Overwatch 2 Review – Here’s how it feels and plays after 200 matches
Overwatch 2 finally released to much fanfare. The game hasn’t had the smoothest launch though. Between eternal server problems and complaints about content, is Overwatch 2 good is a question that is a weirdly relevant question. New format, new heroes, new Battle Pass. It also brings a long plenty of baggage and flaws from the original.
After 200 matches, my Overwatch 2 review is going to cover if the game is actually worthwhile as a successor, or just a splash a paint on the same old Overwatch.
Overwatch 2 feels fresh, but is fundamentally just an evolution
Overwatch 2 has launched with plenty of new additions like a fresh game mode, map, and heroes. The game feels like a polished core Overwatch gameplay, with some adjustments and no major reinventions.
Nothing feels dramatically different from the original Overwatch. Characters look more polished, and everything has had a slight revamp. The game’s colorful world feels fresh again, but visually it’s not a significant improvement. It’s more of a sideways step, gameplay on the other hand has changed.
Gameplay is purely the competitive style matches. Even in unranked, you’re mainly playing longer objective based games. The game does have a way of making the competitive Overwatch ranking system feel more like a lighter and more fun shooter than it should. That’s something Blizzard has managed to keep and even improve on with the sequel. The 5-v-5 format gives a faster pace that keeps things exciting.
There are fewer players in each game, but most of the Overwatch 2 maps are just as big. The maps could stand to have more variety, especially 2CP gone. However, for a launch spread what’s here is enough. Moving tanks to 1 per team changes that role to make them more active participants. However, it recontextualises other roles too. DPS have less to fall back on without a tank, even support has had some changed with a DPS-Moira becoming a dominant force in the game for its early weeks.
Faster and More Fun
Overwatch’s faster pace does a lot to make the game more interesting. You’re not queuing for a lengthy game that’s lost just by your teammate’s choice of hero. One less tank makes gameplay more frantic, and feel more like it’s based on skill. With all the heroes having been rebalanced, most of them feel viable now. The balance, as of right now, lacks some of the major issues that made the first game a slog for months at a time.
The game promotes aggressive fights right now without heavy tank shields weighing everything down. It feels less like a test of your team composition and more an actual face-off with your mechanics being tested, a major improvement.
Overwatch 2’s New Player Experience
Overwatch has 35 heroes. That’s a lot for a new player to pick up on the fly. The tutorials for new players introduce you to the general idea of abilities and different heroes through a full tutorial for Soldier. That’s what they give you to learn how to play Overwatch 2. Then you’re let lose on the game!
Most players brand new to Overwatch aren’t getting an explanation for any character beyond Soldier unless they seek it out independently. Overwatch 2 shouldn’t hold your hand. Resources for new players to get to know abilities in a more structured way would have been an easy way to ease people into the world though. It’s a weird omission given the entire tutorial present for soldier.
Overwatch 2 might lock some areas behind experience walls, but it does very little to actually make sure new players understand the deeper mechanics of the heroes that they pick. This becomes a problem for established players too. Especially when their teammates are cycling through heroes in live matches, apparently just trial and erroring the characters. You should actively seek guides and strategies for Overwatch heroes and setting your Overwatch pro settings yourself.
Overwatch 2 goes harder on monetization
The elephant in the room for any Overwatch 2 review is the monetization. The game is free to play. They still need to make some money though. The old style of monetization where loot boxes were basically free and no one ever really bought skins had to go. We did finally got rid of Overwatch lootboxes, but what’s replaced it feels aggressive even compared to its free-to-play competitors.
Battle Pass in Overwatch 2 unlike most FTP titles, doesn’t give you enough currency in it that you get the next one for free. Overwatch 2 doesn’t. Blizzard instead have gone for a system where everyone buys it every time, and you need to grind a lot to get the paltry free credits they do offer. The high-tier skins in the game are also more expensive than average ones in other games. These are perfectly optional cosmetics, so it’s not the end of the world. Those wondering can you play Overwatch 2 for free might not care about cosmetics. However, Blizzard has gone from relatively generous to one of the most aggressive models.
Overwatch 2’s Support and Lifespan
The make or break for Overwatch 2 will ultimately be how it looks in a year or two. The content at launch isn’t crazy exciting for returning players. Overwatch 2’s new heroes slot into holes to fill gaps in the roster more, than be unique.
However, we are in with strong start. If Blizzard can genuinely support the game then an Overwatch 2 review is going to look a lot better in a year. Especially if the story content manages to deliver the bigger look into the world’s characters that has been wanted since 2016.
We finally answered: “Is Overwatch dying?”, once the servers for the original on October 3, 2022. Hopefully we wont have to ask this about Overwatch 2 in the next year or two.
Is Overwatch 2 Good?
Overwatch 2 has some clear problems. For newcomers, the whole experience can be frustrating. There’s also considerably more aggressive monetization, with some strategies for bringing in cash that feel counter-productive in how outlandishly greedy they are.
That’s the downside, ultimately this is a big improvement on the first game. The balance feels better than Overwatch 1 did at many times in its long life. The new content is some of the better additions since the original. The whole game feels smoother, and 5-v-5 makes for a faster experience that works a lot better for those below the esports level.
Overwatch 2 revitalises the shooter and does a great job of making it fun again. Something that had become an alien concept to Overwatch 1 in its lesser-supported days.
Overwatch 2 is definitely a worthwhile game, both for lapsed fans and newcomers. If it has the longevity to compete with other free-to-play games on a major scale though is another question. Time will tell if Blizzard can curve their recent trend of gaps in content for Overwatch, along with if the monetization greed comes back haunt them. Now it’s a game as a service, Blizzard has a lot to do to make sure Overwatch 2 remains as much fun as it is at launch.