Overwatch 2 Review

Dan Webb

When Overwatch came out in 2016, it’s safe to say I was obsessed. I played it almost religiously for several months, threw money away on loot boxes, and, heck, I even watched the Overwatch League compulsively until the team I was following decided to nuke its entire roster and start again. It’s safe to say I was a convert, and thus, incredibly excited to return to the sequel. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long before that enthusiasm was well and truly squashed.


Before we justify the frustrations with our experience playing Overwatch 2, let’s talk about the differences between Overwatch and Overwatch 2, some of which are rather pleasant, welcome changes. The major one is that Overwatch 2 isn’t 6v6 like its predecessor. Instead, it's a 5v5 affair - a move that helps with the balance and flow of a match. This new gameplay tweak leans into an ideal composition, with teams now meant to be made up of two support heroes, two DPS heroes, and one tank hero for true optimisation. The removal of that one tank slot speeds up the flow of the game an incredible amount, and makes games infinitely more enjoyable.

On top of that, Overwatch 2 not only welcomes new characters Sojourn, Junker Queen and Kiriko into the fray, all of which are really fun to use, but developer Blizzard Entertainment has also completely reworked Bastion, Doomfist, and Orisa, all for the better. 

The addition of a ping is welcome, too, despite its pretty ham-fisted implementation – although, thankfully the controls can be fully customised. While there are some new maps and a new mode in ‘Push' - which is pretty fabulous - Blizzard has also removed some of the older maps and ditched Assault, which I honestly had a soft spot for. So, it’s two steps forwards, two steps back there.

The rest of the changes are pretty negative. Gone are the post-match stats screens, medal screens and its on-fire mechanic, as are loot boxes (which were pretty great in their implementation, despite the controversy surrounding them) and also gone is the in-game levelling. Even the competitive CSR ranking has been nuked somewhat, and now you only rank up after seven wins or twenty losses or draws. There literally is no sense of progression anymore, except for a Battle Pass that drops rather uninspired loot, for the most part. 


Want to earn a Legendary skin via progression without having to pay for it? Sure! You just have to complete eleven weekly challenges every week for around thirty-two weeks. Granted, Overwatch 2 is a free-to-play game, but this particular free-to-play game has replaced the game that I spent £60 more than six years ago. The truth is, I preferred the presentation and structure of the original Overwatch - I’d rather have paid £60 for a proper sequel, and not had a free-to-play game completely replace the game that I used to love - one that is arguably a worse package.

Overwatch 2 might ostensibly be free-to-play, but the truth is, if you’re not paying for the Battle Pass you may as well not play at all. Blizzard has decided to effectively put Competitive Overwatch behind a paywall, and this is where the majority of the playerbase is. To unlock Competitive, you'll need to win 50 Quick Play games. Quick Play games, for the uninitiated, are where players go to warm up. Players drop in, drop out, mess around, that’s it. Trying to get 50 legitimate wins in Quick Play is nigh-on impossible. And even then, it’s going to take an age, especially when you're frequently spawned into uneven 3v5 matches, or the game is cancelled when most of the players decide to quit. It's a mess.

Overwatch 2 also locks the majority of its heroes (even legacy ones from the original) behind win challenges, which seems enormously counterproductive. If you’ve played Overwatch 1, you’re okay (if you manage to successfully import your old account) as you’re allowed to bypass these restrictions. If not, Blizzard doesn’t really care for you unless you cough up cash for the Battle Pass. If you’re not going to, 'piss off' seems to be the prevailing message to players.


It’s not like we can even look at Overwatch 2 and say with confidence, “you know what? At least it’s polished and runs smooth as butter.” That certainly isn’t the case. Let’s put aside the initial disastrous launch when it came to server issues, which meant waiting around for about two hours to connect to a game; or waiting an hour to log in, only to then queue for a ridiculous amount of time; or even that the account merge didn’t work initially, and when it did, it took days to sort out. Even now, I don’t have the currency in my account for the Watchpoint Pack, despite having access to the skins and Battle Pass. Despite the server maintenance by Blizzard, sometimes the wait for a game is interminable, and there's no guarantee you won't be kicked back to the main menu.

The most ludicrous thing I’ve encountered thus far, though? The fact that every time I unlock an achievement it kicks me out the game and logs me out the server, something that well and truly blows my mind. I wish I was kidding.

Reviewing Overwatch 2 is a conundrum, then – on paper it's still a fantastic hero shooter - though arguably nowhere near as good as the original - but to call it a sequel is actually rather baffling. Considering Blizzard merged Overwatch 1 into Overwatch 2, and you’re still getting Overwatch: Origins Edition achievements should say it all: this is Overwatch 1.2. It’s a content update. It’s what other games do in a single patch. It’s an excuse to hype everyone up for a game that’s clearly falling out of favour with the masses. And while free-to-play is a smart move for the franchise, Blizzard could have implemented its free-to-play functionality a hell of a lot better than this. With no real progression to speak of, you have to ask: what’s the point in Overwatch 2?

Overwatch 2

A bit of a ham-fisted attempt at a sequel that feels more like a balance update to the original than anything else. Overwatch 2 is a lesson in how not to do a free-to-play sequel to a much-loved and established franchise. Other than that, it still plays pretty amazingly, but this is ultimately a disappointment.

Form widget
60%
Audio
80%

The menu music has been changed and I’m heartbroken. Apart from that, more of the same, though, which is pretty great, of course.

Visuals
85%

It’s a slightly shinier version of the original game - nothing more, nothing less. But Overwatch still does the most appealing character models in video games.

Playability
90%

It’s still as addictive and as fun as it’s ever been. You can’t really fault the minute-to-minute gameplay.

Delivery
30%

Server issues are still ever-present, the game kicks you out when you unlock an achievement, and for new players who don’t pay for the Battle Pass, well, Blizzard doesn’t care about you. Play Quick Play and be grateful. To be honest, the game was in a much better state when it was an all-in-one £60 retail release.

Achievements
5%

It’s not even a new list for a new game. You’re earning Overwatch: Origins Edition achievements, which is a little mind-boggling. A move like this is surely unprecedented.

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