Overwatch was received tremendously positively in 2016, bringing another hero-shooter to the market in which there were a huge number of fun characters and well-balanced gameplay was the order of the day. Blizzard announced the second part in 2019 and it is now available as a free-to-play game. Read our review here with Overwatch 2.
To get right to the point, actually the name of the game is very misleading. Despite talk of a second part, it's actually Overwatch 2.0. The ‘game’ is, in fact, a massive update involving the original Overwatch gets several streamlining changes, new modes are playable and some new characters are added. At its core, it's still the same game with some tweaks.
One of the biggest changes is that the regular gameplay of six-on-six is now with one less player. With these five-on-five pings, it's more like the many other games that have a similar distribution. There is also a new game mode; Push. In it, a robot from the middle pushes a wall closer and closer to a base, making it a sort of tug-of-war game. In the process, new levels for various modes have been added to keep the experience fresh. Furthermore, tanks are now also the only role that have the ability to crowd control others (keep them from moving), so content characters have received minor tweaks. Consider, for example, Cassidy's flashbang replaced by a grenade that does pure damage.
In addition to these tweaks, there are also a lot of smaller changes. Thus, you can now place a ping in the game world, which should improve communication between unknown players. The scoreboard also looks different, and loot boxes have made room for a battle pass as we actually see in every modern online game. In addition, the game has also become free-to-play, which may cause more people to pick up the game. Players doing the game for the first time have to unlock a lot of characters, but after one or two games the next character is already available.
One of the new features that would be coming to Overwatch 2 were PvE missions where players work together to destroy computer-controlled enemies. Despite this content not yet having been released, Blizzard has said that we should see these missions in early 2023. Still, it is unfortunate that upon the release of this ’second’ game this content is not yet available. Furthermore, it is unfortunate that there are so many changes to the base game and yet a lot of things remain the same. More Overwatch is not necessarily annoying, but newcomers are fairly overwhelmed by the sheer variety of content. Also, certain good things have been taken away, such as the end cards that include information such as who did the most damage, healed the most or scored points for team purposes. As such, it doesn't feel like the ultimate version of Overwatch that we could have had. For this review, Overwatch 2 was played on both PC and PlayStation 5. The game is also available on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One/Series X|S and Nintendo Switch.
Overwatch 2, or 2.0, largely still feels like the same game, making the marketization toward release somewhat unclear. Because the original game played away nicely, this is certainly not a bad game, but the question is whether the changes are all positive. With one less player in the PvP battles you immediately notice that teamwork sometimes gets a different dynamic, due to adjustments of characters it all takes some getting used to and with the absence of the PvE missions the update also feels incomplete (yet). So all in all, it mostly feels like an extension of Overwatch and less like an actual new game. It is an advantage that the game is now free to play, so maybe more people will pick up the game after all.