Overwatch 2 has finally released on October 4, 2022, but was it really necessary? It is an arguable question, and it is time to review this semi “sequel” from the point of regular PVP player and Overwatch fan.
This is my personal feedback, and some might disagree with my opinion. Remember, you aren’t the only person to have an opinion!
I purchased Overwatch back in 2016, and I absolutely loved this new game created by Blizzard, with the new cool looking heroes, and astonishing animated shorts which I still revisit over and over, just like cinematics from the previous blizzard games.
So to me this was like a major success. The game was fun, it was easy to play and get used to the skill-based class system, although this game has no story mode, it was quite entertaining to play different maps and different coop events like Frankenstein’s Revenge, or Winter Wonderland.
Most of the time I played this game with my friends or against the bots and here is the reason behind that. I love first-person shooters, but such games like Counter Strike Global Offensive where you play 5 versus 5 for example feel more competitive and more personal than playing any Battlefield game with 64 players. People there are just having fun shooting each other, capturing zones, and if someone kills me, I don’t get upset at all. And no matter how bad or good you play the game, you can finish the match and move on.
But Overwatch is a more competitive / personal game where each kill can lead either to frustration or satisfaction. Even with 6vs6 matches it felt really personal to me, and now, in Overwatch 2 we have an even smaller team of 5 versus 5. That’s why I played it mostly with bots, and I don’t regret it at all.
Speaking of Competitive mode, this has lost its meaning to me a long time ago. Playing for getting ranks and extra rewards, reaching leaderboards or facing more experienced players is a waste of time and effort in my opinion.
Anyway, this game has its charm no matter how you play and with whom. Because you can choose any class, pick the map and simply shoot stuff for unpredictable and fun moments.
But things got stale real fast for this game. Overwatch wasn’t receiving many content patches, reminds me of Heroes of the Storm actually, as Blizzard decided to post fewer updates and then simply abandoned this game.
There were no new heroes, no new animation series, no maps or seasonal events, just new skins and some repetitive seasons with portraits as a rewards and nothing else. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s how I see this game from the casual player’s point of view.
Overwatch 2 Announcement
High Expectations – Small Results
Long story short, I was still looking forward for the news from this game and few years later Overwatch 2 was finally announced. Blizzard were promising to bring the best possible experience, introduce PvE/co-op content, probably some story missions, new heroes, maps, game modes, skins and more.
But apart from that, Overwatch 2 seemed and felt like the same Overwatch 1, but more like Overwatch 1.5. I was a bit skeptical about this new game, and it confirmed my suspicions. Overwatch 2 is basically a remaster, a slightly polished version of the first game.
Well, at least this new game is going to be free now, and you pay literally nothing for this upgrade. But why making Overwatch 2 in the first place when Blizzard could just improve the first game is a big question.
They could simply add coop missions, new events and game modes here, instead of building a new game from a scratch. Because, from my observations, Overwatch 2 runs on the same engine, it uses the same textures and sound effects. I guess they made this choice simply to develop the story in the series, rebalance heroes and make more tactical 5 to 5 PVP.
Was this a good decision? It is hard to say. For competitive play, probably yes, for arcade and classic modes where you play just for fun, probably not.
New Business Formula
So you may ask, what’s actually new in this game? I played Overwatch 2 for a few hours, and here is my opinion. As I stated before, I’m just describing my personal experience after playing several matches and game modes. I’m not trying to spoil your expectations or provide only negative feedback – Trust me, this game has many good decisions as well as flaws.
First things first, the game has now switched to a free-to-play model, which means players are going to see even more monetization tricks than ever. Instead of Loot boxes, which were removed completely, Blizzard decided to add the in-game shop where you can now find new bundles and skins for your favorite heroes. Most of these cosmetics are now available only with the premium currency.
Another cash-grab feature includes nowadays familiar Battle Pass and Daily Challenges. It is now possible to level your free or premium battle pass to receive additional cosmetics, such as player icons, skins, emotes, sprays and weapon charms up to Tier 80.
