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Overwatch 2 Review: Half a Sequel

Overwatch 2 Review

Ever since the release of Overwatch back in 2016, fans of the title have been waiting for what was going to come next to their favorite series. Overwatch had overtaken the gaming industry with its smooth gameplay, fun maps, and unique characters. Winning game of the year seemed to be assured due to the outrageous success of the game in its first year.

When Overwatch 2 was officially announced in November of 2019, fans of the series were excited to see what will come next while also nervous to see if it will match the original. Since then all we have seen was a troubled development cycle and with its official release the question we all had when the game dropped was “Is this sequel worth playing?” Will Overwatch 2 becoming a live service be more beneficial in the long run? Does Overwatch 2 meet the standard of the previous title?

In my official review, I give the good, the bad, the ugly and answer these questions in my final verdict.

The Good

The Gameplay

Overall, the gameplay of Overwatch 2 was very smooth. It’s hard to neglect the already fantastic movements and fluid combat that originated from Overwatch 1. I do need to give credit to Blizzard for taking the mechanics from the original and revamping them to make them feel smoother than before. Every engagement feels easy to navigate and to pick up and play. This seems like one of those times where if it’s not broken there is no need to fix it.

The characters have also received a boost in how they play. Each character has its impact on the match, and I feel that there are fewer characters that seem to be utterly useless like how they used to be in the previous title. Each character has their strengths and weaknesses which I believe is important in how the game plays in general.

Revamped 10 Player Matches

One of the biggest gambles that Blizzard has done in this new installment is the switch to the size of the team for multiplayer matches from 6 to 5. Most fans of the game, including myself felt nervous about what the impact of this would have on the overall game, but honestly, this had way more positive impacts than negative. With smaller teams, it really raised the importance of each character selected and forced teamwork instead of lone-wolf gameplay.

This incentivizes teaming up to increase the odds of your survival, which in the long run leads to competitive matches which only helps the experience. Maps were adapted to adjust to this new style of play and it kind of feels like this should have been implemented long ago. I think the ways that Blizzard had adjusted the stats of characters to meet more towards their intended role only helps this change and I am definitely a fan.

The Bad

Lack of Added Content

One of the biggest flaws this game has is the lack of added content from the previous title. Overall, at launch, there are 3 new heroes, 5 new maps, and 1 new mode. For a game that had been in development for six years, this is unacceptable especially when this is considered to be a “new” game. Most of the characters, modes, and maps were from the previous title which shows that Blizzard is basically putting a new coat of paint on the game rather than actually making a sequel.

What makes matters worse is the fact that in this new game Blizzard removed modes and maps that were loved in the previous title and not included in Overwatch 2. I understand that this was transitioning to becoming a live service game but to pretend that this is a new installment is just laughable. It’s bad to the level that even when you see your friends are playing the game in some cases it still says Overwatch Origins edition. You can’t tell me this is a sequel when you add less content than Halo Infinite.

Over the Top Punishments/Battlenet

One of the biggest surprises leading up until the launch of Overwatch 2 was the discussion over the use of the Battlenet and how pivotal it was to keep profiles secure. When Blizzard announced in the wake of the launch that every active user would need to connect their phone and their account may be regulated even without their knowledge this caused a lot of backlash from the overall fanbase.

Most regulations that Blizzard implemented are meant to curb cheating, unsportsmanlike behavior, and smurf accounts, but it seems that they have an issue with checking those people that actually break these rules. I have seen many instances where users have faced season-long bans for being disconnected from lobbies in a way to stop leaving matches early. Even instances where players were unfairly reported in-game, and they were also facing discipline. It feels like Blizzard struggles with implementing these policies and they need to really rethink their strategy.

The Ugly

Server Issues

One of the worst things I have seen to date with Overwatch 2 has to be the instability of the servers and its constant crashes. Since the launch of the game, many fans have noted the unbelievable wait times as well as the constant issues that come with connecting to the main lobby. There are times when I had to wait behind thousands of people before I could even search for a game. During the first week of the game’s release, I was unable to play a full night of gaming due to the difficulty of just getting into multiplayer.

Right before the game had officially been released it was found that Blizzard’s Battlenet was hacked which had caused major issues with the overall connectivity to the game. The worst part has to be that even as the game has had time to fix the issues listed they still have concerns about staying connected to the servers. There were times when games would randomly crash so often that people were banned for hours even the entire season 1 because of the constant drops.

This is one of the worst server issues I have seen in a long time and they need to make sure this is addressed to fully meet the demand of the fan base.

Final Verdict

Overall, this game has both positives and negatives. The gameplay is very smooth and you have to applaud Blizzard for not only revamping old mechanics from the previous title but also introducing new ones in the sequel. The 10-player lobby I think has the biggest impact on the flow of the game. Each game feels way more competitive and the importance behind the player selection is clear with this newly revamped lobby. However, the severe lack of content, over-the-top punishments, and server instability really hinder this game and it shows how Blizzard really struggled to keep up with the hype of this title.

Overall Rating

In my opinion, it gives this game a 7.5 out of 10. For a game that tries to call itself a sequel, it seems to be lacking many of the basic functions that full games have. It only adds some content at its launch and seems to be a mirror image of the previous title. Even though Overwatch 2 has transitioned to becoming a live service title, Blizzard seems to be lacking the favorability of the fans to give half effort in this popular series.

If you are a fan of Overwatch then there is definitely cause for playing the sequel. But keep in mind that even if this game is free to download it does not meet the standard of the previous game which was an instant classic. Can Overwatch 2 make a comeback? It definitely can, but before it does Blizzard needs to expand on what is currently available so we can see the full potential of this franchise.

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