In the process of evaluating Overwatch 2 – Anxiety in the soul

There are very few moments of calm in Overwatch 2. The action is closer, louder and faster, and the dialogue is faster and more frequent. However, in the brief time between choosing your hero and the barriers that open, sending you and your comrades out into the field, there is a brief chance of peace – a split second to meditation.

It was in these moments, as I watched my beloved Hana Song (aka D.Va) shift her weight from one side to her other before delivering a sweet “annyeong” for my teammates, I forgot I was playing Overwatch 2- -I forgot it wasn’t 2016. In my life and Overwatch, a lot has changed, but in these little moments, it all feels as if it were nothing, and it all feels a bit eerie.

With 700 hours invested in the first Overwatch, what I look forward to from Overwatch 2 is a lot of meaningful changes that propel the series forward while remaining true to the identity it created in the first place – identity makes me, someone who is usually not interested in games driven solely by their multiplayer elements, such as being a big fan of the first Overwatch. And in some ways Overwatch 2 delivers on this, offering new characters that make it feel like home among the rest of the seasoned roster, helping to step up to 5v5, being awesome, and adding modes Enchanting push. Even better, the game does all of this while keeping the same compelling back-and-forth combat flow and core gameplay that fans love. Still, these are tweaks and additions in a game that, on the other hand, feels very familiar, and that similarity can sometimes make this new Overwatch feel more like an update than something completely new in the way that “2” suggests. Beyond that, however, Overwatch 2 also often feels detached from the principles and charm of the original.

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One of the biggest changes to Overwatch 2 comes from its new form of 5v5 combat. While Overwatch has six heroes on each team – usually two damage, two assists, and two tanks – Overwatch 2 removes one of these tanks, shrinks each team by one, and then changes the dynamics of the battle. Side tidbits aren’t as common anymore, as only one tank takes damage, it’s important for the whole team to be there to support them as well as provide enough attack to break through the defence. of another team. This makes for faster and more focused matches, where cooperation and coordination are crucial, and your every action (or inaction) will have a lot more impact. It also means team composition and understanding how certain heroes complement each other is more important than ever. This may sound intense, but the chaos and strategy of a split second make it infinite funwith every win guaranteed to be a meaningful win.

Adding to Overwatch 2’s focus on creating engaging and intense matches is its newest mode: To push. In Push, each team is tasked with getting to the middle of the map, where a robot and two barriers, one on either side, are waiting. Once one team has defended the robot, it begins to push the opposing team’s fence; The team that covers the most ground at the end of the match wins. In every game I’ve played, the push-and-pull battle is incredibly intense, feeling like a constant tug-of-war where the tide can change at any moment. Playing an Overwatch game has never felt as good as it did in Overwatch 2.

With all this intensity, it’s safe to say Blizzard will do its best to prevent cheating and eliminate toxicity in the Overwatch community. This includes things like requiring players to register a phone number with their account, as well as removing one of the highly appreciated Features: Medals. These are no longer broken down at the end of each game, and instead you just see the coveted Gaming reel, followed by your personal experience bar filling up. However, you can see how your stats stack up against your teammates and enemies at any time with the touch of a button – making medal removal seem pointless. For me, the satisfaction of winning medals in a match is a huge motivator because they make me want to grow as a player and help me identify when certain teammates or opponents are demonstrates some serious skill, which also contributes to the way I give compliments. It’s a subtle omission, but I certainly feel it.

However, this is hardly the most significant change to Overwatch’s rewards system. With Overwatch 2’s move to free-to-play also comes the birth of a divisive feature in gaming: battle pass. Instead of random loot boxes, Overwatch 2 will give players cosmetic upgrades through matches, spanning an entire nine-week season. This battle card comes in free and premium versions, with the premium card costing 1,000 Overwatch Coins or 10 USD. As part of my review code, Blizzard gave me the first Overwatch 2 premium battle card, and at this stage I’m still undecided how I feel about it. While I do believe that random loot boxes can be predators, preying on people’s willingness to basically gamble for any prize they want, it’s been harder for me to decide how consumer-friendly these particular battles feel.

