Overwatch Review

Unique heroes and fun gameplay with a competitive edge

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4

Overwatch

Overwatch
Lifewire / Kelsey Simon

What We Like

  • Polished and well-made game

  • Variety of game modes

  • Lots of heroes

  • Bright and fun graphics

What We Don't Like

  • Competitive

  • Team-based only

Overwatch is a multiplayer first-person shooter focused on team mechanics and class-based heroes. It’s a solid game with responsive movement and gun play but comes with a competitive edge that not all players will appreciate.

4

Overwatch

Overwatch
Lifewire / Kelsey Simon

Overwatch is a multiplayer, team-based first-person shooter created by Blizzard. It focuses on three classes of heroes―support, damage, and tank―inviting players to focus on specific roles. With strong, slightly cartoony graphics, solid movement and gunplay, Overwatch is a well made and polished game. We played Overwatch on the PC, paying close attention to the plot, gameplay, and graphics. 

Overwatch
Lifewire / Kelsey Simon

Setup Process: Simple but requires a download manager

Overwatch requires you to create an account with Blizzard, and first download the Blizzard game manager. Once you’ve created an account and accomplished this, you’ll be able to download the game itself. This might take a while as the game is fairly large but once complete you’ll be able to jump right in. The main menu will have a lot to look at, such as an option to view the different heroes and read about their abilities, which can be good to do before you start playing.

Overwatch
Lifewire / Kelsey Simon

Plot: Not provided in the game itself

Overwatch itself doesn’t have much of a plot built into the game―but Blizzard has released animated shorts to let fans learn more about the game’s backstory. The general plot of the game takes place on a different earth. In the past, something called an “Omnic Crisis” occurred. Humans developed AI (Omnics) which grew into sentience. But when the same people who created these Omnics, started to create killer AI, the people came together to form Overwatch. 

Overwatch is a task force created to destroy problematic AI. While this backstory and plot do exist, within the game itself, you don’t really get much of this information. What you’ll see is a variety of super beings who have special abilities, most of which are supported by sci-fi tech. But if you’re interested in knowing it all, be sure to catch up on the animated shorts.

Modes and Competition: A fun and flexible variety of styles and heroes 

Overwatch has a few different game styles you can play. You’ll probably want to try quick play first—and if you’re looking to get into competitive gameplay, you’ll actually be required to play quick play until you reach a certain level. Quick play is the same as competitive, only there is no ranking system, so winning and losing comes with less pressure. That said, Overwatch is still built around measuring how well you do against other players, awarding medals if you do well, and even has a voting system after each map so people can tell you you’re good (or yell at you in chat if you’re doing badly).

A good team is important in Overwatch, requiring you to use mix of each class—a team of all damage isn’t going to be able to live long enough to make much of a break against a team with tanks and healers.

There are a few different game types within quick play: Assault, Control, Escort, and Hybrid. Assault involves taking control of two capture points, with one team attacking and one defending. Control is king-of-the-hill with both teams fighting to control a single capture point for a certain amount of time. In Escort, one team must move beside a cart, helping it across a map while the other team defends and tries to stop it. Hybrid mode is simply a combination of Assault and Escort, with at least one capture point and then a payload course after.

No matter the mode, teams are made up of six heroes. Heroes come in three classes: tank, support, or damage. A good team is important in Overwatch, requiring you to use a mix of each class—a team of all damage isn’t going to be able to live long enough to make much of a break against a team with tanks and healers. It is this idea of team balance that is such a huge part of Overwatch. A lot of that balance comes from players picking the heroes they are strongest with, and you do have some amount of flexibility to change to a different hero should the game warrant it.

Overwatch
Lifewire / Kelsey Simon

Specialization: Plenty of roles to pick from

This idea of roles or “specializations” is part of what many players likely love about Overwatch—but it is also the biggest critique we have of the game. Most players are put into slots where they mainly play one type of class, and even within that class, often only a set of two or three heroes. 

