Archer, Cowboy, Medic, and Robo-monk: Check out Blizzard’s Overwatch in action

blizzard overwatch gameplay videos
Blizzard Entertainment has a laser focus in the games it develops. Virtually all of the games in its 20-plus years have fallen into one of three core franchises: StarCraft, WarCraft, and Diablo (or all three mashed up, in the case of Heroes of the Storm). Any new game outside of those universes is a pretty big deal.

Overwatch is Blizzard’s first new franchise since launching the original StarCraft in 1998. It is a first-person, competitive, team-based shooter. Like Team Fortress 2, it features different characters with drastically different sets of abilities, allowing for creative collaboration between the four broad categories of character: offense, defense, support, and tank. It also draws inspiration for character and map design from popular MOBAs such as League of Legends and DOTA 2, but from a first-person perspective, very much like Gearbox’s upcoming Battleborn. Supposedly the game was salvaged from elements of Blizzard’s cancelled massively-multiplayer follow-up to World of Warcraft, Titan.

Blizzard has released a number of new gameplay videos over the last week or so, featuring complete matches from the perspective of a single character, giving you a much clearer sense of how they will actually operate.

Hanzo, the archer

Hanzo is a Japanese archer who rains down death from a distance as offense. His sonic arrow contains a sonar tracking device, marking your opponents for everyone on your team to more easily hunt down. He also has a nasty fragmenting arrow that ricochets off of walls and obstacles to clear out groups of enemies, especially in enclosed spaces.

McCree, the outlaw

Jesse McCree is a bounty hunter from Santa Fe with a six-shooter on his hip, a robot hand, and “BAMF” on his belt buckle. Like Hanzo, McCree brings the pain on offense. He can place each shot carefully, or fan his six-shooter’s hammer to quickly unload the entire chamber. A combat roll lets him nimbly dodge around the arena, while also reloading his Peacekeeper (a play on the classic Colt Peacemaker revolver that dominated the American west). He also packs flashbang grenades to throw his enemies off.

Mercy, the healer

A renowned Swiss doctor-turned-field-medic, Mercy keeps her teammates feeling spry in a support role. Her primary Caduceus Staff has the dual utility of both healing her allies or increasing the amount of damage they deal. She also has a sidearm for blasting anyone that gets too close, but mostly as a last resort. Those wings aren’t just for show, either, letting her rapidly fly toward allies in need to provide crucial backup.

Zenyatta, the robotic monk

My favorite of the four in terms of backstory and design, Zenyatta is part of an order of self-aware robots that had a spiritual awakening and went to found a monastery deep in the Himalayas. Unlike his more isolationist brethren, Zenyatta sought to bridge the gap between man and machine through joining them as support. His abilities revolve around orbs of energy that he can use as deadly projectiles, link with allies to heal them, or link with enemies to amplify the damage they receive.

Blizzard has not announced a release date, and likely won’t for a while, given the studio’s general policy of releasing games when they’re done instead of rushing to meet deadlines. It is currently scheduled to enter a closed beta later in 2015. It will be released on PC exclusively, with no currently known plans for consoles.

Product Review

Huawei’s monster Mate 20 X makes the Galaxy Note 9 look small

The Huawei Mate 20 X has a 7.2-inch screen, but is surprisingly manageable to hold, yet still a little too big to carry around. Huawei’s pushing the phone’s ability as a mobile gaming handheld, challenging the Nintendo Switch.
Gaming

The best video games to gift this holiday season, from ‘Spider-Man’ to ‘Hitman 2’

The holidays are quickly approaching and you might be looking for ideas on what to get your favorite gamer. Here are the best games you can buy for your gaming loved ones this holiday season.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in October, from 'The Witch’ to ‘Black Panther’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, subdued humor, or anything in between.
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Gaming

Apple Mac users should take a bite out of these awesome games

Contrary to popular belief, there exists a bevy of popular A-list games compatible for Mac computers. Take a look at our picks for the best Mac games available for Apple fans.
Gaming

Annual game releases are boring. Try a quirky indie game for the PS4 instead

While big budget games rely on practical innovation, indie games dive head first into new, unexplored territories. If the quirky and unusual appeal to you, take a look at our list of the best indie games on PS4.
Product Review

Kill a Nazi while skiing in ’Battlefield V: War Stories’

World War II is hardly a unique setting for a shooter, but Battlefield V’s War Stories has managed to liven it up. Our preview left us eager to see more of the new Battlefield’s single-player story.
Gaming

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in 'Destiny 2: Forsaken'

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.
Gaming

‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’ adds Black Market system to dress up your soldier

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 added the Black Market system to PS4 today, giving players new ways to unlock and acquire additional customization items, such as outfits for Specialists.
Computing

In 2018, the rivalry between AMD and Intel has become more interesting than ever

When it comes to selecting a CPU for your PC, there's no shortage of chips for you to choose from. With Ryzen, Threadripper, and Core i9 CPUs though, the AMD vs. Intel argument is muddier than ever.
Gaming

Have problems with your Xbox One? We have the solutions

The Xbox One has evolved over the years, but so have its problems. Thankfully, we have solutions for some of the console's most enduring problems, whether you're experiencing issues with connectivity or your discs.
Computing

Gaming on a laptop has never been better. These are your best options

Gaming desktops are powerful, but they tie you down to your desk. For those of us who prefer a more mobile experience, here are the best gaming laptops on the market, ranging from budget machines to maxed-out, wallet-emptying PCs.
Computing

Choose your weapon wisely -- these are the best keyboards for gaming on your PC

Your PC isn't complete without one of the best gaming keyboards on the planet. We have a list spanning full-sized models to compact versions from Razer, Cooler Master, Corsair, Logitech G, and more.
Gaming

Why are game studios run like sweat shops? The human toll of ‘crunch time’

After the revelation of 100-hour work weeks in Red Dead Redemption 2’s development, we spoke with a number of developers about what it’s like to work in crunch culture in the game industry.