I thought I experienced the last of this year's allotted fatigue tackling Destiny 2's first raid, Leviathan. As if I secretly have a "You can only marathon games this much per year" gauge embedded in my brain.
It was a grueling "last" bout. We spent two entire days in the golden halls of Leviathan, morning to night pushing through heaps of obtusely designed combat puzzles. By the end, we were too exhausted to even beat it. Our progress reset the next day, and that was that. Turns out, it was only the start of a season for exhausting, seemingly endless game modes. Modes that push us to our limits, for personal costs and virtual ends. Now Overwatch is joining the party.
Today, Overwatch patched in its returning October event, Halloween Terror. The event supplies new sprays, highlight intros that flash before Plays of the Game, and skins, including a swoon-worthy one for Symmetra that makes her into a dragon. (Seemingly the anime Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid has finally come to life, in a sense.) Like the recent Summer Games event, the Halloween retread is simply more, more, more of last year's timed event, retaining the previous one's gems like Witch Mercy as well. But with it comes a notable change: a tweaked PvE mode.
It's still familiar though. Overwatch's Halloween Terror also featured the PvE mode Junkenstein's Revenge last year. The mode was stagnant: four players teamed up against enemy AI, enlisting omnics (evil robots) to Roadhogs to Junkrats and more, all clad in specific Halloween attire. (Roadhog was Frankenstein's Monster, Junkrat was "Dr. Junkenstein" in the flesh, and so on.) The mode was only a few rounds long, with increased difficulty options for those who wanted more of a challenge. It was the first time Blizzard experimented with any sort of PvE mode for the team-based multiplayer shooter. As Overwatch's first year went on, it proved to not be the last either.
For Overwatch's in-game lore event Uprising, Blizzard played with PvE modes again. Uprising's PvE mode took players back in time to Tracer's very first Overwatch mission, fighting an onslaught of omnics with veteran teammates Mercy, Reinhardt, and Torbjorn, as a not-yet-really-Reaper or Ana commands them. The PvE mode was far better than Junkenstein's Revenge, sprinkling narrative and contextualizing it too. For the first, time, we were experiencing a story within Overwatch through something truly in-game, and not threaded through webcomics or animated shorts. It was an exciting shift, given past events' special but forgettable arcade modes.
With this year's Halloween Terror event, the same ol' Junkenstein's Revenge makes a reappearance, only it has a catch this time. For the original mode, it's longer with more waves to make room for a specially dressed Symmetra to battle. But now there's a new mode too: an Endless Mode. A mode that if played long enough, might cause carpal tunnel or something. (I dunno, I'm not a doctor.)
But I'm really curious. How long, how truly long, can I play Junkenstein's Revenge's new Endless Night mode? What character should I select of the four freshly available for the mode: Widowmaker? Genji? Torbjorn? Zenyatta?
I tried the Endless Mode, and unsurprisingly (it's been literal months since I last touched Overwatch), our Endless run ended relatively quickly, after fifteen or so minutes. I picked Zenyatta, even though I'm characteristically not a great Zenyatta. This was probably my downfall.
But I'm stubborn. This will not be my last time playing Overwatch's endless PvE mode. I'd love to play Endless Night well into the actual night. Maybe with the sun setting; the moon rising; realizing I forgot to eat dinner in the midst of the unpause-able fray. I want to shine a bat signal into the sky, summoning my age-old Overwatch pals, even as we've splintered off into different games like Destiny 2 and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. Yet I still have hope. We'll reunite, we'll spend hours upon hours fighting waves of enemies. We'll hate ourselves while we do it too, because hey, what's the point of marathon gaming if you don't waste your precious time while doing it.
In the coming weeks, as the event runs from October 10th to November 1st, I'm excited to see others adopt a similar mindset. According to Blizzard, the players who last the longest will land on a special new leaderboard (somewhat similar to last event's Ranked Lucioball). I hope players stream their successes and failures within the grueling mode. I hope those streams are exciting to watch, just as people ravenously view people speedrun games or play through raids in Destiny 1 and 2. Even if Overwatch: Uprising's PvE mode is arguably-still-better, what excites me about Junkenstein's Revenge: Endless Night is its pure potential for goofiness in watching players' stamina deplete. As for me, I'm fatigued just thinking about it. But I'll play that shit obsessively, because of course I will.
For more on Overwatch's Halloween Terror event (and helpful tips for the game in general), check out our guide!