Blizzard tries to curb the notion that buying premium battle cards is essential by advertising that all new heroes – scheduled for release every other season – will always be available for free. However, everyone who pays for the premium battle card gets these heroes instantly, while those who don’t have to level their battle card to level 55 to unlock them. During my time playing the game, the battle didn’t level up as quickly, although I performed well in most of the matches and even beat some of the game’s new challenges. This means that players will have to wait a long time if they don’t purchase the premium pass and will need to invest a lot of time in unlocking levels, which feels unfair even if Blizzard decides to intends to keep new characters out of competitive PvP play for the first few times weekly. Sure, just like in Fortnite, you can earn money through battle which reduces the cost of future premium upgrades – this might be the smartest way to go if you’re planning on playing multiplayer. But parts of this feel contrary to the spirit of the original Overwatch, which prided itself on not putting heroes behind fee walls and keeping the playing fields level.

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Likewise, for those jumping into Overwatch 2 without owning the original Overwatch, it’s now been revealed that you’ll have to play through 100 games before you can use the full roster of characters – an option I find perfect. Totally weird, even if I understand the intent behind it. The team calls the decision part of the game’s First-Time User Experience, which means slowly getting started and getting new players to the game. However, the idea that players need to log in for 10 to 20 hours and prove themselves to unlock other heroes feels unnecessary and slightly insulting. This was once again something that was not in the spirit of Overwatch, which encouraged players to freely explore and experiment to find what they felt worked best for them; That property now feels unnecessary, considering that part of the list is locked.

The lack of PvE at launch is a notable omission. Considering this aspect of the game is considered an epic, groundbreaking feature that sets it apart from its predecessor, it’s not merely disappointing to have to wait until next year to see it; it makes the sequel like an update simply packaged as a whole new chapter. Also, launching the game with PvE adds some much-needed heart and identity to the game, which, despite how good it plays, feels like an exercise in making Overwatch fit the model. Modern business model for multiplayer shooter. Sure, that might be a skeptical assessment, but it feels as cynical as it sounds. From the removal of Winston’s inspirational opening keynote, which speaks so clearly to the heart and soul of what Overwatch stands for, to the sleek, almost over-polished new style of the game menu. , come free to play and make your way through the battle, Overwatch 2 takes the franchise from a genre-defining shooter into a trend-follower. As a result, it was starting to feel less like a superhero comic book, unique sci-fi in video game form, and like so many other games. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as many other games have excelled in their own right, and Overwatch 2’s gameplay certainly allows it to match the colors of the crops, but it comes at the expense of a unique aesthetic. unique and engaging world of Overwatch, that feeling fades.

Luckily, Overwatch 2 has a major silver lining in its characters. The subtle changes that the old characters have undergone, both in terms of their aesthetics and abilities, feel beneficial and succeed in giving them the gentle refresh they need without compromising affect the magic of their original design. While it might take some time to get used to not having some key abilities (I admit, I miss Orisa’s barrier), pushing for better damage tank builds makes playing them becomes fun and adds to the aggression of Overwatch 2. Likewise, characters like Sombra and Cassidy now attack harder, while heroes with stun and freeze attacks no longer stops the game, instead has abilities that keep the game going and the amount of damage increased. I also cannot say enough for the three new heroes, all of which are brilliantly designed and extremely versatile. Sojourn is a one-woman tactical troop, while the Junker Queen’s ability to weaken enemies gives the tank force a support advantage. In particular, Kiriko feels like no other support hero before her, as she can not only penetrate walls to heal teammates, but can also deal some serious damage with her kunai herself, making her a great choice for those who normally play DPS roles but need to take on a support role.

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In that, Overwatch 2 is like a great update to a multiplayer game with mechanics that allow for intense skirmishes between teams of heroes. However, as a separate entity and sequel, it crashes. The changes to core gameplay are steps in the right direction, but it’s surrounded by new points of friction that weren’t there before. Thankfully, being a live service game, things will be added or changed as Blizzard gets more player feedback, so at least the studio has a solid foundation to build on. There’s a lot of good to be found in Overwatch 2, and in the heat of battle, the passionate multiplayer dynamic that fans love will have to enjoy it all again. But if the first Overwatch has taught me anything, it’s to dream a little bigger about what the game could be, and there’s still a little more to dream about here.

Editor’s Note: It’s important to recognize that Activision Blizzard has faced scrutiny over the past year plus an alleged “brother-and-sister” culture, which has led to investigations government investigation and litigation, as well as the renaming of one of Overwatch’s characters. GameSpot has covered this extensively, and for more details, read on progress of lawsuits and investigations.

The products discussed here are independently selected by our editors. GameSpot may receive a share of the revenue if you purchase anything contained on our website.

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