Overwatch’s newest addition to what they now deem as the “Overwatch Archives” event, Retribution, puts Blackwatch in the spotlight. In the story mission you can play as Reaper (Reyes), McCree, Genji, or Moira. The mission takes place in Venice, Italy and it appears that Blackwatch was tasked with capturing a Talon operative. Reyes decides to take matters into his own hands though and simply kills the man, much to the team’s surprise. This causes a wave of Talon troops to enclose on their position with one mission: eliminate the Blackwatch operatives.
The event is simply a wait-and-kill scenario. You wait in a certain area and take out the Talon troopers attacking you until you move on to the next area. The mission ends with your team loading onto a dropship to escape. I have played the event around five times so far, just grinding out my weekly lootboxes when I have the time. Unfortunately, that seems to be my only motivation for playing the mission.
Compared to last year’s Uprising event, Retribution feels like an afterthought. While it boasts “new” enemies, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before if you’ve played a Left 4 Dead game or the recent Warhammer games. I know Uprising is basically a “survive waves of enemies” mode, but it felt more fleshed out lore wise and content wise to me.
Retribution doesn’t feel that special to me. Sure, you get to see how the members of Blackwatch interacted with one another, but other than that the mission itself doesn’t seem to tell much of a story other than Reaper screwed up and now they must escape. Of course, the comic gives a lot more lore, but for most people not reading the comics, I feel like Blizzard missed an opportunity to give the players a bit more in the lore department with this mission.
Retribution also feels easier than Uprising to me. I have not played the other difficulties, but even the Normal mode of Uprising felt more difficult than Retribution’s Normal. It could be that the Blackwatch team arguably has a better team composition, but it doesn’t excuse how much easier Retribution is to me. For those that played Uprising, you know just how frustrating those Bastion units were. Let’s not forget the detonators. The assassins in Retribution are the most annoying unit, but they are easy to take out as long as your team is paying attention. It’s also frustrating that Blizzard didn’t think ahead with the dropship griefing problem where your teammates refuse to get on the ship and end the mission and instead go die trying to solo a heavy assault unit.
Despite my gripes with the mission, I will say this: These archive missions always leave me wanting more. I crave Overwatch lore. Blizzard has always done a great job at storytelling and it pains me that they missed a huge opportunity to develop a massive campaign to go alongside the multiplayer aspect of this game. Sadly, I know that Blizzard will continue to give us little tidbits of lore only through these events so that we come back and buy more lootboxes. All in all, Retribution is a solid experience for a group of friends itching for an easy way to acquire their weekly lootboxes, but it lacks originality, difficulty and content.