Gamescom 2016: ‘Overwatch’ Has Some Major Changes Inbound

Unfortunately I couldn’t go to Gamescom this year, but it is still definitely one I have been watching at home for all the Esports and the news. All the Overwatch content made me very excited, so make a cuppa and get comfortable!

Eichenwalde

(c) Blizzard Entertainment 2016 

Now if you’ve been playing Overwatch since launch like me, some of the maps are beginning to get a bit old. Especially Watchpoint: Gibraltar. I hate that map. So the time really feels right for Blizzard to give us a new battleground to play in.Eichenwalde is the first new map to be announced, and it looks beautiful. In true Overwatch style, the map is full of little details to make it less like a video game location and more a real place.

The bricks of the buildings look like you could touch them; the moss on the walls look fuzzy, with all the named buildings. And it really looks like a little abandoned town complete with a castle! I mean come on! A castle! Assistant Game Director Aaron Keller in his interview with Soe commented that the map is set in an abandoned town outside the Black Forest in Germany. With all the abandoned houses, it makes an insane amount of different routes to get to where you are going. So many nooks and crannies to hide in or on top of and to definitely box in the opponents.

The new map is not quite a payload and not quite a control point objective. In fact, it is both. You start by attacking the control point and once your team has it, you then defend the payload. The payload is a giant battering ram for the castle gates. When you have got the payload to the castle gates and captured the checkpoint there, the ram batters down the door to get into the castle.

The game finishes at the body/armour of someone who looks suspiciously like Reinhardt. It has been confirmed since the announcement that this guy at the end is Reinhardt’s old master, Balderich. To get a good look at the map, below is a video from popular streamer Unit Lost Gaming. He talks in depth as he plays on the map at Gamescom!

 

How cool right? I’m really looking forward to playing this map myself on console in September, but for those of you on PC, you can find it live now on the PTR. In the words of Tracer, “what are you waiting for”? Let me know your thoughts if you have PC PTR access or were at Gamescom and tried the map!

2: Competitive Changes!

This was not technically announced at Gamescom but just before, so lots of interviews made comments on it. And it is a major thing, which is why I have included it here. Everyone knows that the first season of competitive mode was a little bit of a sensitive issue. What with coin flips to decide who wins, supports not getting enough points and the loss of levels when you have a defeat. Blizzard has announced a brand new system for ranking. This seems to be based in a similar fashion to StarCraft II’s leagues.

You will be in a skill rating from 1-5000 and this number will be put in tier brackets of Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Master and Grandmaster. Jeff Kaplan, Overwatch’s director posted a video on YouTube explaining the changes, which you can find below.

Also, in even better news, you will not be able to drop tiers (unless in the top two – Master and Grandmaster), just skill rating. This is fantastic. This makes much more sense. And sudden death is no more! Check out the video below from the man himself to see more information.

3: New Animated Short!

Gamescon was given the world premiere of the new short for Bastion. Whether you love or hate the little robot (Omnic is the official phrase here), this short gave you big feels! And now that Origin’s skin for him makes sense, finally. Check out the short below!

4: Overwatch Esports

There were matches aplenty at Gamescom for the Overwatch Atlantic Showdown tournament. These are currently being re-streamed on Twitch repeatedly which you can find here.

Unfortunately there was no mention of Sombra, that fabled hero that has been teased through the game. But, to be honest, I’m sure most people are happier with a brand new map and the new changes to competitive. I do have a feeling that Blizzcon 2016 will have a tonne of new content for us to drool over though.

Were you at Gamescom? What do you think of the new content and upcoming changes? Is there anything (other than Sombra!) you wished had been announced? Let me know in the comments. Don’t forget to follow me here and all social media, the links are below!

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Overwatch: Taking the world one hero at a time

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The latest game to take the gaming world by storm is Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch.

I have said before that I am really not great at FPS games (especially with a controller!), but I can get some damage done! Overwatch is designed to be easy to just pick up and play. Blizzard has done this quite cleverly so that while great for the experienced FPS players, new or inexperienced players (like me, a total noob!) do not feel like they are at a complete disadvantage and can just join the gaming fun.

I tried the open Beta on PC and Xbox One, and unfortunately my computer really struggled and kept having weird graphic bugs. It just looked like an 8-bit game, so I brought the Origins edition of the game for Xbox One. With tinkering I am pretty sure I could’ve got it to work on PC, but after spending two hours with no joy and very limited time to try it out, I made the decision to try it on Xbox. This review is therefore based on my Xbox experience from launch to time of writing.

Now I have to say, visually the game looks amazing. Personally, I have not had to fiddle with any settings (though the colourblind option was a brilliant idea!), and I have hardly seen any tearing or graphics bugs. The game is absolutely beautiful. Each map and character (Hero) is simply marvellous with detail. You can tell the developers had passion designing each character and map, going to a lot of effort and this can be seen in each part graphically. There are nooks and crannies all over each map with little things that make it seem like the game is in a tangible reality. For example on the Greek Ilios map, I found a swimming pool complete with underwater lighting in one of the buildings. I then got so distracted I got attacked in the back haha!