For example, one might main support and only play Lucio, Mercy, and Ana. This idea can be limiting, because after a certain point, you’re likely to get sick of the classes you’ve focused upon, and after investing so much time into those classes, it’s also a lot of work to move out of them and learn a whole new set. Not only that, but within competitive gameplay, people can be extremely toxic if you aren’t playing a class you know, or aren’t performing as well as the other people you are playing with expect you to.

That said, Overwatch is amazing because of its variety of heroes. There are currently 30 to choose from, which means a lot of variety, unique abilities, and special ultimates. Whether you want to be a fast shooter that zips around, can rewind time and throws bombs, or a giant hamster that can turn into a ball, roll around, and smash things, there is something for everyone. 

Beyond quick play and competitive, there is also an arcade mode, which rotates through different styles of gameplay. This can include capture-the-flag, Lucio ball, mystery heroes, 3 vs. 3 random heroes, and more. Arcade is the least competitive of any of the game modes, but can also be the most unpredictable.

Gameplay: Fun, fast, and balanced

Whether you’re playing quick play, competitive match-making or arcade, the handling and gunplay in Overwatch is smooth. Movements feel responsive and solid, guns feel accurate, and hero abilities are unique with a direct and immediate impact on gameplay. Blizzard also does their best to keep things fresh, putting out new heroes and maps throughout the year, and keeping things balanced between the heroes. If you’re looking for a competitive game with an emphasis on team-play, Overwatch is a very well-made game.

Blizzard also does their best to keep things fresh, putting out new heroes and maps throughout the year, and keeping things balanced between the heroes.

Overwatch
Lifewire / Kelsey Simon

Graphics: Stylized beings with bright colors

Overwatch has a unique look and feel, consisting of a mix of bright colors and mildly cartoony-looking characters. It works well for the game, which can sometimes feel visually chaotic, especially for new players. But the models are sleek looking, and each of the characters feels like it fits into the same world. Maps are also different and visually interesting, with lots of great details. On top of all this, Overwatch also offers a variety of skins and other in-game cosmetics. You can earn loot boxes by playing the game, or if you want, you can spend money and purchase specific skins. Overall, Overwatch is a graphically clean game, with a touch of artistic flair.

The models are sleek looking, and each of the characters feels like it fits into the same world. Maps are also different and visually interesting, with lots of great details.

Price: Lots of content for the cost, but better with friends

Overwatch currently costs $19.99 from Blizzard, if you buy the Standard Edition for the PC. Considering the amount of content in the game, and the replayability, Overwatch is worth the price. We’ve spent hundreds of hours playing the game, as the competitive nature can become addicting―but there does come a point where it becomes stressful and toxic. Ultimately, if you want to get the most out of Overwatch for the cost, it’s best to buy the game if you have friends who also want to play. You’ll have a lot more fun playing with people you know than playing with strangers on the internet. This will also help avoid some of the stress and toxicity of the team-based online play.

Competition: Other free-to-play options

Overwatch is very reminiscent of Valve’s popular Team Fortress 2, but at this time, Team Fortress 2 is a much older game. However, it’s still fun, with hero classes and is a first-person shooter with a less competitive edge. Paladins is another team-based first-person shooter. It also has a class system of heroes, each with unique abilities. In fact, Paladins is basically Overwatch but created by another studio, and made to be free-to-play. So if you’re interested in Overwatch but can’t afford the price, Paladins is a great option worth checking out.

Final Verdict

A fun team-based shooter with unique heroes and lots of replayability. 

Overwatch is a well made and polished game with a variety of game modes and heroes to choose from and plenty of replayability. However, its focus on competition and team play mean the game can be stressful, and the community toxic. For some, this competitive gameplay will be fun and addictive, but for others, it might be overwhelming.

Specs

  • Product Name Overwatch
  • Product Brand Blizzard Entertainment
  • Price $19.99
  • Available Platforms PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
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