PLOT Teams face off in combat.
RATED T for Teen
DETAILS PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC; $59.99
BOTTOM LINE This game’s a hero.
As the clock winds down to zero in Overwatch, you backtrack in time to drop a perfect pulse bomb on the enemy position, blowing apart the greedy robot-turned-turret and his teammate, a slick sniper assassin who was too busy tracking her prey to notice your explosive gift. The game heads into overtime as the payload wagon rests mere inches away from the victory point, but your team has just been annihilated by an enormous magical dragon. Then you hear it: “Heroes never die!” As your one chance, your team’s Mercy hero, Mei, activates her ultimate ability and brings your entire group back to life for one last stand. After Mei brings a scientifically sound winter to your opponents by freezing them, victory is yours. Such moments define Overwatch, including amazing victories and last-second defeats.
The game’s strength lies in its simplicity and polish. Two teams of six players each do battle on a handful of maps, and modes all boil down to some form of escorting, capturing or protecting an objective. Other modes may be available, but the game is at its best by keeping things close to the core, with maps everyone knows and easy-to-understand modes. While expectations today may call for a single-player campaign or a wide variety of modes, Overwatch’s consistently chaotic gameplay stands on its own, giving players the tools to ensure that no game ever plays out the same.
Unforgettable characters are the lifeblood and driving force of Overwatch. Time-traveling Tracer makes quirky British quips as she blinks through the battlefield, while tanky Reinhardt roars as he dunks enemies into dust with his rocket hammer.
Overwatch is fresh and consistently fun, with matches that are great in random groups, but astonishingly good when played with friends. The shooter game has been polished to perfection.