Simplicity belies depth. For all the outlandish abilities possessed by the heroes of Overwatch
, none of them require complex inputs of directions and button combinations. Everything is assigned to a single button, which takes the emphasis away from the actual execution and onto the intelligent application of these abilities.
To begin with, each hero character falls in line with one of four specific archetypal categories: offense, defense, tank, and support. These designations, as their names suggest, denote very specific playstyles that are hardly alien concepts to your average role-playing fan. However, these descriptions don't go far enough in illustrating how the characters work. That's simply the macro, and Overwatch most definitely goes micro.
If you're looking to deal a ton of damage, you'll want to choose from the offense characters. You could opt for McCree, whose gunslinging ways and agility in combat make him a force to be reckoned with. But here's the thing, while he's extremely powerful, he's a foot soldier. If you're struggling to hold your own on the ground, switch to the metallic ninja Genji, who can scramble up walls to higher ground, double jump, and even deflect projectiles. Or perhaps Pharah is more your style, with her jump jet and rocket barrages.
But what if your team has been charged with the defense of an objective? While the likes of Reaper, Tracer, Soldier 76, and their kind are adept at dealing swift damage, they don't have the hit points or the appropriate abilities. You'll want a defense hero for scenarios like these. Perhaps Bastion is a suitable choice; a touch of a button roots him in place and transforms him into an insanely powerful turret. Of course, that lack of mobility can spell your doom in a heartbeat. If you want someone more mobile, perhaps Junkrat is more your style. He hurls bear traps and bombs everywhere, and his Rip-Tire ability is devastating if you're able to catch a group of enemies running together. Campers are welcome; they'll be fast friends with Widowmaker and Hanzo, whose weapons and abilities are predominantly geared towards ranged combat and revealing enemy locations. Last but not least, turrets and fortifications are Mei and Torbj÷rn's forte, giving the proceedings an infusion of Tower Defense mechanics.
Tanks operate exactly as you'd expect them to; their health pools are enormous, and while they tend to be slower than other heroes, their persistent nature and devastating close-quarters attacks make them not only viable, but necessary. These bruisers range from Winston, the brainy gorilla with a Tesla Cannon, to the hammer-wielding, energy-shielded knight Reinhardt. In between are D.Va, a mech pilot who looks like she was pulled straight out of a harem anime, Roadhog, a tattooed tub of lard who's really into leather and metal, and Zarya, a thick-skinned Russian lady who looks like she's wrestled as many bears as our pal Zangief.
Last but certainly not least are the support heroes. These characters don't offer too much in the way of first-hand damage dealing, the ones who prevent said damage, or even the ones who straight up absorb it all. Support heroes tend to hang just outside the periphery, using their abilities to assist their team and hinder the enemy. The most traditional of the support heroes is Mercy, whose Caduceus Staff can alternate between restoring health and increasing an ally's damage output. While she's incredibly useful in most matches, the others are a bit more interesting. L˙cio's weapon is music, and he puts Revolution X to shame. (Yes, I went there.) Anyone within range of the dreadlock-sporting skater receives the benefits of whatever track he's playing -- either a speed boost or a healing pulse. Zenyatta's orbs are every bit as capable of harming his foes as they are of helping his allies. Orbs of Harmony heal, while Orbs of Discord make enemies more susceptible to damage. And Orbs of Destruction... I think you know what they do. Finally, Symmetra can lay down turrets and teleporters to keep enemies away from a particular area and help her allies traverse the maps more quickly.
That's only a taste of what Overwatch is all about. When you take into account the number of variables in play, it boggles the mind. It is asymmetrical gameplay polished to such a degree of near-perfection that I can't really fault anything about it. Except for its pricing model. Overwatch sets you back $39.99 on PC, but on console, is a fully-priced retail release. As much as I enjoy the game, that's too much. But hey, it will inevitably go on sale, and when it does, it will be a no-brainer. In the end, Overwatch is a class act throughout, and it deserves to be played.