If you are ready to pay for all these rewards, prepare to give away at least $10 for Premium Access Rewards, and if you want to receive all the rewards right now, then it will cost you 100 extra dollars.
This Battle Pass was an obvious decision to Blizzard to monetize their Free-to-play game, and new players will certainly find this progression meaningful and transparent. Players now have the reason to move on – to play matches and level up for the rewards.
Many modern games like Destiny 2, Diablo Immortal or Call of Duty feature the same monetization model. The only important thing here is that, this Battle Pass lasts only for the duration of season. Once it ends, your Battle Pass will reset and provide new rewards. So either grind hard, or grab your wallet.
PvE – Story Mode (Cancelled)
One of the reasons why I returned to this game is the PvE content, and unfortunately, there was no story mode at the time of the release. The story mode was expected to be released in early 2023, but it seems that this feature has been scrapped completely. This was discussed in the developer’s blog that aired on May 16, 2023.
According to the interview, this long-awaited co-op mode (aka. Hero missions) will transform into regular PvE missions with simple objectives. The developers decided to cancel their ambitious plans because this mode was way too complex, and required too many resources.
It’s a shame, that Blizzard decided to switch their priorities in the mid-run and focus only on the PVP aspect of this “sequel”.
New Content and Changes
For the actual gameplay, Overwatch 2, just like Overwatch 1 is a well-optimized game. It runs really smooth even on older hardware like 1050Ti. It has almost identical and familiar UI, abilities, key layouts, and of course maps.
Here we have the same game modes Except for Assault (available only in Custom Games) from Overwatch 1: Capture the flag, Escort, Control, Elimination, Mayhem, and a new game mode called Push. But I personally didn’t find anything new in this mode.
Push is the same old Escort mode where you protect and push the payload to the enemy base, But this time you have a robot that will push a protective barricade towards the enemy. If you push it further than your opponents, you win. Sounds cool, but this mode in my opinion lacks originality.
As for the new heroes, the initial launch introduces 3 new female characters – Junker Queen as Tank, Sojourn as Damage, and Kiriko as Support role. Junker Queen is a heavily armed hero with a shotgun who relies on Wounds. Sojourn has many similarities with Soldier 76. She has a rapid-fire rifle that shoots and reloads fast, and fires a direct energy beam as her secondary attack. Kiriko works similarly to Mercy. She can teleport to allies, climb walls, throw healing cards, and deal damage with knives.
There is nothing else to add here. All of them definitely bring more variety to matchmaking and offer a slightly different approach if comparing them with other identical heroes like Orisa, Soldier 76 or Mercy.
Overwatch 2 has also included 6 new playable maps resembling real locations around the world: Toronto, Lisbon, Rome, New York, Rio and Monte Carlo. All these maps have a complex layout full of wide open and narrow
areas for intense encounters. Each new season is going to bring at least one new map or new hero, as well as Battle Pass.
Previously added maps have also received minor tweaks and visual changes. Changing time of day, adding new objects and walls for extra cover. As for the map layout itself, it remains intact. So If you feel like objects are off, you are not alone.
Overwatch 2 feels and plays exactly like the Original Overwatch from 2016. And it is safe to say that Overwatch 2 did not make things even worse. The only arguable decision is the new business model.
New players will certainly like the shift to a free-to-play model with the Battle Pass and microtransactions. Returning players on the other hand won’t see many changes, as it is basically the same game, with the same maps, heroes and game modes.
Except now, we no longer have Loot boxes and gained access to Battle Pass with more skins and bundles to justify the number Two in this title. Veteran players haven’t also been happy to receive a cheap Founder’s Pack which includes two pathetic skins for Doomfist and Sombra as well as one player icon.
Overwatch 2 is basically a different free-to-play game which greets new audience. Veterans like me weren’t too excited about all these changes. Only time will tell what will happen to this game after a few years.