With the recent open beta starting up for Blizzard’s new game Overwatch, did something crazy that I haven’t done since around this time last year: I downloaded and installed a first person shooter.
Not to imply that I’m not a fan of the genre of course, but there exists an issue to the casual player of first person shooters. And that issue is, “the other players.” Namely, the ones who have way more time to spend playing than you do.
A little history – the first first-person shooter I ever got into when I was a kid was Quake 2. It was my first PC game, and man did I love playing over dialup, and the glory of ping times measured in seconds. There’s never been quite a rewarding feeling than the one you got from firing across the room from where your enemy was standing, anticipating his movement, to watch for several seconds as he jumped right into your perfectly timed railgun arc, and then exploded into a fine, bloody mist. Truly beautiful. Poetic, even.
But I digress, competitive first person shooters are, historically, extremely unwelcoming to beginners. Casual players? It’s even worse. Beginners will just quit. Casuals will just feel badly about themselves and then lose 4 more rounds later on in the week.
I’ve dabbled in a couple FPSes the past few years, in a casual way of course, 5 rounds or so here and there, and with the exception of Quake Live, of which during my brief 3 month stint I absolutely dominated the floor many times, forcing me to assume my Quake 2 experience carried over from back in the day, and a few more. Insurgency is an extremely well-made game that really captures the feel and ‘tightness’ you want with a first person shooter.
Granted, this was my first time playing as it was many other players, but I fared pretty well for myself in my ~2 hours of gameplay. It’s smooth, it’s fast, it’s up, running and in a game in about a minute, which makes it a great way to burn a few minutes or a couple hours.
My favorite part about all the classes (divided up into 4 categories, Offense, Defense, Tank, and Support), is how unique each character is. Not only is the generic “you get an automatic but you’re slow, you get a pistol but you’re fast, etc” present, but the capabilities and special moves of each class are completely different. I had the most fun playing a Reaper, a total badass who dual-wields powerful but limited range sawed-off shotguns, but possesses the capability to teleport. The Bastion was fun to play as well, essentially the equivalent of a Heavy in TF2, who can mount his automatic turret and lay waste, at the expense of being vunerable from behind.
Speaking of TF2, I’m as thrilled as I am unsurprised to say that Overwatch seems like it could take over as the biggest competitor to Team Fortress 2. The varying classes offer gameplay styles for all types of play, and the polish that is typical of Blizzard games is not absent from this offering.
Hopefully you got a chance to play in the beta, if not, definitely check this one out when it comes out.