Basically the same game, but somehow completely different. At first glance, Overwatch 2 doesn’t offer any earth-shattering changes to Overwatch’s PvP. Nevertheless, the matches feel much faster. I’ve had a blast playing the Overwatch 2 beta, and now I’m sharing my experiences with the sequel.
The smaller team is the biggest change
The answer to this question is somewhere between yes and no. The biggest innovation of Overwatch 2 will be the campaign, which is not yet playable in the current beta. Only the PvP mode is included – this already includes the new maps and the new DPS heroine Sojourn. Anyone who has played Overwatch before will find their way around quickly, as the gameplay, many modes and heroes have been carried over without major changes.
The first thing you notice is that each team consists of only five players. The second tank is omitted at this point. For me, the games seemed a bit clearer and the team fights are now a bit faster – after all, there is now only one meat plate.
This is a clear advantage for the stronger team, they can roll like a snowball over the opponents and become stronger and stronger. The weaker team often has no way of coming back, because they simply lack the necessary distraction due to the lack of a tank.
Tanks have to be more careful about who they want to support, while supports have one fewer hero to heal. As Mercy, I can shamelessly cling to my tank and keep it alive for as long as possible, unless a Pharah is taking me into the air. In addition, two supporters share the work here, which makes their lives even easier.
However, the healers are at a disadvantage in one respect: There are only seven support heroes and none of them are really new. The tanks don’t exactly have a huge pool with nine characters – more of a paddling pool. There still needs to be increased, especially for those returning from Overwatch. Otherwise it will quickly become boring for them.
Quality of life significantly improved
I’ve really come to love the new passive abilities of the heroes. Getting a little bit of passive healing to support yourself is absolutely awesome. This way, the second healer can always focus on the fighting members and doesn’t have to throw a few band-aids here and there at his colleagues.
DPS heroes are a bit faster, while tanks don’t get pushed around as much by enemy CC abilities, and their ults charge faster when taking damage or being healed – things that happen to a tank quite often.
In general, there are fewer CC effects, as these are often very difficult to control for balancing. Unfortunately, Mei can no longer freeze enemies with her pistol, only slow them down, Cassidy no longer stuns enemies with his Flashbang… The list is long.
A cause for mourning for Mains, for all other players a pleasant change that makes the game fairer overall and leaves more chances open. I myself enjoyed being able to move more freely over the long term, even if Mei was a little less fun for me now.
As a human with a terrible orientation, it took me a few matches to get used to the new maps. Visually, there is nothing to complain about on the maps, but the structure has small quirks here and there, such as unfavorably set lines of sight. Luckily, such small blemishes are rather rare and can also be remedied quite easily afterwards. So no need to worry here.
A new hero is still not enough, Blizzard
Another highlight of the beta for me was Sojourn, after all she is the only new hero and therefore had to be tested in practice first. She’s definitely not the best entry-level hero and requires quite a bit of skill, which is perfect for any former Overwatch player who’s getting into the second part quickly and is looking for a challenge.
Sojourn is very mobile which makes her a very fun and flexible candidate in the DPS role. I also find their automatic railgun very comfortable to use, but that’s more my personal preference.
Alone, Sojourn cannot carry the release of Overwatch 2 on her shoulders. As already mentioned, Blizzard should quickly push a few new heroes here – preferably in the support and tank roles. Depending on how big and complex the campaign is, it could also keep Overwatch veterans busy for a while.
With the variety of modes, Overwatch has never had much of a problem. In the beta there were only the ranked modes, but there was already a newcomer here who brings a little new freshness to the otherwise rather familiar-looking game. In this mode, called ‘Boost’, both teams try to push the same robot to the opposite end of the map – or at least further than the opposing team.
Did Overwatch 2 deserve the number in the name?
So far the PvP gameplay is compelling. The five roles are fixed, the skills changed with a clear goal in mind and the matches accelerated. Blizzard’s changes may not look huge, but they are firm and well-placed. Overwatch 2 should have a different pace, convey a different feel, but still remain Overwatch.
Looking back at the PvP beta, I think the changes could have been part of a big patch. Especially when you compare them to the update content of other shooters. Apex Legends, Fortnite or Rainbow Six Siege regularly bring new heroes, maps or map updates, new modes, features and a flood of balance adjustments into the game.
The innovations that Blizzard brings into play after the release will therefore be much more important. The frequency with which new content is brought into the hero shooter will also play a decisive role in the success of the sequel. Having to wait years for a new hero is an absolute no-go. Blizzard can’t let that slide again.
Overwatch was never a bad game that needed a sequel. Rather, it needed care. With Overwatch 2 everything should be different now. I’m hoping that Blizzard isn’t just looking for child support here, but that they really want to raise their new baby with the love she deserves.