Category Archives: Video Games

The Joy of Overwatch: The Game I Never Knew I Always Wanted

This isn’t going to be some comprehensive review of the gameplay, characters, fighting system, etc.. of Overwatch. This is my general excitement a new type of game (new to me, that is) that I never thought I would like. And how this new game has opened my eyes to the wonder of the world of the team first-person shooter.

I love Overwatch.

I never knew I would feel this level of excitement for a game that wasn’t a new God of War, Assassin’s Creed, Final Fantasy or Gears of War. Or a good LEGO game (my guilty pleasure). Those are my staples, my go-to games. Whenever there is one on the horizon, I usually pre-order it and have it ready and waiting when I get home from work (Bless you, Amazon)! Now, I heard about all of the excitement and hype about Overwatch but didn’t think anything of it. It’s not one of my staples so who cares, right? Not that I am opposed to trying something new. I have managed to discover lots of fantastic games based on recommendations or reputation. But no one I knew was playing Overwatch, so I moved on.

But the more I read the reviews, the more I became interested in it. Not enough to buy it quite yet but enough to learn more about it. And then I heard it was a team game and required being online and I was out. I am not big on the multiplayer gaming scene. I like fighting alone through a game with a great story. I miss the days of selecting RPGs with multiple discs (yes, I am that old) and taking my time with it. For example, I love Gears of War because I can fight in story mode whenever I want to. I have friends that meet up and fight together, but that’s just not for me. I never had an interest in Call of Duty, Battlefield, Halo or any other team first-person shooter.

And then this Overwatch Free Weekend came along, and I couldn’t pass it up. A free chance to try out this game? I’m there! I made sure to set the alarm on my phone so I could log on to my phone to PS store on my phone on Friday. I wanted to start the download early, while at work, so I could start playing immediately when I got home. I log on, with curiosity and excitement, and complete the Basic Training. Side note: I am immediately amused because the training takes place with Soldier: 76. While I was at Salt Lake Comic Con last weekend and, while waiting to take a photo with Mark Hamill, a group of guys was dressed in Overwatch cosplay in front of me. Granted, I had no idea that they were supposed to be, so I googled “jacket 76 outfit anime” while waiting. Instead, the Overwatch character popped up. Funny how the only character I knew from the game was teaching me how to play now. 

And then I finally jump into a Play vs. the AI battle. Oh, the joy. The joy!

I never thought I would enjoy playing a game with no real background or story. You and 5 random people (near your playing level) are given 22 heroes and heroines to choose from that are divided into 4 categories: Offense, Defense, Tanks, and Support. Once selected, you are thrown into one of  12 areas with different objectives, maybe 1 or 2 with several steps until completion. And that’s it. There is no need for save points, no tedious dialogue, and no time for long-winded strategies. 6 – 10 minutes and you are done. If you don’t want to play anymore, you leave the game and are back to the main menu. If you do, you actually move from game to game with the same players (unless someone drops out). It’s simple. It’s great for a 30-minute session or an all-day marathon. It’s whatever you want to do! Maps are random so you never know where you are going to be until the start of the mission.

You would think those short sessions would get monotonous but they don’t. Because you can play as any of those characters, you learn which characters work best in each situation. You learn more about the terrain and the best strategies for that situation. And since each character has their limitations, you learn how to make the best of their strengths. I have learned that I love either Tanks or Defense characters. I am all about sacrificing myself for the good of the team. I love hiding in corners or on rooves and she shooting the crap out of our opponents. I die…a lot. But it’s well worth it. I am even adding new friends that I meet in these random matches and scheduling match times with them. This coming from someone that is very selective about online friends. I usually only add people I know personally. Now, I am adding decent to good players just for Overwatch.

The simplicity of Overwatch makes it a great game. More maps and characters are coming in the future so this game won’t get boring. Almost two dozen characters, succinct matches and ever-changing opponents (and teams) make this game an ever evolving entity.

Long Live Overwatch!

E3 2016 – 2016 Games

If you had the pleasure of catching any of the 2016 E3 Conference, you know that by the end of 2016, you will be very broke and stuck indoors for hours on end. There are some amazing games coming out his year that you don’t want to miss. Personally, I am looking forward to days off work to play video games all day. Now that’s a real vacation!

