Blizzard finally confirmed and released the Blackwatch event of our dreams this week. The Overwatch Retribution event is a part of the “Archives” series of events, along with Uprising last year. These events have players looking into Overwatch’s history and lore to take part in key missions and points in time.
For this Play of the Fortnight, let’s take a look at the Overwatch Retribution event, the new PvE game mode, and the content unlocks players can achieve during the event.
When Does the Overwatch Retribution Event Start and End?
The event started on Tuesday, April 10th. Players can take part in the event until Monday, April 30th, giving us the usual three weeks to unlock everything. There’s also plenty to do, including the PvE game mode, which is a little different compared to the Uprising PvE game mode from last year.
Retribution Co-Op Game Mode
This event brings a new co-op game mode. As we expected in the last Play of the Fortnight, the game mode sees players choosing between Genji, Moira, Reaper, and McCree. These are our four Blackwatch heroes. The game mode takes place in Venice. Players take on a role in a mission that has gone horribly wrong (thanks to Reyes’ involvement, of course!) You’ll start out defending a room while you breach the doors. Players have to kill waves of Talon enemies until the door has burst open, and then you’ll start progressing both the level and the story.
Throughout your trip through the streets of Venice, you’ll be accosted by several mini-bosses, which we’ll deal with in a moment. Basically, you have to fight waves of enemies as you go, and eventually make it to an extraction point and survive until your ship arrives. The pacing is a little different from last year’s game mode, as you aren’t stuck glued to a payload for an extended period of time. Players have a certain amount of freedom to roam.
No payload to babysit means no messing up, right? Sadly, no. Teammates can still die out of position and need a pick-up. Perhaps worse still, if one of your teammates doesn’t get on the ship…you fail the mission. Apparently, Left4Dead was a big influence on how the new co-op mode played out, as evidenced in the ship escape and also the special mini-bosses that appear.
Defeating the Retribution Mini-Bosses
There are three mini-bosses in the Retribution co-op game mode. These are the sniper, the assassin, and the heavy assault. For the most part, they spawn in the same locations and at the same time, but how players deal with them (and who is targeted) will vary.
The sniper charges up her attack, giving players a chance to dodge or hide. This is especially important at higher difficulties. Luckily, all four of the heroes in the locked game mode have decent mobility and can dash away easily. The best thing to do here is to rush the target, preferably from behind or from around a corner so she can’t charge up a shot while you’re advancing. The sniper is whiley, though, and she will be able to bounce around like Widowmaker can.
The assassin is a little different. She stuns one player at a time, pinning them to the ground and pounding on them much like the Hunter in Left4Dead. A great tactic for dealing with the assassin is to stun her with McCree, as this will free your teammate and allow the entire team to whittle her down quickly. You can, of course, melee here or shoot her off as well.
The heavy assault is pretty basic, don’t get charged by him. He is incredibly tanky and does a lot of damage, so try to focus him down and avoid getting too close. If you’re far enough away, the charge is well telegraphed so it’s easy enough to avoid. Don’t bother wasting your McCree ultimate on him, either. It takes so long to lock onto his head, it just doesn’t seem worth it.
Thoughts on the New Game Mode
Blizzard stated in an interview with PCGamesN that they wanted to make the new game mode more replayable than the Uprising mode. They were aiming for a more difficult problem to solve to keep players engaged. When referring to the new mini-bosses, principal software engineer Adrian Finol said, “It really forces players to work together to solve that problem. Think about it like puzzle pieces.”
After playing the game mode a few times on a few different difficulties, it doesn’t feel like they really achieved this fully. It’s certainly more fun than the Uprising game mode, but it’s still the same content over and over. Players still have to move from Point A to Point B, and killing the mini-bosses is pretty easy. It’s tougher on harder difficulties, sure, but not because anyone needs to sit down and work out the optimal strategy. It’s just a case of not getting caught out.
Is it fun? Certainly. But is it infinitely more replayable than the Uprising game mode? I don’t think so. Does it need to be? Probably not, but if this is what Blizzard is going for, there’s probably more they could do. Perhaps adding in more randomized events rather than it being the same mini boss spawn at exactly the same position every time.
Exclusive Retribution Content
This year we see new skins for Doomfist, Hanzo, Lucio, Mei, Moira, Reaper, Sombra, and Winston. Players will be excited to see that the Mei skin is Pajamei, as seen in the Mei animated short. The Reaper and Doomfist skins are also pretty great.
However, there has been a bit of a rumbling of discontent from some members of the community with regards to the quality and detail of the new skins. For example, players seemed pretty disappointed with the Winston skin which looks very similar to his default, but with tubes all over his body. Some players feel the skins look a bit boring, and considering they’re all Legendary (and therefore 3000 credits during the initial run of the event), it’s a little disappointing.
Returning Content from Last Year
The Uprising content is all unlockable in loot boxes and, of course, through purchasing at a reduced credit cost. For example, all the Legendary skins from last year are back down to the 1000 credit cost. This is great for people like me who forgot to pick up the Mercy skin and were kicking themselves about it!
The best part about the returning event is that the Uprising co-op mode came back too. Not only can players play the new Retribution game mode, but they can take on the old co-op mode if they missed it. To do so, simply go to the Arcade and select the co-op brawl. There you can pick between the Retribution locked and all heroes mode, and the Uprising locked and all heroes mode too.
The Retribution event is certainly interesting, and it’s nice to experience Overwatch lore in a way that is engaging. People can see key events throughout the history of the game without having to go to a website or read through tidbits of information scattered across the web. In fact, players can experience it directly by taking part in missions and being a part of heroes’ backstories.
However, we do feel there’s probably more work that could be done here. The PvE mode is fun, but it’s a bit repetitive just like last year. Once you’ve completed it once on every difficulty, there’s not much of a reason to go back in. Also, some of the skins do kind of look like they could’ve been Epics rather than Legendaries.
Regardless, it’s a fun event and we’re really glad to have more ways to interact with the Overwatch history. I do want to see more permanent co-op modes, though! What are your thoughts on the new Overwatch Retribution event? Let us know in the comments below!Related: Blizzard Entertainment, Column, Event (In Game), First Person Shooter, FPS, Overwatch, Play of the Fortnight, Shooter