Overwatch

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Overwatch Game Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Fantastic, frantic shooter with some violence, open chat.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 81 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 244 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Although gameplay doesn't focus too much on plot, the deep backstory spotlights elements such as acceptance of others, protecting innocent, and overcoming obstacles. Some characters' stories have different levels of positive or negative messages, but the overall theme is heroism.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The game is evenly split between "hero" and "villain" characters. Many heroic characters presented as selfless and courageous, with a strong sense of honor and moral values. Even in the case of "villain" characters, some are shown to be conflicted and/or misguided, as opposed to being outright evil.

Ease of Play

Gameplay's simple to learn; the complexity comes from learning intricacies of strong roster of more than 20 unique characters. Each one has specific set of special abilities that differ wildly from others. Certain roles are better suited to some characters than others (support, defense, offense).

Violence

Violence is fairly nonstop through matches. Characters use a variety of weapons, from medieval weapons such as swords and hammers to modern weapons such as pistols and machine guns to sci-fi weapons such as laser guns and Tesla cannons. There are occasional, brief splashes of blood when characters are hit, but no excessive gore.

Sex

Some characters are shown in somewhat revealing outfits.

Language

Unmoderated matches could expose players to inappropriate comments.

Consumerism

Overwatch is the latest franchise from Blizzard, with some tie-ins to other Blizzard games. It's supported with a variety of merchandise, including toys, books, apparel, and more. Much of story told through tie-in merchandise.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One specific character (McCree) is regularly shown smoking a cigar.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Overwatch is an online multiplayer team-based first-person shooter for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs. Two teams of six players fight against each other in a number of game types; while kids can play with people they know, it's also possible for them to play with strangers, and can be exposed to inappropriate content because of the unmoderated play. Characters fight with a variety of weapons, ranging from more realistic handguns and melee weapons to over-the-top futuristic weapons. Although the violence is a big part of the relatively nonstop action, there's very little in the way of blood. The basics are easy to learn, though the game's large roster of unique characters and abilities adds an extra layer of complexity to the experience. While there's no profanity in the actual game, the online matches could expose players to offensive language from other players. Finally, with Overwatch launching as a brand-new franchise from Blizzard, there's no shortage of tie-in merchandise available, including toys, clothes, books, and more. Some female characters wear revealing outfits, while one character is regularly shown smoking a cigar.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byJay H April 19, 2017

A great game, for older teens.

As an adult all in all I think this is a great game. Honestly I love to waste time on it, it has many complex themes and a handful of good characters to aspire... Continue reading
Parent of a 11, 17, 18+, and 18+-year-old Written byMaerk July 16, 2018

Really fun game my son plays

Basically, I wasn't sure about this at first when my son wanted to get it. But after watching it, decided to get it. I have played it a few times and is su... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byTrent Valve June 2, 2016

CSM Back At It Again With The Too Old Ratings

Here is the motto of Common Sense Media.
"If the game is teen it must be rated by us 13 or higher"
But come on this is Overwatch.
Overwatch has no pro... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byCub5 September 2, 2016

Attention to parents who won't let their child get the game.

This is the most kid friendly FPS I've ever played. There is no sexual content or swearing. The violence is NOTHING compared to a 12+ movie and I think a 1... Continue reading

What's it about?

In OVERWATCH, it's been 30 years since humanity fought against artificial intelligence in the global war known as the "Omnic Crisis." Overwatch was the international task force formed by the United Nations to keep the peace between humans and AI. The heroes of Overwatch continued to protect the world for years, becoming a beacon of hope to the people. Then things began to change. Accusations of corruption and criminal activity began to tarnish the reputation of Overwatch, leading to the unexplained destruction of the team's headquarters. Branded as criminals, traitors, and even worse, Overwatch was officially disbanded. With no one to stand against the forces of evil, peace is being threatened once again. Despite being divided, disgraced, and disavowed, the world needs the heroes of Overwatch now more than ever -- but who will answer the call?

Is it any good?

This first-person shooter is a Pixar-esque sci-fi wonderland built on an amazing world full of entertaining heroes and villains. 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. Outside of the game's cinematic opening and some occasional in-match dialogue among certain characters, there's not much character or plot development. The characters don't even have a bio in the gallery, only customization options and a list of their abilities. To get the full Overwatch experience, you'll have to look outside the game to tie-ins such as websites, books, animated shorts, and more.

Luckily, what Overwatch lacks in story development, it more than makes up for in gameplay. Each of the game's more-than-20-strong roster feels like a complete and unique character. Plus, by allowing you (and even encouraging you) to swap out characters mid-match, there's more than enough opportunity to find the heroes or villains who fit your particular style of play. The basic controls are easy to pick up and quick to learn, but figuring out the best tactics to use, both for your character and as a part of a team, adds a layer of complexity that will take plenty of time to master. While Switch owners get to play with some wildly unique motion control options, including tilt aiming and even using a Joy-Con as a sort of laser pointer to aim, the system also suffers from performance issues that can cause issues in gameplay. As frustrating as this can be, since the game doesn't support cross-play at the moment, it doesn't affect the overall balance of matches. Some fans might be upset that there's no offline component in Overwatch, but isn't the first title to require an always on-connection to the internet. The upside of this is that it gives Blizzard more flexibility when it comes to updating the game on the fly and dealing with any toxic players roaming around because of its unmoderated play.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in gaming. Is the impact of the violence in Overwatch affected by the unrealistic visuals? Would the impact of the violence be intensified if the violence was more bloody or gory? How does the violence in a game such as Overwatch compare to other games in the same genre? Does the violence change the way you view the story?

  • How can strong communication skills help when working with others to accomplish a goal? Is it necessary to be successful in Overwatch?

Game details

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