It may be a bit early to say Game of the Year, but if Overwatch isn’t my favourite game this year I’ll be surprised.
I wasn’t expecting to like the game quite as much as I do- I was expecting to get bored fairly quickly after hearing there was no campaign. Yet I’ve had more fun on Overwatch than I have on games promising more content and variety. A major part of the fun is precisely because Overwatch contains “less”.
No upgrade system?
No progressive unlocks?
No buying power?
In Overwatch, I’m not missing any of them. Not having those systems in place means that when I’m playing the game I’m learning how to play it. I didn’t get shot by someone first because they had an absurdly powerful DLC-exclusive gun; I got shot because they’re using the same gun I have more effectively. I didn’t do better this week than last week because my character levelled up and got a damage boost; I did better because I learned more about how to use my character.
In Overwatch, better performance comes from learning about the game and its mechanics and characters: through reading the on-screen tips, following YouTube or Reddit guides, and simply playing the game. Power doesn’t come from buying loot boxes or better weapons and skills, it comes from learning and skill, which gives people a tangible reason to get better.
After the ridiculous pre-order bonuses and power-buying of most games in the last year, it’s nice to play a game that cares more about your hands being on the controller than in your pocket.