By Andrew Wang
Everyone seems to love Overwatch, and it was arguably the most popular game of 2016. It currently holds a score of 90 on Metacritic for PS4. That is no small feat, but does the game deserve this much praise? For me, the answer is no. Now don’t get me wrong, I still think Overwatch is a very good game, and I can certainly see why others would rate it so highly. However it has certain negative aspects that prevent me from sharing their enthusiasm. Here are three reasons why this game is not as great as many people think it is.
- It is too geared towards casual players.
My favorite multiplayer games are ones that require a lot of skill, precision, timing, and practice. The perfect example is a title that came out recently, For Honor. I love that game, and it’s exactly what I’m looking for in a PvP experience. There is a level of depth and intensity in For Honor that Overwatch will never achieve because the skill ceiling in Overwatch is simply not that high. You use each character a few times and then you’re all good to go. This bothers me, because a truly great game should have a steeper learning curve and many different layers to be unraveled.
Basically someone who has never even played a first person shooter before could try Mercy or Winston and be able to use them without much trouble at all. On the other hand, the same person trying a 1v1 duel in For Honor would get absolutely destroyed. I realize that this casual-friendly approach is actually a plus for many people, but I personally can’t get behind it. I think it has led to a watered-down game that feels too easy to play.
- Content updates are few and far between.
Since Overwatch launched on May 24th 2016, only Ana, Sombra, and now Orisa have been added to the lineup. So in a span of ten months they’ve released a measly total of three new heroes. In addition, only three maps and a few game modes have been added into the mix. For some that may be satisfactory but to me it’s not enough. Paragon, which is a 3rd person MOBA that I play regularly, releases a new hero every three weeks. To be fair it is free to play and of course the business model is completely different. But the gap between these two games is staggering, and I think it’s quite apparent that Blizzard is very slow to add new features into Overwatch.
Any game gets stale when you keep using the same characters over and over, especially when they aren’t difficult to learn in the first place. I stopped playing completely for several months because I simply got bored and there was nothing fresh to keep me engaged. With Overwatch being such a big hit, I’m sure they will continue to support the game for many years to come. But adding more content at a faster pace would help keep the playerbase from moving on to other titles.
- There is no sprint mechanic for all heroes.
This is by far the issue that annoys me the most, because I’m constantly reminded of it every match. The base movement speed in Overwatch is horrendously slow for getting back into the fight after respawning. Whether I’m hobbling with Junkrat or lumbering with Reinhardt, it always irks me that my character isn’t moving at least 2-3 times faster. It’s just incredibly boring to spend all that time traveling at a snail’s pace.
This extreme omission is even more glaring when an objective is under attack or a teammate needs help, because those are the times when I could really use sprint. Of course there are certain heroes who can run or dash, but that faster movement is always tied to a character-specific ability. The lack of universal sprint is also what makes Lucio essentially a must-pick hero, which is detrimental to the game as it puts him in a class of his own. Any team without his speed buff is at an immediate disadvantage, especially when playing on control maps.
So on the whole, is Overwatch a good game? Sure it is. I’ve spent over 70 hours playing it and I’ve certainly had fun along the way. But to me, it’s also overrated and does not deserve all of the praise and attention it has received thus far. That being said, I’m sure people will continue to play and enjoy the game. Who knows, it might even amass a larger following as time goes on. After all, “The world could always use more heroes.”