Overwatch set at half of its rendering scale, no HUD, and no audio makes it look like a fuzzy Nintendo DS port that never was. It looks playable at first, but then you see the lack of UI elements and audio cues and the whole thing looks like an unfinished project from 15 years ago.
Twitch streamer Bogur spent several days playing this less-than-retro version of Overwatch in the game's competitive mode and managed to hit the highest rank anyway. He started the climb with a new unranked account and gradually turned off the game's essential settings as his Twitch subscription goals were met.
He only played the game's gorilla tank hero Winston (who luckily doesn't have to precisely aim his Tesla Cannon) and turned off all the settings you might take for granted in any FPS, especially Overwatch:
- No audio
- No HUD
- 50% rendering scale
- No voice chat
- No player outlines
In a chaotic, fast-paced game like Overwatch, where two teams of six players shoot and throw magical abilities at each other, the lack of contextual information in the game's audio and UI is like playing chess without the board. It's possible, but you're at an extreme disadvantage if you don't know the game well. You can't see things like the cooldown of your abilities, your health, your crosshair, and the status of the payload or capture point. It's all feel—a skill that only a consistently high-ranked player like Bogur could reasonably have.
It took Bogur seven streams to go from the game's mid-tier diamond rank (where the game initially placed him) to grandmaster, longer than most 'unranked to GM' streams that other players frequently do. Not only did he have to play against players with their games intact, but he suspects that a few people showed up in his matches to derail the challenge.
You can still view all of the stream archives on Twitch. It feels like watching a video that got DMCA'd and all the audio except his voice and the clicks and clacks of his keyboard were removed. It's no-fi ASMR.
"I barely ate for days, I barely slept for days," he said right after he achieved his goal. "Oh my god, I can't believe it."
Bogur's challenge is impressive, but I can't imagine his teammates were always thrilled to have to play with someone at such a massive disadvantage. It's the final season before Overwatch 2 launches and replaces the game next month though, so a little fun seems warranted before it makes fundamental changes to its format.