Meaty Ka-Chunks and Overwatch's Reload Animations by Matthew Marchitto

I’ve been playing a lot of Overwatch lately. It’s a great game, with a lot of clever design, and a team devoted to constant updates/tweaks. But one aspect that Blizzard always nails is their presentation. Their games always have that extra sheen of polish that makes them feel better, whether the game is actually better or not.

In Overwatch, the reload animations stand out. They’re meaty, filled with scraping metal and pulsing energy. Hitting reload makes Winston’s charging Tesla cannon feel heavy, or Roadhog’s scrapgun brunt and messy. Each one is damn satisfying.

On paper, I wouldn’t have thought reload animations added much to the game. But after playing some Space Hulk: Deathwing, I couldn’t help but notice the absence of those extra little details. In Deathwing (which is pretty neat, I’m not knocking it) the reloading is a sad lowering of the gun followed by a click-hiss that is oh-so unsatisfying. Especially when you’re playing as a big, bulky character like one of the Warhammer marines.

Presentation is something that’s become more and more important in gaming. The mechanics of gameplay will fall flat without the right sound effects and visual cues to make the player either feel rewarded or powerful. It’s why, in order to make a cannon feel good to shoot, it has to boom and shake the camera. All to make the player feel like their shooting some heavy ass artillery. The numbers and damage output aren’t enough.

It’s one of those sticky issues when talking about games. A lot of folks, generally myself included, think gameplay is king. And that’s true, but so much of what makes good gameplay is layered under good presentation. Good presentation is what makes the gameplay shine.

There are a lot of other good things about Overwatch, but this one finer detail helps bring the whole package together.  

Are there any other little details in a game that you felt added a lot?