Gaming for Kids: Overwatch


Soldiers. Scientists. Adventurers. Oddities.

In a time of global crisis, an international task force of heroes banded together to restore peace to a war-torn world:


It ended the crisis and helped to maintain peace in the decades that followed, inspiring an era of exploration, innovation, and discovery. But after many years, Overwatch's influence waned, and it was eventually disbanded.

Overwatch is gone… but the world still needs heroes.

Overwatch - quick byte

What is it?-  Sci-Fi First-person shooter

Age restrictions - 10V in SA and a PEGI12 rating in Europe

Format - PC, PS4 and XBOX ONE

Price - R999 (PC); R1099 (console)

Replay value: With 21 characters to master, countless matches and Blizzard constantly updating with DLCs the replay value is very high.

First Person Shooters are not my jam. I'm a straight up RPG girl, in fact Blizzard's biggest star, World of Warcraft and I are in a very close relationship. We might as well be married. Don't judge.

But when the trailer for Overwatch was released it was the first time I sat up and actually thought, "Hey, that looks fun!". Maybe the appeal was that there were actual women in this game who came in different shapes and sizes and whose armour actually protected vital organs.

The Heroes

There are 21 characters that you can choose to play with BUT you can also change your hero while in game if you need a different ability, which is cool in theory but I didn't find myself doing that much as I was learning each characters abilities, especially as someone who was getting used to the gameplay of a FPS.

There are 4 roles: Offence, Defence, Tank and Support. So depending on what role or character you choose it's a different game every time.

And because there are so many characters means that there a diverse range of not only males and females but you can play as sentient gorilla Winston or a robot such as Bastion.

My very best thing about the characters though is the diversity of women in this game. Up until I played this I honestly wasn't bothered that there wasn't someone who looked liked me represented in the games I played. Mostly because I don't think you get elves, dwarves or orcs who looked anything like me. I liked the fantasy role play of World of Warcraft.

But when I logged on and saw Pharah I instantly loved it. She was brown like me! She was of Eastern origin (like some parts of me)! She wasn't stick thin like me! She was actually covered in armor that covered her vital organs and were useful!

The women in this game are beautifully represented from the thin and zippy Tracer (another one of my favourites) to voluptuous climatologist Mei who is as cute as a button (why are buttons cute?). Russian Zarya is one of the strongest women I've seen in a game.

It's great for girls (who are playing more games) to see a diverse range of women in games.

Not only are the characters visually diverse but they're also from around the wold. And this also translates to the astounding beautiful zones that you find yourself playing in. You'll travel from The Temple of Anubis in Egypt to Hanamura, Japan, from Numbani in Africa to Dorado in Mexico and let's not forget King's Row in the UK and Hollywood, USA.

The visuals are stunning and it's one of things that makes Blizzard's games so appealing to me. I've tried other MMORPGS but I always come back to World of Warcraft where the zones are so beautiful it's easy to immerse yourself in the world.

It's the same with Overwatch and Blizzard's other offering Heroes of the Storm. I could not stand Dota and other 
MOBA's (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena), even though my husband tried to get me to play. But when Heroes of the Storm came along the visual appeal was enough for me to actually want to give it a go. And they've done it again with Overwatch. I can now say I have played and enjoyed a First Person Shooter.

The controls were pretty easy to master; you use your the usual WASD buttons on the keyboard to navigate and your mouse to look around. I found that I mostly used my W and S key to move forward and back and then my mouse to turn my character left or right. I found it much easier to navigate my way through Overwatch than it was for me to master moving around in World of Warcraft. I found that the controls and pace of the game are pretty fluid. It gave me time to pause and look around and enjoy the gorgeous surroundings even though the game is pretty fast paced.

The details

Overwatch is an online game so your kid might be playing with and against real and actual people. But they also have the option of playing with their friends against an AI team or even in a completely AI environment. This does mean that they'll need internet access, a stable connection and a Blizzard account.

There is an initial 6GB download of the game but other than that gameplay won't eat up your bandwidth if you don't have an uncapped line

Currently Overwatch is in Beta but it's available for pre-purchase via the store at €40, the Origins Edition is going for €60 and the price is still to be determined for the amazing Collector's Edition!

While the first two are available digitally, the Collector's Edition only comes in as a physical box due to the amazing statue of Soldier: 76.

If you're buying physical copies of the game in SA however, it's going to retail for R999 (PC version) and R1099 on console

Available on: PC, PS4 and XBOX ONE

Is it appropriate for children?

Overwatch comes with an age restriction of 10V because at the end of the day this is a first person shooter game, so there is some violence. No blood though. This isn't Call Of Duty with blood, gore and guts.

There are 3 missions types:

  • Point Capture: the attacking team must attempt to capture points on the map, while the defending team must stop them.
  • Payload: The attacking team must escort a vehicle to a certain delivery point before time runs out, while the defending team must stop them. The vehicle moves along a fixed track when a player on the attacking team is close to it.
  • Control: Each team tries to capture and maintain a control point until their capture percentage reaches 100%

The game is quite PG and it's rated as 10V in South Africa with a PEGI12 rating in Europe. The game is fun and fast and I would certainly play this with my 10-year-old nieces and nephews and not feel like their impressionable minds were being corrupted or traumatised.

Click here for an explanation of the PEGI rating system.

    Check out the Gameplay trailer below

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