The problem with Overwatch

By now, Blizzard’s latest game is out and deservedly receiving a lot of praise.

I was unsure of whether I wanted to even play Overwatch though, because I’ve already done the whole “team objective based combat” thing for literally hundreds of hours in Team Fortress 2. I ended up trying out the game when it hit an open beta, and I could see that I would end up playing Overwatch anyway.

Yes, it’s an amazing game – the only gameplay problem I have is that the game doesn’t properly recognize when a support or tank character does something that ought to be considered a Play of the Game. That’s not my problem with Overwatch, though – just a minor gripe.

No, my problem with Overwatch is the story. Of which  there is next to none in the actual game.

Like so many others, I was enamored with the world created in Overwatch from the first time I saw the cinematic  trailer that came out last year. I’ve watched it – and some of the character-specific trailers released since – over and over again.

I’ve downloaded the comics and read, and spent quite a bit of time thinking about the over-arcing story in the world of Overwatch, as well as how the characters fit into said world. There’s obviously been a lot of care and thought put into creating a cohesive world, and relationships between the characters that inhabit the world.

The problem with all of this character and world building is that in any practical sense, it is boiled down to a few one-liners, quips fired between characters when waiting for game sessions to start.

The trailers paint the picture of a world on the brink of some kind of civil war between Omnics and Organics, and background lore information tells of an Omnic Crisis where powerful Skynet-esque  AI tried turning Omnics with free will against organic life.

None of that is really reflected in the game. Instead, we get to blow each other up defending or attacking checkpoints or payloads.

Mind you, I’m finding it all very enjoyable even if I’m critical of the game…I’m just disappointed. I understand not necessarily wanting to ape games like TF2 more than necessary, but a horde mode a la Mann vs. Machine would’ve done wonders for this game. Another game mode could be a Last Stand type deal with teams restricted to actual members of Overwatch (or characters marked “good”) versus the actual bad guys.

The only other thing than better integration with the story and world I really want out of Overwatch is Overwatch action figures. Blizzard made action figures out of World of Warcraft characters, so I know the potential is there – and I’d love to have the cast of Overwatch standing, fully poseable, on a shelf.