Blizzard has a long history of producing high quality multiplayer games, and Overwatch isn’t going to buck that trend. Last week’s open beta gave us a representative look at how the retail version of the game will be when it launches on the 24th, and it seems to work as intended regardless of which platform you plan on using.
For the better part of a decade, Blizzard was working on developing an MMO dubbed “Titan.” It was eventually canceled in 2014, but some assets from that project still live on in Blizzard’s new first-person shooter. And it’s not just Blizzard’s legacy that Overwatch is building on. In many ways, it also takes inspiration from Valve’s Team Fortress 2. It’s a team-based shooter focusing on wildly different classes, and the lively personalities of the characters evoke very warm feelings for many of us with hundreds of hours of TF2 under our belts.
From a technical perspective, Overwatch seems to be well-built. Both the Xbox One and PS4 versions feature dynamic resolution scaling, but they’re both sitting at 1080p most of the time. Based on the comparison done by Digital Foundry, the Xbox One appears to drop below 1080p more frequently, but it’s not a widespread issue. You’ll see a slightly fuzzier image for short stretches, but that’s certainly preferable to being stuck at 720p or 900p at all times.
The game targets 60fps on consoles, and it usually delivers. The PS4 version rarely budges from 60, and when it does, it seems to happen most often when you’re watching the kill cam. Over on the Xbox One, drops are a bit more frequent when you’re actually playing. Unfortunately, you’re going to get some screen-tearing, but it’s not enough to ruin the experience.
If you have the option to play Overwatch on the PC, that’s going to be your best bet. It comes as no surprise that you’ll be able to outpace both consoles in the frame rate and resolution department. On top of that, the draw-distance, lighting, and anisotropic filtering are all improved on the PC side as well. The differences are still pretty minor though. If you only have access to a gaming console, you’re not missing out on all that much here.
If you didn’t get the opportunity to play the beta yourself, you can get a good look at Overwatch in action in the video above. Our sister site IGN played through about an hour of the open beta live on the internet, and two full hours during the closed beta.
I spent some time with the PS4 version over the weekend, and didn’t see any notable issues with the frame rate or network performance. As for the gameplay itself, I had zero trouble jumping in headfirst. If you’ve ever played an FPS before, you’ll pick up the basics quickly. Even so, there are 21 characters spread across four classes, and they all play differently. It’ll take some time to become familiar with the quirks of each “hero.”
While the developer has said that this most recent beta is exactly what we’ll see at launch feature-wise, it’s important to remember that all online games are susceptible to network issues. Even though Blizzard has an absurd amount of experience keeping servers up and running under heavy load, it’s still possible that the launch could be plagued with downtime. If that’s a concern for you, consider waiting until after launch to buy in.