After almost three years of waiting, Overwatch 2 is finally here. The sequel to the hit 2016 first-person shooter was first announced at Blizzcon 2019, and it has just launched earlier this week.
In a move that we don’t see too often, the launch of Overwatch 2 also means the end of Overwatch 1.
As a result, the game’s servers went down permanently as the sequel came out, meaning you’ll have to make the jump to continue playing the game.
But don’t worry too much. You won’t have to pay the extra money, as Overwatch 2 has adopted a free-to-play model. Of course, that means more in-game purchases, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
Critics have had their hands on Overwatch 2 for reviews for a couple of weeks. Is the game any good, and is it worth upgrading to the new one?
Let’s see what people are saying about the game.
Overwatch 2 switches to a new 5 versus 5 combat
The most significant change that comes with Overwatch 2 is reducing the team size from six to five players. There will eventually be a new PvE mode, but it wasn’t ready at the game’s launch.
Original Overwatch featured six-player teams with two tanks, two supports, and two damage characters. Overwatch 2 drops the second tank hoping to create a more strategic team.
So far, it seems like people like the new 5v5 gameplay.
“This makes for faster and more concentrated matches, where cooperation and coordination are crucial, and your every action feels a lot more impactful,” wrote Jessica Howard of Gamespot.
New characters, maps, and game mode
And what would an Overwatch sequel be without a few new characters? Overwatch 2 adds three new characters to the fray.
At launch, there are three new characters. There’s a new tank called Junker Queen. Junker Queen gets up close and personal and thrives on fighting multiple enemies simultaneously.
Sojourn is a new damaged-based character. She uses weapons and artillery to deal damage from medium range. And the new character that has the majority of players most excited is Kiriko.
Kiriko is the new support character. She’s a ninja-type character with a combination of healing, mobility, and damage.
Adam Cook of God is a Geek says, “She feels like the definition of a high skill ceiling character, with high damage output possible, great healing, but all timed in a way to require a certain level of mastery to maker her viable,”
Overwatch 2 also brings a few new maps and a brand new game mode to the table. The Push game mode is a sort of tug-of-war between two teams.
There’s a robot in the center, and the goal is to push it as far away from the center as possible. And you do this by fighting and defeating the enemy team and standing near the robot to move it forward.
Game modes are crucial to tactical PvP games like Overwatch 2, and adding Push mode sounds like a good one.
IGN’s Simon Cardy says, “It does a great job of centralizing the fight, with both teams focusing on a shared objective, and the more I’ve played of it, the more it’s grown on me,”
Progression and battle pass
Overwatch 2 introduces a new progression system for players who are brand new to the game. And there will likely be many of those since it’s moving to free-to-play.
New players will have to play several matches to unlock characters in the game. And that’s just for the legacy characters that already existed in the original Overwatch.
However, if you ever played the original game, you’ll immediately have access to all legacy characters. This is likely in place to combat cheaters, but it seems like it could cripple the experience of new gamers.
“It’s a frustrating restriction not to have access to all of Overwatch 2’s unique characters for those who want to give Blizzard’s shooter a try,” says Screenrant’s Jason Hon.
If you want to unlock the new characters, you’ll have to go through the battle pass. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend money.
You can progress through a free version of the battle pass and eventually unlock all three new characters.
But, you’ll have to reach up to level 55 by the end of the battle pass, which is scheduled to last around nine weeks.
But if you buy the premium battle pass for $10, you’ll get access to the characters immediately. This is just one change to Overwatch 2’s monetization efforts.
Blizzard also replaced loot boxes with an in-game shop, similar to Fortnite.
Some feel the monetization is a bit too aggressive. “It’s jarring to see seasonal Legendary skins (that until a few days ago players could unlock for free by playing Overwatch 1) suddenly cost $19 worth of in-game currency,” wrote Kris Holt of Forbes.
Overwatch 2 seems like a good upgrade to a classic shooter
Overwatch took the competitive gaming community by storm when it came out in 2016. It was a unique entry to the first-person shooter genre with brand new gameplay and interesting characters.
And here we are six years later, and Overwatch 2 is shaping to be a great upgrade from its predecessor.
It probably won’t make the same waves as the original game did years ago, but fans are enjoying the new entry immensely.
Game Informer’s Brian Shea sums it up nicely:
“Overwatch 2 doesn’t flip the formula the way you might expect a long-awaited, numbered sequel would. But through various clever tweaks, it’s a well-rounded evolution of the experience into which I’ve poured more than a thousand hours since 2016.”
If you want to try out Overwatch 2, it’s available on Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, and PC. I know I’ll be giving it a go over the weekend.
Have any thoughts on this? Carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.