Anyway, here are the upcoming games for 2016.

June 2016

July 2016

Platforms: PS4, PC

Release Date: July 19

Platforms: Xbox One, PC

Release Date: July 26

August 2016

Platforms: PS4

Release Date: August 23

Platforms: PS4, PS3, PS Vita, Xbox One, PC

Release Date: August 30

September 2016

Platforms: 3DS

Release Date: September 2016

 

Platforms: Xbox One, PC

Release Date: September 13

 

 

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One

Release Date: September 30

October 2016

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Release Date: October 7

Platforms: Xbox One, PC

Release Date: October 11

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Release Date: October 21

Platforms: PS4

Release Date: October 25

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Release Date: October 28

November 2016

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Release Date: November 4, 2016

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Release Date: November 11

 

Platforms: PS4

Release Date: November 15

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Release Date: November 15

Platforms: 3DS

Release Date: November 18

December 2016

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Release Date: December 6

No Release Date Set

Platform: Xbox One

Release Date: TBA 2016

Our Take on Ubisoft’s “The Division”

The Division Beta at a Glance: Ubisoft’s Answer to Destiny

Ubisoft’s The Division is a fascinating marriage between two popular — though usually separate — genres. Imagine if you will that Destiny and Rainbow Six had a baby…. Well they did in a 3rd person shooter and they named it “The Division”.

 

Backstory

From what we know in the beta, most of the city of Manhattan is placed under quarantine after smallpox outbreak. Your character is part of the Strategic Homeland Division (SHD) and the mission is to restore order from chaos and track down the source of the virus. (maybe add more if there is more posted on the Ubisoft website).

 

Game Play

As you make your way through the game and complete main missions, side missions, and have random encounters with thugs and find missing data to piece the puzzle together you earn experience points and currency. Currency can be used to purchase mods, gear and weapons while your experience points are used to learn new skills along the way. The game employs a day/night cycle which alters how some enemies behave. There is also an amazing time based weather system with snow storms that can either help you sneak around or have you run blindly into a group of enemies. The AI isn’t too bad either. Unlike most (shooter?) games where enemies just run straight to you, the enemies look to get to higher vantage points to shoot you behind cover as well as pair off to flank and pin you in one place.

 

Customizations

 You have the ability to customize your character from head to toe by interchanging hats, jackets, pants and shoes (for some reason you can wear skinny jeans, I guess not even a viral outbreak can kill some bad trends). There are loot tables and DPS calculations to take into account when equipping your character with armor and weapons. It’s a system of give and take as you decide if you want firepower, health or skill power.

 

Dark Zone: PVP multiplayer mode

The games PVP multiplayer where you most go to collect the games high end weapons and gear. The Dark Zone has its own currency and progression system as you locate and pick up valuable items. However, these items, known as “contaminated loot”, can be taken by other players in the zone, and will not be permanently attached to the player’s character unless they are extracted from the zone through a helicopter. Players can be accompanied by several co-operative partners and other neutral, player-controlled agents. These people, however, can turn against the player at any moment, going rogue. Players’ level and ranking may drop if they die too often in the zone.

 

What Needs Some Tweaking

 At a glance, the Dark Zone concept is an intriguing one, but The Division beta doesn’t do a great job of selling it. There are tense moments of trying to extract loot – the only way to actually unlock the items that drop in the Dark Zone – before a Rogue tries to kill you and steal it, but that’s really all the mode had to offer during the beta. Either players try to run around and steal, or they try to police the Dark Zone by killing Rogues and protecting teammates. As far as the Dark Zone is concerned, Ubisoft needs to give players equal incentives to be good guys if they so choose. Or simply give teams more to do in the area that combines the PvE and the PvP elements.

 

The Verdict

I am looking forward to the finished product with all areas of the map open and ready to explore. The map of Manhattan doesn’t feel condensed and smashed together. For an open world MMO, it feels expansive and I can not wait to dive into the game with a 4 man squad.

 

The Division multiplayer will be available March 8th 2016 on PC and Steam as well as Playstation 4 and Xbox One consoles.

 

Drop some gamer tags and the platform in the comments and take back Manhattan with your fellow Blerds.