Blizzard garnered a bit of ill will with their inaugural Overwatch's Summer Games event. While the themed outfits and Lucioball mode definitely went over well, plenty of players felt jilted that they could get duplicate items, not to mention being unable to use in-game currency to get the skins. So naturally, some fans had their guard up when news of a Halloween event leaked a few days ago. After spending a few hours with the festivities, however, I’m happy to report there’s nothing to worry about. Overwatch’s Halloween Terror event is almost everything I wanted, and then some.
Part of what makes themed events so compelling is the limited edition loot that comes with them. Halloween Terror has plenty of it, with several alternate skins, voice lines, and sprays for every hero. While the event’s going on, you can get your hands on a special Halloween Loot Box with each level-up, or by throwing down your hard-earned cash.
I did the latter option for, erm, research purposes, and bought 24 of the things. Each box is a cute, pumpkin-shaped bucket filled with candy, exactly like the ones you’ll see little kids toting in a few weeks. Boxes contain both items that can be found in the regular Overwatch game and the limited edition Halloween option. As per usual, you’ll get in-game money for each dupe you receive, and I noticed that rarer regular items dropped with a higher frequency with these loot boxes. Of course, I’m no statistician, or a Blizzard employee for that matter, so that could just be my experience.
There are 13 skins you can get, and most of them look pretty great. In particular, Mercy, Reaper, and Ana’s skins (a witch, the Headless Horseman, and a creepy robo-pumpkin, respectively) are particular highlights. I’m also a fan of Junkrat’s mad scientist get-up and Roadhog’s goofy Frankenstein’s Monster outfit. That said, some skins definitely feel lazy. Pharah, Symmetra, Hanzo, and a few others just get what basically amount to palette swaps. Lame.
At least other accoutrements fair better. I’m a big fan of each hero getting a spray that depicts them as a little kid, dressed up as a janky version of their older selves. There are also hilarious victory poses of each hero bursting out from a grave, with Zarya flexing out of the dirt and Widowmaker’s legs provocatively poking out. D.VA’s even has Doritos scattered around it. Tying things together are new highlight animations, with Mei’s likely destined to become my default from here on out.
All-in-all, the loot here is good and well worth spending at least a few bucks on, or grinding a few levels to see what you get. None of it will really enhance your gameplay experience, and thankfully so (balance issues and whatnot,) but it’s definitely cute and fun.
Dr. Junkenstein’s Revenge
The big highlight here is a themed brawl, which takes place from now until November 1. Dr. Junkenstein’s Revenge is a horde mode, where players are tasked with preventing an army of robot zombies from destroying a castle door. During waves, you’ll also have to contend with villainous versions of Reaper, Mercy, Roadhog and Junkrat. It’s basically a “see how long you can last” affair with a fresh coat of Halloween-themed paint, and one that limits the four players to choosing from McCree, Soldier 76, Ana or Hanzo.
But the coats of paint and character restriction go a long way to make this a compelling mode. The music and colour scheme successfully recreate campy horror flicks of the 40’s and 50’s, creating a charming seasonal vibe that’ll definitely get you in the Halloween spirit. On top of that, I really like the pick of heroes. Forcing players to use Ana and Soldier 76 for healing adds a fun challenge for people like me, who usually associate healing with Mercy or Lucio. Of course, I wound up in some parties where people accused Blizzard of just picking the “most random characters” and complained to no end. Personally, I think it’s anything but random, and furthermore, I think people who feel tilted about it should just get better with the heroes offered. Just my two cents.
Overall, I really like this brawl, and wish it was a constant mode. That said, I think it being an ethereal sort of deal makes it that much more special, and I know I’ll be trying to stop Dr. Junkenstein from getting his revenge dozens of times before month’s end.
Overwatch's Halloween Terror is something I’m getting more personal enjoyment from than Summer Games. Maybe it’s because I’m sucker for Halloween gimmicks, or maybe it’s the Call of Duty fan in me falling in love with a good horde mode. Regardless, I like what Blizzard’s done with Overwatch for October, and I’m looking forward to spending even more time with this year’s best shooter than usual.