Aesthetically, the developers have created a beautiful game. The HUD is clean and crisp, giving the maximum view and not getting in the way of the player at all. I do love a clear HUD. The characters, who each have their own background story (you can find these HERE), are all unique and offering multiple different playing styles. There are currently twenty-one heroes at this time (see additional edit below!), with Blizzard saying more are coming soon. Each character is from a variety of different national/ethnic background and one of my favourite things to hear is when they are on an opposing team and suddenly speak their native dialect. Mercy, for example, is of Swiss nationality and when on opposing team using her Ultimate, “Heroes never die!” turns from English into German (I think, my German is bad!). Whoever thought of that deserves a pat on the back.

Gameplay is fun, diverse and easy to pick up. Each hero having different abilities and uses means no game is ever the same. The game is meant to be played with friends, but you can play as a solo queuer. The best way to show this is in the below video where you can see some of my excerpts from games!

Can I just say, Blizzard have done a fantastic job again with the orchestrated soundtrack too. You can hear clearer in the video above but you can find the full soundtrack at all good online places and on youtube. It’s beautiful.

Not only is there Quick Match, but the other game modes include Competitive (I’d advise only doing the placement matches unless you have a full team, Season Two is bringing fixes to make Competitive better), Custom where you can set rules and pick different type of matches with a group of your friends (Widowmaker sniping only is hilarious!), and the Brawl. The Brawl mode changes every week, and currently Blizzard are doing a Rio Olympics salute with new seasonal collectable items (skins, player icons and sprays) in Loot Boxes and the brawl is a 3 v 3 Rocket League-type game using Lucio. It’s fantastic!

Now, Loot boxes. Each time you level up towards 100 (each 100 you then Prestige and begin again), you gain a free Loot Box. Inside there are 4 items that vary from currency for unlocking new skins, player icons, sprays (for painting on doors, floors, windows etc. in matches) emotes, different highlight graphics, voice lines, and currency. Duplicates also award currency which you use to save up for the skin you want for your favourite hero that just won’t drop out of Loot Boxes. This is how I got my Valkyrie skin for Mercy! You can use real money in order to get a bulk of Loot Boxes to unlock more things faster, but you do not have to. Parents, make sure you have to get your kids to ask permission first before they microtransaction as these boxes are addictive!

 

Epic Winston skin

Legendary Winston skin, so lucky!

 

Since starting this blog post, I commented on a couple of subreddits on popular website Reddit in order to find others to play with (some of whom you can see in the video, hi guys and gals!). I was starting to get a little lonely being solo and had a headset  so put my details on the various looking for groups places where Overwatch was the focus. And the difference is insane. Once I got over my headset anxiety, the guys and girls were all friendly and we just have a laugh when we do play together.

So even if you weren’t sure about forking out for the Origins edition, I highly recommend it. This game is still gaining traction and with all the updates (although slow for consoles but that is due to console rules and needing to process the updates) this game is probably going to be Blizzard’s shining star. I think this game is going to be fantastic as professional teams form and tournaments happen. I’m really looking forward to Blizzcon when I’m sure there will be epic games.

If you are on Xbox, feel free to send me an add and say you’re from the blog! I look forward to playing with you! Let me know your comments below (and also like the video on Youtube please!)

Edit: Since starting this blog post, a new support hero was released (free!). Ana is a support sniper with the ability to dot heal and snipe. She’s pretty awesome. So that brings the total to twenty-two heroes!

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E3 2015 – Hype Train choo choo!

E3 2015 Week hype!

E3 2015 Week hype!

So it’s here! The conferences are done, and wow what an expo! So many games, so much excitement I can barely contain myself.

Firstly if you want a full list of games at E3 this year, Aussieallroundgaming has made a great list for you which can be found here.

So Microsoft made Hubby want to buy one (especially now it’s cheaper), so that’s obviously a good sign. 

Sony. Oh my goodness, gracious me! Sony blew everyone away, then promptly did it again. Below are some games I had to mention, but you should really watch the replay of the Sony Conference on YouTube. There were so many and it was a proper games conference.

The Last Guardian

The Last Guardian

(c)VideoGamer.com

Now I had no idea why Hubby squealed and nearly fell off his chair (I’m not exaggerating!), but this looks amazing and definitely my type of game! The pup thing creature.. I want one to cuddle with!! Cannot wait for this!

Dreams

   (C)Media Molecule

Imagine if there was a way to explore safely anything you wanted. Perhaps a dinosaur wearing a top hat that happens to be a magician? Or a shark on land? What Media Molecule suggested was that anything you imagine can be made reality within Dreams. I absolutely adore this idea! I could use this to make Miss interactive stories together or anything! I really hope it is what it seems.

Horizon: Zero Dawn

  

(C)Guerilla Games

This was the one where my jaw hit the floor. It was gameplay, it was beautiful, and robot dinosaurs! Apparently this game by Guerilla Games is completely open world goodness and I can’t wait to hear more about it! Even now I watch the trailer just to see if I spot anything that I missed because it really is that breathtaking. Just, wow.

There were so many games that this blog post would be far too long if I went into detail. 

What were your favourites? Tweet or comment below as to what you thought!