I woke up to the news this morning from all the awards from The Game Awards, obviously, the biggest award any game fights for throughout the year is the revered GOTY. I am not an Overwatch fan, but I have played the several weekends it was free to play and quite frankly I was extremely surprised this game won.
Being a fan of Multiplayer shooters, I was intrigued by Overwatch’s MOBA influence too so picked it up on the free weekends, but it never pulled me in. Blizzard designed an aesthetically appealing game to the masses, to young gamers and old gamers alike. They even succumbed to the knee-jerk controversies of Tracer’s victory pose earlier this year, apparently, it was too sexual. Nevertheless, Blizzard created a system which had a diverse character pool and class system, this clearly worked and appealed to a wide audience. You could even say Overwatch has stuck up two fingers to those who don’t see online only games as ‘real’ games, however, I can understand the gaming community being quite baffled by the outcome.
Let’s not dance around words in this article, I played Overwatch and it wasn’t my cup of tea. I am a solid shooter player and MOBA player but Overwatch did not appeal to me whatsoever. I felt reluctant to buy an online only game, and that was for the same price as other games, which offered me more in terms of replay value. It is difficult to compare games like Uncharted 4 and DOOM both being different types of games and boasting different features. Similarly, I am not an Uncharted fan in the slightest, but from what Naughty Dog produced this year Uncharted 4 should have gotten the GOTY title. The game was stunning to look at, won best narrative and also has an online multiplayer scene. It had a bit more bang for its buck. DOOM also provided a solid campaign with an old school feel for its multiplayer option.
In fact, the shooter scene has been bursting in 2016, Battlefield 1 (which I have recently picked up) gives a massive online experience setting in World War 1, with huge maps that are phenomenal in detail and the signature destructible environment. The campaign for Battlefield 1 is also an interesting one, as you play 6 different war stories. You then have Titanfall 2 which finally had a campaign set to it, thoroughly enjoyable and a great insight into the world of the Titans. The online mode was as punishing as ever, fast-paced and really challenged your online shooting skills.
Having played Overwatch on the free weekends, I enjoyed it for its freshness and pace but found myself quite bored after a few hours. As odd as this sounds, I also found it quite easy to take down people (my character of preference being Reinhardt) whereas in other games it’s a struggle but I found myself more satisfied when seeing my kill/death ratio at the end. It felt underwhelming and not challenging enough.
There is no denying that Overwatch has a massive fan base, in such a short period of time, it’s what Blizzard are good at doing. We may even see Overwatch around for the next couple of years, but I would also like to see what the unique player per month statistics are over the next few years.
Overwatch also won eSports game of the year, which also surprised me as an eSports fan. I would understand if Overwatch won a breakthrough award, but there are many games which are already solidified in the eSports community. eSports games should be considered on their concurrent players per month, updated statistics are a bug bear to get hold of but both Dota 2 and League of Legends concurrently hit set numbers each month. Furthermore, they are free to play, yes, they both have their micro-transaction but Overwatch is £30-£40 plus micro-transactions. However, as this was a fan based vote, it is only logical that Overwatch would win, based on reports that as of October 2016 the game had amassed 20 million players. Which brings into question Riot Games’ claim that LoL has 100 million players amassed.
Overall, Overwatch clearly made an impact this year in the shooter scene and this has been evident through its player count and mass appeal. However, I would like to see the player drop count since it’s release and not just the current count. Let’s give an applause to all those nominated, and to Overwatch, whether we like it or not.
What are your thoughts on the Game of the Year winner? Let me know in the comments section below.