!