After being teased in a comic released late last week, Overwatch’s “Uprising” event went live this Tuesday, bringing with it a completely new mode—and new skins, naturally. To date, this definitely feels like the Overwatch event with the most “oomph” behind it. Uprising features a brand-new player-versus-enemy mode—the second since October’s Junkenstein’s Revenge—but with a bit of a twist. Instead of acting as a non-canonical way to play around with existing assets, Uprising comprises the most substantial narrative content we’ve seen in Overwatch so far.
What Came Before
Taking place immediately after the events of the previously-mentioned comic, Uprising sees Tracer, Mercy, Torbjorn, and Reinhardt teaming up to take down a—wait for it—uprising of extremist robots still bitter over the outcome of the Omnic Crisis. While nearly the entirety of Overwatch’s lore has existed outside the game in the form of motion comics and movies, Uprising tells a canonical story from start to finish, and features character interactions that go beyond the standard banter heard before matches begin.
While Uprising doesn’t offer a shockingly deep narrative—its humans vs. robots conflict isn’t all that complex—it does feature some great moments from the four characters that take the spotlight. Tracer especially gets a chance to shine, as she’s the “rookie” on this mission; while she’s a pretty cocky character in the core game, in Uprising, she’s a little less sure of herself. If anything, Uprising proves it’s not what these characters do that’s particularly interesting—it’s who they are. As expected, they do a great job of bouncing off of each other in this 10-15-minute scenario, which feels like a great first step towards future narrative Overwatch content down the road.
While October’s Dr. Junkenstein’s Revenge came into being as a fairly basic (but still incredibly fun) horde mode set in a single arena, Uprising attempts a more ambitious PvE mode. In essence, it feels a bit like Left 4 Dead, with some Overwatch elements thrown in for good measure. Essentially, you and your team of four follow a fairly linear path as you claim three areas, escort (and protect) a payload, then take out a team of four overpowered robots. Of course, you’re doing all of this while fighting off waves of robots, including Bastion units. (It’s kind of tough to blow up so many of the little guys when the Bastion unit in Overwatch’s roster is such a little sweetheart.)
The good news is you can also play this mode with the narrative context completely removed—which makes sense, since you can only hear the same scripted lines so many times before you just want everyone to shut up. This alternate version of Uprising allows you to play through the mini-campaign as any hero, rather than just the prescribed team of four, meaning it brings a whole new challenge of figuring out which characters work well together in this specific setting. Ultimately, Uprising proves Blizzard can truly go beyond the core Overwatch game, and find ways for the existing characters to fit neatly into entirely new gameplay scenarios. And, with Uprising arriving close to the end of Overwatch’s first year, there’s no telling how great the second one will be.
As usual, a company as huge and powerful as Blizzard runs a pretty tight ship—outside of those inconvenient leaks that seem to happen just before release—so we have no idea what’s in store for Overwatch. What we do know, though, is that in its first year, Overwatch has been able to regularly deliver free content on a fairly regular schedule, with most of it being extremely worthwhile. And with their player base growing by the day, you can guarantee they’re thinking of new ways to continue dominating the multiplayer space well into 2018.