The term “value” has become a staple when discussing video games.
It pops up in almost every comment section and forum thread on the internet. It seems the only thing people are concerned with, these days, is how much value they are going to get out of their purchase. It’s the reason we always see questions about how big the game map is going to be for Fallout 4 or The Witcher 3 before launch. How many quests will there be? How many NPC’s and towns for us to interact? How many hours will the single player campaign last? Unfortunately, there are a lot of gamers who won’t be satisfied with their sixty dollar purchase unless the game can provide hundreds of hours of gameplay, even though historically speaking, games are cheaper than ever, and God forbid a developer to try to charge for a multiplayer-only experience.
Overwatch launched last week to massive critical acclaim. Admittedly, this was expected considering Activision Blizzard developed it. What wasn’t expected, however, was the inexplicably low user score showcased on Metacritic. When I noticed that, it peaked my curiosity enough to force myself to read through the cesspool that is the Metacritic negative user review section in search of an answer to this anomaly. As it turns out, a lot of people were complaining about the perceived lack of content in the game at launch. Arguments like, “The game only has 12 maps,” and “There is no sense of character progression” were some of the most popular. However, none of those statements were as prominent as the granddaddy of them all, the bandwagon statement of 2016, “No single player campaign? No sixty dollars.”
This statement irks me to no end.
The “no single player campaign” argument has been used in every conversation about a multiplayer focused game in recent memory. It happened to Titanfall, Evolve, Rainbow Six: Siege, and Star Wars: Battlefront, all of which were good games in their own right, and it’s happening again to Overwatch.
Overwatch is an over the top throwback to the old school arena shooter. It doesn’t need a single player campaign to be a worthwhile experience. It would be like saying, “The Witcher 3 may have kept me busy for 100 hours, but it’s not worth my money because it has no multiplayer component.” The statement fails to judge the game based on its own merits. It’s lazy. It’s a blanket statement leveled at multiplayer games by people who probably weren’t looking to play a multiplayer game in the first place.
Maybe I’m stuck in the past, but I remember a time before Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 4 where people played round after round of Unreal Tournament and Quake III: Arena, just because it was fun as hell.
Overwatch is worth sixty bucks because it’s fun. And isn’t that why we play games, to have fun, to experience something new each time we play them? It’s time to start judging games based on the experiences we have with them and not on the perceived, “value” we see them for. I don’t go to a movie and demand a refund after realizing it wasn’t over three hours long. I don’t rage in the comment sections of Goodreads because the new Stephen King novel didn’t keep me busy as long as War and Peace. And I most certainly do not rate The Witcher 3 a zero on Metacritic because it didn’t have a multiplayer component.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna play some more Overwatch.