Released in 2016 on consoles and PC, the first Overwatch has always enjoyed a relatively high popularity rating. Even if the title will have known ups and downs, as well as a long crossing of the desert at its end, the hero-shooter built on the ashes of the Titan project has convinced players with a varied gameplay and regular content. Announced with great fanfare at Blizzcon 2019, Overwatch 2 had it all: new hero skins, content from the first was carried over to the second, and the all-new story mode playable for up to four players looked promising.
And it was this week, October 4 precisely, that the curtain rose on this second part. Eagerly awaited by some, feared by others, what is this sequel, if you can call it that, really worth to one of the most popular multiplayer games of the previous generation? Was the wait worth it and, above all, is the novelty there?
If it still works, we keep it
Along with the perennial server issues that online games suffer from when they first launched, there was this whole a little hazy aspect of knowing what Overwatch 2 actually was . Was it a brand new game, some kind of free expansion or a big update? Although it may come as a surprise, it seems that Blizzard has gone with the third option. Indeed, the owners of the first were pleased to note that an update was present, transforming the game into Overwatch 2 . And this is the conclusion that we can make for the rest of this review: Overwatch 2 is not a game, it’s simply an update.
Starting from this observation, everything that worked in the first game still works here: the heroes available are varied, the maps rich in possibilities and the game modes will allow everyone to find their account, provided they are a little curious. We also find the eternal cosmetics that are skins, emotes, replicas or even celebrations.
Even though we’ve gone from six players per team to five, the game retains that aura that the first had about it, encouraging character switching and counter-play. This second opus is therefore as good as the first, but it is mainly because it takes up a lot of its predecessor. But what about what’s new?
Overwatch 2 Smells New, But Doesn’t Forget the Old
If we have to talk about what this Overwatch 2 really brings , the list will be relatively short. Three new characters that we already told you about during our beta article and over the various presentations, namely Sojourn, the Junker Queen and Kiriko. Of course, who says new characters also says new maps and new game mode.
Six in number, including three for Advanced mode, the new maps of Overwatch 2 are convincing, both in their appearance and in the way of apprehending them. Rather well designed, the latter each have their own atmosphere and promise beautiful parts in perspective, a little crush on Colosseo and its Roman atmosphere.
There are also new cosmetics, such as new skins for the characters of the first game, weapon charms or memories. We will also note the introduction of fully customizable mythical skins, the first representative of which is Genji’s Cyber-Demon skin.
But the real change is in the form of the game, with the latter shifting to free-to-play . And on this aspect, there would be a lot to say. It is here that the game sins on many points, making the experience amazing when you see how the first part could reward players.
Progress sacrificed on the altar of free-to-play
Even if the use of lootboxes could be questionable on the first part, the fact of being able to win them for free and in several ways made their purchase completely dispensable and it is not uncommon to come across players who have been playing since day one for whom these boxes were synonymous with duplicates.
By passing levels, we therefore obtained these lootboxes, which made us want to progress to find out what we were going to be able to obtain. Forget that sense of progression, and replace it with a wallet call and hellish grind. Because yes, Overwatch 2 has one of the worst economic models possible in free-to-play.
Everything in the game has become paid, from the slightest skin to the slightest emote, including voicelines and sprays. Of course, it is possible to earn coins via the weekly challenges offered by the game, but you will have to farm. A long time. For a legendary skin (1,900 credits), you will need eight months. Eight long months of completing the challenges each week, for a weekly total of sixty coins.
And the levels in all this? You will have to rely on the battlepass, the only element likely to give you a hint of this progression that the first opus provided, but the latter is long and the rewards are not up to the investment. You can still buy pass tiers, with coins, if you want.
Overwatch 2 is an excellent title that, unfortunately, had eyes bigger than its stomach. In game, everything is fine and we find the sensations of the first opus with a rich and varied gameplay and worked and well thought out maps. But if the treat is good, the graphic designer responsible for the packaging works in paint.
The move to free-to-play was a risky bet, and the title obviously lost it. The progression is slow, everything is paid for and the amount necessary to obtain the various cosmetics remains far too high compared to what the game wants to offer us. An incentive to purchase that the first part had deigned to spare us. And while we can use this shift to free-to-play as an excuse, there are plenty of examples where the formula is applied with far more respect for players. Just to unlock the new seasonal characters, you will have to level up to level 55 of the pass, or buy the premium version.
Blizzard must react and offer players what any good free-to-play should bring: an alternative path of progression, certainly less rich than if we put our hands in the wallet, but allowing everyone to benefit from the title more or less equally. Overwatch 2 is therefore a very good title, which will only become excellent when it manages to be honest with its origins and the players who made it successful.