What parents need to know about 'Overwatch,' one of summer's top video games

Posted June 9

"Overwatch," one of the hottest video game releases of the summer, is also being lauded by critics as one of the most refreshingly diverse games ever produced.

Based on an online comic of the same name, "Overwatch" pits six-player teams against other players or artificial-intelligence competitors to defend strategic positions in a number of globe-trotting settings.

The reviews have been glowing. Gaming and geek culture site Kotaku called the game "a revelation," while similar site Den of Geek said the game was "diversity in gaming done right."

That's because with its roster of 20 heroes to play as — all with different skills, weapons, personalities and limitations — "Overwatch" and its team-focused gameplay make the differences between players a boon rather than a drawback. One of the game's most popular characters — Tracer — is female, but breaking with many industry cliches, she is fully clothed, not oversexualized, and is coveted for her speed, smarts and humor.

"In the multiplayer mayhem of (game developer) Blizzard’s new first-person shooter, teams are at their strongest when embracing, and exploiting, peoples’ differences," Nick Schager wrote in a glowing Daily Beast review.

Yet for all its progressive efforts in an industry known for exploiting women and embracing violence, "Overwatch" is still lacking in some critics' eyes. While most parents and children on Common Sense Media's site rated the game fine for ages 9 and up, the organization upped that to age 13 and up in its official review, mostly because it's easy for children to hear unsavory language from fellow online players.

While the graphics are cutting-edge and the action is quick, "Overwatch" completely lacks story and, as Common Sense Media pointed out, it's still a first-person shooter — a genre some parents may object to.

"As fantastic as the 'Overwatch' universe is, though, it's strange that so little of the story unfolds over the course of the actual game," the review stated. "Outside of the game's cinematic opening and some occasional in-match dialogue among certain characters, there's not much character or plot development."


Twitter: ChandraMJohnson


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