Overwatch 2 Game Review

Was Blizzard’s revamp of one of their strongest titles worth the wait?


Image retrieved from Overwatch.com

     Three years ago, Blizzard Entertainment, the company behind the Warcraft, Diablo, and Starcraft series, announced the sequel to Overwatch, their multiplayer first-person shooter game. The game was a critical success at launch, but in its six years of life, the game has fallen.


     Mired in controversy, Blizzard as a company has struggled greatly over the last few years. Some speculate that the original Overwatch 2 announcement, which came during backlash for Blizzard’s ban of a Hong Kong native Overwatch player who expressed his support for his country in its fight against China, was a way to distract the public. How long it took for players to see any more news on the sequel and the fact that the original game of Overwatch would not see any major updates for the next two years adds weight to this theory.


     But now it is here, and though the basic concept of the game has not changed, there have been some major updates that change how that goal is accomplished.


Non-Gameplay Related Changes:

     The loot boxes have been removed from the game and have been replaced with a battle pass and rotating shop. Now achievements like leveling up, gaining a new endorsement level, or playing a game as a “role in need” are rewarded with battle pass points instead of a free loot box, which feels lackluster in comparison to the old system.


     The battle pass itself costs ten dollars and consists of 80 regular tiers. It has old cosmetic types like skins, emotes, and voice lines, but it also has new items like weapon charms, souvenirs, and titles. However, it is missing something that most other games with battle passes have, which is a free currency that can be used towards purchasable cosmetics or buying the next season’s battle pass.


      Blizzard has added a rotating shop that features old and new skins. The downside is that the rotations are random, and the cosmetics themselves feel incredibly overpriced. Most skins cannot be bought alone and, instead, are part of a bundle- and they are not cheap. Many also enter the shop already discounted, which makes it seem even more exploitative.


Gameplay-Related Changes:

     The second tank role has been removed from the game, making it five players to each team instead of six players to each team. This one change alone has caused a serious shift in the way the game is played. Roles like support no longer have an off-tank to rely on for their protection, so they must rely on the DPS or themselves to make sure they survive against flankers. For the DPS who did not previously have this as a primary task, it’s a difficult switch, and everyone playing the game can feel it.


     On top of the removal of the second tank, individual heroes and roles have changed. All heroes that are not tanks have lost any hard crowd control effects they used to have. Cassidy’s flashbang is now a sticky bomb, Mei can no longer freeze people unless she uses her ult, and Brigitte’s shield bash only slows the enemy omit instead of stunning them. These changes are yet another reason that DPS, or damage characters, are finding it difficult to successfully protect their supports against flanking enemies.


     Most of the tanks received some tweaking to make them effective as a solo role. Some, like Orisa, received massive overhauls, while others, like Sigma, were not touched at all. Doomfist is a tank now instead of a DPS for some reason.


Final Thoughts:

     Overall, the Overwatch 2 update could have been an email. The biggest part of it, and the reason we were given for it being a sequel game instead of just a major patch, was the addition of a PvE story mode, but that has been delayed until early 2023. 


     The changes we did get don’t feel polished and considering the number of game-breaking bugs that have been found since launch, they probably weren’t. The game doesn’t feel as rewarding to play as it used to. It used to be that you could play for hours and not feel it, but now you are lucky if you can get through two without wanting to throw your keyboard or controller. 


     As someone who has been playing the game since it first launched in 2016, I’m starting to feel like we’re never going to get that back, and that would be okay if what we were getting instead was anything to write home about. Still, with the game now being free to play, it is possible Blizzard will be able to keep a solid player base. Maybe one day, we will get a game that lives up to its original potential.