Overwatch vs Overwatch 2: The Principal Changes and Differences

Overwatch 2 is finally here following a lengthy development cycle, and fans are wondering what’s really new for the follow-up to 2016’s Overwatch. For the most part, it seems to be a relatively identical experience throughout, with a few tweaks being made to the operating model of the game, most importantly. In this guide, we’ll break down all the Overwatch 2 differences, casting out a fully comprehensive Overwatch vs Overwatch 2 comparison.

Typically, most follow-up titles in any franchise will make various changes and updates to the existing model. While it’s harder for first-person shooter titles to change the formula too much, it does at least need to feel like you’re purchasing a new game. For instance, Call of Duty, Halo, and Battlefield have all remained fairly familiar in their base mechanics for years, while at the same time, ultimately delivering a different experience with each release.

So, without further ado – Overwatch vs Overwatch 2, what is the difference?

All Overwatch 2 Changes, Broken Down

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New heroes have been introduced in Overwatch 2 (Image Credit: Blizzard)

Firstly, and most importantly, the biggest item in the list of the Overwatch 2 changes is that this time, the game is totally free-to-play. While Overwatch came with a price tag, it’ll cost you absolutely nothing to begin your journey, with the developer, Blizzard, leaning on an optional Overwatch 2 battle pass model instead. It’s a common enough trend these days, and it means that more people can get involved with Overwatch 2, making it more accessible.

So, if you’ve been asking, ‘is Overwatch 2 free to play‘, we can confirm that, yes, it is, and it’s also the biggest change made to the platform.

It wouldn’t be a successful ‘hero shooter’ if there were no new characters to explore, right? In Overwatch 2, new heroes have been introduced to flesh out the already expansive roster of characters that players have known and loved for years. While Overwatch fans can still play as the iconic characters from the first game, there were three all-new heroes introduced in Overwatch 2.

There’s a refreshed story mode present in Overwatch 2, as well as brand new ‘Hero Missions’ that bring a whole host of PvE content to Overwatch 2. In this follow-up, some of the best Overwatch 2 maps are actually maps from the first game, refreshed with new routes and different paths to explore.

There’s actually a lot of content in Overwatch 2 that’s unique to the platform, but is it enough to stop players from dubbing it ‘Overwatch 1.5’?

Overwatch vs Overwatch 2: Is It Enough?

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‘Push’ is a new game mode for Overwatch 2 (Image Credit: Blizzard)

Did Blizzard add enough fresh content in Overwatch 2 to truly class it as a sequel and not a glorified expansion to the first game?

When Overwatch 2 dropped, it brought with it a host of new maps scattered across the various pools. As a key part of the update, an all-new game mode was introduced to the ecosystem – Push. It’s quite a similar mode to Escort, as in Push, both your team and the opposing teams will fight to maintain control of a robot for the duration of the match. However, the key difference here is that, while in control of that robot, a barricade will be slowly pushed towards the enemy spawn, reducing their options to push out.

There were changes made to the base nature of the game, with Blizzard making tweaks to the mechanics and in-game engine for the release of the sequel. This has impacted competitive Overwatch 2 players, but it won’t have a lasting effect – they’ll catch up with the amendments before long.

With new maps, modes, heroes, changes across the board, a different operating model, and many improvements, it seems hard to believe that anyone doubted Overwatch 2’s status as a sequel. It definitely seems as though Blizzard tried as hard as it possibly could to feed meaningful updates into the platform. Here’s a quick, star-studded rundown of some more Overwatch 2 changes to end the breakdown:

  • Communication updates, including ‘pinging’
  • New voice lines for returning heroes
  • Audio-visual improvements
  • Changes to roles (namely Tanks)
  • Introduction of ‘passives’
  • Dynamic weather features
  • All-new enemy units
  • Five-vs-Five gameplay

Now, it might look the same on the surface, but there may not be legs in the Overwatch vs Overwatch 2 debate. From this list, it certainly seems like a brand-new game.