Space; The Final Frontier
Everyone that has played Overwatch knows that it’s a fantastic game. Itdeserves the prestigious title of ‘Game of The Year’ which it was graced with at last year’s Games Awards. It’s a unique first person shooter that essentially has something for everyone. An extensive list of diverse characters, each with their own quirky abilities. Pair with this the games colourful graphics – which appeal to both adults and children alike – what’s not to love?
Well actually, a lot.
Veterans of Overwatch will quickly confirm that the games competitive mode is easily one of the most frustrating gaming experiences around. It’s unpolished, and often those you are teamed up with have a vastly different skill rating (SR) from your own. Similarly, if someone on your team leaves during a ranked match, it’s GG and you’ll have to play on 5v6, despite this being completely unfair.
If, by some amazing blessing bestowed by Jeff Kaplan himself, you do actually get a team with a similar SR to you and they don’t rage quit straight away, you’ll probably still get the worst Hanzo main in the EU on your team and you’ll end up losing anyway.
In Space, No One Can Hear You Ragequit
I’ll admit, I’ve let Overwatch’s competitive mode sour the game a bit for me recently. More often than not I’d leave Overwatch feeling tilted and frustrated. I’d become too focused on gaining SR and became convinced I was stuck in Elo Hell, turning me bitter to a game I once loved.
Luckily, the last patch – which dropped on June 20 and saw Roadhog nerfed and Reaper buffed– really reconnected me and a lot of other long term fans with Overwatch’s roots, and reminded us why we love the game so damn much, with the addition of the new Horizon Lunar Colony map.
All credit has to be given to Kaplan and Overwatch’s creative team for going above and beyond – quite literally – with this map, which is set on the moon. The map is full of fun, little interactive features that show an unprecedented dedication to detail.
When on the attacking team, you’ll find a giant telescope in the first spawn room which you can look through to spy earth or more specifically, one of the games other maps in Gibraltar. Similarly, there’s a pressure activated button on the ground which allows you to get a better look at the earth.
Every single character can interact with this telescope, and each will respond with their own unique voice line, a small Easter Egg to say the least, but a truly satisfying one for long term fans of the game.
The most enjoyable feature of the map is the ability to exit it and fight in zero gravity. This is such a quirky idea, but it’s one that has paid off massively. Fans are loving the concept so much that a new arcade mode has been temporarily introduced. It allows you to play in zero gravity on any of the Overwatch maps.
On top of this, the map is swimming in lore, something which Overwatch fans in particular seem to relish. The Horizon Lunar Colony is the original home to one of the game’s leading characters, a genetically modified ape named Winston. For this reason this new map comes with a strong sense of nostalgia for players. Within the map, you can visit the room in which young Winston once lived, complete with peanut butter jars and toy rockets, and the places where he used to play, learn and eat.
I’m A Spaceman
Similarly, there’s something extremely poignant about the characters voice lines on this particular map. Many of them make note of their lives outside of the game. The most noticeable example being Tracer. The game’s main promotional figure makes reference to her girlfriend, Emily. She has never been directly mentioned in Overwatch’s gameplay prior to this. The new map is a perfect reminder of why so many players are so heavily invested in a game with no campaign mode.
Overall, it’s just nice to see people playing the game for fun again, even for a short while. While playing the new map, I had a Winston on my team who I noticed was simply exploring. He sought out every nook and cranny of the Lunar Colony instead of focusing the objective. I didn’t even care because that had been me just four games earlier. I’ve seen teams completely abandon the conventional map objectives to fight in zero gravity. More importantly I’ve seen players try new heroes without being plagued by the fear of failure.
Evidently, I think it’s safe to say the Overwatch community has felt the positive effects of the Horizon Lunar Colony. It has offered a refreshing outlook on the game at a time when ranked season was in full swing.