Does the Overwatch Archives 2021 Event live up to its expectations?

The second event of the year has finally made its comeback – the highly anticipated Overwatch archives event returns with new content and old classic features, but is it worth playing?

On April 6, 2021, the Overwatch Archives event finally got released, where we delve into the past of the game’s intriguing lore, with new character skins available and various games mode to indulge into.

Many players have been waiting anxiously for this event. As a regular player of Overwatch myself, I believe the game needed this event to reel players back in once again. The whole misfortune situation with Blizzard taking off the Mayhem game mode during the Lunar event – big mistake.

Let’s dive into some of the features of the event.

New Character Skins

This year the theme of the new skins resembles a somewhat past European, renaissance vibe, which was an unusual choice considering the past of Overwatch was only set less than a decade ago (in lore context).

There were new skins for characters such as: Widowmaker, Zarya, Soldier 76 and lots more which you can unlock in the weekly events.

Currently, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the new skins, questioning whether any will catch my eye; if not then hopefully the Overwatch anniversary in May will make up and introduce more variety and aesthetically pleasing skins for our beloved characters.

I am still trying to get myself to pursue the Mercy week three skin, but I can’t decide, due to whether or not I like the Edna Mode style/Over the Hedge, crazy housewife style bob:

Game Modes

Overwatch Archives 2021 event: date, skins, and new challenges announced - Polygon
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One feature gamers love about this event is the co-op story missions. Overwatch is primarily an online-only game, so this event shines by showcasing a glimpse of a story mode which is hopefully fully introduced in Overwatch 2.

There are three missions to choose from: Uprising, Retribution, and Storm Rising – all of which take place in the past of the game’s lore.

The first one relives Tracer’s first mission, where we find ourselves in King’s Row (I personally love this London map). In this first mission, we find ourselves fighting off enemy robots threatening to destroy our heroes, with cameo from playable Bastion before he turned over to the good side. This mode was fun to play against and was actually quite difficult  – but in a pleasant, challenging way. Having all the robots shooting at the payload from all different angles felt like as a player you were immersed into a futuristic apocalypse movie. I loved it.

Our second mission was my personal favourite co-op mission being the “Retribution” story. Here we get to play as the evil “Blackwatch” team, which I believe not only the best action and interesting plot, but also some of the best fan-favourite villainous characters from Moira to Genji. Fighting through enemies from assassins to robots, as well as the intense escape at the end, made for an action-packed atmosphere, which I will certainly be replaying.

Finally, the third co-op mission is the “Storm Rising” story. This game mode takes place in the streets of the beautiful “Havana” map, where we get to play from Winston to Mercy, while delivering the payload to safety, somewhat very similar to the Uprising mission. While this game mode was enjoyable to play, it’s the one I remember the least due to its lack of originality.

All three had elements which stood out from the rest, adding to the fact a story mode needs to be implemented within Overwatch. Also, an Archives loot box per win? I’ll take that.

Reflection of the event

Playing each of the three story modes was thrilling, and left me feeling intrigued and wanting to research more into the lore of the game, considering this is my first year playing the event; I thought this was a delight.

Although, it is a cause for concern that this event is copy and paste from previous years, with no new game mode being introduced which left me puzzled as surely you’d want to give players new exciting content year upon year?

Furthermore, I’m writing this piece day two into playing the event and once again Mayhem has been taken off the game modes – not looking very positive unsurprisingly.

Nevertheless, the event has been dynamic in the way we play Overwatch and gives a refreshing change to the format of the game, especially as a first time newbie of this event, I’d highly recommend those who have never played Overwatch before to give it a go. Warning: it can very addictive, I should know – its been nine months since I’ve started playing and I can’t stop!

Unfortunately, for those original gamers who have participated in this event numerous times – you may find yourself slightly disappointed but may expect there would be a lack of change from previous years. The disregard for fan pleas about what they want to remain/change in the game is crystal clear. Blizzard – please keep mayhem during events and add some new game modes, it’s all we want!

Overwatch is available to play on Playstation, Xbox, PC and Nintendo Switch

By Jack Proverbs

Feature image: Dexerto

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