Overwatch is already promising to be the next big thing in multiplayer first-person shooters, and coming from Blizzard Entertainment, that's a big deal. These are the guys who brought us World of Warcraft, Diablo, and even The Lost Vikings, so you know that the name means quality—but we're still worried. Gameplay trailers, beta reviews, and other ongoing issues are already spelling trouble for the promising title. Here are a few things that Blizzard should be looking out for in order to avoid an epic failure. Blizzard has told us that Overwatch is designed to be more accessible to newer FPS enthusiasts, and while welcoming a fresh audience into the genre is always a good thing, it's also a dangerous game to play because you end up with tragedies like Final Fantasy Mystic Quest. Casual players tend to abandon games easily, and games with a low level of complexity don't encourage dedicated players to stick around.
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Hopefully, Blizzard will find a good balance between all of these elements and not give us a disposable mess. One problem that critics have had with the Overwatch beta is that it just doesn't seem to have spectator appeal, and in an age where online gameplay streaming is almost essential to a game's continued popularity and profitability, that's a pretty serious concern. Dedicated gamers watch people play games, even if they're not actively playing the game themselves. While that's a weird dynamic, this is just how the nerd world turns. If Overwatch isn't bringing in the eyeballs, it could tank relatively quickly.
While it's usually beneficial to spawn a fair distance away from the action of the main battlefield, some Overwatch heroes have been balanced for great strength and endurance instead of speed, and as a result, the slow, excruciating walk back into action after a respawn is a dealkiller. If your tank has to endure a two-minute scenic walk every time he's killed, there's just no reason to use the guy in a normal game. Without a partner spawn option, you're off in left field watching the game through binoculars. Even from the game's trailers, it's apparent that the game's catchphrases and quips are unbearably cheesy and performed with a great deal of drama. It's a little disconcerting to hear some Dothraki-looking dude tell you about how hungry his dragon is, or to hear some ultra-sexy warrior lady make innuendos that are either about fighting or things of a more private nature. Most gamers are sitting down to play a game, not watch some dorky version of Shrek, so maybe we can cut down on the sass mouth. Sexy video game characters aren't really a huge problem, as long as they're relatively well-rounded characters.
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Jeff Kaplan of Blizzard made of point of discussing the game's inclusiveness of a wide diversity of characters—and still made nearly every lady a slim and sexy sprite. The game really isn't more diverse than Street Fighter II, and it's been 25 years since that pile of stereotypes came out.
Heck, it doesn't even break the same barriers as Clay Fighter, so expect a little distracting blowback. While pay-for-play DLC is almost universally regarded as evil, it's also a very solid motivator for companies to really kick butt right out of the gate, because no one is going to buy more content for a game they don't enjoy, and that extra content has to be excellent to justify the price.
Overwatch promises a lifetime of free updates, but that's also a very dangerous precedent, as it allows companies to release incomplete games that they lazily patch over time. There's little motivation to continue to make things great if the game has already been paid in full, especially with all of Blizzard's resources already plugged into its other franchises. So far, there's only a very simple backstory about why all of these weird characters are coming together to duke it out through sprawling cities, but games thrive on lore. Halo has comics and novels, while World of Warcraft even has a feature film. But the details of Overwatch are sparse.
Backstories may be added over time as people come to love these characters, but lore also presents a barrier to players who just want to hop into a new game, which is counter to Blizzard's goals. While many players don't give a dang about story, story is also what could keep people coming back. Ultimately, Overwatch looks like just another run-around-and-shoot-people game, even though it offers a pretty amazing range of off-the-wall, chaotic action, character-switching, and what appears to be a wide range of great weaponry. Still, it doesn't really do anything that amazingly revolutionary: you run, you shoot, you heal, you die, you repeat. You may be doing it in a new environment with a new character, but you're still going to get shot and killed, and it's going to hurt your dignity. Unless it's really, really fun—and we hope it is!—it's still just another FPS.
- вторник 05 февраля