Justice Keeps Falling On My Head: A Year of Ups and (Mostly) Downs with Overwatch

Dr. Doomcliff has had enough of your shit, Genji.


Bouncing off the walls like a rubber testicle, spamming shurikens into my asshole, then flashing through my bowels with a blink of his sword strike — Genji is one nasty motherfucker. As a master player of Overwatch, I unglue myself from the corner I’ve been stuck in for eleven seconds and exit the building, finding cover outside. I post up, crosshair trained on the doorway. Genji’s miniscule, dingleberry of a head pops smack into the middle of my field of view. I’ve got you now, you half-cyborg, half-ninja dirtbag. I unload my hot, spinning cannon of justice–


–only for my burning ammunition to be swiftly redirected into my own face by Genji’s reflect ability. I promptly fall apart, and my corpse is defiled by the little green pervert. A bit cruel, I suppose – but perhaps that’s what I get for picking Bastion. *Insert sad beep boop here*


Usually a man of more intellectual pursuits, I normally pass on first person shooters — particularly online competitive ones — faster than you can say “RyUu-gA Wa-gA-Te ki WeNIs KILL ME NOW!” So why Overwatch, and why Overwatch still, a year into it’s undoubtedly long foreseeable future?


The answer, at least in part, lies in the heroes. As a hero of great stature myself, I am attracted to the variety of fascinating personalities, looks, and abilities of these virtual colleagues. And in some cases, the attraction is quite literal – but don’t tell Mrs. Doomcliff. And each of these heroes are not only cosmetically different, but have completely different roles and uses. Playing as the sharp-shooting Widowmaker, for example, offers a completely different toolkit and play style than Reinhardt, who deals and receives massive damage for his team with a hammer and a shield.


Learning the little intricacies of each of these twenty-something heroes is a grand task, but a rewarding one. Especially when you find that one hero that speaks to your play style and ability. Those passionate for pestilent insects will pick up Genji because of his extremely mobile yet ubiquitous presence on the battle map. More conservative, strategic players may opt for a defensive hero such as Mei, who can be equally infuriating as a foe. The point is, no matter who you are, what your moral background is, or how prolific your FPS background is, there is a hero you will enjoy playing as. But that doesn’t always mean you will do well.

This will almost never happen.

Overwatch is a competitive online multiplayer game, meaning that there is scripted exploration of levels or worlds, no personal interaction with a story, no dialogue choices (in the conventional sense at least; Overwatch still has some pretty talented voice actors and great voice lines. Young punks… get off my lawn!) Your experience of Overwatch will generally be the same as everyone else’s. You get loaded into a map, you pick who you want to kill and be killed as, and then you try to kill the other guys more than you kill them.


Granted, this is not a strict deathmatch/bloodbath/orgy-of-slaughtering-and-teabagging. Instead of homicide being the main goal, there are objectives in each game mode to encourage teamwork amongst you and your five teammates. Move this payload from point A to point B; capture point A or defend point B. This teamwork, however, is what makes or breaks your game experience. If you have a good team that communicates constantly, groups together, moves swiftly and confidently, you can crush an unorganized team. Even if the other team is on an equal field in terms of skill level, you can still stand a pretty good chance and have an epic, nail-biter of a game with a coordinated team.


But if you are the unorganized team? Forget it. You will spawn, die, repeat, each life amounting to less and less as the opponent pushes you further back. You watch as your payload that you’ve spent the last 10 minutes pushing sails backwards towards you after the enemy gets a lucky triple kill and offsets the spawning times of your teammates for the rest of your match. Dr. Doomcliff, as a defender of Justice, never gives up – but playing Overwatch on a losing team is one of the most hopeless feelings you can have in a videogame.


Yet I can’t resist coming back to Overwatch. I have a desire within me to return to these characters, to experience the new content, to unlock purely cosmetic and otherwise useless customizations for my favorite heroes. Why?


More than anything, I credit my love for this game to the character designers. Yes, the gameplay is incredibly tight and balanced, yes, the physics keep the game from exploding into wonky mess, and yes, the maps are detailed, beautiful and tactical at the same time. But these characters, man. They are so cool. And then there’s Mercy.


Ahem. Weighted on the scales of Justice, Dr. Doomcliff acknowledges that because this game is a year old, and is still relevant, it automatically is boosted significantly. Overwatch is like a best friend – sometimes too cheeky for your liking, but in the end, reliable. The design of the game is immaculate, and if there was ever any doubt that Blizzard is borderline perfectionist with their releases — this game is evidence of their top quality production. Continuous support from the developers over time has been amazing, adding frequent events, XP weekends, new characters, and maps. Blizzard is not afraid to put themselves out there with seemingly ridiculous new ways to play the game, such as the excellent Lucioball.


All of this taken into consideration – the Doctor is extremely satisfied with Overwatch. The on the scale of Justice, it performs at a solid 9/10. 5 of those 9 points, however, are solely for Mercy. She gets a 10 in Dr. Doomcliff’s book, especially in her Valkyrie skin. She can pillage my village any time. Ahem.


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